Dan Yergin Puts the World on his Shoulders

by Amity Shlaes Wednesday, March 18, 2009

 Dan Yergin is doing what he did for the oil topic — heavy lifting on the substance — and taking up the task of sorting out what happened in the Great Depression. His take on Chairman Bernanke, NEC Director Summers, and Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers Christina Romer here.  It’s a rough load but if anyone can lift it, Dan can.

Whaples, Consensus on the Great Depression

by Amity Shlaes Thursday, January 15, 2009

One of the things we’ve been thinking about at the Council is the meaning of the New Deal and its impact on the Great Depression. We also talked a lot about it in my course at NYU/Stern. I get the impression some colleagues believe that the professional consensus is that the New Deal worked, economically. At Newsweek Daniel Gross sounds pretty certain of himself when he mocks those who are skeptical about the New Deal. Daniel writes that I, “George Will, and assorted libertarians cling bitterly to the notion that the New Deal didn’t work, that FDR’s policies of regulatory reform and sharply increased government spending were an abject failure, that the economy didn’t turn around until the day Japanese bombers dropped their payloads on Pearl Harbor. They believe Keynesian-style stimulus didn’t work in the 1930s, so it won’t work now.”

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Fooled by randomness

by Amity Shlaes Monday, January 5, 2009

One reason the Obama stimulus package is less bad than many feared is that it is less random than expected. There’s lots to critique in an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, one of the changes the plan will spend on.  But at least that forty percent of the stimulus package that is tax cuts will be identifiable and set.  That leaves only sixty percent of unknowables, outlays that can be truly random spending by Washington — those bridges to nowhere.

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