Posted on 03 August 2012.
The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match up.
Even taking into consideration the normal high level of quality in both the Council and Non-Council entries, This was a week with some exceptional pieces to choose from, and the close vote tallies reflect it.
There’s an old saying, attributed to Albert Einstein that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”
This week’s winner, Bookworm Room’s Let’s do the time warp again -— Progressives keep urging those failed economic policies is a sharp, well written examination of that thesis as applied to the Left’s repeated embrace of certain economic policies that inevitably fail. Here’s a slice:
Having had occasion to read the substantive articles at HuffPo, I’m beginning to wonder whether this home page chaos is intentional, insofar as it’s meant to keep people away from content. I mean, if I was the one publishing Robert Kuttner’s article about the American economy, I’d be so embarrassed as the publisher that I too would want to use subterfuge and prestidigitation to keep people away.
Kuttner, bless his little ol’ heart, is someone who seems to have missed the last 80 years. More than that, he’s missed any sophisticated analysis of the last 80 years. His economic understanding is rooted in post-New Deal 8th grade American history textbooks that assured credulous youngsters that even FDR’s best efforts at centralizing America’s economy failed, making WWII an economic necessity. I kid you not:
Something similar [to today's economic problems] happened in the late 1930s. Though economic growth returned, it wasn’t strong enough to repair the damage of the Great Depression or create enough jobs. Despite the New Deal, unemployment remained stuck at around 12 percent.
World War II solved the problem — it was the greatest accidental economic stimulus in economic history. It put people back to work, retrained the unemployed, and recapitalized industry. But today, there is nothing in the wings waiting to play the role of the Second World War.
During the war, federal deficits averaged more than 25 percent of GDP, nearly triple today’s deficits. But that’s what it took to blast out of the depression. After the war, high growth rates paid down the accumulated national debt.
Anyone who had read Amity Shlaes’ very accessible The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression knows that Kuttner’s view of the 1930s is based upon Progressive propaganda, rather than economic facts. Shlaes cut through this gauzy reminiscent haze about the glories of New Deal Democratic politics, and looked at the economic numbers in the 1930s.
With actual data, Shlae’s ably demonstrates that Hoover, like Roosevelt, tried to manage the post-crash economy, and with equally deleterious results. Fortunately, because he was essentially conservative, Hoover’s efforts were tentative, and therefore not deeply destructive. Sadly, the 1932 election came along before the economy had a chance to right itself from Hoover’s tepid efforts at market management.
With FDR’s New Deal firmly in place, there was no hope. FDR sucked money out of the economy and into the government, paralyzing wealth creation. Since this economic experiment was the first of its kind in America, however, and because people bought into FDR’s ebullience and optimism (something sadly lacking in the dour, accusatory man living in the White House today), people cheered the sizzle and ignored the fact that it was, in fact, a scratchy recording, unaccompanied by actual steak.
In our non-Council category, the winner was Victor Davis Hanson with Is The Country Unraveling? submitted by Joshuapundit. It’s a trenchant examination of the hype versus the reality of Barack Obama’s presidency..an dafter cataloging its multiple failures, actually ends on an up note. Do read it.
OK then, here are this week’s full results:
See you next week! See you next week! Remember to tune in next Monday for the Watcher’s Forum question, where the Council and invited guests provide pithy short takes as a roundtable on a cutting edge major issue…don’t you DARE MISS IT! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us onTwitter..’cause we’re cool like that!
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