The online Wall Street Journal arranged a celebrity death match between Brad DeLong and yours truly on the topic of the New Deal.

What would have happened in the U.S. without the New Deal? My father answers with one word: Fascism.

Given the climate of the time, which included intense despair alongside revolutionary fervor, a government that was seen as doing nothing could not have survived.

…deposit insurance was badly handled. But even badly-handled, it was a big improvement over none at all. In fact, that’s a good thumbnail summary of the entire New Deal: badly-handled, but a vast improvement. (That is, with the exception agricultural subsidies and the National Recovery Administration. They did little good — if any — at immense long-run cost.)

As a boxing match, this one had very few solid punches, and a lot of cautious clinches. (alternate URL)