Depression-Era Values and a New New Deal

There’s not a lot of nostalgia for the Great Depression but, if we’d retained some of the values from that era, we might not be careening toward another one now. The Great Depression followed hard on the Roaring Twenties. The economy went from boom to bust. We look back on the twenties as a frivolous period of flappers and speakeasies, exuberant spending, loose moral standards, and widespread disregard for the law. There were those who condemned the gleeful irresponsibility that became emblematic of that era, but the young and “young at heart” scorned their dourness and ridiculed their dire predictions.

Then came the crash, followed by acute economic contraction. Exuberant spending was replaced by extruding the maximum value from every penny surrendered, cutting back to the essentials, and then learning that not all “essentials” were essential. Every tiny luxury, like a bar of soap or a candy bar, was appreciated more than the most extravagant bauble of the preceding era.

Instead of flinging away money for a night on the town, people found ways to entertain themselves that cost nothing, like huddling around the woodstove telling stories or playing games. People spent more time with their families, even if it wasn’t by choice. But the hardships they endured together forged strong familial bonds. Neighbors rallied to support one another, because nobody knew when they might be the one in need. Those who could get work worked hard, knowing they had to provide superior value to keep their job in a time when jobs were scarce. And they took pride in that fact, and honed their skills to ensure continued employment.

I’m not romanticizing the Great Depression. It was a miserable time. Many who would have been glad to work couldn’t get jobs. Many suffered tremendous losses through no fault of their own. Some even died from their hardships. But the vast majority managed to survive and became stronger, wiser, and more resilient, not in spite of, but because of, the adversities they endured.

Some say the New Deal was instrumental in ending the Great Depression, with its social welfare programs, agricultural subsidies that paid farmers not to grow crops, and the replacement of the gold standard with a fiat currency that has no intrinsic value. But there’s widespread disagreement among economists as to whether the New Deal helped or prolonged the Depression. The only thing we can say for certain is that it took World War II to end it.

WWII bolstered the economy, creating employment for everybody from soldiers to factory workers, and the surge in patriotism helped revive the spirit of the nation. Luxuries were still rare, but people felt they were sacrificing for a reason, and that gave them a sense of purpose and pride. After the war, the lessons instilled by years of austerity laid the foundation for a new era of prosperity.

The programs instituted by FDR as part of the New Deal were intended to be short-term recovery programs. Unfortunately, once a bureaucracy is established, it takes on a life of its own. It’s nearly impossible to dismantle government programs once they get entrenched. Many people were deeply ashamed to go on the dole, and the habits they acquired of continual striving to rise above that humiliation often led to great success later on. For the most part, they passed that fierce sense of self-reliance on to their children.

But others, too exhausted for the struggle, found it easier to sink into the trough that was offered them and accept government handouts as their lot in life. The social programs were seen to be a particular boon to the disadvantaged, but those are the ones for whom it proved most detrimental in the end. Those who would have had to work even harder to overcome the greater obstacles before them had less incentive to undertake that Herculean task when given the option to just accept what the government offered as compensation for their disadvantaged circumstances. And many of them passed that embittered sense of perpetual entitlement on to their children. To this day, that sad legacy of the New Deal has kept generation after generation mired in government-subsidized poverty.

Ironically, the descendants of those who achieved success in the post war boom, after only a couple of generations, were reduced to complacency by the very affluence their parents and grandparents struggled so hard to provide for them. The baby boomers had it easy, compared to their parents’ generation, and the generation that followed was spoiled by the expectation that everything in life should come easily. If they couldn’t afford something they wanted, they simply said “Charge it,” and it was theirs. They developed their own sense of entitlement; only instead of feeling entitled to mere subsistence, they felt entitled to a big house and a constant stream of little luxuries to gratify their every whim.

Now, the good times are over. A new depression may well be on the way. Maybe it will bring back some of those old-fashioned Depression-era values that served our parents and grandparents so well. Unfortunately, with our new president-elect, I foresee another New Deal on the horizon as well, even bigger and “better” than the last one…


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  1. Hopefully a little bit of belt-tightening will make our spoilt-brat kids appreciate all that they now take for granted.

  2. […] presents Depression-Era Values and a New New Deal posted at Government is not your Daddy., saying, “There’s not a lot of nostalgia for […]

  3. “if we’d retained some of the values from that era”

    …like the Depression-era financial regulations that were repealed at the behest of the GOP in the late 1990s, which helped a lot to trigger many of the recent economic woes in this country.

    “The only thing we can say for certain is that it took World War II to end it.”

    The solution to our current economic crisis is NOT more war, period.

    “The programs instituted by FDR as part of the New Deal were intended to be short-term recovery programs.”

    No, they really weren’t, but keep trying to revise history anyways.

    “that sad legacy of the New Deal has kept generation after generation mired in government-subsidized poverty.”

    Too bad that there is ZERO evidence that this is true, but, as per usual, the facts don’t seem to matter in this blog. Really NYD, I thought this past election had silenced you for good…you really don’t know enough to quit while you’re so sorely behind…

    “If they couldn’t afford something they wanted, they simply said ‘Charge it,’ and it was theirs”

    …and our govt. has been doing the same thing for decades now, so why is this so surprising to many?? It took us a long time to get ourselves into this line of thinking, and it’s going to take a heck of long time to get us out of it. We are on that path though right now IMO.

    “Unfortunately, with our new president-elect, I foresee another New Deal on the horizon as well, even bigger and ‘better’ than the last one…”

    Nope, there isn’t enough support for this kind of thing in the new Congress, unfortunately, but don’t let that stop you from fear-mongering though…

  4. I see we are still discussing a free market economy verses a centrally planned economy. I believe the so-called mixed economy is a code word for a Kremlin style one. This is the best type for the politically controlling writers among us.

    The so-called laissez-faire economy has proven to be the most successful. The US has beaten all other countries long term because of this. The problem with free markets is that they are subject to cycles. When a down cycle is deep enough we are all to ready to abandon free market principles.

    Fraud is the enemy of capitalism. Whatever happened to accountants and auditors. Beginning in the late 1990s companies seemed to really get away with cooking their books. From Enron to Fannie Mae to Madoff, where have the auditors been? One would think that an opportunity exists for a super honest accounting firm to take over the auditing universe. If we don’t get this we will have another generation, as we did in the 1930s that only trusts their mattresses with their money.

  5. “The only thing we can say for certain is that it took World War II to end it.”

    WWII ended it, “sort of”. It mostly put it on hold, because right after WWII we fell right back into socialist thinking because we had to re-introduce 10 Million troops back into the market. Which really, was the tail end of the depression. WWII really only interupted it and provided a morale boost (perverse as it is for a war to be a morale boost) and a break from the lackluster job market and subsistence of FDR’s programs.

    The depression, my technical terms ended at WWII, but as I pointed out continued after WWII, but is rarely connected. The honest end of that whole debacle was the 50s. Which interesting enough, was the period when credit started to creep into our lifestyles (in a minor way, it took the 60s and 70s to truly decimate any chance honest money would return without a major collapse) and any hope that the savings based ideals would definitely be destroyed by our fractional Federal Reserve based banking system.

    “that sad legacy of the New Deal has kept generation after generation mired in government-subsidized poverty.”

    Mister Guy – you don’t see this? Have you lived in one place your whole life? The country has vast areas where people are damned to this subsidized subsistence. Even suburbia is a massive Government scale subsidized zoning catastrophe. The market alone would have NEVER perpetuated the creation of suburbia. With about 50% of the population paying well over 90% of taxes, and having the respective amount of Government debt put on their backs too, much of our current lifestyle for the lower 50% is provided as a Government handout on the backs of the other 50%, in all, EVERYONE has a lower standard of living and the bottom 50% are stuck in this Government subsistence of subsidy. Either way, if you don’t see it, you should research the topics more extensively.

    Mister Guy – “Nope, there isn’t enough support for this kind of thing in the new Congress, unfortunately, but don’t let that stop you from fear-mongering though…”

    Are you serious about that too? The bailouts already are vastly larger and more elaborate than anything FDR pushed forward. So it will either vindicate Keynes or we’ll have a nice long depression coming to us. Either way the general consensus among Democrats and Republicans to follow Keynes and the fiat currency debt based credit expansion as a way of life doesn’t seem to be going away. Instead of the population continuing to incur debt, the Government instead will do it for us! Lose, lose, and fail.

  6. Welcome to Daddyland, Adron. Great comment! I’m glad to see there are people out there who get it. I hope you’ll be a regular visitor to this site. (I haven’t been blogging lately, due to other commitments that are consuming all my time, but I expect to be back in force one of these days…)

  7. Nice site. You have a new subscriber:) All the best, Brenton

  8. “Mister Guy – you don’t see this?”

    LOL…no, I don’t “see this”. The biggest reduction in poverty numbers over the last half century or so came after the Great Society programs of the 1960s and their expansion & continuation into the 1970s. Even Right-wing sites such as the Hoover Institute use the stats BTW.

    “Are you serious about that too? The bailouts already are vastly larger and more elaborate than anything FDR pushed forward.”

    Nonsense. What FDR did in the New Deal and what has been done recently in Congress have almost nothing to do with one another.

    “So it will either vindicate Keynes or we’ll have a nice long depression coming to us.”

    LOL…”supply-side” (VOODOO) economics is dead at this point, but the Right-wing fear-mongering continues…

  9. Adron,

    Don’t even try to argue economics with him. His side won the last election. He seems to think it validates his views. There are as yet no results from the new administration, but all of their supporters keep congratulating them on their brilliance.

    Reagan and FDR both inherited bad economies. By 3 years in to Reagan’s term the economy had rebounded and was on it’s way to a boom. Reagan’s economy even rebounded from the 1987 crash. FDR’s economy was still in depression at the end of 6 years. Ramping up for war and selling to war torn Europe was the only reason that 1940 wasn’t a disaster. Reaganomics worked. The New Deal was a dismal failure. FDR was a great war time President, but the New Deal was a myth.

  10. FDR’s on Treasury Secretary realized the “New Deal” was a failure;
    “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong … somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises … I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started … And an enormous debt to boot!”
    -Henry Morganthau to Congressional Democrats in May 1939; Form Burton Folsom, Jr., New Deal or Raw Deal? (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008), p. 2.

    Pretty sad that principles that have failed time and time again are dusted off-just to fail one more time. Then the proponents of failure admonish those ideas that have worked, like Reaganomics. The ONLY way to recover this eceonomy is through supply-side economics.

  11. The U.S.’s GNP grew from around 1933 through much of the rest of the 1930s, and the USA’s unemployment rate was around 15% in 1940 — down from 25% in 1933. The turning point in the Great Depression was in 1933, period.

    “The ONLY way to recover this eceonomy is through supply-side economics.”

    Yea, what will really “need” is more tax cuts for the rich, more spending without anyway to pay for it, and a HUGE increase in the federal debt & deficit. Oh wait, we just finished doing that during the Bush Regime, and it didn’t work out so well…lol…

    If only we had kept the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 intact, instead of getting rid of the provisions (in 1999) in it that prohibited a bank holding company from owning other financial companies (the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act). That repeal enabled commercial lenders such as Citigroup, which was in 1999 then the largest U.S. bank by assets, to underwrite & trade instruments such as mortgage-backed securities & collateralized debt obligations and establish so-called structured investment vehicles, or SIVs, that bought those securities. The year before the repeal, sub-prime loans were just 5% of all mortgage lending. By the time the credit crisis peaked in 2008, they were approaching 30%. Thanx GOP!

  12. There was no turning point in 1933, there was a slight upturn and then another period of economic depression due ENTIRELY to Roosevelt’s poor economic policies.

    “Although the U.S. economy began to recover in the second quarter of 1933, the recovery largely stalled for most of 1934 and 1935. A more vigorous recovery commenced in late 1935 and continued into 1937, when a new depression occurred. The American economy had yet to fully recover from the Great Depression when the United States was drawn into World War II in December 1941.” (emphasis added)

    “The NRA was a vast experiment in cartelizing American industry. Code authorities in each industry were set up to determine production and investment, as well as to standardize firm practices and costs. The entire apparatus was aimed at raising prices and reducing, not increasing, production and investment. As the NRA codes began to take effect in the fall of 1933, they had precisely that effect. The recovery that had seemed so promising in the summer largely stopped, and there was little increase in economic activity from the fall of 1933 through midsummer 1935. Enforcement of the codes was sporadic, disagreement over the codes increased, and, in smaller, more competitive industries, fewer firms adhered to the codes. The Supreme Court ruled the NRA unconstitutional on May 27, 1935, and the AAA unconstitutional on January 6, 1936. Released from the shackles of the NRA, American industry began to expand production. By the fall of 1935 a vigorous recovery was under way. (emphasis added)

    The introduction of the NRA had initially brought about a sharp increase in money and real wage rates as firms attempted to comply with the NRA’s blanket code. As firms’ enthusiasm for the NRA waned, money wage rates increased little and real average wage rates actually fell slightly in 1934 and early 1935. In addition, many workers decided not to join independent labor unions. These factors helped the recovery. (emphasis added)

    Roosevelt had pushed through a new tax on undistributed corporate profits, expecting this to cause firms to pay out undistributed profits in dividends. Though some firms did pay out part of the retained earnings in larger dividends, others, such as the firms in the steel industry, also paid bonuses and raised wage rates to avoid paying their retained earnings in new taxes. As these three policies came together, real hourly labor costs jumped without corresponding increases in demand or prices, and firms responded by reducing production and laying off employees. (emphasis added)

    By June 1937, the recovery—during which the unemployment rate had fallen to 12 percent—was over. Two policies, labor cost increases and a contractionary monetary policy, caused the economy to contract further. Although the contraction ended around June 1938, the ensuing recovery was quite slow. The average rate of unemployment for all of 1938 was 19.1 percent, compared with an average unemployment rate for all of 1937 of 14.3 percent. Even in 1940, the unemployment rate still averaged 14.6 percent. (emphasis added)

    One of the most coherent explanations, which pulls together several of these themes, is what economic historian Robert Higgs calls “regime uncertainty.” According to Higgs, Roosevelt’s New Deal led business leaders to question whether the current “regime” of private property rights in their firms’ capital and its income stream would be protected. They became less willing, therefore, to invest in assets with long lives. Roosevelt had first suspended the antitrust laws so that American businesses would cooperate in government-instigated cartels; he then switched to using the antitrust laws to prosecute firms for cooperating. New taxes had been imposed, and some were then removed; increasing regulation of businesses had reduced businesses’ ability to act independently and raise capital; and new legislation had reduced their freedom in hiring and employing labor. Public opinion surveys of business at the end of the 1930s provided evidence of this regime uncertainty. Public opinion polls in March and May 1939 asked whether the attitude of the Roosevelt administration toward business was delaying recovery, and 54 and 53 percent, respectively, said yes while 26 and 31 percent said no. Fifty-six percent believed that in ten years there would be more government control of business while only 22 percent thought there would be less. Sixty-five percent of executives surveyed thought that the Roosevelt administration policies had so affected business confidence that the recovery had been seriously held back. Initially many firms were reluctant to engage in war contracts. The vast majority believed that Roosevelt’s administration was strongly antibusiness, and this discouraged practical cooperation with Washington on rearmament. (emphasis added)

    It is commonly argued that World War II provided the stimulus that brought the American economy out of the Great Depression. The number of unemployed workers declined by 7,050,000 between 1940 and 1943, but the number in military service rose by 8,590,000. The reduction in unemployment can be explained by the draft, not by the economic recovery. (emphasis added)

    The rise in real GNP presents similar problems. Most estimates show declines in real consumption spending, which means that consumers were worse off during the war. Business investment fell during the war. Government spending on the war effort exceeded the expansion in real GNP. These figures are suspect, however, because we know that government estimates of the value of munitions spending, to name one major area, were increasingly exaggerated as the war progressed. In fact, the extensive price controls, rationing, and government control of production render data on GNP, consumption, investment, and the price level less meaningful. How can we establish a consistent price index when government mandates eliminated the production of most consumer durable goods? What does the price of, say, gasoline mean when it is arbitrarily held at a low level and gasoline purchases are rationed to address the shortage created by the price controls? What does the price of new tires mean when no new tires are produced for consumers? For consumers, the recovery came with the war’s end, when they could again buy products that were unavailable during the war and unaffordable during the 1930s. (emphasis added)

    Link: “http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/GreatDepression.html”

    Roosevelt extended the depression until the end of WWII. His poor econoomic policy caused a loss of trust among business leaders. His “New Deal” reeked havoc on the workingman and only when the SCOTUS ruled the NRA and AAA unconstitutional did the econmoy start a recovery only to have Roosevelt threaten to stack the court, causing the court to capitulate. The New Deal II then further contracted the economy, lengthening the Depression.

    Our President is going down the same road with the same type of policies. What was it he said during the campaign about putting lipstick on a pig?

  13. Ah, more “evidence” from another Right-wing source…yawn…

    “There was no turning point in 1933”

    Yes, there was, and I just showed it to you in a graph (that comes from U.S. stats BTW) that anyone could understand, period.

    It is certainly true that the far Right-wing hates the New Deal efforts to fight deflationary “cut-throat competition”, to set minimum wages…labor standards (including the abolition of child labor)…and competitive conditions in all industries, to establish Social Security, to establish jobs programs for the unemployed and, of course, to encourage unions through the NLRB in order to raise wages & increase the purchasing power of the working class. It’s too bad that these things have all proven to be very POPULAR and in the American interest in the long run!

    The NRA quickly stopped operations after being ruled “unConstitutional”, but many of its labor provisions reappeared in the Wagner Act of 1935…ooopppsss…

    “In addition, many workers decided not to join independent labor unions.”

    “and firms responded by reducing production and laying off employees.”

    LOL…the heyday of labor union involvement in the USA was in the 1930s & 1940s. BTW, when was the turning point in employment during the Great Depression? Why, it was 1933 of course!

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Employment_Graph_-_1920_to_1940.svg

    “The reduction in unemployment can be explained by the draft, not by the economic recovery.”

    Sure, sure…because the USA wasn’t arming itself and the rest of the free world to the teeth at that point through increased production and more involvement of women in the workforce…please!!

    “The rise in real GNP presents similar problems”

    …not in much of the 1930s (when it was rising almost uninterrupted)!

    “Most estimates show declines in real consumption spending, which means that consumers were worse off during the war.”

    Yea, and there was *rationing* back then once WWII started for the USA as well.

    “How can we establish a consistent price index when government mandates eliminated the production of most consumer durable goods?”

    The govt. didn’t do this at all, period.

    “What does the price of, say, gasoline mean when it is arbitrarily held at a low level and gasoline purchases are rationed to address the shortage created by the price controls? What does the price of new tires mean when no new tires are produced for consumers?”

    “Price controls” did NOT cause a lack of gas…the WAR caused a lack of gas (and rubber for that matter), since it was mostly going towards the war effort!!

    “Roosevelt extended the depression until the end of WWII.”

    Repeating the same Right-wing nonsense over & over again does NOT make it any more true. It just makes people look that much more desperate.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Depression#Causes

  14. From two UCLA economists: “The fact that the Depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and policy-makers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes,” Cole said. “Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened.” (emphasis added)

    I suppose UCLA is now bastion of “right-wing” rhetoric …
    Link: http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/FDR-s-Policies-Prolonged-Depression-5409.aspx?RelNum=5409

  15. “From two UCLA economists”

    …one, Lee E. Ohanian, is a well-known Right-wing proponent of the magical “free market” at all costs. Robert Emerson Lucas, Jr. is another well-known Right-wing economist who praises Ohanian’s work, of course.

    “Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened.”

    No, it really doesn’t, but here’s what it *does* show though:

    -In the three years following the implementation of Roosevelt’s policies, wages in 11 key industries averaged 25% higher than they otherwise would have done.
    -Union membership doubled during the Great Depression.
    -By 1934 more than 500 industries, which accounted for nearly 80% of private, non-agricultural employment, had entered into the collective bargaining agreements.
    -By 1939, wages in many industries remained 24-33% above where they were in 1929.

    So much for all of the nonesense from the other Right-wing article that you posted earlier eh “DJ”?? LOL…do you even bother to READ the stuff that you post here?? I didn’t think so…

    Cole & Ohanian blame the National Recovery Act for preventing a rise in wages in the period from 1933-1935. The problem with this hypothesis, as Fed Chairman Ben Benanke has noted, is that other nations that DID NOT use the same sort of stimulus as the New Deal experienced the *same slow recovery*. Since both nations that did & did not undertake the same industrial policy as the New Deal experienced the same outcome, it’s kind of hard to prove SCIENTIFICALLY that the New Deal prolonged the Great Depression, period.

    “A 1995 survey of economic historians asked whether ‘Taken as a whole, government policies of the New Deal served to lengthen and deepen the Great Depression.’ Of those in economics departments 27% agreed, 22% agreed ‘with provisos’ (what provisos the survey does not state) and 51% disagreed. Of those in history departments, only 27% agreed and 73% disagreed.”

    There is absolutely NO consensus that this totally bogus UCLA “study” is anywhere near the truth as it relates to the Great Depression & the New Deal. Modern science is NOT advanced by a few lone wolfs whistling in the wind…it is advanced by peer-reviewed & REPEATED studies, period.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Deal#Prolonged.2Fworsened_the_Depression

    Even ole Milty Friedman, “said the relief programs were an appropriate response” to the Great Depression…ooopppsss…

    • Since both nations that did & did not undertake the same industrial policy as the New Deal experienced the same outcome, it’s kind of hard to prove SCIENTIFICALLY that the New Deal prolonged the Great Depression, period.

      By the same token, it makes it kind of hard to claim it had any positive effect, either.

      Likewise, I see no positive effect coming from the current stimulus plan. However, the negative effect of sinking our nation deeper into debt than any nation in the history of the world is downright chilling.

  16. Keep spining Comrade. Raw deal 2.0 isn’t going to work, Keyenseian economics has never worked, but you just keep hoping…
    Is Wikipedia the BEST you can come up with? Sad, very sad…

  17. Comrade Guy,

    “-In the three years following the implementation of Roosevelt’s policies, wages in 11 key industries averaged 25% higher than they otherwise would have done.
    -Union membership doubled during the Great Depression.
    -By 1934 more than 500 industries, which accounted for nearly 80% of private, non-agricultural employment, had entered into the collective bargaining agreements.
    -By 1939, wages in many industries remained 24-33% above where they were in 1929.
    So much for all of the nonesense from the other Right-wing article that you posted earlier…”

    Actually, your little bullets support the original article. All those “points” prove is that another depression in 1937 happened! Do you understand econmics at all? The absurd idea of inflating wages increases labor costs which in-turn increases the price needed to sell a product at a profit so the laborers can be paid!

    (quoted again from above) “Released from the shackles of the NRA, American industry began to expand production. By the fall of 1935 a vigorous recovery was under way. (emphasis added)

    The introduction of the NRA had initially brought about a sharp increase in money and real wage rates as firms attempted to comply with the NRA’s blanket code. As firms’ enthusiasm for the NRA waned, money wage rates increased little and real average wage rates actually fell slightly in 1934 and early 1935. In addition, many workers decided not to join independent labor unions. These factors helped the recovery. (emphasis added)

    ““A 1995 survey of economic historians asked whether ‘Taken as a whole, government policies of the New Deal served to lengthen and deepen the Great Depression.’ Of those in economics departments 27% agreed, 22% agreed ‘with provisos’ (what provisos the survey does not state) and 51% disagreed. Of those in history departments, only 27% agreed and 73% disagreed.””

    So 49% of economic professors say the Great depression was lengthend by Government policies, and 51% said the Great Depression was NOT lengthened by Government policies. Huge disparity there!

    The 1920’s began with recession, President Harding cuts taxes and the economy ROARS;

    “The 1920s
    Under the leadership of Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, tax rates during the Administrations of Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge were slashed from the confiscatory levels they had reached during World War I. The Revenue Acts of 1921, 1924, and 1926 reduced the top rate from 73 percent to 25 percent.

    Spurred in part by lower tax rates, the economy expanded dramatically. In real terms, the economy grew 59 percent between 1921 and 1929, and annual economic growth averaged more than 6 percent.

    Notwithstanding (or perhaps because of) the dramatic reduction in tax rates, personal income tax revenues increased substantially during the 1920s, rising from $719 million in 1921 to $1.16 billion in 1928.”

    In the 1960’s Kennedy boosts the economy;

    “The 1960s
    President John F. Kennedy proposed a series of tax rate reductions in 1963; the following year, legislation was passed that brought the top rate down from 91 percent in 1963 to 70 percent by 1965.

    The Kennedy tax cuts helped to trigger a record economic expansion. Between 1961 and 1968, the inflation-adjusted economy expanded by more than 42 percent. On a yearly basis, economic growth averaged more than 5 percent.”

    Link: http://www.heritage.org/research/taxes/BG1443.cfm

    You have alredy been schooled on the economic boom of the Reagna tax cuts, so I won’t add yet another example of how lowering taxes and government NON-INTERVENTION boosts the economy-DRAMATICALLY.

    It is quite odd how when the government stayed out of the market, the economy recovers quickly and grows rapidly. Yet all you socialists insist on meddling. Evidence and history show FDR’s policies FAILED and BHO’s policies will fail as well PERIOD.

  18. “By the same token, it makes it kind of hard to claim it had any positive effect”

    …especially if you are from the Right-wing, New Deal/FDR-denial-of-history camp eh??

    “Likewise, I see no positive effect coming from the current stimulus plan.”

    Right, because the govt. spending money to help create & maintain American jobs is such a baaaaad thing…please…

    “Is Wikipedia the BEST you can come up with?”

    LOL…right…because Right-wing opinion pieces “beat” well-researched & cited references everytime…in your warped Right-wing mind “DJ”…lol…

    “Actually, your little bullets support the original article.”

    Really…the original article that you said showed that “many workers decided not to join independent labor unions” and that the USA was worse off after the New Deal was implemented?? Sure, sure…and up is down…

    “Do you understand econmics at all?”

    Do you understand HISTORY at all?? It doesn’t look that way!

    “Released from the shackles of the NRA, American industry began to expand production. By the fall of 1935 a vigorous recovery was under way.”

    Please! As *if* much, if not all, of what the NRA did was not codified into law (which applies to this very day!) right after the Supreme Court declared it “unConstitutional”

    “In addition, many workers decided not to join independent labor unions.”

    Keep spinning the same Right-wing lies “DJ” that completely fly in the face of established history…it’s all you have left at this point apparently!

    “So 49% of economic professors say the Great depression was lengthend by Government policies, and 51% said the Great Depression was NOT lengthened by Government policies.”

    Do you understand AT ALL how to read scientific studies?? Do you understand “22% agreed ‘with provisos’ (what provisos the survey does not state)” really means?!?! I didn’t think so…it means that you can’t lump those people in with the small minority of people that said that “Taken as a whole, government policies of the New Deal served to lengthen and deepen the Great Depression”, period.

    “The 1920’s began with recession, President Harding cuts taxes and the economy ROARS”

    Wow, Harding has been consistently ranked by scholars as one of the worst U.S. Presidents (can you say Teapot Dome scandal??). What a surprise then that the “Heritage Foundation” tries to shill for the GWB tax cuts (which completely failed, once again, to help the long-term financial stability of the USA…just like supply-side economics alwasy does) by using him as an “example” of what to do “right”.

    “Under the leadership of Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, tax rates during the Administrations of Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge were slashed from the confiscatory levels they had reached during World War I.”

    Coolidge’s style of governance was a throwback to the passive presidency (laissez-faire government) of the nineteenth century, and it was an almost complete & utter failure in the view of history that helped usher in the Great Depression (along with the Presidency of the infamous Herbert Hoover). Although many of Harding’s cabinet appointees were scandal-tarred, Coolidge announced that he would not demand any of their resignations…thanks “Silent Cal”!

    “In the 1960’s Kennedy boosts the economy”

    The reality is that the JFK proposed tax reform was not passed by Congress until 1964, after his death.

    “You have alredy been schooled on the economic boom of the Reagna tax cuts”

    LOL…the net effect of all Reagan-era tax bills, according to the U.S. Depat. of the Treasury, was a 1% DECREASE in government revenues. Your lack of any real knowledge of history is truly breathtaking “DJ”…

    “It is quite odd how when the government stayed out of the market, the economy recovers quickly and grows rapidly.”

    Yea, the well-established legacy of the GOP-sponsored deregulation of the financial markets in the late 1990s shows the exact opposite lesson…so much for your “knowledge” of any real history again “DJ”…

    Oh BTW, the Right-wing “Heritage Foundation” is a real “unbiased” resource…not…LOL!!

    The hard reality is that federal revenues, as a percentage of GDP, have remained stable at approximately 19.5% over the period 1950 to 2007 despite significant changes in margin tax rates over the same period. Since federal revenue is proportional to GDP, the key factor in increasing revenue is to increase GDP, period.

  19. “LOL…the net effect of all Reagan-era tax bills, according to the U.S. Depat. of the Treasury, was a 1% DECREASE in government revenues.”

    Really? Are you kidding? Where did you get this little “factoid” from?

    “federal revenue increased 15 percent” -from Media Matters Link:http://mediamatters.org/items/200801280001

    Even the socialist Media Matters has to give Reagan 15 percent! Keeping trying Comrade! PERIOD!

  20. “Where did you get this little ‘factoid’ from?”

    I got that FACT exactly where I said I got it from…from the U.S. Dept. of the Treasury:

    http://www.ustreas.gov/offices/tax-policy/library/ota81.pdf

    Oh, BTW, I’m glad you’re reading Media Matters for some truth, but, of course, you missed what they actually said:

    “there is no consensus among economists on whether the 1981 tax cuts were the cause of revenue increases during the Reagan years.”

    “evidence suggests that the Reagan tax cuts were not the cause of the revenue increases that did occur during the 1980s. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) has documented, citing figures from OMB, ‘Income tax receipts grew noticeably more slowly than usual in the 1980s, after the large cuts in individual and corporate income tax rates in 1981.’ By contrast, ‘income tax collections grew much more rapidly in the 1990s,’ when ‘marginal income tax rates at the top of the income spectrum were raised,’CBPP noted.”

    mediamatters.org/items/200509160008?f=s_search

    http://www.cbpp.org/3-3-03tax.htm

  21. Hey, I don’t know if any of you conservatives have ever heard of this thing that happened around the same time as the depression. It was called the dust bowl, The great drought. You don’t think that had anything to do with l e n g h t e n i n g that depression do you? I never hear anyone bring that up. And for such imformed and productive people I can’t see how that slips by all the time. Oh I know, 10 year droughts aren’t fiscal policy so they don’t count

  22. scoobie jim ,

    “Hey, I don’t know if any of you conservatives have ever heard of this thing that happened around the same time as the depression. It was called the dust bowl, The great drought. You don’t think that had anything to do with l e n g h t e n i n g that depression do you? I never hear anyone bring that up. And for such imformed and productive people I can’t see how that slips by all the time. Oh I know, 10 year droughts aren’t fiscal policy so they don’t count”

    Actually you have brought something up that is interesting, but I reject your reasoning. We the informed and productive, know all about the dust bowl drought. I thought Henry Fonda was great in The Grapes of Wrath. Seriously, I know that for the farmers of Oklahoma and surrounding areas, the dust bowl drought added to the depression suffering. I do not think that the dust bowl lengthened the depression in the rest of the country for the following reasons.

    If you research the farm economy going in to the Great Depression, you will find the following. WW1 caused a huge spike in demand for American grain, mainly wheat. Being good capitalists, the farmers brought more land in to production. In the years after the war European farm goods recovered. There was a big drop in grain prices in the mid to late 1920s. The farm economy was actually pretty bad in some places before the big market crash. During the 30s depression farmers could not get enough money for their crops to survive. If you look at how much overproduction in agriculture taken out by the dust bowl, that would have been a net positive for farmers in the rest of the country. If you have a better argument, make it.

  23. More govt farm subsidies? That’s basically what you said mother nature did. Took land, from OVERPRODUCING good capitalists, and it was a net benefit for the country. Mother Nature doing it’s own regulating? Why was it that farmers couldn’t get the money to help crops survive? And if they did, how would they have helped them when it was the over planting and over production without putting anything back into the land to keep erosion from destroying the foundation from which the food is grown? I have absolutely nothing against capitalism. So far it is the best system. The problem is that is not what we have here. We have a system that is built on mass consumerism. And the problem with that is when all the profit goes to the “productive” rich, and then it trickles down the upflow is going to lose pressure, especially when the pipe leading to the faucet has a leak.

  24. Scoobie Jim,

    There are a lot of separate but related issues and you kind of have everything mashed up together. The Dust Bowl was an environmental disaster, an economic disaster for those living in it, and an economic problem for the country because now you have a large local group moving off of the farms to other areas where unemployment was already too high. My point was that if you were a farmer in another part of the country, the Dust Bowl took out a large part of your competition. Even with that, and FDR paying other farmers to take farm land out of production, you still weren’t getting enough money for your crops.

    I hate to be critical, you say you believe in Capitalism, but you don’t seem to know how it works. The farmers were in a somewhat similar position that the auto companies find themselves today. There was an over capacity even in normal times. When the depression hit and demand collapsed, they failed. I don’t know if President Obama will pay GM and Chrysler to idle factories like FDR paid farmers to idle crop land. If he finds a way to keep gasoline prices low,,,uhhh say by more domestic production, then people will drive more, wear out their cars quicker, have to buy new cars sooner. Guess what???? DEMAND will go up, car prices will go up, and even the morons in Detroit will stay in business. Problem solved and even a hard case like me will celebrate the greatness of Obama.

    Here is a web page you can go to for some background on the 1930s farm problem.

    http://www.digitalhistory2.uh.edu/teachers/lesson_plans/pdfs/unit9_12.pdf

  25. Scoobie Jim,,

    I realized after I posted that you being somewhat left of center philosophically, you may prefer a site that is more on your side. Since you can’t get more left wing than the NY Times, I thought I had better post another Depression reference site. I do not want to be accused by anyone on this board of only using biased right wing fascist sources.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/21/arts/21fearexcerpt.html?pagewanted=2&ref=books

  26. Isn’t that what is kind of wrong with this country? Everybody seeks out opinions that line up with want they want to hear? If that’s the way it is we might as all line up and go to war. And by the way, I think the left are a bunch of “kool-aid” drinkers too. I mean honestly, if after the last 8 years of Bush and now all the tax cheats being sworn in…. come on!

  27. scoobie jim,,

    “Isn’t that what is kind of wrong with this country? Everybody seeks out opinions that line up with want they want to hear? If that’s the way it is we might as all line up and go to war.”

    No this is what is right in America. You as a neutral observer get to see both sides fight over ideas. We are not fighting physically. Hopefully you have read all of the comments and gotten something out of it.

    We are merely carrying on over 2 centuries of squabbling that used to be carried out in taverns. Do you think the founding fathers all loved each other? Read some history about the bad blood between Adams, Jefferson, and Hamilton.

    We really are not in an especially contentious time.


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