People are fond of talking about a “New Deal” whenever they seek a big-government solution to a problem. This is because most uninformed (and even some informed) believe that the “New Deal” legacy is an uncontested historical fact proving how a massive government bureaucracy saved America from becoming the next Haiti or Bolivia; a spirit which can be conjured at will and unopposed as a proxy for informed public policy-making when seeking to promote the next power grab.
Of course this is actually nonsense – in fact the best academic research indicates that the “New Deal” programs actually extended the depression by perhaps seven or eight years. “Macroeconomic model builders have finally realized what Henry Hazlitt and John T. Flynn (among others) knew in the 1930s: FDR’s New Deal made the Great Depression longer and deeper. It is a myth that Franklin D. Roosevelt ‘got us out of the Depression’ and ‘saved capitalism from itself,’ as generations of Americans have been taught by the state’s educational establishment.”
However you don’t have to be a Hazlitt lover (spoiler alert, I am) to recognize the ill effects of the New Deal on America’s economy. Even UCLA’s economics department, not to be mistaken by anybody for a bastion of neo-liberal free-market libertarianism, released a few years back their seminal study of data from the New Deal era, and their conclusions are noteworthy (because they are the same); “President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services,” said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. “So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies.”
Economists still argue about what the actual solutions were, some saying WWII spending (also wrong) and others reminding us that it was the influx of real money in the form of gold bullion spirited away from a Europe at war and which placed in American banks allowed for a surge of powerful liquidity injecting stimulus money from which emerged our newfound prosperity. There are many other reasons, of course; all of them pointing out that the New Deal was a disaster economically (if you want a better example of how to recover from a depression, look to the Warren Harding policies which brought us out of our 1920-21 depression in only 18 months; more on that in another post). But not only was it nefarious to our pocketbooks; it also brought America close to political suicide by giving FDR such extraordinary control and power over America that he glided through four terms in office, a fact so dangerous it necessitated a change in our founding documents (via the 22nd Amendment). Now I do believe FDR was a good man, and this fact saved us from suicide; but what if he had been Hugo Chavez or Daniel Ortega or Huey Long?
This is of course what the “Green New Deal” people are hoping for, to use environmentalism as a Trojan horse; a political third rail by which they can ride freely into power using logical fallacies (most notably those of the straw man and false dichotomy driven home by ad-hominem attacks when we object – more on that later too) and a sense of emergency which knows no debate. Remember socialism is a grand conspiracy, a colossal bait and switch where they get money and power and position and we get nothing.
Now I’m not asking you to believe me; let’s instead travel to the most recent attempt to marry environmentalism and socialism: Socialist Venezuela. Hugo Chavez, when he was assembling his coalition of activists and hippies (locally and internationally) to defend his power grab against those who would naturally object, also declared himself and his revolution ‘environmental’. “We have to insist upon the creation of a new socialist, indoamerican, maritime, Bolivarian model; one that distances us from planetary destruction.” And we all have seen what has happened there – the murder of the animals and the rape of the forests and the starvation of the zoo creatures. But during the energetic days of the revolution, who would object…? inviting oneself to become a victim of the social justice warriors and their assault on the reputations and families and livelihoods of those who pointed out that this was only the path to destruction.
Of course we who love our world object to this “New Deal” socialist big-government approach to environmentalism; because in the scenario that they win, what do you think happens to the animals? For at least we can defend ourselves, we can march and vote and rebel; they can only die. Don’t believe me, just ask Venezuela’s animals – oh that’s right you can’t, they are already dead.
**P.S. I’ve been accused sometimes of pointing out problems without speaking of solutions. Fair enough. Because we who carry the torch of God’s instructions deep in our hearts when he told us that our job here was to “care for and to keep” his garden know that the suggested approaches by the socialists and Paris Accord people only lead to bonfires of human flesh beside a bread line (while the animals are hunted through the jungles and the last of Africa’s trees are burned for charcoal to fire the cooking fires in which the last tiny fishes taken from a desiccated lake are fried) also know that there is a better way and that comes in the unleashing of the imagination of those who have the ideas to free us from our arriving ordeal. So I will write about that in Part II; continuing into Part III.