Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Obama's War on Recovery (Lew Rockwell)

Lew Rockwell notes the irony of the anti-capitalist left embracing Obama even when he enriches his friends in the corporate elite, just as they embraced FDR when he did the same thing:

The Left, The Right, and the StateObama came to power with the idea of repeating the storybook-view of FDR's presidency and how he saved us from the Great Depression. Had he and his friends read the history more carefully, he would have seen how FDR did nothing of the sort. His policies waged war on recovery, perpetuating the problem he said he was solving.

And there is another respect in which the official history obscures the real history: it is believed that FDR unseated the capitalist class from their seats of power, and turned public policy toward the common man. In fact, the reality then looked like the reality now. The bailouts, the monetary inflation, the crazed spending, and the regulations ended up cartelizing the economy on behalf of powerful and well-connected industrial giants.

It was an interesting moment in the ideological history of the 20th century. By 1934, the left that had supported FDR was suddenly confronted with a difficult fact. All the legislation that the administration had passed was clearly helping the class of citizens they had long despised: the biggest of the big businesses. They were given power by the National Industrial Recovery Act and they had the president's ear.

A massive debate ensued within their journals and publications. People like John T. Flynn and Henry Hazlitt drew attention to the contradiction and turned on FDR, labeling him a fascist. Eventually, some of the old progressives came to realize that their highest ideals – fairness, freedom, opportunity for all, and service of the common man rather than the elites – are fulfilled within the free-market society.

But the rest of the left – the overwhelmingly large part of it – took their lead from the New Deal and adjusted their agenda. They came to terms with the corporate state and big government.

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