Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Amity Shlaes: The Real Deal

Amity Shlaes' 'The Real Deal' Op-Ed piece in the Wall Street Journal where she disects Roosevelt's New Deal is a must read!:

...The real question about the 1930s is not whether it is wrong to scrutinize the New Deal. Rather, the question is why it has taken us all so long. Roosevelt did famously well by one measure, the political poll. He flunked by two other meters that we today know are critically important: the unemployment rate and the Dow Jones Industrial Average. In his first inaugural address, Roosevelt spoke of a primary goal: "to put people to work." Unemployment stood at 20% in 1937, five years into the New Deal. As for the Dow, it did not come back to its 1929 level until the 1950s. International factors and monetary errors cannot entirely account for these abysmal showings.

...My own sense is that there is a final reason we have all paused at the New Deal -- a generational one. To insult the New Deal is to insult the Social Security that we, our parents, or grandparents receive. The Baby Boomers have a reputation as being selfish. But their reverence in regard to Social Security, not to mention Medicare Part D, is overly unselfish, and comes out of misplaced filial piety. Younger Baby Boomers and the generations after them will doubtless pay higher taxes because of our current unwillingness to criticize entitlements. Americans owe them as much as we owe senior citizens...

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