This is an important point:
The New Deal prolonged the Great Depression because of not one but a combination of misguided policies that made it harder for employers to create jobs and harder for consumers to buy things. Keynesian commentators talk as if FDR made a single key mistake, like not incurring big enough budget deficits. This ignores the tripling of the tax burden during the New Deal period (1933-1940). Also ignored is the fact that New Deal spending was mainly paid for by the middle class and the poor, because the biggest revenue generator for the federal government was the excise tax on beer, cigarettes, chewing gum, and other cheap pleasures disproportionately enjoyed by the middle class and the poor. Moreover, several New Deal laws made everything — especially food — more expensive when Americans desperately needed bargains.
There’s a lot more.
Notions that the New Deal didn’t work because they didn’t do enough of it (particularly based on the absurd notion that the war was “the New Deal on steroids” which was why it did) are just the kind of rewriting of history that I was talking about.
[Update on Tuesday morning]
There are few things I enjoy more than dealing with history-challenged simpletons who stupidly assume that because one doesn’t accept the gospel that FDR Saved Us From The Breadlines, that one must therefore think that Herbert Hoover was (in the parlance of the times) the cats pajamas, and that if we’d only stuck with his (non-existent) laissez-faire policies, all would have been well with the world. Larry Kudlow had a guest on his show who made this idiotic assumption last week, when he talked about Larry’s “hero,” Herbert Hoover. Kudlow quickly put him in his place (as I did here with my own idiot in comments). It’s the same (or at least related) pigheaded mindlessness and false choice that causes people to foolishly assume that because I’m down on Democrats I must be a Republican.
[Update a couple minutes later]
Michael Barone, on the real lessons of the Great Depression. Of course, those pushing “stimuli” don’t want to learn the real lessons, because it would remove much of the justification for their efforts to grow government and take over more and more of our lives as individuals.
[Bumped to Tuesday morning]