Here’s The Problem

I hate quoting Cohen, but here:

Excuse me if I skip over other pledges and move to other matters. The hallmark of a cult is to replace reason with feverish belief. This the GOP has done when it comes to the government’s ability to stimulate the economy. History proves this works — it’s how the Great Depression ended — but Republicans will not acknowledge it.

The Depression in fact deepened in 1937 when Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to balance the budget and was ended entirely by World War II, which, besides being a noble cause, was also a huge stimulus program. Here, though, is Sen. Richard Shelby mouthing GOP dogma: Stimulus programs “did not bring us out of the Depression,” he recently told ABC’s Christiane Amanpour, but “the war did.” In other words, a really huge stimulus program hugely worked. Might not a more modest one succeed modestly? Shelby ought to follow his own logic.

Here is the problem with wingnuts. If we convinced them that the stimulative effect of war did bring us out of the depression, they would then agitate for invading Russia or China. Not for job creation.






70 replies
  1. 1
    gonzone says:

    Yeah, I couldn’t believe that Cohen penned that piece!

    When he sours on the GOP, they have very serious problems methinks. I would have never imagined the chief sycophant actually criticizing his beloved GOP.

  2. 2
    Stillwater says:

    the stimulative effect of war

    The GOP already believes this, just not in an economic sense.

  3. 3
    Han's Solo says:

    It’s like how they insist on offsetting any tax increases with other tax cuts. What the fuck? How will that lower the deficit? WTF is the point of raising new revenues only if we also raise tax expenditures?

    Here is the truth: The Republicans don’t give a shit about the deficit, they haven’t since H.W. Bush was President, and he was a throw back to an earlier kind of Republican. H.W. new that “Voodoo economics” was a pipe dream meant to win elections, not a viable governing strategy.

  4. 4
    Chris says:

    Here is the problem with wingnuts. If we convinced them that the stimulative effect of war did bring us out of the depression, they would then agitate for invading Russia or China. Not for job creation.

    George Orwell had commentary related to that.

    “War, it will be seen, accomplishes the necessary destruction, but accomplishes it in a psychologically acceptable way. In principle it would be quite simple to waste the surplus labour of the world by building temples and pyramids, by digging holes and filling them up again, or even by producing vast quantities of goods and then setting fire to them. But this would provide only the economic and not the emotional basis for a hierarchical society. What is concerned here is not the morale of masses, whose attitude is unimportant so long as they are kept steadily at work, but the morale of the Party itself. Even the humblest Party member is expected to be competent, industrious, and even intelligent within narrow limits, but it is also necessary that he should be a credulous and ignorant fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adulation, and orgiastic triumph. In other words it is necessary that he should have the mentality appropriate to a state of war. It does not matter whether the war is actually happening, and, since no decisive victory is possible, it does not matter whether the war is going well or badly. All that is needed is that a state of war should exist.”

  5. 5
    Stillwater says:

    @ Han’s Solo: Further back than H.W. Wasn’t it Reagan who said that deficits don’t matter?

  6. 6
    aisce says:

    they would then agitate for invading Russia or China

    that’s crazy talk, john. you know better than that.

    …they would clearly agitate for invading iran. duh. and then maybe tie syria into it. to give it legal cover.

  7. 7
    The Moar You Know says:

    Cohen very conveniently “forgot” to mention what came along with that massive federal spending in WWII – income tax hikes that went up to 90% on the highest earners, and de facto nationalization of virtually every major industry.

    He’s not really arguing for a real stimulus. He just wants to keep using the national credit card, like every other goddamned Republican, without doing what FDR did – putting in a safety measure to insure that the debt incurred would be paid off by those most able to do so.

  8. 8
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also during WWII, ordinary citizens essentially taxed themselves voluntarily by buying war bonds that weren’t redeemable until after the war was over. This was over and above the taxes they were already paying.

  9. 9
    General Stuck says:

    Since they don’t have the WH
    They have no interest in a recovering economy
    The only calculation at this stage
    Is whether whatever they do
    Or don’t do
    Take a piss, don’t take a piss
    Take a shit, don’t take a shit

    Helps them run Obama out of the WH
    Period

    They have no leader
    They have no ideas
    But they are white
    And that is cause enough
    To get out of bed in the morn
    To stop the colored strangers
    From stealing their cookies
    Or some liberals
    giving them away.

    They have their enemy
    and their war
    It is not Iraq
    But it is liberals
    which will do in a pinch

    Their only way home
    is victory
    or death

    Though more tax cuts for rich people, might put a grin on their lizard.

  10. 10
    Han's Solo says:

    Stillwater – That’s why I said H.W. was a throw back to an earlier kind of Republican. H.W. ran against Reagan and coined the term “Voodoo Economics.” H.W. broke his “Read My Lips” pledge when he thought it was called for, and his economic policies, combined with Clinton’s, are partially responsible for the booming economy during the ninety’s.

    But I thought it was Cheney who said deficits don’t matter. Or was it that, “Reagan taught us that deficits don’t matter?”

  11. 11
    Chris says:

    @ aisce –

    that’s crazy talk, john. you know better than that.

    …they would clearly agitate for invading iran. duh. and then maybe tie syria into it. to give it legal cover.

    Very, very true. Should’ve caught that.

    Movement conservatives have never and would never pick on somebody their own size. It’s only wog-bashing they have a fondness for. Pity for them that in our current state, we probably couldn’t even win against Iran.

  12. 12
    cleek says:

    Or was it that, “Reagan taught us that deficits don’t matter?”

    it was that.

  13. 13
    wrb says:

    I’ve been thinking this for a while. This depression is going to last until a big enough war comes along.

    We’ll only get stimulus when republicans can be assured that money isn’t going to the wrong people or for the wrong causes.

    They’ll accept personal suffering before accepting that.

  14. 14
    catclub says:

    The problem with quoting Cohen is in the first two lines:

    “Excuse me if I skip over other pledges and move to other matters. The hallmark of a cult is to replace reason with feverish belief. This the GOP has done when it comes to the government’s ability to stimulate the economy. ”

    Many readers will take that as saying the GOP believes in government stimulus.

    I think for Cohen that is not an accident.

  15. 15
    LGRooney says:

    they would then agitate for invading Russia or China. Not for job creation.

    Perhaps the best synopsis of our current economic situation I have heard. Is it just me or is everyone so over-the-top frustrated with our political situation these days that they’ve covered themselves in +10-fuck-you! armor?

  16. 16
    NR says:

    The Depression in fact deepened in 1937 when Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to balance the budget

    The parallel with Obama’s austerity craze is obvious.

  17. 17
    General Stuck says:

    If the GOP causes us to default, and we lose our triple A credit rating, that might play hell for borrowing the cash for any shooting wars the wingnuts might start if given the chance. The Morons haven’t puzzled that out yet.

  18. 18
    Poopyman says:

    @Chris

    Sadly, I’m not up on my Orwell. Where is that quote from?

    @Aisce

    Beat me to it, re: Iran.

  19. 19
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @The Moar You Know #7:

    Cohen very conveniently “forgot” to mention what came along with that massive federal spending in WWII – income tax hikes that went up to 90% on the highest earners, and de facto nationalization of virtually every major industry.

    This is a point I keep coming back to. The legacy of WW2 was not just a massive spending stimulus, but an engine of top downwards wealth redistribution (including a corporate tax regime which encouraged re-investment rather than board-room level looting) which persisted for almost 2 decades after the war was over. A major part of our massive expansion of the middle class in the US after 1945 was due to the temporary ruination of our industrial competition, but to the extent that govt policy helped rather than hindered that prosperity, it was high marginal tax rates that did it, IMHO. That is what we need today: a top marginal rate of 90% and a revised corporate tax regime that provides incentives for local re-investment of earnings.

  20. 20
    Stillwater says:

    Han’s Solo: yes, Cheney said it about the Reagan Admin., which enthusiastically embraced huge deficits just so long as the money went in the right direction.

  21. 21
    LGRooney says:

    @gonzone, #1: Cohen is a liberal but a Clintonite liberal with a big hard on for all things Likud. He does have a strong liberal bent and history it was just subsumed into that corporatist D wing some years back. He does squawk in the right direction regularly, though, as long as it doesn’t step on Bibi’s toes.

  22. 22
    Chris says:

    Sadly, I’m not up on my Orwell. Where is that quote from?

    It’s from 1984, one of the chapters in the Emmanuel Goldstein book that Winston reads halfway through the book. The guy’s explaining why so many goods and services are being expended in war rather than improving people’s lives.

  23. 23
    kindness says:

    There is no convincing reichtwingnutz. Cohen is right in that desired belief has become a hallmark of being a ‘conservative’ or Republican, no matter what history or science has shown.

    The fact that the MSM treats the right as if they have valid points is the real travesty. I’ve become more convinced that the corporations controlling the MSM somehow have determined it’s in their best self interests to roll with the republican dogma, thus it’s always reported as a ‘he said, she said’ thing rather than using the more correct ‘the insane and raving republican again ignored history/science’ intro.

  24. 24
    Davis X. Machina says:

    “Reagan taught us that deficits don’t matter”

    Ipse dixit.

    Ipse dixit: Ipse dixit is a Latin phrase meaning ‘he himself said it’. The term labels a dogmatic statement asserted but not proved, to be accepted on faith in the speaker.[1] Usually from a person of standing or good reputation, such as Aristotle or even Plato; a dictum.
    __
    The legal and philosophical principle of “Ipse dixit” involves an unproven assertion, which is claimed to be authoritative because ‘he himself said it.’ It is asserted, but not proved, for example: “His testimony that she was a liar was nothing more than an ipse dixit.“[2]
    __
    In the Middle Ages, scholars often applied the term to justify arguments if they had been used by Aristotle.[3]

    Our new Middle Ages — come for the feudalism, stay for the scholastic theology.

  25. 25
    Poopyman says:

    @ Gen’l Stuck:

    If the GOP causes us to default, and we lose our triple A credit rating, that might play hell for borrowing the cash for any shooting wars the wingnuts might start if given the chance. The Morons haven’t puzzled that out yet.

    After watching them the past few years, I don’t believe it would slow them down one whit. Once a war was started they’d figure something out. They always do*. I’d bet you too believe they don’t really care.

    (* — Standard wingnut disregard for obvious recent history that contradicts their beliefs.)

  26. 26
    MattF says:

    Cohen is bad, in the “drag you down through the gates of Hell and into Satan’s anus” sense of ‘bad’– but he’s right about the wingers.

  27. 27
    Poopyman says:

    @Chris:

    Thankee!

  28. 28
    JPL says:

    Deficits only matter during the democratic administrations. iokiyr

  29. 29
    Citizen_X says:

    If the GOP causes us to default, and we lose our triple A credit rating, that might play hell for borrowing the cash for any shooting wars the wingnuts might start

    Never mind future wars and future debt, crushing our credit rating will drive up interest on our present debt and make our deficit problem that much worse.

  30. 30

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    but to the extent that govt policy helped rather than hindered that prosperity, it was high marginal tax rates that did it, IMHO.

    Massive redistributive social policies like the GI Bill, VA, FHA, etc. helped a lot, too. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that those successful policies were tied to military service, either. Back then people had enough shame not to close down programs that helped veterans.

  31. 31
    Chris says:

    @ ThatLeftTurn,

    A major part of our massive expansion of the middle class in the US after 1945 was due to the temporary ruination of our industrial competition, but to the extent that govt policy helped rather than hindered that prosperity, it was high marginal tax rates that did it, IMHO.

    What I keep coming back to is the comparison between the economies after WW1 versus after WW2. We were also sitting on top of the world at the end of WW1, and our economy did pretty well, but there was nothing like the broadly shared prosperity that happened in the 1950s. All the inventions that became common in the 1950s (cars, telephones, etc) were already around in the 1920s, but a decade after the end of the war, most people still didn’t have any. Wasn’t until the 1950s that the world we now take for granted came around.

    It’s the Roosevelt/Truman era that made it possible not just to have a good economy, but a good economy in which the wealth truly did trickle down to the average citizen.

  32. 32
    Brandon says:

    Forgive me for being less than ecstatic that morton Cohen has ‘seen the light’. He’s another one of those VSPs that has consistently and unrepetently been wrong about everything. I certainly cannot be the only one trying to figure out what I’m missing, what I’ve got wrong. Because this guy has a track record to rival Bill Kristol. There has to be an alterior motive as far as this guy is concerned. Normally though he blacks the cleverness to mask it very well. My guess is that he will next say that you cannot negotiate with unreasonable people and that Obama should do the responsible thing and resign and let them run the place for fear that they will destroy it instead. Isn’t Democratic capitulation in the face of Republicans always Cohen’s point?

  33. 33
    Barry says:

    gonzone :

    “Yeah, I couldn’t believe that Cohen penned that piece!

    When he sours on the GOP, they have very serious problems methinks. I would have never imagined the chief sycophant actually criticizing his beloved GOP.”

    If (and it’s a huge if) Cohen continues on that way, then it’ll be significant. My money is on him continuing to be a slavish sycophant to the right. My theory for this column is that some money guys were letting him know that the right has gone a little bit to far this time (just a little).

  34. 34
    WyldPirate says:

    Funny, but Cohen sounds just about like Krugthulu and what he has been harping about for the past nearly 3 years.

    The only difference is that Krugthulu has been raging about both the GOP intransigence and Obama’s simultaneous timidity at making his case and then bargaining from a position of weakness as a matter of course while validating the Rethuglican economic lunacy with his capitulation bipartisanship.

    Guess Krugthulu isn’t aware of the first rule of BallonJuice Club–don’t criticize Dear Leader. As everyone knows here, Dear Leader is simultaneously omnipotent and helpless when confronting the lunacy of the right; depending upon the strength or weakness of a Juicehead’s particular argument.

  35. 35
    General Stuck says:

    I’d bet you too believe they don’t really care

    If you’ve read many of my comments, you would know I think they don’t care. My musing about ruining our credit as a country and how would wingnuts then finance the wars they crave, was more of a comment that the wingers are running on pure unadulterated ideology and mutations of conservative ideology, with very little effort put into the consequences of what they are doing from one day to the next, and sometimes from one hour to the next.

    If they get the WH, in their present state of nihilistic fervor, I have no doubt they will scrape together a few dollars for bomb bomb bomb Iran, or some other unlucky country of brown people. They might even drop a few Jdams on places like Portland and Taos, just because they want to, and to stifle the liberal menace.

  36. 36
    Brandon says:

    Forgive the typos. Stupid phone. Needless to say, ‘morton’ = morton, ‘blacks’ = blacks, and ‘alterior’ = ulterior.

  37. 37
    Maude says:

    General
    Let’s give them hand grenades and tell them to wait a couple of minutes after they pull the pin before they throw them.

  38. 38
    Bender says:

    History proves this works — it’s how the Great Depression ended

    /Facepalm. And serial retahhhd Richard Cohen loses again…

  39. 39
    Culture of Truth says:

    War ends recessions!

    woot!

    Isn’t that convenient!

  40. 40
    Culture of Truth says:

    Sen. Shelby’s is the same kind of thoughtful analysis that ends with people being thrown into volcanoes.

  41. 41
    General Stuck says:

    Maude

    I think the height of absurdity that is the GOP right now, can be captured in a sound bite from Senator Cornyn, stating that Obama raising the debt limit on his own via the 14th amendment was “crazy talk” .

    This, coming from a position of GOP leadership that is threatening to default on our debts that will, by all accounts, cause nationwide and world wide potential existential economic devastation

  42. 42
    Countme In says:

    A second American Civil War against the anti-American, Confederate murderous filth in the Republican Party would be highly stimulative to the American economy and secure the nation’s future.

    I understand the tree of liberty responds just as well to being watered by Norquistian pig blood.

  43. 43
    Berial says:

    What I don’t understand is how Republicans are consistently wrong in what they say and what they do, yet are large portion of the voting populace seems to consistently think they are correct and votes for them.

    Republicans (with Democratic help) run up a huge deficit, and then complain loudly that we have huge deficits, and then campaigns that only they can control spending? Why does ANYONE buy this argument?

    When the economy goes into recession they want to cut government spending. WHY? Who the hell else is going to be able to kick start the economy if it’s in free fall?

    They shut down the government then claim that somehow improves the economy. Who believes this shit?

    They say at the outset of a new Democratic President’s term, that they will do ANYTHING to oust him, do everything they can to submarine the economy and then voters reward them by voting more of them into office. Are we this dumb? Seems we are getting the government we deserve at this point.

    Why do people believe all the obvious untruths the GOP keeps throwing out there?

  44. 44
    Kirk Spencer says:

    /Facepalm. And serial retahhhd Richard Cohen loses again…

    Why? It’s true. Or are you one of those who pretends that because the massive injection of money (aka stimulus) that came with WWII wasn’t really a massive injection of money?

  45. 45

    Why does ANYONE buy this argument?

    Because Teh Ghey! Abortion! Illegal Immigrants! Scary Mooslims! Darker Hued People!

    See how that works?

  46. 46
    fuzz says:

    I might have actually read it here, but a commenter somewhere said that the GOP economic philosophy is basically an attempt to bring us back to a pre-new deal economy. In the same way that their foreign policy wants us to act like Victorian Britain, their fiscal policy would have us back in the US of 1925.

  47. 47
    Georgia Pig says:

    Here is the problem with wingnuts. If we convinced them that the stimulative effect of war did bring us out of the depression, they would then agitate for invading Russia or China. Not for job creation.

    Ahh, the joys of living in a liberal democracy founded for the benefit of a bunch of religious fanatics.

  48. 48

    I might have actually read it here, but a commenter somewhere said that the GOP economic philosophy is basically an attempt to bring us back to a pre-new deal economy. In the same way that their foreign policy wants us to act like Victorian Britain, their fiscal policy would have us back in the US of 1925.

    But socially, they want to bring us back to a pre-1865 economy.

  49. 49
    Suffern ACE says:

    Yep. With the impasse at hand, I’m guessing war with Iran in a big, big way. They loved that war spending under Reagan. No reason not to have an actual war to sop up a few hundre thousand unemployed youth. Iraq was a success, so why not do it again, only bigger!

  50. 50
    Culture of Truth says:

    Why is everyone thinking so small? The key phrase is “world war.” We got to start thinking on a different level!

  51. 51
    Bender says:

    Or are you one of those who pretends that because the massive injection of money (aka stimulus) that came with WWII wasn’t really a massive injection of money?

    It’s an “injection” like if the doctor came in with his syringe and sprayed medicine all over the office.

    People who get their economic history from the back of cocktail napkins think World War Two ended the Depression. Volumes and volumes have been written showing it cannot possibly be so, but they contain complicated arguments about non-market valuations of materiel and the way economic statistics were calculated in that time and Supreme Court rulings… so it’s easier to say “WWII.”

    Proctor: All right, here’s your last question. What was the cause of the Civil Warr?

    Apu: Actually, there were numerous causes. Aside from the obvious schism between the abolitionists and the anti-abolitionists, there were economic factors, both domestic and inter–

    Proctor: Wait, wait… just say slavery.

  52. 52
    Chris says:

    @ fuzz,

    I might have actually read it here, but a commenter somewhere said that the GOP economic philosophy is basically an attempt to bring us back to a pre-new deal economy. In the same way that their foreign policy wants us to act like Victorian Britain, their fiscal policy would have us back in the US of 1925.

    Oy. When did the U.S. start looking at the British Empire as a spiritual forefather rather than a nemesis? I noticed the same thing when Dinesh D’Souza started tsk tsking Obama for the fact that as a Kenyan he’d have resentment for the British Empire. Um. Duh. There’s a couple other people who had anti-colonial rage, and in their zeal they went on to found the country.

  53. 53
    fuzz says:

    @ suffern

    The thing is though that there may have been war spending but there was nothing like today, not even close. Ten years ago it was unthinkable to have soldiers being KIA overseas in any significant numbers, and last month 15 guys got killed in Iraq and it made the ticker on CNN, that’s it. I know you probably know this but Regan knew these guys better than they know themselves, they want projections of US power, not ‘war’ like Iraq or Afghanistan. Back in the 80s something like Grenada and Libya was considered enough, and also the trainers in Latin America. Now? we are on year 10 of trying to nation build a place that in the best case scenario will still take a generation to get to the same level of development as Ethiopia.

  54. 54
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Chris-in the end, whatever type of conservative Sullivan thinks someone is, the movement is and always has been an attempt to save church and crown from the movements released by the enlightenment and french revolution. That love of Churchill’s war to save the homeland and the empire over Roosevelt’s hope that the war would end with independent people all over the world is a feature, not a bug. The founders were really just monarchists who hated taxes and economic restrictions more than most, if you strain your neck enough.

  55. 55
    Countme In says:

    Republican Tea Party and Establishment vermin feel the same way about Hitler’s Third Reich and Tojo’s Japan as downtrodden Germans and shamed Nipponese did during the 1930s: fortuitous, murderous war will restore national pride, root out the internal Enemy, stimulate rail travel and human tonnage, hasten entrepreneurial smokestack industry output in the form of liberal Jewish and homosexual ash products, intimidate the inferior races, encourage more brutal forms of dentistry to fill the national Treasury without taxation, and reduce the numbers of the unproductive old, sick, and poor through creative economic experimentation and attrition.

    Thank God and Ayn Rand for the Axis powers and all they did for the American economy.

    May we be blessed with eternal productive bloodshed.

    The Republican vermin Laughing Curve demonstrates that if the frequency of massive sneak attacks (Pearl Harbor, 9/11,) on America could be increased to twice a year instead of twice every 60 years, American GNP would grow ten percent a year, taxation could be eliminated, and Medicaid nursing homes could be destroyed by clever espionage and drawing our enemies’ suicide missions to them and away from more productive targets of military importance, like say, the McNuggets factory where the chickens have better outcomes than the low-wage, uninsured parasite human labor.

  56. 56
    Bender says:

    The Republican vermin Laughing Curve demonstrates that if the frequency of massive sneak attacks (Pearl Harbor, 9/11,) on America could be increased to twice a year instead of twice every 60 years, American GNP would grow ten percent a year

    That’s crazy, ignorant babble. And not very good crazy, ignorant babble, at that.

    It is conservative , Austrian School economists who have challenged the notion of “war prosperity.” Keynesian liberals are the ones pushing the “war — massive federal spending — ends depressions” hokum.

  57. 57

    Military spending is not government spending silly. If you were a “small government” conservative you would understand this important distinction.

  58. 58
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @Bender(51)

    It’s an “injection” like if the doctor came in with his syringe and sprayed medicine all over the office.

    People who get their economic history from the back of cocktail napkins think World War Two ended the Depression. Volumes and volumes have been written showing it cannot possibly be so, but they contain complicated arguments about non-market valuations of materiel and the way economic statistics were calculated in that time and Supreme Court rulings… so it’s easier to say “WWII.”

    Ah, a Hayekian. Or perhaps a Misean.

    The volumes written, or at least those I’ve read (such as Higg’s Depression War and Cold War) carefully avoid the elephants in the room and in fact make some claims they aren’t there. The biggest elephant they try to pretend does not exist is unemployment. Yes, they are correct that in 1942-1945 unemployment numbers are somewhat skewed by military service. The elephant is 1946. There was a spike in unemployment with the end of the war. If the depression/recession were still existent that spike should have lasted much longer than the three months duration it actually had.

    The second elephant is GDP. Now it’s a somewhat shaky tool to use for the 1930s as its first official use was 1934 — it had to use inferred data for the prior five years. Nonetheless it existed. The record shows GDP increased till 1937, suffered a setback during the brief balanced budget year, then climbed. It accelerated during WWII – an elephant. The allegations of Higgs and others is that the entirety of this growth was war spending and ONLY war spending and that it had no real impact on everything else. They point, mostly, to the fact that GDP fell at the end of WWII (from ~$2T in 1944 and 1945 to ~$1.8T in 1946 and 1947). (all dollars in 2005 chain, using BEA annual GDP report)

    The Pachyderm emerges, a twin to the unemployment, when just as with unemployment you compare to pre-war GDP. 1941 GDP (year prior to war entry) was $1.2T, making the non-war increase almost 50% over the six year period.

    All the handwaves in Higgs and Sunder and Hobson and others attempt to say that this growth would have happened anyway. This, despite the fact that average growth in the decades between 1870 and 1910 was low even with the post-small war surges (Korean, Philippine, Spanish, Boxer, etc.)

    The controlled deficit spending post 1934 to 2000 has given us longer periods of growth at a greater average with milder and shorter busts than the century of balanced budget that preceded those years. The decision to not use strong keynesian responses led to the 2000 and 2008 recessions being long and strong with poor recoveries.

  59. 59
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @Bender(56)

    It is conservative , Austrian School economists who have challenged the notion of “war prosperity.” Keynesian liberals are the ones pushing the “war—massive federal spending—ends depressions” hokum.

    No, you’re miscontruing what Keynesian liberals are pushing. What they’re pushing is “spending at war-like levels ends depressions.” It worked not only for the big one before WWII but for subsequent recessions that had the potential (based on pre-WWI comparatives) as well.

  60. 60
    Greyjoy says:

    One should also point out to the GOP that a big war only does our economy good if we WIN, where we can stop fighting and send the troops home. Which we haven’t really had great luck in doing lately.

  61. 61
    eyelessgame says:

    I think it was Atrios – maybe Digby – who referred to columns like this with some comment like “Every so often they get Cohen’s meds exactly right, and he hits it out of the park.”

  62. 62
    Mnemosyne says:

    Proctor: All right, here’s your last question. What was the cause of the Civil Warr?
    Apu: Actually, there were numerous causes. Aside from the obvious schism between the abolitionists and the anti-abolitionists, there were economic factors, both domestic and inter—
    Proctor: Wait, wait… just say slavery.

    Why am I not surprised that the troll has bought into the neo-Confederate whining that the Civil War was about economic factors (you mean like a slave economy vs. a free labor economy?) or cultural differences (like a slave culture vs. a free culture?) or states rights (like a state’s right to have slaves vs. a state’s right to not have slaves?).

    Every single one of the “complicating” factors in the Civil War has to do with slavery. Every. Single. One. Only an idiot who’s bought into right-wing propaganda — and, yes, that includes “The Simpsons” — thinks that the economic differences between a slave economy and a free labor economy magically have nothing to do with slavery, because shut up, that’s why.

  63. 63
    Ben Cisco says:

    @ General Stuck:
    __
    The Ready Room: NeoConfederacy In A (Nut)Shell
    __
    General Stuck has penned the magnum opus regarding the GOP…

  64. 64
    General Stuck says:

    Ben Cisco

    LOL. I am honored sir

  65. 65
    Emerald says:

    Mnemosyne #62, and also too, at the time the Southerners themselves said over and over again that it was about slavery. Look at South Carolina’s statement over secession: it’s all about slavery and uses the word almost 20 times. The other states’ secession statements were similar.

    Alexander Stephens’ famed “cornerstone speech” said that slavery was the cornerstone of the Confederacy. He said that protecting slavery was the entire reason for the Confederacy.

    Watch David Blight’s “Civil War and Reconstruction” Yale lectures available for free on iTunes, or on CDNTwo on Roku. It was about slavery.

    All that “state’s rights” stuff was about only one state’s right: slavery.

  66. 66
    DFH no.6 says:

    This “Austrian economics” horseshit that the Bender fascist-troll is trying to sell is no more a theory about how economies work than “Intelligent Design” is a theory of how biology works.

    No matter how many “volumes” rightwing cranks have written.

    It’s cherry-picking faith-based nonsense that substantially ignores empirical reality (see the pattern there?)

  67. 67
    Bender says:

    If the depression/recession were still existent that spike should have lasted much longer than the three months duration it actually had.

    The “recovery” during the War was concocted by mass conscription at micro-wages, bad valuation of non-market materiel, national rationing, shortages, and price controls — which can make it look like a recovery, if you squint hard enough at the numbers.

    The 1946 numbers had more to do with the end of the anti-business New Deal.

    1946 saw the first year since the crash that private investment outstripped government investment. FDR was dead, Ickes, Wallace and other leftists were out of the Truman government, and the anti-business, pro-union New Deal had, well, not died, but had suffered enough setbacks (in the courts & with the war-economy conservatives gaining influence) that it was not a threat to private investment anymore. What you’re seeing in 1946 data is the start of the recovery — some argue that we played economic catch-up from the New Deal until JFK lowered corporate taxes in 1960.

    The decision to not use strong keynesian responses led to the 2000 and 2008 recessions being long and strong with poor recoveries.

    Harding’s response to the (12% U, minus17% GDP) Depression of 1920 — slashed fed spending, across-the-board tax cuts, Fed on the sidelines — brought almost-immediate improvements and an 18-month recovery. Obama’s stimulus — not so much, eh? Almost $300,000 for each job “saved.”

  68. 68
    Bender says:

    Why am I not surprised that the troll has bought into the neo-Confederate whining that the Civil War was about economic factors

    And they say liberals have no sense of humor!

  69. 69
    El Cid says:

    WWII didn’t end the Great Depression.

    It was the gigantic public works and public investment and public employment program called WWII.

    WWII itself helped, given its devastation of the US’ major international industrial competitors, but this was much more long term.

    If the New Deal could have been done at a WWII scale without WWII, it would have accomplished the same thing. Except without, likely, all the broad public mobilization such as rationing and Liberty Bonds etc.

  70. 70

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