Not with that by now ripe and ancient and unedited series………. I know I promised to do it. It was more of a promise to myself and not to my readers so I’ll just hang that rationalization out there for you to smirk at.
Its been one of those mornings with me waking to a hundred blogable thoughts that sort of started by my thinking about the Author William Styron who, it strikes me, staved off depression by writing important work about depressing truths. I recall vividly reading the rape scene, startling to me as a Senior in High School, in his Book “The Confessions of Nat Turner.” That led me into two directions…..a fascinating series of responses to Andrew Sullivan’s Blog from women writing him anonymously about their experiences of rape and to thinking about one of Styron’s subsequent books “Sophie’s Choice.” It was an illusory choice that drove the plot and the life of the woman who made it and it.
The one place my lying awake did not take me to was any determination to pour three or four hours into proofreading old posts. So where to begin.
As it happens I was thinking about posting my Buddy’s terse question to me on the last post I wrote the one preceding this, of course. Its about economics and race. We’ve argued about both. So when I checked my email I found among the four unasked for solicitations one from Amazon with a book offer. These are usually more miss than hit because between my wife and I we got all manner of books nearly beyond any algorithm to deduce our interests. This one caught my attention however and the blurb in it sounds intriguing.
By the publisher of the prestigious Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, an account of the deep economic slump of 1920-21 that proposes, with respect to federal intervention, “less is more.” This is a free-market rejoinder to the Keynesian stimulus applied by Bush and Obama to the 2007-09 recession, in whose aftereffects, Grant asserts, the nation still toils.
James Grant tells the story of America’s last governmentally-untreated depression; relatively brief and self-correcting, it gave way to the Roaring Twenties. His book appears in the fifth year of a lackluster recovery from the overmedicated downturn of 2007-2009.
In 1920-21, Woodrow Wilson and Warren G. Harding met a deep economic slump by seeming to ignore it, implementing policies that most twenty-first century economists would call backward. Confronted with plunging prices, wages, and employment, the government balanced the budget and, through the Federal Reserve, raised interest rates. No “stimulus” was administered, and a powerful, job-filled recovery was under way by late in 1921.
In 1929, the economy once again slumped, and kept right on slumping as the Hoover administration adopted the very policies that Wilson and Harding had declined to put in place. Grant argues that well-intended federal intervention, notably the White House-led campaign to prop up industrial wages, helped to turn a bad recession into America’s worst depression. He offers the experience of the earlier depression for lessons for today and the future. This is a powerful response to the prevailing notion of how to fight recession. The enterprise system is more resilient than even its friends give it credit for being, Grant demonstrates.
My Buddy and I heatedly debated Obama and Bush’s rush to fix the Depression that began the Obama years. He was the hand’s off libertarian I was the John Maynard Keynesian big government fiscal interventionist. Still am, but I’m willing to test my theories with a good dissent. Sadly I’ll have to wait for other reviews of the book because I’m not likely to find time what with all the other unread must-reads gathering dust on my bookshelves.
As for my Buddy’s terse response to my Nightmare Economics Post. This is it:
Our politics today is mentally stunted. We need more minorities to wrest the economy from the old white folks who were given so many economic protections during LBJ’s Great Society that today they live well and long while one-in-five American children go to bed in need.
What the hell does that mean? Are you suggesting that only white folks who are now old were given many economic protections during LBJ’s Great Society? What evidence is there of that? If there is no evidence of that, why do you ascribe those protections to only white folks? Do you need to visit an ophthalmologist for the purpose of eliminating racial bias and bigotry from your vision?
I had no more time to respond to this question than I did to proof old posts. Had I attempted it I might have referred to some of the histories that describe how the white south and the Congress crafted social welfare policies that left blacks out of the New Deal. But I doubt my Buddy would have been impressed. I just sent him a one word reply relating to my need to visit an ophthalmologist: