New Deal Panel
By Bryan Caplan
I enthusiastically recommend this panel discussion on the New Deal, featuring Russ Roberts, Lee Ohanian, David Kennedy, Eric Lascelles, and Joe Martin. Random observations:
1. Kennedy and Lascelles, the most pro-Roosevelt guys on the panel, strangely torpedo their own cases by affirming that the New Deal provided fiscal stimulus. Why don’t they make the Krugman/Tabarrok point that the New Deal sharply raised spending and taxes?
2. Ohanian emphasizes that the New Deal failed in its primary goal: restoring employment. Kennedy’s response to Ohanian is amazing: Restoring employment during this “transient” episode (10 years!) was only the “ostensibly” primary goal. The real goal was radical policy change – Social Security, FDIC, SEC, etc. In essence, Kennedy says that Roosevelt was applying a left-wing version of Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine! (HT to Tyler for that analogy).
3. Joe Martin says that (a) The U.S. had two activist Presidents during the Depression (I agree, of course), (b) Canada had two non-activist PMs during the Depression, and (c) Canada recovered more quickly than the U.S. I never heard the latter two claims, but I’m intrigued.