But Biden is the next FDR and LBJ: Amity Shlaes on Biden As the New FDR: It’s the same old bad deal for jobs.
Not until World War II did joblessness finally begin to subside, in good measure because of military mobilization — important, but not the same as peacetime employment.
As often discussed, errors in monetary policy contributed to the misfortune that was the 1930s. The cause of the duration of the Depression, though, was Washington’s persistent intervention. The chief economist at Chase, Benjamin Anderson, noted that after failing by playing God, the government chose not to retire but simply “to play God more vigorously.”
The first lesson of this sorry account is that an arbitrary national economic campaign from atop generates damaging uncertainty in the economy. However charmingly it reverberates, the very phrase “bold persistent experimentation” stifles growth.
The second point is that what helps the union hurts the worker. President Biden’s proposal to end “Right to Work,” if it becomes law, will dramatically stifle employment.
The Great Society was predicated on the opposite conviction: America had become an “Affluent Society” (the title of John Kenneth Galbraith’s 1958 bestseller), whose irrepressible growth meant that worries about finite resources could no longer excuse tolerating remediable social problems (There was no such thing as an irremediable social problem.) Treating America’s new prosperity as permanent and inexhaustible, the Great Society proceeded to kill the goose laying the golden eggs, setting in motion what Shlaes calls an “economic tragedy.” Neither the inflation of the 1970s nor the transformation of America’s industrial heartland into its Rust Belt was inevitable, she argues. Both were direct, foreseeable consequences of short-sighted choices: demanding that monetary policy accommodate irresponsible fiscal policy, and labor and management agreeing to enrich one another by fleecing customers and shareholders ever more brazenly.
Don’t worry though, Biden can handle it — just ask him:
“Milton Friedman isn’t running the show anymore,” Biden told Politico last year. “When did Milton Friedman die and become king?” Biden asked in 2019. The truth is that Friedman, who died in 2006, has held little sway over either Democrats or Republicans for almost two decades. But Biden wants to mark the definitive end of Friedman and the “neoliberal” economics he espoused by unleashing a tsunami of dollars into the global economy and inundating Americans with new entitlements.
I’m sure things will turn out differently this time around.