Thursday, March 26, 2020

Great Society, Amity Shlaes

Excellent book, bit on longish side for what it covers, but that doesn't bother me. Best read after reading "The Forgotten Man" first.

My synopsis of that work,

The short version of "The Forgotten Man" (TFM) is that Hoover and others started the policies that would cause the depression in the late '20s by trying to reduce the money supply, raise taxes pass tariffs (Smoot Hawley), and increase Government control and projects (eg. Hoover Dam). Hoover and the Republicans started the descent, but FDR and the Democrats weakened and prolonged it by pushing the failed policies harder, and most damaging, actually attacking business and criminalizing individual business practices. In some cases, the rules were completely irrational, as in the NRA insistence on "straight killing" of chickens disallowing customer selection and differential pricing that went all the way to the Supreme Court in Schechter. When FDR and the New Dealers lost, he was furious and embarked on his "packing the court" attempt to circumvent the Constitution.

The degree to which the Democrats, the schools, and the MSM have propagandized the "New Deal", The Depression" and especially FDR himself is incredible. The spectacle of a very rich man "going after the rich" while sailing on his yacht may be the poster child case for "consistency is not an issue". By raising taxes, criminalizing business behavior after the fact and moving the Government into new areas (utilities, unions, pricing, etc), he managed to simultaneously reduce the prospective return for risk taken (by tax rate increases) while drastically INCREASING the risk on both the business front (regulation, government takeover, unions), but also add in the prospects of CRIMINAL PROSECUTION, even if the act was not "illegal" at the time it was done. An amazing combination of horrible policy, no wonder he managed to prolong the Depression until WWII forced him to change his policies so business could get busy and win the war.

We have been "progressing" toward tyranny at the hands of the "progressives" since TJR!

"Great Society" (GS) takes us from the "lead up" (Ike / JFK) into the promise that America could "do it all" ... guns, butter, defend against Communism, end poverty,  ensure "equal rights" (and likely outcome), go to the moon, and MORE .... all without raising taxes or wrecking the economy.

The GS "succeeded" in losing the war, increasing poverty, exploding the deficit, exploding taxes, burning the inner city, blowing up morality ... hey, at least we went to the moon!

From page 116, "...the civil rights bill was establishing a precedent. A law that defined new rights at a national level was taking away from individuals the authority of their own conscience and substituting a federal, national conscience to overrule them. And who knew whether the federal government's conscience would always be better?"

The biggest thing the book made clear to me is exactly how the party of Slavery and Jim Crow became the "Party of Civil Rights".

On p 152, "The OEO "Equal Opportunity today" allowed that it would welcome experiments, including those where community action organizers paid by Washington where "facilitating opportunities for the poor to participate in protest actions" "

The Democrats and the unions CREATED the protest movement! The "Port Huron Statement" was funded by Walter Reuther, president of the UAW! Saul Alinsky, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton were all federally paid to foment protest! The federal agencies created as part of the GS funded and encouraged the people who encouraged and took part in demonstrations and riots. 

On page 201 "The War on Poverty welfare benefits actually encouraged men not to work" ... average family welfare check was up to $238 a month, wages were at $220.

The sad story of the book is that between FDR and LBJ, they all but completely destroyed the greatness of America -- LIMITED GOVERNMENT!

A more complete and expert review here.

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