We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Long-time readers know that, while we feel FDR was a fine wartime leader, his domestic and economic policies made him the most destructive president in American history, whose errors continue to plague us.
He and his advisors and allies exploited the Depression to try to create their 1930s-era statist-style, Soviet-inspired big government, and partially succeeded.
Alas for America, many of our post-JFK Dems have clung to this antique idea for dear life. They haven't found a new, positive idea yet.
When we look back at the Depression, we can see that Andrew Mellon was right, and that FDR's professors and socialist intelligentsia advisors like Ickes - all of whom played on FDR's well-intentioned but naive sense of "noblesse oblige" - were fundamentally wrong about the resilience of American enterprise and vigor - wrong because their anti-capitalist ideology required them to be wrong about their basic understanding of economics. About economics, and human nature - of which economics is just a reflection.
Kling takes a gander at Amity Schlaes' new study of the Depression - The Forgotten Man (h/t, Buddy via Insty). The "forgotten man" is the guy who paid the bills for all of FDR's ultimately useless programs (guys which includes both of my grandpas who were dutiful but deeply unappreciative, and one of whose boats went to Dunkirk - never to be returned by the Brits). One quote:
The struggle over economic policy in the 1930's was really an episode in the long, historical conflict between business participants in the market and anti-business academics. Roosevelt gave free rein to the professors, until the start of the Second World War led him to realize that he would need the tycoons to help mobilize to defeat Hitler. I suspect that one reason that Roosevelt and the New Deal come off so well in the conventional wisdom is that history books are written by professors, not by entrepreneurs.
Read Kling's whole piece. Despite the astonishing American post-war economy, we still see politicians trying to make hay with the Rooseveltian perennially-pessimistic, anti-commerce, statist view of the economy. (I recently read the interesting factoid that he drank exactly 12 gin martinis daily, beginning at noon, prepared to his specifications by his butler, until the day he died - but never appeared intoxicated. FDR, that is - not Arnold Kling.)
A man can drink, depending on his weight, about an ounce of alcohol per hour without showing inebriation. That would be about one beer, a glass of wine, or a martini.
For some strange reason, men also seemed to hold their liquor better a half century ago than they do today. While there was certainly enough alcoholism to go around, alcohol was also used better in social settings. Maybe because there were actual social settings where men gathered to converse, and not just multi-screen sports bars, and ubiquitous televisions in people's homes even in Asian yurts.
It will take time to repair the damage of the New Deal. The thing that needs to be understood is FDR's understanding of what he was doing particularly by imposing social security and the payroll tax on the country. Can anyone think of a more destructive economic idea than taxing 'payrolls' in a time of high unemployment? Breathtaking!FDR knew, and as much as said so, that the 'old age insurance' aspect of SSI would wed the populace, rich and poor, to dependence on the central state forever while the tax base would be extended to levels unthinkable in the past. The state and the interests of those whose power is dependent on the newly constructed administrative state would benefit and the Democratic Party would attain majority status as far as the eye could see. FDR was no political naif, even though he liked to play one in the newsreels, he wanted power. The court packing scheme is probably the most odious action ever taken by an American president and is barely understood or commented upon today.
Tom C., Stamford,Ct.
Answers.com on the court-packing scheme (really worth a read):