Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Arlington, Texas
Can we "war" our way out of this economy???
No… it’s a popular misconception that the Great Depression was ended by some combination of FDR’s New Deal and the advent of World War II. While Roosevelt’s high deficit spending helped spur some economic growth it didn’t effectively address the underlying causes. Average unemployment throughout the ‘New Deal’ was 17.2%. The War merely put the Depression on hold – real prosperity returned in the postwar years.
The end of World War II found Europe, Japan, the Soviet Union and China decimated. (Russia alone had 6 million military deaths, 10 million civilian deaths and 25 million homeless.) By comparison, America was virtually untouched – its industrial might and attending infrastructure was entirely intact and mobilized. America emerged as the preeminent military AND economic power of the immediate postwar years.
What were the results of this industrial disparity: In 1955 the U.S. comprised roughly 6% of the world’s population but produced nearly half of the world’s goods. From 1949 to 1959 median family income, corrected for inflation, rose by 48%. Inflation averaged 1.6% from 1948 to 1963.
This era of the ‘affluent society’ was indeed a golden age for America. Unfortunately we squandered that advantage. By the 1970’s, when the rest of the world had rebuilt and was ready to compete with us, what had we done to prepare? We allowed unions and government to destroy our industrial base. We allowed the proliferation of the welfare state which sapped our work ethic, replaced responsibility with a sense of entitlement and replaced traditional values with the amoral vacuum of secularism. We became increasingly dependent on foreign oil which left our economy susceptible to outside manipulation.
Obama takes the stage at an opportune time. Like FDR and Johnson before him, the coming president is presented with a political and economic climate that is ripe for yet another expansion of federal authority. But more of the bad tonic Socialism isn’t going to cure this patient. The good ol’ days aren’t ever coming back. The election of Obama and trillion dollar budget deficits are just more evidence of America’s decline.