Member Rara Avis
So, I believe I can make a case for those actions and you cannot make one similar for the stimulus plan.
Of course I can, Mike. And it would probably be more credible than yours. If military action in Afghanistan hasn't prevented Al Qaeda from GREATLY increasing their attacks in Iraq, what makes you think it had any real impact in the United States? If we've got them running at all it seems to be in the wrong direction, and if we've kept them busy it sure seems like the wrong kind of busy. The only demonstrable thing that has clearly helped prevent more American attacks is increased security, both here and abroad. And that, of course, has nothing to do with our boys being in Afghanistan.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting we shouldn't have gone after Al Qaeda on their home turf. On the contrary, I'm only sorry we lost focus and didn't finish the job when we had the best chance. However, I see military action as a possible deterrent, not an effective counter-measure.
You want a case for the stimulus plan?
Just take a look at our economy in 1929. That's what could have happened in 2008. All of the signs were there, and indeed, many feel America was in much deeper poo two years ago than we've seen in all our history. In 1932, Mike, national unemployment was 23.6 percent. Without the bailouts and without the consumer support fueled by the stimulus plan, that's likely where Denise's charts would show us today. Recession, Mike? Two years ago, we were poised for another Depression. Or worse.
The Great Depression, of course, didn't affect just the United States, but rather hit most of the civilized world (in large part, sadly, because America passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff in 1930). Not all of the countries hit, however, reacted the same.
The first country to turn things around was Sweden.
In chapter six of capital imports and exports" by Erin Elver Jucker-Fleetwood, the author sets Sweden's turn-around during the summer of 1933 (roughly six years before America would see similarly positive signs). The author goes on to say, "The (Swedish) government had declared its intention of pursuing a public works policy in order to provide work and sustain consumption. This policy did not, however, really come into effect before 1934, when the upswing had already started."
Gee, that sounds eerily familiar, doesn't it?
At the same time Sweden was seeing strong signs of recovery, the recently elected Roosevelt became obsessed with a balanced budget and rejected Keynes' advice to begin heavy deficit spending. Where Sweden spent its way out of the Depression, America's more conservative approach doomed us to another six years of suffering.
The second country to recover?
That would be Germany, in 1936, through extremely heavy deficit spending as she prepared for war. In 1937, after some small signs of economic growth, Roosevelt actually cut spending and, that summer, America plunged into a double-dip recession.
In 1938 Britain became the third nation to recover -- because it began deficit spending in preparation for war. America didn't begin emerging from the Depression until 1939, when we borrowed and spent $1 billion to build our armed forces. That, of course, was the same year Hitler invaded Poland.
When the war ended in 1945 the United States emerged as the world's only economic superpower as deficit spending shot our national debt to a staggering 121 percent the size of the GDP. By comparison, our debt ranged from about 57 percent of GDP in 2000 when Bush took office to 69 percent at the beginning of the recession in 2008. Today it rests at about 94 percent. High, yes. Unprecedented, no. Check it out yourself ...
It's a little ironic, Mike, that the staggering 121 percent of GDP national debt in 1945 gave rise to . . . us. The Baby Boom generation.
I'm guessing our parents didn't feel they were saddling their children with a debt from which they could never recover? They were, judging by the unprecedented and never again repeated deluge of rug rags from 1945 to 1950, a little more optimistic about the future of America than you often seem to be. The incredible economic boom in America that ran from 1945 to about 1963 would seem to suggest their optimism was justified, don't you think?
You see, Mike, I really don't need to make a case for the stimulus plan. History has already done that for us.