04 Apr 2009

Kid Glove New Deal Revisionism

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The New York Times can’t believe it: a growing number of economists and historians actually think the New Deal was bad for the economy. (HT2MR)

But even this type of “it’s about time!” piece is still annoying:

In this interpretation Roosevelt is a well-meaning but misguided dupe who not only prolonged the Depression but also exacerbated it. For many people, it’s like hearing that Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother and not the wolf is the rapacious killer.

Do you see that? In the NYT view, the absolutely complete reversal would entail demoting FDR from “saintly savior of capitalism,” down to the level of “well-meaning but misguided dupe.” That demotion is, in their minds, equivalent to swapping the grandmother with the wolf.

So what happens if I think FDR was not misguided, and knew exactly what he was doing? That he realized the key to his political success was to keep the American public in a prolonged panic for as many years as possible?

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