Wednesday, September 15, 2010

When I was informed that our first discussion would be based on an actual debate regarding the New Deal as "raw" or not, I was looking forward to hearing from two experts in the subject. I do not doubt for a minute their credibility. However, given the fact that the FEE decided to post this ,in which clearly their Austrian white knight was the victor, it seems that those of us who are not as informed about the New Deal policies, like myself, were really not given a well balanced view of these different perspectives. Mr. Malamud seemed to base the vast majority of his arguments on theory more than anything else. Frankly, it seemed as if he didn't put a great deal of thought into preparing. Reed, on the other hand, had his statistics ready, was well versed, and had a few jokes to please a clearly Austrian crowd. Nevertheless, like any series of policy reforms, I am going to assume, though I could be wrong, that the New Deal was not a continuous process of oppressive means to tax the more fortunate in rough times, nor am I going to make the case that it was the savior of the day.
We all learned in our history classes the idea of people withdrawing their money quickly from their banks, thus making the horrible extent of the depression inevitable, etc. However, I would be very interested to see what people's actual viewpoints were regarding the Emerging Banking Act. If I were conducting a study, for instance, I would not just conduct a survey following the passage of the act, but would see how quickly deposits were regained in the banks as well. If I had been so unfortunate to be living during this time, I would have seen it as a major relief. I would be willing to say that this was a likely success of the New Deal.
If I were mIaking the argument that the New Deal solved the primary issue of unemployment, I would lose worse than our poor friend Malamud. The statistics clearly show that the New Deal did not solve this problem, so unless someone wants to make this case, I am going to leave it at that. I will not, however, say the depression was prolonged as a result. I simply do not know. If someone were to tell me that our presiden't stimulus package were prolonging the current recession, I could give them a number of reasons why government interference isn't necessarily the reason for that.

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