14 February 2010

The Not So Great Depression of 1920

I remember when I was in Middle School and my history teacher was going over the Great Depression. Of course when talking about the Great Depression, they were speaking about what happened between 1929 and 1944. They spoke about how we should not have increased interest rates and Import duties, since all of these things made things worse. I remember how all the books and teachers talked glowingly about FDR and how he fought so hard for the regular Joe to try to make things better for us. Lesson plans like these are what shaped America's belief that FDR was a great President and was the right guy for the right time. I sometimes wonder however, if our opinion of him would have been very different if they had showed more of who he really was, along with sort of a "Compare and Contrast". Especially a Compare and Contrast to Warren G. Harding, the 29th President of the USA. Robert Murry has written a compelling book that seeks to dispel the myth's surrounding his administration, but for now, let's do some Comparing and Contrasting of our own.

FDR Increased spending by the Federal Government.
-- The result? The Government was in the business of picking winners and losers, and usually the winners were the Big Businesses who had the "Right" connections. Crony Capitalism.

Harding Reduced spending by the Federal Government.
-- The result? Federal Debt was paid off, increasing the amount of private capital available for the Private Sector. Banks now needed to look for opportunities to lend, with the Government not giving them any more "Free" business.

FDR Increased Government regulations on business to force them to be more "fair".
-- The result? Since it's always easier for big business to deal with regulations, smaller businesses suffered the most and were driven out of business, thereby increasing the levels of unemployment.

Harding Reduced Government regulations on business to go back to a state of "Normalcy" from the Wartime regulations.
-- The result? With Government "off their backs" all businesses, especially smaller businesses were able to exercise the kind of freedom that allows businesses to prosper and expand without government intervention, thereby increasing the levels of employment.

On Taxation:

Harding reduced the top marginal rate from 75% to 25%, the resultant boom in the economy brought in a 25% increase in Tax revenue with more people working. By the end of his administration, unemployment had dropped to just 1%, the lowest level EVER recorded.

When Hoover took over, his response to the crash of 1929 was to increase taxes from 25% to 63%. FDR was elected in part with campaign promises to reduce taxes, but instead he increased taxes to 100%! on anything over 50K!

-- The result?
With the incentive to make more money removed, the number of people earning over 50K a year plummeted, thereby DECREASING revenue going to the government in the form of Income taxes. Additionally, with the government confiscating an ever expanding amount of capital from the private sector, there was less capital available to start new businesses. New business creation stagnated.
I could go on and on with this "Compare and Contrast", but I think you get the point. The real hero here was Harding, not FDR. Let's not forget that Harding's Recession (which he inherited from Wilson) while initially much worse, only lasted 18 months, while FDR's inherited mess and meddling ended up lasting for about a decade.

Just as we learned in "48 Liberal Lies of American History", our history is being distorted by people with an Agenda. They want us to believe that Big Government is the only solution to our problems, they want us to believe that higher taxation and regulation will bring us prosperity, when in fact history shows us that the reverse is actually true. Harding and Reagan should have proven beyond all reasonable doubt that the only way back to prosperity is by getting government off our backs, reducing legislation, reducing taxes and reducing the size and scope of the government. If we revisited The New Deal, I think we will find that it was more like "The Raw Deal".

In the wise words of Abraham Lincoln,
You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
Americans won't stay in the dark much longer, they are starting to get educated and they are finally starting to realize what the real truth is.

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