Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Saving the New Deal that saved us


Yes, Mr Hume, we all know the New Deal was a failure, if by failing you mean that it didn't end the Great Depression. We learned that in high school.

As an afterthought.

The New Deal didn't end the Depression.

It saved the nation!

Depression bread line Conservatives' current attempts to rewrite the history of the 1930s isn't new. Undoing the New Deal has been their one over-riding idea for seventy-five years. It's not even an idea. It's a vendetta. Circumstances---another instance of their beloved utterly unregulated, every man for himself brand of capitalism destroying the economy, the election of a Democratic President---have forced them to step up their efforts. They have to harp on the failure of the New Deal, first, to justify sabotaging Democratic attempts to bring relief to the poor and aid to the middle and working class and, second, to set up their inevitable claims down the road that those attempts didn't actually bring the relief and aid they appeared to bring.

But to make the case that the New Deal failed, if what you mean is simply that it didn't end the Depression, you have to mean that the Depression was purely an economic problem, a perfect storm of economic crises, and that the New Deal was only an economic response, a bunch of government spending programs designed to return the country to prosperity.

The Depression was a political crisis.

The causes were economic, but the effects were political in that the entire body politic was on the verge of coming apart. >>MORE

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