Friday, January 02, 2009

Conservatives new mantra: The New Deal made the Great Depression last longer.

It's understandable that in seeking to figure out a rationale for opposing the Obama stimulus program, conservatives would seek to find ways to criticize the New Deal, Franklin Roosevelt's big-spending set of Government programs that helped put millions to work and build much of this nation's infrastructure during the Great Depression. But lately they've gone from constructive criticism to the dumfoundingly stupid, claiming that the New Deal actually prolonged the Great Depression. In so doing, they tend to skip over the years 1933 (when it was put into place), 1934, 1935 and 1936, instead focusing on a short recession that marred the recovery during the years 1937-1938. Of course they ignore that this recession was caused precisely because Roosevelt changed course after the 1936 election and, taking advice from fiscal conservatives, he actually did cut spending on his programs and balance the budget.

Well, this doesn't suit the talk radio hosts who first started putting this notion into play, so I guess if history and facts don't work for them, what's a little historical revisionism, right?

In his latest column, David Sirota quotes University of California historian Eric Rauchway, who examined the the actual data and found that

Excepting 1937-1938, unemployment fell each year of Roosevelt's first two terms [while] the U.S. economy grew at average annual growth rates of 9 percent to 10 percent

Remember, in 1937-1938, was the year that Roosevelt tried to balance the budget by cutting spending.

Hence, if there is a lesson for Obama here, it is this one: DON'T take the advice of fiscal conservatives.


shrimplate said...

Conservatism has failed miserably. Reagan proved that, decades ago. Yet it has spawned some lingering industries: the war on drugs, right-wing radio, Fox news (totally subsidized by their entertainment division,) and such. It will pass.

sandyh said...

Black is white; white is black? We make our own reality...

How often have we heard that logic thrown out as truth in the past 30 years? In the past 8 to 15 it has become epidemic by the Far Right and their corporate media flacks and legal hacks.

Even Bush laughs about how stupid this Republican farce has become.

Anything uttered by a conservative is delusional and/or deceptive. They are dangerous, unrepentant criminals blinded by their zeal to exert control over everything and everybody.

I'd say they were mentally ill, if they weren't so smug about the destruction they've caused. It's the signature of a criminal organization. Take away their patriotic propaganda and they're nothing but punks, thieves, and murderers.

sandyh said...

Where did this hostility to government come from? In 1981 Lee Atwater, the famed Republican political consultant, explained the evolution of the G.O.P.’s “Southern strategy,” which originally focused on opposition to the Voting Rights Act but eventually took a more coded form: “You’re getting so abstract now you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites.” In other words, government is the problem because it takes your money and gives it to Those People...

Paul Krugman, NYT, 1/1/09

At what point did the Middle Class become Those People?

Eli Blake said...


Well, the wealthy can't say, "We are directing the cash flow towards us," so they figure out ways to pit the working class against itself so they can get what they want without admitting that it is designed to benefit the plutocracy.