Thursday, February 12, 2009

Republican inanity

A wonderful quote from Rep. Steve Austria (R-Ohio) had this to say: "When (President Franklin) Roosevelt did this, he put our country into a Great Depression. He tried to borrow and spend, he tried to use the Keynesian approach, and our country ended up in a Great Depression. That's just history."

Well, Roosevelt and the Great Depression are history, that's true. However, that's about all of his statement that has any connection to reality. The Great Depression began in 1929. Roosevelt didn't become president until 1933, 4 years later. Keynes didn't write his book on economics until 1936, 3 years after that.

Now, admittedly, after being presented with the historical record, Austria did backtrack: "I did not mean to imply in any way that President Roosevelt was responsible for putting us into the Depression, but rather was trying to make the point that Roosevelt’s attempt to use significant spending to get us out of the Depression did not have the desired effect."

Again, not exactly correct. The GDP had declined from $103.6 billion in 1929 to $56.4 billion in 1933, and started rising in 1934 to $66.0 billion and continued to rise through the start of WWII with only one drop in 1938 (the year FDR cut funds from a large part of the New Deal to help balance the budget). You can find detailed numbers at the BEA's web site.

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