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Sunday, March 17, 2013

More Rewriting History

The Washington Post today has a review of "‘Coolidge’ by Amity Shlaes."

I was immediately struck by two things. One is that it is no surprise to see her writing a hagiography of Calvin Coolidge. Anyone familiar with the current state of the USA economy, and indeed the world economy, will notice that our current times are similar both to the roaring 20's and the Great Depression. The other thing I immediately noticed is that the author of the review is "Jeff Shesol, a former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton [who] is the author of “Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court” and a partner at West Wing Writers." So Amity Shlaes and Jeff both are partners at the same place, I almost didn't read the review because it seems to me the author has a conflict of interest. But fortunately the author's review was accurate enough. Indeed his own book contains refutations of some of the nonsense that Amity Shlaes writes.

Jeff writes:

"Shlaes’s contention is that the Great Crash would have come and gone had it not been for Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, their addiction to spending and their mania for government action. If Coolidge “fell short,” Shlaes allows, it was by failing to foresee “the extent to which succeeding presidents and Congresses would diverge from precedent when it came to economic policy.” In other words, Coolidge’s only mistake was in trusting his successors not to screw everything up."

And of course it is Bull. Amity is making a living by telling the world what her handlers want us to hear and trying to rewrite and turn on it's head history. He also writes:

"Here and elsewhere, Shlaes ignores or obscures the rot at the base of the Coolidge prosperity: the overheating of sectors such as autos and housing, the irresponsibility of the banking system, the persistence of poverty, and the tolerance of vast disparities in wealth and income. One need not have been a radical redistributionist to be concerned that during a decade in which corporate profits rose by 63 percent, factory workers saw only a 9 percent increase in wages. Their purchasing power, especially that of farmers, was far too weak to lift the economy when the bottom fell out. Indeed, the surge of speculation on Wall Street toward the end of the 1920s was not so much a cause but a symptom of deeper, structural dysfunctions in the U.S. economy. These were exposed, but were not created, by the stock market collapse of 1929."

She writes this stuff, because the Republicans would lionize the robber barons and their hucksters, like Coolidge, and confuse people into thinking that their repeated swindles aren't the cause of our repeated depressions, but the loans and foibles of common folks or "gubbornment."

Thom Hartmann used to periodically have her as a guest on his show. It was touching that she'd be working for home while having children, and was treated so well by her handlers. He would try to talk sense with her, but whenever he said something she didn't acknowledge she'd fall back into talking points, or simply into silence. She knows where the butter on her bread coming from.


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