Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Republicans: Saving the economy ruins the economy (seriously?)

There's been a meme that's been getting bigger and bigger, much to my profound annoyance; that of the right/Republicans claiming that not only did FDR's New Deal not help end the Great Depression, but rather helped prolong it. The Heritage Foundation, some kooky hyper-libertarian on Colbert a couple months ago, Ron Paul on Bill Maher's Real Time with Bill Maher. (Not that Ron Paul isn't a kooky hyper-libertarian.)

David Sirota wrote at Salon two months ago about this, as part of a larger analysis of Obama's stimulus package.

[Obama rejected] conservatives' increasingly loud claims that the New Deal "prolonged the Great Depression" - claims that are demonstrably false. As Census data shows, the pre-WWII New Deal spending and regulatory agenda resulted both in robust GDP growth rates and the single biggest decline in the unemployment rate in American history. Unbelievably, conservative think tanks have resorted to quite literally lying about government data, claiming, as the Heritage Foundation has, that the "New Deal never drove unemployment below 20 percent." As you can see from the Census Bureau's verifiable data from 1936 and 1937, that claim is a patent lie - and it's great that Obama and his economic team seems to understand that.

Sirota also points out how raising taxes does not hurt productivity or GDP growth, according to, you know, research rather than rhetoric, and according to a Republican's analysis, GDP growth is larger from infrastructure building than from tax cuts. Of course, I myself could give a shit about GDP growth, for nine reasons from Sunday, but once again the work/blog balance calls out, and work, I must go to her.

But before I go, I got on to all of this by reading this article on The Root about the racism that barred the New Deal from helping Blacks anything remotely near as much as it helped Whites, the need for African-Americans today to vocally and forcefully act and support the stimulus, and its spending in the "blackest" states, like Louisiana and Mississippi, whose governors have threatened not to spend stimulus money sent to the state to provide aid to the unemployed and other programs to help the economically disadvantaged, despite the fact that "in two of the blackest states, both with governors threatening to reject the aid, Mississippi and Louisiana, the rate [of unemployment] is three times that of whites". So yeah, go read Michael Dawson's article, too.

So here are your talking points/marching orders/background information sources to go out there and fight the conservative unreality-based-community, because seriously, yo, this shit about the New Deal prolonging the Great Depression -- pending some SERIOUSLY stronger and more mainstream analyses -- is getting on my last mother-lovin' nerve.

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