The New Democrat Online

Saturday, September 24, 2011

FORA-TV: Uncommon Knowledge With Peter Robinson: Thomas Explains The Great Depression

Peter Robinson & Thomas Sowell
For all the great things that Franklin Roosevelt did as President of the United States. Leading America as we saved Europe from Nazi Germany, pulling the country out of the GreatDepression, establishing the America's version of a welfare state which is really more of a safety net and I'll get into that later, as well as saving American capitalism even though he was very progressive if not a Democratic Socialist on economic policy, its not the New Deal that pulled us out of the Great Depression.

Its really our involvement in World War II that did that. Because of all the money that the Federal Government borrowed to fiance that war and people we put to work in our war effort. With the draft and all of the resources that it took to fight that war and all of the company's that we put to work building our supplies to fight that war. And all of the people that the war took out of our workforce and were sent to Europe and other places to fight that war. Leaving jobs for a lot of unemployed workers at home.

Democratic Socialists, like to point to the New Deal and government spending that pulled us out of World War II. Well they are half right, because it was government spending, but not on the New Deal, but our military. Where you can make a pretty good case, that World War II is where our military industry was formed. Because pre-World War II, America had a pretty small military compared with size of our country and economy. But by the time World War II ended, we had the first, or second largest military in the world.

We were pretty close with Russia and President Truman and President Eisenhower made our military every bigger.  Countries like Japan, Germany, Russia, Italy and Britain were the military powers of the world pre-World War II. But only Russia and Britain was still a military power after World War II. Because Europe took such a huge beating in World War II. And America came in and saved their necks (to put it mildly) so they could rebuild. We saved Europe from Nazi Germany and then helped Europe rebuild themselves with the Marshal Plan.

What the New Deal did was save American capitalism, but it also hurt it I believe especially in its efforts to deal with poverty in America. And its not everyday, week, month, or year that I agree with former Speaker Newt Gingrich on anything. (Including the weather) But he's right at least about one thing, the New Deal and Great Society did create what Speaker Gingrich calls a "Culture of Dependency" letting people go on these anti-poverty programs indefinitely without empowering them to become self-sufficient. But the positives of the New Deal are that it created a safety net for American capitalism. For people who fall through the cracks in the economy.

It helped people on hard time sustain themselves until they started working again. Things like Unemployment Insurance and Disability and Welfare Insurance, as well as Social Security so people would at least have a floor in retirement that they could count on. Pre-Great Depression, America pretty much had no such thing as a safety net or welfare state. If people lost their jobs, or didn't have a retirement, they were pretty much at the mercy of their families, or charity to help them out and support them. So to that extent the New Deal has been very positive.