Saturday, January 24. 2009
Overheard a bit of a tirade against FDR and the New Deal tonight, charging that unemployment increased during Roosevelt's first six years, and that Roosevelt had, if anything, damaged the economy. The first thing I wonder, then, is why was Roosevelt so popular: his 1936 reelection was by one of the largest margins ever, and he went on to an unprecedented four terms. Part of the reason is that the charges are basically bogus, but the more important thing is that Roosevelt's policies promoted a fairer, more equal distribution of the fruits of the economy. Even before the economy recovered, FDR improved the lot of most of the poor, and he made all of the poor feel like they were pulling together. He also set the stage for the postwar boom, not least by laying the basis for mass middle class consumption -- the new houses, cars, and appliances that characterized the growth throughout the 1950s.
When I finally walked into the TV room, I saw that the tirade was being given at the Heritage Foundation. Clearly, the more Obama invokes the New Deal, the more bitterly the right will feel the need to contest New Deal history. One thing you won't find them talking about is how the Republican policies of the 1920s and the 2000s led to depressions. They did so through increasing inequality, driving more and more Americans into marginal status while helping the rich feather their inflated profits.
David Kurtz: NRCC: The Fundamentals of Our Economy Are Strong!. Snapshot of the National Republican Congressional Committee's website as late as yesterday, featuring the timeless quote: "Thanks to Republian economic policies, the U.S. economy is robust and job creation is strong." Yes, thanks indeed.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
The author does not allow comments to this entry