Tag Archives: spending

The Forgetful Man

Wasting Away in Hooverville:

“Shlaes’s actual critique of the New Deal [in The Forgotten Man] is not easy to pin down. Defining what she believes depends on whether you are reading the book itself or her incessant stream of spin-off journalism. In one article she adopted the classic right-wing line taken up by Andrew Mellon, Hoover’s treasury secretary: ‘Mellon–unlike the Roosevelt administration–understood that American growth would return if you left the economy alone to right itself.’ This is the conclusion that most excites Shlaes’s conservative admirers. And in keeping with this argument, Shlaes, a committed supply-sider, scolds Roosevelt for raising taxes on the rich, which discouraged them from taking risks. She fails to explain how the economy managed to recover after the outbreak of World War II, which saw even higher taxes on the rich, or in the postwar period, when they remained high. [emphasis mine]

Moreover, the classic right-wing critique fails to explain how the economy recovered at all. In one of his columns touting Shlaes, George Will observed that ‘the war, not the New Deal, defeated the Depression.’ Why, though, did the war defeat the Depression? Because it entailed a massive expansion of government spending. The Republicans who have been endlessly making the anti-stimulus case seem not to realize that, if you believe that the war ended the Depression, then you are a Keynesian.

(Via The New Republic.)

Once again ideology is revealed as soft-think. Conservative ideology in this case can’t handle even the simple facts. If facts are about reality, I’d be all too happy to forget conservatism.