Obama worship

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  1. Quote Originally Posted by aries70 View Post
    The man inherited the biggest deficit in history and he hit the ground trying to make good on his promises. The irony of the matter is that we were patient with everything the previous President did for 8 years. This man has not been off a full month and is already making changes. Some changes not so popular but he is working and listening like he said he would. Obama is not a saviour but he is the breath of fresh air that "WE" as a country needed.

    He's spending money like there's a money machine.... wait there is.

    Be prepared for the worst economic disaster you will see in your lifetime, inflation city with huge unemployment. It'll be 1990's russia but warmer, lol.

    Crime will escalate big time and the savior obama will be protected while citizens protest or fork over rights out of fear.

    The news stations will cover it like it was terrorists or extremists wreaking mayhem and the people will be treated as criminals. Unless you see it with your own eyes you will cast judgement on your fellow people who will be destitute and looking for answers.

    Then people will say Obama did the best he could, it wasnt his fault... and without him it would have been worse..

    But i have been known to wear a foil hat once in a while..


  2. Quote Originally Posted by aries70 View Post
    The man inherited the biggest deficit in history and he hit the ground trying to make good on his promises. The irony of the matter is that we were patient with everything the previous President did for 8 years. This man has not been off a full month and is already making changes. Some changes not so popular but he is working and listening like he said he would. Obama is not a saviour but he is the breath of fresh air that "WE" as a country needed.




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  3. Never enough
    EasyEJL's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by aries70 View Post
    The man inherited the biggest deficit in history and he hit the ground trying to make good on his promises.
    I didn't recall a campaign promise of making the defecit even bigger, even faster, by larger margins and percentages than ever thought of, but ok. And before you say we haven't seen a fiscal situation this bad since the great depression, get a grip on reality. It was worse in the early 80s, it was worse in the mid 70s. just the media is hyping it more.

    Quote Originally Posted by aries70 View Post
    Some changes not so popular but he is working and listening like he said he would. Obama is not a saviour but he is the breath of fresh air that "WE" as a country needed.
    Right, his "not bowing to special interest groups" but being run by them? and not listening to lobbyists even though Biden's son is one? And a new higher ethics administration with 100% support behind tax dodgers for the cabinet? please, its just business as usual in washington
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  4. Quote Originally Posted by Mulletsoldier View Post
    Yes, France and...Belgium, Russia, Germany, Belarus, essentially the entire EU; the Briton-US relations in Post-Blair Britain even look bleaker than normal. The cooperation you have spoken of has really only manifested itself within the last [~] calendar year due to shared strategic interests [see: an Industrializing China and India]. The Bush Administration was predisposed to unilateral negotiations, and this created a fair amount of global dissent - and not just dissent from politicians choosing to please the populous. I am a bit interested as to how you felt there is not resentment for your country in Europe?
    Resentment for the US has been generated long before Bush was in office. You're lumping together relations that have been deteriorating ever since the fall of the Soviet Union. There wasn't a common enemy to unite Europe and the US anymore. Like many who want to blame Bush for this current crisis, you seem to push blame on to Bush for a state of tension that existed for some time. Foreign policy with Europe is based almost solely on one thing....economics. With the creation and strengthening of the EU, Europe has become much more bold in their criticisms. This has little to do with Bush and more to do with the EU's ambition to compete and be equal with the US in terms of economics. France, Germany and Russia weren't objecting to the US war with Iraq for humanitarian reasons, it was to protect their oil contracts. Its as it people want to forget the problems Clinton had dealing with Chirac and Schroder for 5 years.


    You blame Bush for a seed that was planted in 93.

    Appreciable or not, her comments still bear little on Obama; again, not entirely sure why that Red Herring was raised. As I said, ostensibly, Obama plans to continue missile strikes in Pakistan for the time being.
    Just using the same criteria that past critics use against the Bush administration. The President controls and is responsilbe for all. As you can see, its pretty weak.


    Humility is relative Bobo, a realization you are aware of despite your commentary here; a concession or two in an administration plagued by disasters [domestic as many as foreign] does not a humble President make.
    Never said he was humble, but this stone cold, arrogant, unyielding, uncompassionate picture people want to portray him as is just not accurate.

    In one of the cases you are speaking about, George W., admitted that his strategic-philosophies underpinning the Iraqi confrontation were flawed, but, only to gain public support to increase troops in that same conflict.

    Now Mullet, if you think Bush admitting mistakes was just to gain public support while Obama admissions are from the heart and in no way used to gain public support, then this "symbolism" has worked some magic on you.


    Even these minor concessions, though, came with significant limitations that displayed his marked inability to admit mistakes. To say that he repeated this trend of admittance - as limited and attenuated as it may have been - is stretching the truth, no doubt.
    You just described almost every President in the last 100 years. "I did not have sexual relations with that woman"

    The same arrogance could be said about Obama who refused to admit the surge was successful. Why? It would upset his base. To this date, he never has.

    Ego maniacs tend to act in this way. We should know.


    Most unlikely that it will be significantly different, but it will be kinder, no doubt. History is almost universally more kind to Presidents than the present, but the fundamental failures of this administration will ring true no matter what perspective they are viewed from. Time has a way of healing wounds, and the American people are notoriously forgetful.
    Failure is judged in degrees. Lincoln has massive failure in his administration yet is viewed as the greatest. The American public are forgetful but its more an issue of the ends justifying the means.


    Again, speaking about consequences which have not emerged definitively, is highly presumptive at best. Let us reserve judgment until these events have actually occurred.
    They have emerged. It was passed. The debt is on the books, so to speak. The money has to come form somewhere either in the form of increased taxes, more loans, or more currency in the system. Either one is negative IMO.

    To pass such a bill in a short amount of time with almost zero debate is a true example of how popularity can produce "sh!t".

    He didn't visit areas that were hit the most economically out of the goodness of his heart. Well maybe a little As I said earlier, I happen to like many things about Obama. Its his party in Congress that's the problem...as he found out.

    While I appreciate your efforts, I am well-versed in the Cuban missile crisis. You did not elaborate, but I assume you are using this as an example of cold US-World relations. I am unsure if referencing the height of the Cold War best serves your point, particularly because following that point - particularly in the Reagan Administration - US-world [particularly European] relations were quite warm.
    Actually no, I was referring to the events in Vienna that precluded and were a major reason the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred.



    but prior to this....
    You're talking pre Soviet collapse.



    am sure this was merely an error of haste, so I will allow you to correct before responding in full. Briefly, though, it is true that US-World relations [particularly the EU] have historically experienced cold and hot streaks. This being said, they were particularly cold during the Bush Administration. This was no mystery.
    No Mullet, it was not in error. It was one of fact especially France and the US during the Clinton-Chirac years. In fact, ever since the EU was formed relations have deteriorated and with good reason. The formation was mainly to counter US economic dominance. The EU has become bolder and bolder with them becoming a rising economic power. To put blame on one President for the changing attitude of another body is simply inaccurate.



    And, as you mentioned, the delivery may be a key difference. Again, despite the fact it is irrational, symbolism can often play a key role in international diplomacy.
    On the surface and to the public, maybe....but it hardly did with Kennedy. In fact, it hurt him. Only when he acted more like a "cowboy" was he praised.


    You know, giving ultimatums.

    Bush's sheer arrogance was off-putting to many world leaders [based on their comments] and such cold inter-personal relations can often stall inter-state relations [see: tariffs and trade-stalls between Canada and U.S., in certain industries].
    Yeah, but its Canada. Who cares about them?



    I would be more worried about the smooth talking politician who silently stabs you in the back (Democrats and their Unions constituents position on NAFTA).



    Also, the fact that an emotional majority who was [and still is] extremely misinformed supported an initiative does absolutely nothing to absolve the Bush Administration of their responsibility; the point of responsible office is to do the right thing, not the popular thing.
    Exactly. And the same applies, maybe even moreso with Obama.... apply the same criteria to both.

    Again, though, there are many specific instances of Bush's failed hard-line stance where a more diplomatic approach could have been taken - claiming the [admitted truth] that U.S., Foreign Policy has not altered since Carter is not a huge illumination. The failures are in the specifics, though.
    And the specifics include the changing status of the EU, Russian and China in the last 15 years. You will the see ones that got much bolder and practiced "cowboy" diplomacy include those who once were insignificant, but now are considered economic superpowers.

    It seems with you, as in many others, the blame is one sided while ignoring the complete 180 degree turn in attitude those mentioned above have taken.
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  5. Quote Originally Posted by Mulletsoldier View Post
    I must admit, arguing with a NeoCon about the atrophy of US-World relations under the Bush Administration is a bit like arguing that we actually landed on the moon with a conspiracy theorist: despite mounting evidence, first-hand accounts, the sheer presentability of the case and common-sense, "it ain't gon' happen!". This is to mean no offense, but rather, to say we are arguing from fundamentally different viewpoints that are not going to be reconciled.
    Although I appreciate the attempt to lump me into the "NeoCon" group, it is highly innaccurate.

    It seems you are letting those who suffer form BDS influence your critical thought

    Examining the massive differences and changes in attitude of one vs the slight changes of another will give you a better understanding of what I am saying. I will let you figure out the former and latter of the above statement
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  6. Never enough
    EasyEJL's Avatar

    to add the cherry on top of Cosmo's ice cream sundae there, if the US were to operate for the pleasure of those outside of the US, then it would be even further to our detriment. We have the highest average standard of living, we have the most natural resources, and we have the most freedoms. To have a piece of our policies be to placate the other countries on the globe in the end means heading towards a global homeostasis on these items, and that means the US has more to loose
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  7. Have you guys noticed that the United States is the only country where an INCREASE can be considered a DECREASE? What I mean is let's say we're under Republican rule, our GDP rose 7% one year, and the next year, again under a Republican, it only rose 3%, Dems would be screaming economic murder.

    Our GDP rose about 2% last year, and Obama tells us we're in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression (GDP fell 9% in 1930, and 2% in '82 ).

  8. Quote Originally Posted by Cosmo Kramer View Post
    Resentment for the US has been generated long before Bush was in office. You're lumping together relations that have been deteriorating ever since the fall of the Soviet Union. There wasn't a common enemy to unite Europe and the US anymore. Like many who want to blame Bush for this current crisis, you seem to push blame on to Bush for a state of tension that existed for some time. Foreign policy with Europe is based almost solely on one thing....economics.
    In fact, Bobo, I am not. I also found it interesting you make the subtle suggestion that I am in the lack-of-economic-hindsight group; previously in our discussion, I make specific mention as to how Bush had nothing to do with this current economic collapse. At any rate, I digress: while it is true US-European relations were particularly strong during the Reagan-years due to an imposing U.S.S.R., they remained fruitful [see: not secular progress, but not detrimental] through the Clinton years. They deteriorated considerably under G.W.B., and this is not a so-called "Left Media portrait".

    Also, you seem to be avoiding what has been the center of EU policy issues for quite some time now: a defiant China and Russia, and a rapidly industrializing Indo-Asia. The fact is European-U.S., relations have strengthened in the last year particularly because common strategic interests have manifested themselves [see also: Iran]. You are conveniently looking past these interests - interests which bore stalwart and unproductive negotiations under this past administration - because it is not conducive to your point here. Simply, despite the sometimes "willy-nilly" relationship the US and Europe has had, that relationship was even more unfruitful under this administration.

    Just using the same criteria that past critics use against the Bush administration. The President controls and is responsilbe for all. As you can see, its pretty weak.
    I can; such is why I acknowledged the complete lack of control President's have, and why I have referred to the 'Bush Administration' consistently throughout. Failures necessitate a group effort, but, we must remember, that group is chosen by an individual.

    Never said he was humble, but this stone cold, arrogant, unyielding, uncompassionate picture people want to portray him as is just not accurate
    .

    Again, though, you are setting my argument up as a Straw-Man as your perception of my argument is much easier defeated than my argument itself. Stone-cold and not compassionate were never adjectives I used. I merely said he is arrogant, as he has displayed that trait time and time again. His work in Africa alone characterizes him as an effective humanitarian, but that is neither here nor there.

    Now Mullet, if you think Bush admitting mistakes was just to gain public support while Obama admissions are from the heart and in no way used to gain public support, then this "symbolism" has worked some magic on you.
    This is exactly my point though, Bobo: the power is in the symbolism. Every word spoken from a President is to gain public support, and that support is based on symbolic action that allow him and/or her [potentially] to perpetuate their real platform unabated. The symbolism of the Bush Administration's arrogance was its hallmark, and a hallmark that was both a domestic and international inhibitor. You should know this by now.

    You just described almost every President in the last 100 years. "I did not have sexual relations with that woman"

    The same arrogance could be said about Obama who refused to admit the surge was successful. Why? It would upset his base. To this date, he never has.

    Ego maniacs tend to act in this way. We should know.
    Hah! I have to give you that one, haha.

    Failure is judged in degrees. Lincoln has massive failure in his administration yet is viewed as the greatest. The American public are forgetful but its more an issue of the ends justifying the means.
    I agree and, as I said, the failures are judged in the specific initiatives; success is judged - unfairly as it may be - in intentionality and in the aggregate fashion. Every administration has specific failures - that is what happens when you view specifics. What history judges is the philosophy of an administration.

    As I said earlier, I happen to like many things about Obama. Its his party in Congress that's the problem...as he found out.
    Unfortunately, as bi-partisan as he claims to be, he will not veto ridiculous bills from Congress.

    Actually no, I was referring to the events in Vienna that precluded and were a major reason the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred.
    So was I. I was assuming you were referring particularly to Kennedy's advisors telling him specifically to avoid high-level meetings that quickly.

    You're talking pre Soviet collapse.
    I addressed both Pre-and-Post Reagan relations; it was you who needs to clarify.



    No Mullet, it was not in error. It was one of fact especially France and the US during the Clinton-Chirac years. In fact, ever since the EU was formed relations have deteriorated and with good reason. The formation was mainly to counter US economic dominance. The EU has become bolder and bolder with them becoming a rising economic power. To put blame on one President for the changing attitude of another body is simply inaccurate.
    See above.

    On the surface and to the public, maybe....but it hardly did with Kennedy. In fact, it hurt him. Only when he acted more like a "cowboy" was he praised.

    You know, giving ultimatums.
    Kennedy was only forced to act like a cowboy due to the false dichotomy he constructed himself in Vienna. Poor example. Direct reciprocal diplomacy ha worked in the past [see: Clinton's efforts - as short-lasting as they may have been - in the Middle East].

    Yeah, but its Canada. Who cares about them?

    Your country does, severely. Essentially, we control your fresh-water fate [Canada contains 1/4 of the entire world's fresh water]. This is why your politicians are desperately attempting to draft fresh-water into NAFTA.



    Exactly. And the same applies, maybe even moreso with Obama.... apply the same criteria to both.
    Of course it does, and I will, once we are more than a month into his Administration. If you are displaying this much undeserved patience 8 years into an administration, excuse me for my month!

    And the specifics include the changing status of the EU, Russian and China in the last 15 years. You will the see ones that got much bolder and practiced "cowboy" diplomacy include those who once were insignificant, but now are considered economic superpowers.
    And certain attempted relations by the EU were to specifically combat a defiant Russia and an emerging China, as I say above. The opportunities were there to create a strong EU-US bond based on an emergent Russia-China, and the Bush Administration failed.

    It seems with you, as in many others, the blame is one sided while ignoring the complete 180 degree turn in attitude those mentioned above have taken.
    You know such is not true, however, I am sure it is easier to argue from that perspective.

  9. Quote Originally Posted by Irish Cannon View Post
    Have you guys noticed that the United States is the only country where an INCREASE can be considered a DECREASE? What I mean is let's say we're under Republican rule, our GDP rose 7% one year, and the next year, again under a Republican, it only rose 3%, Dems would be screaming economic murder.

    Our GDP rose about 2% last year, and Obama tells us we're in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression (GDP fell 9% in 1930, and 2% in '82 ).
    It is considered that in every country. Recessions and Depressions are measured in relative proportion to the previous year. An economy can expand 2% where it had been on a 5% expansion the past five years. Therefore, adjusted for inflation, an economy stalled. GDP contractions are not necessarily the only marker of a fledgling economy.

  10. Quote Originally Posted by Cosmo Kramer View Post
    Although I appreciate the attempt to lump me into the "NeoCon" group, it is highly innaccurate.

    It seems you are letting those who suffer form BDS influence your critical thought

    Examining the massive differences and changes in attitude of one vs the slight changes of another will give you a better understanding of what I am saying. I will let you figure out the former and latter of the above statement
    I feel NeoCon is a fairly accurate label for your position, but feel free to correct me. Your key focus on moral precedents and the social obligation of the state preclude you from a strictly NeoLiberal or Classic Liberal position; and, your admittance of the necessity of the state precludes you from a Libertarian, possibly you are a Socialist.

    Bobo, I understand you feel the shifts in EU, China and Russia played a bigger part in this discussion than Bush's Administration, but my point, which you have not acknowledged, is that it is precisely these shifts in which he failed. The emergence of Russia and China in particular presented both necessity and opportunity for diplomacy and his administration failed.
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  11. Quote Originally Posted by Mulletsoldier View Post
    In fact, Bobo, I am not. I also found it interesting you make the subtle suggestion that I am in the lack-of-economic-hindsight group; previously in our discussion, I make specific mention as to how Bush had nothing to do with this current economic collapse. At any rate, I digress: while it is true US-European relations were particularly strong during the Reagan-years due to an imposing U.S.S.R., they remained fruitful [see: not secular progress, but not detrimental] through the Clinton years. They deteriorated considerably under G.W.B., and this is not a so-called "Left Media portrait".
    Its deteriated for some time even during the Clinton years. Chirac was extremely resistant to Clinton in almost every avenue. Relations after the Tech Boom and Bust became even more chilling. You can take it all the way back to France denying US planes to use French airspace during the first Gulf War.


    This idea it was chummy during the Clinton years is simply not true. Has Bush taken a harder line? Of course but mainly in response to 180 degree in attitude and almost significance of the EU, Russian and China. It was a slow decline for some time.

    Also, you seem to be avoiding what has been the center of EU policy issues for quite some time now: a defiant China and Russia, and a rapidly industrializing Indo-Asia.
    I have not ignored that at all. The policies were one of bark and not bite and only recently have you seen the EU actually providing action (Sarkozy on Russian invasion of Georgia). Its a characteristic that has plagued Europe for a while. All bark, no bite.




    The fact is European-U.S., relations have strengthened in the last year particularly because common strategic interests have manifested themselves [see also: Iran].

    New leadership in Europe has helped. Sarkozy and Merkel have helped. The common goal was always there. The weak leadership of the EU prevented much of this form happening.



    You are conveniently looking past these interests - interests which bore stalwart and unproductive negotiations under this past administration - because it is not conducive to your point here. Simply, despite the sometimes "willy-nilly" relationship the US and Europe has had, that relationship was even more unfruitful under this administration.
    And as I have stated, much of that was due to the new attitude the EU established to the point they even strained relations within their own union (England, Ireland, Scotland). Even today you have Ireland threatening to pull out. Chirac was extremely resistant to US influence in Europe and the relationship Blair and Bush created was in direct conflict to his own union. He believed Blair was undermining the sole purpose of creating the Union in the first place..to counter US influence.




    Again, though, you are setting my argument up as a Straw-Man as your perception of my argument is much easier defeated than my argument itself. Stone-cold and not compassionate were never adjectives I used. I merely said he is arrogant, as he has displayed that trait time and time again. His work in Africa alone characterizes him as an effective humanitarian, but that is neither here nor there.
    Presidents are arrogant. That's not really an argument but it seems you sometimes forget that trait when it comes to Obama.


    This is exactly my point though, Bobo: the power is in the symbolism. Every word spoken from a President is to gain public support, and that support is based on symbolic action that allow him and/or her [potentially] to perpetuate their real platform unabated. The symbolism of the Bush Administration's arrogance was its hallmark, and a hallmark that was both a domestic and international inhibitor. You should know this by now.
    Actually my point was that symbolism was just as dangerous as patriotism if gone unchecked.

    I don't think I ever disagreed with you on the power of symbolism. I agree that his symbolism could be used to his advantage but the problem is that if you have a media that won't even question such symbolism you are going to see a backlash as you are starting to see already. This isn't just about a month of policies, this is the treatment he has received for the past 2 years.




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    I agree and, as I said, the failures are judged in the specific initiatives; success is judged - unfairly as it may be - in intentionality and in the aggregate fashion. Every administration has specific failures - that is what happens when you view specifics. What history judges is the philosophy of an administration.
    .....which is the problem as the left wing like to tie Bush into some ultra right wing individual when in fact his policies and viewpoints are that of a moderate. Immigration, education, spending, etc...The only NeoCon trait he exemplifies is one of preemption.

    Its quite funny when people try to polarize these two individuals when you look at their policies they much closer than people want to beleive.

    Unfortunately, as bi-partisan as he claims to be, he will not veto ridiculous bills from Congress.
    I think in his heart he is but he hasn't shown the courage to go against his own party.....as was predicted by many pre election.

    o was I. I was assuming you were referring particularly to Kennedy's advisors telling him specifically to avoid high-level meetings that quickly.
    It was more pertaining to the symbolism the public had which Kennedy started to believe....and in time regretted the meeting.


    I addressed both Pre-and-Post Reagan relations; it was you who needs to clarify.

    In this post, yes. Its tough to clarify on a post that wasn't posted yet


    I made the distinction between pre cold war and post cold war (common enemy).






    Kennedy was only forced to act like a cowboy due to the false dichotomy he constructed himself in Vienna.

    As a result of him beleiving his own press or being extremely naive. Either way, its a good exmaple.

    Direct reciprocal diplomacy ha worked in the past [see: Clinton's efforts - as short-lasting as they may have been - in the Middle East].
    Of course it works. Who has completely dismissed reciprocal diplomacy?


    Nixon went to China after 2 years of negotiating of which nobody really knew about.

    Bush has been negotiating with Iran for close to 2 years, something I'M sure Israel isn't to fond of. Obama is already receiving resistance from Israel because of his comments.



    Your country does, severely. Essentially, we control your fresh-water fate [Canada contains 1/4 of the entire world's fresh water]. This is why your politicians are desperately attempting to draft fresh-water into NAFTA.

    Have you seen the money allocated for this in the new stimulus?


    As much as you think this country needs Canada, I think the opposite is overwhelmingly true. Its not a statement of arrogance or comparison, but once of fact simply by volume.






    And certain attempted relations by the EU were to specifically combat a defiant Russia and an emerging China, as I say above. The opportunities were there to create a strong EU-US bond based on an emergent Russia-China, and the Bush Administration failed.
    You can't have a strong EU-US bond when you have Chirac publically denouncing Britain about its relationship with the US. You can't have a strong EU bond when the members of the EU are at each others throats over economic issues. You can't have a strong EU-US union when an EU member threatens to veto your resolution in the UN..multiple times..on multiply issues.

    You can't have a strong EU bond when France would go groveling to Russia whenever Russia threatened a veto on numerous UN resolutions.

    Yes they has a common interest in Russia and China but its basically impossible when you the EU leadership caving in on every issue. Recently that has changed and its good to see.


    You know such is not true, however, I am sure it is easier to argue from that perspective.
    As it is by trying to label me a NeoCon.
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  12. Quote Originally Posted by Mulletsoldier View Post
    I feel NeoCon is a fairly accurate label for your position, but feel free to correct me. Your key focus on moral precedents and the social obligation of the state preclude you from a strictly NeoLiberal or Classic Liberal position; and, your admittance of the necessity of the state precludes you from a Libertarian, possibly you are a Socialist.
    I'm all over the map with many issues.

    NeoCon? No. A Cheney believer I am not.



    Bobo, I understand you feel the shifts in EU, China and Russia played a bigger part in this discussion than Bush's Administration, but my point, which you have not acknowledged, is that it is precisely these shifts in which he failed. The emergence of Russia and China in particular presented both necessity and opportunity for diplomacy and his administration failed.

    See above.
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  13. Quote Originally Posted by Cosmo Kramer View Post
    IHave you seen the money allocated for this in the new stimulus?

    As much as you think this country needs Canada, I think the opposite is overwhelmingly true. Its not a statement of arrogance or comparison, but once of fact simply by volume.
    Of course the converse is true: your country is larger than mine [population wise] by tenfold. The fact is, however, you are on the precipice of a fresh-water crisis that has the potential to be exposed greatly in a natural disaster of large proportions. Canada is your largest trading partner by volume, and your largest sovereign and stable provider of energy. Simply put, these plans to emancipate the U.S., from 'foreign oil' is not Canada-inclusive; the tar-sands are a massive part of this supposed plan, and the Alberta-government is not entirely privatized in regards to extraction.

    This is not a penis-measuring-contest, but as you said, a comparison of fact. Your resources are non-existent, and in the coming decades, you will depend on us ecologically as we depend on you financially. Lumber, fresh-water, oil, you name it B.

    I refrained from responding to the rest as we are at a theoretical impasse, as always. We argue, then make small concessions, and, in the end, the divergence of our positions is defined by a few small points!

  14. Quote Originally Posted by Cosmo Kramer View Post
    I'm all over the map with many issues.

    NeoCon? No. A Cheney believer I am not.
    I empathize greatly there. I range anywhere from a Libertarian to an Anarchist to a Socialist, depending on the issue. However, you are a bit of Critical Realist, which I appreciate.

  15. "$36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits, $20 billion for food stamps, and $83 billion for the earned income credit for people who don't pay income tax"

    Let me get this straight. We are paying people who already sit on their asses, more, and continue to give them no incentive to get off their ass and let people like me who do work and pay outrageous taxes, keep their sorry butts up? What incentive do working people like myself have to work and try to have nice things if we are only taxed to death to keep up lazy individuals who refuse to work? Hell, at some point, we will be no better off than those who do not work, and we all should just quit and let the gubment take care of us!
    Oh, wait.....where will the money come from then?? Bingo.

  16. Quote Originally Posted by Mulletsoldier View Post
    It is considered that in every country. Recessions and Depressions are measured in relative proportion to the previous year. An economy can expand 2% where it had been on a 5% expansion the past five years. Therefore, adjusted for inflation, an economy stalled. GDP contractions are not necessarily the only marker of a fledgling economy.
    The point I was making is Obama is clearly twisting reality, playing off of the public's ignorance and stupidity, and completely lying to our face that this is "...the worst economic crisis our country has seen since the Great Depression." - No, it's not, it's much more closely related to the '80s.

    Welcome back, Carter.

  17. Quote Originally Posted by Irish Cannon View Post
    The point I was making is Obama is clearly twisting reality, playing off of the public's ignorance and stupidity, and completely lying to our face that this is "...the worst economic crisis our country has seen since the Great Depression." - No, it's not, it's much more closely related to the '80s.

    Welcome back, Carter.
    Well, to be specific, it is more closely related to the myriad profitability crises which arose from 71' and onward due the remittance of the Bretton-Woods Accord [and, really, the Nixon Shock as a whole], the 73'-74' stock market crash, and the emergence of OPEC; all of these, of course, sharing an intrinsic relationship with each other in regards to exacerbating the profitability of mechanized industry, and causing the earnest push towards deinudstrialization and the financialization of the global market.

    The twist is not political, and, as I said, must be viewed from a relative position. You are assuming that the economy is thriving because it has increased 2%. In fact, IC, the Great Depression caused a GDP Contraction of a mere 2% - a single percentage point decrease represents a massive recession in the sphere of production. You must understand that these GDP percentages are pegged relative to each other and adjusted for inflation; therefore, an increase of 2% when the previous years saw, say, a 5% increase is actually a near contraction in absolute product terms.

    One can reassure themselves all they want, but, the proof is in the pudding. Understanding how these statistics are created reveals that the situation - while being blown a bit out of proportion - is not a political twist.

  18. I would also add that the statistical variances of analysis cause a great issue when interpreting the severity of the situation; how one defines profit in relation with total value added has a significant impact on any empirically-based economic analysis. Certain theoretical acrobatics in the Marxian trend suppose the long economic malaise enacted since 1971 is a condition of the so-called "Law of the Falling Rate of Profit", which itself depends on certain willy-nilly theoretical concepts such as surplus value and socially necessary unproductive labor. In sum, these two concepts amount to the way NeoMarxian economists theoretically allocate certain forms of quote-unquote unproductive labor to the constant capital flow in the sphere of exchange; more NeoLiberal economists, on the other hand, would chalk the current crises up to the classic 'realization issue' which is the resultant of fierce inter-capitalist production. No matter the lens of analysis, though, the end is that the global economy is in a recession. Countries nearly becoming bankrupt [see: Iceland] is hard to politically fabricate.

  19. Quote Originally Posted by Mulletsoldier View Post
    Well, to be specific, it is more closely related to the myriad profitability crises which arose from 71' and onward due the remittance of the Bretton-Woods Accord [and, really, the Nixon Shock as a whole], the 73'-74' stock market crash, and the emergence of OPEC; all of these, of course, sharing an intrinsic relationship with each other in regards to exacerbating the profitability of mechanized industry, and causing the earnest push towards deinudstrialization and the financialization of the global market.

    The twist is not political, and, as I said, must be viewed from a relative position. You are assuming that the economy is thriving because it has increased 2%. In fact, IC, the Great Depression caused a GDP Contraction of a mere 2% - a single percentage point decrease represents a massive recession in the sphere of production. You must understand that these GDP percentages are pegged relative to each other and adjusted for inflation; therefore, an increase of 2% when the previous years saw, say, a 5% increase is actually a near contraction in absolute product terms.

    One can reassure themselves all they want, but, the proof is in the pudding. Understanding how these statistics are created reveals that the situation - while being blown a bit out of proportion - is not a political twist.
    Regardless of what it's more similar to, what the public is being told by our current administration is a complete lie. Unemployment in 1930 was about 25%...This is nothing close to the Great Depression.

    If you want more jobs, drop the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

    I'm not saying our economy isn't in bad shape, but the comparison being made is just ridiculous. It's crazy to me that so many people can't see what's happening to this country right under their nose.
  20. Never enough
    EasyEJL's Avatar

    it is funny, I recall higher unemployment rates than this, and worse overall economic situations than this during my WORKING life, much less during my life in general.

    Still, my hope is that obama raises the national debt even higher faster, then directs the treasury to print more money faster to raise inflation. 5 years of 8% inflation year over year, and 12 trillion in national debt will feel like nothing again, and the housing market will right itself as well
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  21. Quote Originally Posted by Irish Cannon View Post
    Regardless of what it's more similar to, what the public is being told by our current administration is a complete lie. Unemployment in 1930 was about 25%...This is nothing close to the Great Depression.
    Actually, unemployment rates did not reach stratospheric levels until 1933, and the 1/5 state of unemployment [actually 19%] was a transient phenomenon; a more realistic and unbiased figure is approximately 12% which is the average of unemployment based on historical statistic estimates from Black Friday to 1941.

    I'm not saying our economy isn't in bad shape, but the comparison being made is just ridiculous. It's crazy to me that so many people can't see what's happening to this country right under their nose.
    I am not trying to be rude, but much of your commentary lacks the proper theoretical backing. In fact, you are overstating the Great Depression and understating the current economic crises. The fact is, total product value, GNP, and GDP suffered a drastic decrease in a twenty-four month period after Black Friday, but showed significant growth from 1932-onward; in fact, most individuals not in the banking industry faired much better in 1933 than they did in 1929. The characterizing factor of the Great Depression was massive unemployment, but actual economic growth quite mirrors the current recession.

    Also, this is not taking into consideration the different methods through which unemployment is measured today v., 1933, which greatly exaggerates the Great Depression statistics and understates current statistics. You are judging your analysis almost exclusively on unemployment, when it is a highly variable measure. More consistent means of comparison are GDP, GNP [total product], goods prices and so forth. In that light, you would be surprised how close the actual statistics are. Every recession is bound by certain historical conditions, which invariably alter the social significance of the epoch; there are not droves of individuals roaming the streets for food stamps because we have competent credit institutions, social assistance programs and an entirely different political-economic structure whose Keynesian-throwback systems are not predisposed to total collapse like they were n 1929. As I said, you can continue to fool yourselves but the statistics are telling of the similarities.

  22. I don't think you can judge the current economic crisis as it has only got started and is not done. I think it is going to get much worse before better. And none of us are old enough to remember the depression. I've heard grandparents talk about it. There were many people roaming from house to house knocking on the doors asking for a piece of bread because they were starving. Last I checked Saturday night, the restaurants were full. I don't see anyone starving yet. Do you? This is nothing like the depression. Not yet.

  23. Great Depression
    by Gene Smiley
    About the Author

    A worldwide depression struck countries with market economies at the end of the 1920s. Although the Great Depression was relatively mild in some countries, it was severe in others, particularly in the United States, where, at its nadir in 1933, 25 percent of all workers and 37 percent of all nonfarm workers were completely out of work. Some people starved; many others lost their farms and homes. Homeless vagabonds sneaked aboard the freight trains that crossed the nation. Dispossessed cotton farmers, the “Okies,” stuffed their possessions into dilapidated Model Ts and migrated to California in the false hope that the posters about plentiful jobs were true. Although the U.S. economy began to recover in the second quarter of 1933, the recovery largely stalled for most of 1934 and 1935. A more vigorous recovery commenced in late 1935 and continued into 1937, when a new depression occurred. The American economy had yet to fully recover from the Great Depression when the United States was drawn into World War II in December 1941. Because of this agonizingly slow recovery, the entire decade of the 1930s in the United States is often referred to as the Great Depression.

    The Great Depression is often called a “defining moment” in the twentieth-century history of the United States. Its most lasting effect was a transformation of the role of the federal government in the economy. The long contraction and painfully slow recovery led many in the American population to accept and even call for a vastly expanded role for government, though most businesses resented the growing federal control of their activities. The federal government took over responsibility for the elderly population with the creation of Social Security and gave the involuntarily unemployed unemployment compensation. The Wagner Act dramatically changed labor negotiations between employers and employees by promoting unions and acting as an arbiter to ensure “fair” labor contract negotiations. All of this required an increase in the size of the federal government. During the 1920s, there were, on average, about 553,000 paid civilian employees of the federal government. By 1939 there were 953,891 paid civilian employees, and there were 1,042,420 in 1940. In 1928 and 1929, federal receipts on the administrative budget (the administrative budget excludes any amounts received for or spent from trust funds and any amounts borrowed or used to pay down the debt) averaged 3.80 percent of GNP while expenditures averaged 3.04 percent of GNP. In 1939, federal receipts were 5.50 percent of GNP, while federal expenditures had tripled to 9.77 percent of GNP. These figures provide an indication of the vast expansion of the federal government’s role during the depressed 1930s.

    The Great Depression also changed economic thinking. Because many economists and others blamed the depression on inadequate demand, the Keynesian view that government could and should stabilize demand to prevent future depressions became the dominant view in the economics profession for at least the next forty years. Although an increasing number of economists have come to doubt this view, the general public still accepts it.

    Interestingly, given the importance of the Great Depression in the development of economic thinking and economic policy, economists do not completely agree on what caused it. Recent research by Peter Temin, Barry Eichengreen, David Glasner, Ben Bernanke, and others has led to an emerging consensus on why the contraction began in 1928 and 1929. There is less agreement on why the contraction phase was longer and more severe in some countries and why the depression lasted so long in some countries, particularly the United States.

    The Great Depression that began at the end of the 1920s was a worldwide phenomenon. By 1928, Germany, Brazil, and the economies of Southeast Asia were depressed. By early 1929, the economies of Poland, Argentina, and Canada were contracting, and the U.S. economy followed in the middle of 1929. As Temin, Eichengreen, and others have shown, the larger factor that tied these countries together was the international gold standard.

    By 1914, most developed countries had adopted the gold standard with a fixed exchange rate between the national currency and gold—and therefore between national currencies. In World War I, European nations went off the gold standard to print money, and the resulting price inflation drove large amounts of the world’s gold to banks in the United States. The United States remained on the gold standard without altering the gold value of the dollar. Investors and others who held gold sent their gold to the United States, where gold maintained its value as a safe and sound investment. At the end of World War I, a few countries, most notably the United States, continued on the gold standard while others temporarily adopted floating exchange rates. The world’s international finance center had shifted from London to New York City, and the British were anxious to regain their old status. Some countries pledged to return to the gold standard with devalued currencies, while others followed the British lead and aimed to return to gold at prewar exchange rates.

    This was not possible, however. Too much money had been created during the war to allow a return to the gold standard without either large currency devaluations or price deflations. In addition, the U.S. gold stock had doubled to about 40 percent of the world’s monetary gold. There simply was not enough monetary gold in the rest of the world to support the countries’ currencies at the existing exchange rates. As a result, the leading nations established a gold exchange system whereby the governments of the United States and Great Britain would be willing, at all times, to redeem the dollar and the pound for gold, and other countries would hold much of their international reserves in British pounds or U.S. dollars.

    The demand for gold increased as countries returned to the gold standard. Because the franc was undervalued when France returned to the gold standard in June 1928, France began to receive gold inflows. The undervalued franc made French exports less expensive in foreign countries’ currencies and made foreign imports into France more expensive in francs. As French exports rose and French imports fell, their international accounts were balanced by gold shipped to France. France’s government, contrary to the tenets of the gold standard, did not use these inflows to expand its money supply. In 1928, the Federal Reserve System raised its discount rate—that is, the rate it charged on loans to member banks—in order to raise interest rates in the United States, which would stem the outflow of American gold and dampen the booming stock market. As a result, the United States began to receive shipments of gold. By 1929, as countries around the world lost gold to France and the United States, these countries’ governments initiated deflationary policies to stem their gold outflows and remain on the gold standard. These deflationary policies were designed to restrict economic activity and reduce price levels, and that is exactly what they did. Thus began the worldwide Great Depression.

    The onset of the contraction led to the end of the stockmarket boom and the crash in late October 1929. However, the stock market collapse did not cause the depression; nor can it explain the extraordinary length and depth of the American contraction. In most countries, such as Britain, France, Canada, the Netherlands, and the Nordic countries, the depression was less severe and shorter, often ending by 1931. Those countries did not have the banking and financial crises that the United States did, and most left the gold standard earlier than the United States did. In the United States, in contrast, the contraction continued for four years from the summer of 1929 through the first quarter of 1933. During that time real GNP fell 30.5 percent, wholesale prices fell 30.8 percent, and consumer prices fell 24.4 percent.

    In previous depressions, wage rates typically fell 9-10 percent during a one- to two-year contraction; these falling wages made it possible for more workers than otherwise to keep their jobs. However, in the Great Depression, manufacturing firms kept wage rates nearly constant into 1931, something commentators considered quite unusual. With falling prices and constant wage rates, real hourly wages rose sharply in 1930 and 1931. Though some spreading of work did occur, firms primarily laid off workers. As a result, unemployment began to soar amid plummeting production, particularly in the durable manufacturing sector, where production fell 36 percent between the end of 1929 and the end of 1930 and then fell another 36 percent between the end of 1930 and the end of 1931.

    Why had wages not fallen as they had in previous contractions? One reason was that President Herbert Hoover prevented them from falling. He had been appalled by the wage rate cuts in the 1920-1921 depression and had preached a “high wage” policy throughout the 1920s. By the late 1920s, many business and labor leaders and academic economists believed that policies to keep wage rates high would maintain workers’ level of purchasing, providing the “steadier” markets necessary to thwart economic contractions. When President Hoover organized conferences in December 1929 to urge business, industrial, and labor leaders to hold the line on wage rates and dividends, he found a willing audience. The highly protective Smoot-Hawley Tariff, passed in mid-1930, was supposed to provide protection from lower-cost imports for firms that maintained wage rates. Thus, it was not until well into 1931 that the steadily deteriorating business conditions led the boards of directors of a number of larger firms to begin significant wage rate cuts, often over the protest of the firms’ top executives, who had pledged to maintain wage rates.

    The Smoot-Hawley Tariff was another piece of Hoover’s strategy. Though there was not a general call for tariff increases, Hoover proposed it in 1929 as a means of aiding farmers. He quickly lost control of the bill and it ended up protecting American businesses in general with much less real protection for farmers. Many of the tariff increases in the Smoot-Hawley Tariff were quite large; for example, the tariff on Canadian hard winter wheat rose 40 percent, and that on scientific glass instruments rose from 65 percent to 85 percent. Overall on dutiable imports the tariff rate rose from 40.1 percent to 53.21 percent. There was some explicit retaliation for the American tariff increases such as Spain’s Wais Tariff. Some other countries’ planned tariff increases were encouraged and probably expedited by the action of the United States.

    Firms also heeded Hoover’s call to let the contraction fall on profits rather than on dividends. Dividends in 1930 were almost as large as in 1929, but undistributed corporate profits plummeted from $2.8 billion in 1929 to −$2.6 billion in 1930. (These numbers may sound small, but compared with the 1929 U.S. GNP of $103.1 billion, they were substantial.) The value of firms’ securities fell sharply, leading to a significant deterioration in the portfolios of banks. As conditions worsened and banks’ losses increased, bank runs and bank failures increased. The first major bank runs and failures occurred in the Southeast in November 1930; these were followed by more runs and failures in December. There was another flurry of bank runs and bank failures in the late spring and early summer of 1931. After Great Britain left the gold standard in September 1931, the Federal Reserve System initiated relatively large increases in the discount rate to stem the gold outflow. Overseas investors in nations still on the gold standard expected the United States to either devalue the dollar or go off the gold standard as Great Britain had done. The result would be that the dollars they held, or their dollar-denominated securities, would be worth less. To prevent this they sold dollars to obtain gold from the United States. The Fed’s policy moves gave overseas investors confidence that the United States would honor its gold commitment. The rise in American interest rates also made it more costly to sell American assets for dollars to redeem in gold. The resulting rise in interest rates caused not only more business failures, but also a sharp rise in bank failures. In the late spring and early summer of 1932, the Federal Reserve System finally undertook open market purchases, bringing some signs of relief and possible recovery to the beleaguered American economy.

    Hoover’s fiscal policy accelerated the decline. In December 1929, as a means of demonstrating the administration’s faith in the economy, Hoover had reduced all 1929 income tax rates by 1 percent because of the continuing budget surpluses. By 1930 the surplus had turned into a deficit that grew rapidly as the economy contracted. By the end of 1931 Hoover had decided to recommend a large tax increase in an attempt to balance the budget; Congress approved the tax increase in 1932. Personal exemptions were reduced sharply to increase the number of taxpayers, and rates were sharply increased. The lowest marginal rate rose from 1.125 percent to 4.0 percent, and the top marginal rate rose from 25 percent on taxable income in excess of $100,000 to 63 percent on taxable income in excess of $1 million as the rates were made much more progressive. We now understand that such a huge tax increase does not promote recovery during a contraction. By reducing households’ disposable income, it led to a reduction in household spending and a further contraction in economic activity.

    The Fed’s expansionary monetary policy ended in the early summer of 1932. After his election in November 1932, President-elect Roosevelt refused to outline his policies or endorse Hoover’s, and he refused to deny that he would devalue the dollar against gold after he took office in March 1933. Bank runs and bank failures resumed with a vengeance, and American dollars began to be redeemed for gold as the gold outflow resumed. As financial conditions worsened in January and February 1933, state governments began declaring banking holidays, closing down states’ entire financial sectors. Roosevelt’s national banking holiday stopped the runs and banking failures and finally ended the contraction.

    Between 1929 and 1933, 10,763 of the 24,970 commercial banks in the United States failed. As the public increasingly held more currency and fewer deposits, and as banks built up their excess reserves, the money supply fell 30.9 percent from its 1929 level. Though the Federal Reserve System did increase bank reserves, the increases were far too small to stop the fall in the money supply. As businesses saw their lines of credit and money reserves fall with bank closings, and consumers saw their bank deposit wealth tied up in drawn-out bankruptcy proceedings, spending fell, worsening the collapse in the Great Depression.

    The national banking holiday ended the protracted banking crisis, began to restore the public’s confidence in banks and the economy, and initiated a recovery from April through September 1933. President Roosevelt came into office proposing a New Deal for Americans, but his advisers believed, mistakenly, that excessive competition had led to overproduction, causing the depression. The centerpieces of the New Deal were the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) and the National Recovery Administration (NRA), both of which were aimed at reducing production and raising wages and prices. Reduced production, of course, is what happens in depressions, and it never made sense to try to get the country out of depression by reduc ing production further. In its zeal, the administration apparently did not consider the elementary impossibility of raising all real wage rates and all real prices.
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  24. The AAA immediately set out to slaughter six million baby pigs and reduce breeding sows to reduce pork production and raise prices. Since cotton plantings were thought to be excessive, cotton farmers were paid to plow under one-quarter of the forty million acres of cotton to reduce marketed production to boost prices. Most of the payments went to the landowners, not the tenants, making conditions desperate for tenant farmers. Though landowners were supposed to share the payments with their tenant farmers, they were not legally obligated to do so and most did not. As a result, tenant farmers, and especially black tenants, who were more easily discriminated against, received none of the payments and less or no income from cotton production after large portions of the crop were plowed under. Where persuasion was ineffective in inducing the many independent farmers to reduce production, the federal government intended to mandate production cutbacks and purchase the product to take it off the market and raise prices.

    The NRA was a vast experiment in cartelizing American industry. Code authorities in each industry were set up to determine production and investment, as well as to standardize firm practices and costs. The entire apparatus was aimed at raising prices and reducing, not increasing, production and investment. As the NRA codes began to take effect in the fall of 1933, they had precisely that effect. The recovery that had seemed so promising in the summer largely stopped, and there was little increase in economic activity from the fall of 1933 through midsummer 1935. Enforcement of the codes was sporadic, disagreement over the codes increased, and, in smaller, more competitive industries, fewer firms adhered to the codes. The Supreme Court ruled the NRA unconstitutional on May 27, 1935, and the AAA unconstitutional on January 6, 1936. Released from the shackles of the NRA, American industry began to expand production. By the fall of 1935 a vigorous recovery was under way.

    The introduction of the NRA had initially brought about a sharp increase in money and real wage rates as firms attempted to comply with the NRA’s blanket code. As firms’ enthusiasm for the NRA waned, money wage rates increased little and real average wage rates actually fell slightly in 1934 and early 1935. In addition, many workers decided not to join independent labor unions. These factors helped the recovery. Unhappy with the lack of union power, however, Senator Robert Wagner, in the summer of 1935, authored the National Labor Relations Act to ensure that union members could force other workers to join their unions with a simple majority vote, thus effectively monopolizing the labor force. Internal dissension and the new Congress of Industrial Organizations’ (CIO) development of strategies to use the new law kept labor unions from taking advantage of the new act until late in 1936. In the first half of 1937, the CIO’s massive organizing drives led to labor union recognition at many large firms. Generally, the new contracts raised hourly wage rates and created overtime wage rates as real hourly labor costs surged.

    Several other factors also pushed up real labor costs. One factor was the new Social Security taxes instituted in 1936 and 1937. Also, Roosevelt had pushed through a new tax on undistributed corporate profits, expecting this to cause firms to pay out undistributed profits in dividends. Though some firms did pay out part of the retained earnings in larger dividends, others, such as the firms in the steel industry, also paid bonuses and raised wage rates to avoid paying their retained earnings in new taxes. As these three policies came together, real hourly labor costs jumped without corresponding increases in demand or prices, and firms responded by reducing production and laying off employees.

    The second major policy change was in monetary policy. Following the end of the contraction, banks, as a precaution against bank runs, had begun to hold large excess reserves. Officials at the Federal Reserve System knew that if banks used a large percentage of those excess reserves to increase lending, the money supply would quickly expand and price inflation would follow. Their studies suggested that the excess reserves were distributed widely across banks, and they assumed that these reserves were due to the low level of loan demand. Because banks were not borrowing at the discount window and the Fed had no bonds to sell on the open market, its only tool to reduce excess reserves was the new one of varying reserve requirements. Between August 1, 1936, and May 1, 1937, in three steps, the Fed doubled reserve requirements for all classes of member banks, wiping out much of the excess reserves, especially at the larger banks. The banks, burned by their lack of excess reserves in the early 1930s, responded by beginning to restore the excess reserves, which entailed reducing loans. Within eighteen months, excess reserves were almost as large as before the reserve requirement increases, and, necessarily, the stock of money was lower.

    By June 1937, the recovery—during which the unemployment rate had fallen to 12 percent—was over. Two policies, labor cost increases and a contractionary monetary policy, caused the economy to contract further. Although the contraction ended around June 1938, the ensuing recovery was quite slow. The average rate of unemployment for all of 1938 was 19.1 percent, compared with an average unemployment rate for all of 1937 of 14.3 percent. Even in 1940, the unemployment rate still averaged 14.6 percent.

    Why was the recovery from the Great Depression so slow? A number of economists now argue that the NRA and monetary policy were important factors. Some maintain that Roosevelt’s vacillating policies and new federal regulations hindered recovery (Gary Dean Best, Richard Vedder and Lowell Gallaway, and Gary Walton), while others emphasize monetary factors (Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz, Christian Saint-Etienne, and Barry Eichengreen). The New Deal’s NRA has received much criticism (Gary Dean Best, Gene Smiley, Richard Vedder and Lowell Gallaway, Gary Walton, and Michael Weinstein). A now discredited explanation from Alvin Hansen argued that the United States had exhausted its investment opportunities. E. Cary Brown, Larry Peppers, and Thomas Renaghan emphasize federal fiscal policies that were a drag on the return to full employment. Michael Bernstein argues that investment problems retarded the recovery because the older established industries could not generate sufficient investment while newer, growing industries had trouble obtaining investment funds in the depressed environment. Alexander Field argues that the uncontrolled housing investment of the 1920s severely reduced housing investment in the 1930s.

    One of the most coherent explanations, which pulls together several of these themes, is what economic historian Robert Higgs calls “regime uncertainty.” According to Higgs, Roosevelt’s New Deal led business leaders to question whether the current “regime” of private property rights in their firms’ capital and its income stream would be protected. They became less willing, therefore, to invest in assets with long lives. Roosevelt had first suspended the antitrust laws so that American businesses would cooperate in government-instigated cartels; he then switched to using the antitrust laws to prosecute firms for cooperating. New taxes had been imposed, and some were then removed; increasing regulation of businesses had reduced businesses’ ability to act independently and raise capital; and new legislation had reduced their freedom in hiring and employing labor. Public opinion surveys of business at the end of the 1930s provided evidence of this regime uncertainty. Public opinion polls in March and May 1939 asked whether the attitude of the Roosevelt administration toward business was delaying recovery, and 54 and 53 percent, respectively, said yes while 26 and 31 percent said no. Fifty-six percent believed that in ten years there would be more government control of business while only 22 percent thought there would be less. Sixty-five percent of executives surveyed thought that the Roosevelt administration policies had so affected business confidence that the recovery had been seriously held back. Initially many firms were reluctant to engage in war contracts. The vast majority believed that Roosevelt’s administration was strongly antibusiness, and this discouraged practical cooperation with Washington on rearmament.

    It is commonly argued that World War II provided the stimulus that brought the American economy out of the Great Depression. The number of unemployed workers declined by 7,050,000 between 1940 and 1943, but the number in military service rose by 8,590,000. The reduction in unemployment can be explained by the draft, not by the economic recovery. The rise in real GNP presents similar problems. Most estimates show declines in real consumption spending, which means that consumers were worse off during the war. Business investment fell during the war. Government spending on the war effort exceeded the expansion in real GNP. These figures are suspect, however, because we know that government estimates of the value of munitions spending, to name one major area, were increasingly exaggerated as the war progressed. In fact, the extensive price controls, rationing, and government control of production render data on GNP, consumption, investment, and the price level less meaningful. How can we establish a consistent price index when government mandates eliminated the production of most consumer durable goods? What does the price of, say, gasoline mean when it is arbitrarily held at a low level and gasoline purchases are rationed to address the shortage created by the price controls? What does the price of new tires mean when no new tires are produced for consumers? For consumers, the recovery came with the war’s end, when they could again buy products that were unavailable during the war and unaffordable during the 1930s.

    Could the Great Depression happen again? It could, but such an event is unlikely because the Federal Reserve Board is unlikely to sit idly by while the money supply falls by one-third. The wisdom gained in the years since the 1930s probably gives our policymakers enough insight to make decisions that will keep the economy out of such a major depression.
    About the Author

    Gene Smiley is an emeritus professor of economics at Marquette University.
    Further Reading
    Bernstein, Michael. The Great Depression: Delayed Recovery and Economic Change in America, 1929-1939. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987.
    Best, Gary Dean. Pride, Prejudice, and Politics: Roosevelt Versus Recovery, 1933-1938. New York: Praeger, 1991.
    Bordo, Michael D., Claudia Goldin, and Eugene N. White, eds. The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.
    Brown, E. Cary. “Fiscal Policy in the Thirties: A Reappraisal.” American Economic Review 46 (December 1956): 857-879.
    Brunner, Karl, ed. The Great Depression Revisited. Boston: Martinus Nijhoff, 1981.
    Cole, Harold L., and Lee E. Ohanian. “New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis.” Journal of Political Economy 112 (August 2004): 779-816.
    Eichengreen, Barry. Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
    Field, Alexander J. “Uncontrolled Land Development and the Duration of the Depression in the United States.” Journal of Economic History 52 (June 1992): 785-805.
    Friedman, Milton, and Anna Jacobson Schwartz. A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963.
    Glasner, David. Free Banking and Monetary Reform. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
    Hall, Thomas, and J. David Ferguson. The Great Depression: An International Disaster of Perverse Economic Policies. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998.
    Hansen, Alvin. Full Recovery or Stagnation? New York: Norton, 1938.
    Higgs, Robert. Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.
    Higgs, Robert. “Regime Uncertainty: Why the Great Depression Lasted So Long and Why Prosperity Returned After the War.” Independent Review 1 (Spring 1997): 561-590.
    Higgs, Robert. “Wartime Prosperity? A Reassessment of the U.S. Economy in the 1940s.” Journal of Economic History 52 (March 1992): 41-60.
    O’Brien, Anthony Patrick. “A Behavioral Explanation for Nominal Wage Rigidity During the Great Depression.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 104 (November 1989): 719-735.
    Peppers, Larry. “Full-Employment Surplus Analysis and Structural Change: The 1930s.” Explorations in Economic History 10 (Winter 1973): 197-210.
    Renaghan, Thomas. “A New Look at Fiscal Policy in the 1930s.” Research in Economic History 11 (1988): 171-183.
    Saint-Etienne, Christian. The Great Depression, 1929-1938: Lessons for the 1980s. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1984.
    Smiley, Gene. Rethinking the Great Depression: A New View of Its Causes and Consequences. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2002.
    Temin, Peter. Did Monetary Forces Cause the Great Depression? New York: Norton, 1976.
    Temin, Peter. Lessons from the Great Depression. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1989.
    Temin, Peter. “Socialism and Wages in the Recovery from the Great Depression in the United States and Germany.” Journal of Economic History 50 (June 1990): 297-308.
    Temin, Peter, and Barrie Wigmore. “The End of One Big Deflation.” Explorations in Economic History 27 (October 1990): 483-502.
    Vedder, Richard K., and Lowell P. Gallaway. Out of Work: Unemployment and Government in Twentieth-Century America. New York: Holmes and Meier, 1993.
    Walton, Gary M., ed. Regulatory Change in an Atmosphere of Crisis: Current Implications of the Roosevelt Years. New York: Academic Press, 1979.
    Weinstein, Michael. Recovery and Redistribution Under the NIRA. Amsterdam: North-Holland, 1980.
    Wright, Gavin. “The Political Economy of New Deal Spending: An Econometric Analysis.” Review of Economics and Statistics 56 (February 1974): 30-38.
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  25. We're not there. Not even close.

    The biggest difference is the banking system represented a value of about 50% of GDP in 1929. Today, 11%.

    Its just not the same.
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  26. You appeared to selectively read the article, B. If you notice, the focus of the article was at the peak of the Depression; the peak I mentioned here:

    The fact is, total product value, GNP, and GDP suffered a drastic decrease in a twenty-four month period after Black Friday, but showed significant growth from 1932-onward; in fact, most individuals not in the banking industry faired much better in 1933 than they did in 1929
    It then goes on to touch on the little-mentioned recovery period through 1938 [1937 in this estimate] that rebounded consumer goods prices. It also goes onto mention the same phenomena which I state above.

    It also mentions this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletsoldier
    Actually, unemployment rates did not reach stratospheric levels until 1933, and the 1/5 state of unemployment [actually 19%] was a transient phenomenon; a more realistic and unbiased figure is approximately 12% which is the average of unemployment based on historical statistic estimates from Black Friday to 1941
    Which is a more fair and aggregate estimate taken from the U.S., Census Bureau's historical database.

    It then goes on to mention the particularly hard-hit banking centers which I mentioned here:

    in fact, most individuals not in the banking industry faired much better in 1933 than they did in 1929.
    I also touched on the historicity of these events:

    Every recession is bound by certain historical conditions, which invariably alter the social significance of the epoch; there are not droves of individuals roaming the streets for food stamps because we have competent credit institutions, social assistance programs and an entirely different political-economic structure whose Keynesian-throwback systems are not predisposed to total collapse like they were in 1929.
    Now, as I was saying, removing the precipitous and disastrous drops in GDP, GNP and consumer goods prices from in the first phase of the Depression '29-'33, the actual economic statistics when viewed in aggregate fashion from '29-'41 are similar to what is occurring now. Obviously, as I said, "every recession is bound by certain historical conditions, which invariably alter the social significance of the epoch" which of course amounts to 'this time' being "not even close". You are applying both political-economic and social criteria when I was merely touching on the exclusive economic data, viewed in aggregate, in my comparison. The socio-historically binding conditions of credit institutions and a more competent social assistance structure automatically preclude this recession from ever being as socially significant; however, the aggregate economic statistics are similar when disregarding '29-'33.

  27. Quote Originally Posted by Mulletsoldier View Post
    You appeared to selectively read the article, B. If you notice, the focus of the article was at the peak of the Depression; the peak I mentioned here:



    It then goes on to touch on the little-mentioned recovery period through 1938 [1937 in this estimate] that rebounded consumer goods prices. It also goes onto mention the same phenomena which I state above.

    It also mentions this:



    Which is a more fair and aggregate estimate taken from the U.S., Census Bureau's historical database.

    It then goes on to mention the particularly hard-hit banking centers which I mentioned here:



    I also touched on the historicity of these events:



    Now, as I was saying, removing the precipitous and disastrous drops in GDP, GNP and consumer goods prices from in the first phase of the Depression '29-'33, the actual economic statistics when viewed in aggregate fashion from '29-'41 are similar to what is occurring now. Obviously, as I said, "every recession is bound by certain historical conditions, which invariably alter the social significance of the epoch" which of course amounts to 'this time' not being "not even close". You are applying both political-economic and social criteria when I was merely touching on the exclusive economic data, viewed in aggregate, in my comparison. The socio-historically binding conditions of credit institutions and a more competent social assistance structure automatically preclude this recession from ever being as socially significant; however, the aggregate economic statistics are similar when disregarding '29-'33.
    I should clarify that the contraction mentioned in the article is the similar condition to our current economic recession. Obviously, the Great Depression was an economic and a social event, exacerbated by certain factors that cannot be reproduced; therefore, as I have said, this crisis will never mirror that one. However, as I have also said, the economic statistics of today are similar when viewing the statistics of the immediate pre-depression period, and the recovery periods [two of them].

  28. Quote Originally Posted by Mulletsoldier View Post
    You appeared to selectively read the article, B. If you notice, the focus of the article was at the peak of the Depression; the peak I mentioned here:
    I don't think you read the article that I posted because it explains in detail pre, during and post depression.


    Comparing the result of a "recession" without backstops in place to one that currently does have such backstops isn't a fair comparison. Industries simply don't react in the same fashion with said backstops in place.

    Comparing an economy that was on the gold standard, crippled by the Dust Bowl, had price fixing at times on selective industries skews the entire argument. Its simply not an accurate comparison in terms of numbers. When the government regulates prices, it sort of throws the numbers out the window.

    If you want to defend Obama's use of the word Depression because of some inflated and inaccurate numbers, be my guest. Have a ball.

    Most economists scoff at the comparisons. It eventually turns out to be a conversation on how it was different than vs how it is now, not a debate on statistics between the two periods.



    When Obama invokes the "Great Depression" he isn't invoking some statistical similarities, he is invoking fear.
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  29. Never enough
    EasyEJL's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmo Kramer View Post
    When Obama invokes the "Great Depression" he isn't invoking some statistical similarities, he is invoking fear.
    yeah, its what each president really hopes for, so they can push their agenda as far as they can
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  30. Quote Originally Posted by Mulletsoldier View Post
    I should clarify that the contraction mentioned in the article is the similar condition to our current economic recession.
    As with most recessions.

    Obviously, the Great Depression was an economic and a social event, exacerbated by certain factors that cannot be reproduced; therefore, as I have said, this crisis will never mirror that one.
    Which was my point.


    However, as I have also said, the economic statistics of today are similar when viewing the statistics of the immediate pre-depression period, and the recovery periods [two of them].
    As I said before, its inaccurate to rely on numbers that are fudged by government price fixes, rationing, and estimations and regulation of trade.


    As most economist agree, real recovery didn't even occur until 46.
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