Today John is very, very worried that Obama might do something crazy, like think that the government can make anything better.
He says the air is filled with talk of FDR "ending the Great Depression" and Obama's need to emulate him. You and I have not heard such talk, mostly because anyone who goes through American History 103 at even the community college level, like I did, knows that one of the major talking points is that FDR did not end the Great Depression. Jesus-Blesus, this is a true/false question and a gimme at that.
John not only wants us to know that FDR did not end the Great Depression, he made it worse! In fact, FDR and his pal Herbert Hoover caused the Great Depression by interfering with natural market functions. Let me quote:
Please. FDR's "bold" moves didn't end the Depression. They prolonged it by discouraging capital investment. Hoover and Roosevelt turned what might have been a brief downturn into 10 years of double-digit unemployment.
Now, this runs counter to everything I know about the Great Depression, which I will admit isn't much. I mean, I thought it was a global crisis, which had its origins in multiple places, having something to do with German's inability to pay back the reparations mandated in the Treaty of Versailles, rampant speculation in the American stock market, something with the gold supply, and crop failure in India. Alright, that last one I might be making up. I only vaguely remember.
So I was skeptical about Stossel's claim, but being a sophisticated blogger, I noticed that he included link. This was bad news. A fucking link. A link that will surely take me to a a devastating argument proving that not only did FDR not solve the Great Depression, but, in fact!, caused it. Before I clicked it, I sent up a brief prayer that my father-in-law never get hold of this magic link, or my holidays would be ruined from here on in (ha!). Then I clicked it. Have you clicked it? Click it now, it'll be alright.
Ha! (To be read in that high-pitched laugh Chris Matthews has that let's you know that no matter how much you agree with the man, he's clearly crazy and should be nowhere near a television camera). John got me/us. His link only goes to a chart proving that unemployment went way up before FDR became president then dropped back down after. Slowly, but steadily. Until 1937. What happened in 1937? Let me think back to those history classes. Hmmm...I seem to remember that after being elected to a second term, FDR decided to try to balance the budget by slashing government spending and ending welfare programs, and the economy tanked. So..the opposite? of the point Stossel is trying to make?
Stossel also warns us about the dangers of government getting in the business of interfering with the economy, as it inevitably leads to...well, he doesn't really say. The title of the article mentions serfdom, his commenters run to fascism and socialism, but in that Jonah Goldberg they're-the-same-thing type way, and Stalin gets a few mentions. I only wish there was some massive government intervention in the American economy that didn't result in a massive loss of freedom by the American people I could point to so as to refute Mr. Stossel.
As always, don't read the comments.