|George Santayana 1863-1952|
Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no directions is set for possible improvement, and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.
The establishment of a central bank of the United States has been a crucial and divisive issue of U.S. history from its inception. Opposition to the bank was the issue that prompted the creation of the Democratic Party and led the modern two-party system. Since its creation in the early 20thcentury, the Federal Reserve has steadily assumed more control over U.S. monetary policy and economy. [Joseph Nicholson]
Knowing the past is essential to preserve our freedoms. Professor Wood’s work heroically rescues real history from the politically correct memory hole. Every American should read this book.
[Rep. Dr. Ron Paul, MD, retiring from House of Representatives – review of The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History by Thomas E. Woods, PhD]
In 1932, Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt [FDR] defeated Hoover in a landslide. … One biographer said that there was no one more ignorant of economics than FDR. It showed.
The National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which established the National Recovery Administration, was an enormous contradiction. …it established hundreds of legally sanctioned, industry-wide cartels that were allowed to establish standard wages, hours of operation, and minimum prices. … The artificially high wages meant continuing unemployment, and the high prices meant hardship for nearly all Americans. …
FDR … proposed to pay farmers for cutting back on production or producing nothing at all. The decrease in supply, he believed, would raise farm prices. But in the meantime, he had to deal with the existing bounty. The administration decided to destroy much of what had already been produced to create a shortage and thereby raise farm prices. Six million pigs were slaughtered and ten million acres of cotton were destroyed.
Agriculture secretary Henry Wallace, as thoroughgoing a Soviet dupe this country has ever seen, described the wholesale destruction of crops and livestock as a “cleaning up of wreckage from the old days of unbalanced production.” … Unfortunately, massive government intervention in agriculture never went away. In the 1980s …farm programs were eating up $30 billion annually, two-thirds of which took the form of subsidies and the other third in higher prices to consumers. …all American industries that use sugar at a competitive advantage vis-à-vis foreign producers who are not forced to pay such an inflated price for sugar.
Other aspects of the New Deal damaged the economy. New Deal labor laws, as well as the increased labor costs associated with Social Security, further contributed to the unemployment problem [25%] – to the tune of an additional 1.2 million unemployed by 1938, according to economists Richard Vedder and Lowell Gallaway. …
FDR gave a tremendous boost to organized labor with the National Labor Relations Act, better known as the Wagner Act of 1935. … The ways in which labor unions impoverish society are legion, from distortions in the labor market to work rules that discourage efficiency and innovation. … Labor historians and activists would be at a loss to explain why, at a time when unionism was numerically negligible (a whopping 3% of the American labor force was unionized by 1900), real wages in manufacturing climbed an incredible 50% in the United States from 1860-1890, and another 37% from 1890-1914, or why American workers were so much better than their much more heavily unionized counterparts in Europe. …The New Deal’s admirers assure us that FDR’s massive spending projects provided jobs and economic stimulus. [sound familiar?] But such jobs are funded by taking money from some people (taxpayers) and giving it to others, so there is no net stimulus. In fact, such programs are positively bad in that they divert capital from the private sector and inhibit healthy job creation. Economists John Joseph Wallisand Daniel K. Benjamin found that the public-sector jobs “created” by New Deal spending programs either simply displaced or actually destroyed private-sector jobs. …
FDR’s public-works projects were rife with corruption. Economic historians have been at pains to account for the distribution of these projects around the country – why, for example, did the South, where people were the poorest, receive the least assistance from FDR’s Works Progress Administration (WPA)? … WPA workers were often pressured into supporting FDR’s favored candidates, changing their party affiliations, or “contributing” to FDR’s re-election campaign. An investigation by a Senate committee found case after case of WPA employees being instructed to contribute a portion of their salaries to the president’s reelection campaign if they wished to remain employed; of people being thrown off the relief rolls for refusing to pledge their support for a favored candidate; and of demands that registered Republicans on relief register as Democrats in order to keep their jobs.
This was by no means the only example of political intimidation that occurred during the FDR years. The standard textbook provides all the details of Watergate and of Richard Nixon’s abuse of power (as indeed it should), but not a word about FDR as the pioneer of this activity. When the Paulist Catholic radio station of poor Father James Gillis in Chicago criticized FDR’s court-packing scheme, the FCC took its license away. As early as 1935, FDR requested that the FBI initiate a series of investigations into a variety of conservative organizations, and later in the decade secretly sough proof (which, of course, never came) that prominent members of the America First Committee, routinely smeared as Nazi and traitors, were receiving Nazi money.
…the New Deal was actually criticized on constitutional grounds. In the 1930s there were still enough Supreme Court justices committed to an honest interpretation of the Constitution that programs like the National Industrial Recovery Act and the Agricultural Adjustment Act were actually declared unconstitutional. …the Court’s decisions infuriated FDR. …he went well beyond denunciations. In 1937, FDR proposed that when Supreme Court justices who had reached age seventy did not resign or retire, one additional justice could be added to the Court. …At first, the president tried to claim that his plan was intended simply to provide assistance to elderly justices. … Opposition to the plan was intense, and included many of FDR’s fellow Democrats. Thankfully, the bill was rejected. …some suspect that the president’s pressure accounts for why Justice Owen Roberts suddenly became more friendlier to the administration in his decisions. It turns out, however, that FDR would get his chance to influence the Court … The Senate Judiciary Committee:
We recommend the rejection of this bill as a needless, futile, and utterly dangerous abandonment of constitutional principle … Its practical operation would be to make the Constitution what the executive or legislative branches of the Government choose to say it is – an interpretation to be changed with each change of administration. It is a measure which should be so emphatically rejected that its parallel will never again be presented to the free representatives of the free people of America. …
Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First, a right to life. Second, to liberty. Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature.[Samuel Adams, Boston town meeting, November 20th, 1772]
Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one.