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How to Beat a Depression

Economist Stephen Moore has a great write-up on how we really got out of the Great Depression. (Hint: it had nothing to do with WWII spending):

Here’s what happened. Government spending collapsed from 41 percent of GDP in 1945 to 24 percent in 1946 to less than 15 percent by 1947. And there was no “new” New Deal. This was by far the biggest cut in government spending in U.S. history. Tax rates were cut and wartime price controls were lifted. There was a very short, eight-month recession, but then the private economy surged.

Here are the numbers on the private economy. Personal consumption grew by 6.2 percent in 1945 and 12.4 percent in 1946 even as government spending crashed. At the same time, private investment spending grew by 28.6 percent and 139.6 percent.

The less the feds spent, the more people spent and invested. Keynesianism was turned on its head. Milton Friedman’s free markets were validated.

In 1946, the unemployment rate averaged below 4 percent, and it stayed that low for the better part of a decade. This all happened during the biggest reduction in government spending in American history under President Truman.

In sum, it wasn’t government spending, but the shrinkage of government that finally ended the Great Depression. That’s what should be in every history book — but isn’t.

Go read the whole thing. It should be noted that Truman’s methods of overcoming the Depression were not without precedent. A previous Depression had occurred in 1920, and Coolidge pulled us out of it using the exact same means: he made drastic reductions to spending and taxes, and the economy rapidly righted itself. Yet that earlier Depression isn’t even mentioned in history classes. Gee, I wonder why.

Liberals continue to push the lie that the New Deal got us out of the Depression (it didn’t) so that they can further the narrative that we can spend our way out of every economic crisis. Thus every crisis becomes a convenient excuse to tax more, spend more, grow the government a little more. And as the Fed continues to turn itself into Mr. Creosote, one recession at a time, don’t be surprised when we regular citizens keep getting poorer.

Sunday Open Thread


Lon Chaney as "The Phantom of the Opera "

Sunday Gospel

Tim Hauser, founding member of the Manhattan Transfer has died at age 72. RIP. This is their version of the gospel song “Operator” though they are better known for vocal jazz of course.

Saturday Open Thread


One Second After Death by Antoine Wiertz

This Afternoon’s Broadcast is brought to you by…

The Scorpions. Here I am…

Friday Open Thread

Conrad Veidt from "The Man Who Laughs"

Conrad Veidt from “The Man Who Laughs”

Am Trans

Timothy Boatwright (center), a trans man, with his Wellesley classmates. Credit Martin Schoeller for The New York Times

Timothy Boatwright (center), a trans man, with his Wellesley classmates. Credit Martin Schoeller for The New York Times

Behold the steely gaze of White Male Privilege…all Timothy Boatwrighte wanted to be was a man… kind of. Dammit if s(he) didn’t take the slow boat all the way to the jackpot of white male privilege.
Hundreds of young women streamed into Wellesley College on the last Monday of August, many of them trailed by parents lugging suitcases and bins filled with folded towels, decorative pillows and Costco-size jugs of laundry detergent. The banner by the campus entrance-way welcoming the Class of 2018 waved in the breeze, as if beckoning the newcomers to discover all that awaited them. All around the campus stood buildings named after women: the Margaret Clapp library, the Betsy Wood Knapp media and technology center, dorms, labs, academic halls, even the parking garage. The message that anything is possible for women was also evident at a fenced-in work site, which bore the sign “Elaine Construction,” after a firm named for one woman and run by another.

It was the first day of orientation, and along the picturesque paths there were cheerful upper-class student leaders providing directions and encouragement. They wore pink T-shirts stamped with this year’s orientation theme: “Free to Explore” — an enticement that could be interpreted myriad ways, perhaps far more than the college intended. One of those T-shirted helpers was a junior named Timothy Boatwright. Like every other matriculating student at Wellesley, which is just west of Boston, Timothy was raised a girl and checked “female” when he applied. Though he had told his high-school friends that he was transgender, he did not reveal that on his application, in part because his mother helped him with it, and he didn’t want her to know. Besides, he told me, “it seemed awkward to write an application essay for a women’s college on why you were not a woman.” Like many trans students, he chose a women’s college because it seemed safer physically and psychologically.

From the start, Timothy introduced himself as “masculine-of-center genderqueer.” He asked everyone at Wellesley to use male pronouns and the name Timothy, which he’d chosen for himself.

For the most part, everyone respected his request. After all, he wasn’t the only trans student on campus. Some two dozen other matriculating students at Wellesley don’t identify as women. Of those, a half-dozen or so were trans men, people born female who identified as men, some of whom had begun taking testosterone to change their bodies. The rest said they were transgender or genderqueer, rejecting the idea of gender entirely or identifying somewhere between female and male; many, like Timothy, called themselves transmasculine. Though his gender identity differed from that of most of his classmates, he generally felt comfortable at his new school.

Last spring, as a sophomore, Timothy decided to run for a seat on the student-government cabinet, the highest position that an openly trans student had ever sought at Wellesley. The post he sought was multicultural affairs coordinator, or “MAC,” responsible for promoting “a culture of diversity” among students and staff and faculty members. Along with Timothy, three women of color indicated their intent to run for the seat. But when they dropped out for various unrelated reasons before the race really began, he was alone on the ballot. An anonymous lobbying effort began on Facebook, pushing students to vote “abstain.” Enough “abstains” would deny Timothy the minimum number of votes Wellesley required, forcing a new election for the seat and providing an opportunity for other candidates to come forward. The “Campaign to Abstain” argument was simple: Of all the people at a multiethnic women’s college who could hold the school’s “diversity” seat, the least fitting one was a white man.

“It wasn’t about Timothy,” the student behind the Abstain campaign told me. “I thought he’d do a perfectly fine job, but it just felt inappropriate to have a white man there. It’s not just about that position either. Having men in elected leadership positions undermines the idea of this being a place where women are the leaders.”

I asked Timothy what he thought about that argument, as we sat on a bench overlooking the tranquil lake on campus during orientation. He pointed out that he has important contributions to make to the MAC position. After all, at Wellesley, masculine-of-center students are cultural minorities; by numbers alone, they’re about as minor as a minority can be. And yet Timothy said he felt conflicted about taking a leadership spot. “The patriarchy is alive and well,” he said. “I don’t want to perpetuate it.”

I shit you not.

From the Trailer Park — In the Heart of the Sea

“Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! and since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!”

This is Ron Howard’s version, starring Chris Hemsworth, of the true life story that inspired Melville’s Moby Dick… This looks awesome… great story.

This Afternoon’s Broadcast is brought to you by…

Metallica. So close, no matter how far…

Thursday Open Thread

The Last Moments of John Brown by Thomas Hovenden

The Last Moments of John Brown by Thomas Hovenden

On this date in 1859 abolitionist John Brown began the raid on the U.S. Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, VA that would ultimately result in his conviction and hanging for treason.