Amity Shlaes “Rewrite history tour” continues apace. Recall that a few short months ago, Ms. Shlaes was insisting that we were not in a recession.

What is her solution to the current situation? Tax cuts.


Why a Modern-Day New Deal Won’t Work 12/1/2008

Amity Shlaes, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, explains to Dow Jones Newswires’ Simon Constable why the New Deal didn’t work in the 1930s and why Nobel laureate Paul Krugman is wrong to think a similar stimulus will work this time.

Category: Bailouts, Taxes and Policy, Video

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

24 Responses to “Amity Shlaes: Clueless as Ever”

  1. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    Speaking of Clueless:

    Stocks Are Less of Your Net Worth Than You Think

    At first, I thought this article was written to those who had not opened their broker’s statement for the last quarter…but now I realize it is just to say, don’t worry, social security will help you more than you realized before you lost everything in the stock market…

    How about: Your home is now less of your net worth than you think?

    OR You recently lost job now contributes less of your net worth than you thought?

    OR Your upside down mortgage makes you worth even less than you think..

    and so on..:)

  2. vic says:

    So what? She didn’t see the recession coming, but that doesn’t mean she’s wrong about Krugman’s fantasy economics. The religious dogma that is taken as canon amongst the economics profession, including by Krugman, is that you can print your way out of a recession. This laughable religion is called Keynesianism.

    Bob Murphy does a good job of eviscerating the superstitions and dogmas attendant of this religion.

  3. sidhra says:

    She didn’t see the recession coming while it was already well underway.

  4. Bruce N Tennessee says:

    And I am clueless…I look at these Goldman and Redbook sales numbers for November, and am still thinking this holiday season is very weak, as I would have expected.

    “Both Redbook and ICSC-Goldman, despite the late-month improvement, show full-month year-on-year November sales contracting. ”

    If this November was worse than last November…why is the MSM so happy?

    I wish Cinefoz was still here to explain my lack of enthusiasm to me..maybe I just need to go buy a new car…

  5. jmborchers says:

    Did Cinefoz go broke?

    My market prediction for tomorrow. Green. I’m having one hell of a streak. It’s got to end soon, LOL.

  6. jmborchers says:

    Is it just me or is corporate debt selling after hours again? I haven’t seen debt sell in so long I forgot what the news looks like.

  7. wunsacon says:

    So, when do WSJ writers start making CNBC-like observations like “we’re off today’s lows”?

  8. Urkel says:


    “The religious dogma that is taken as canon amongst the economics profession, including by Krugman, is that you can print your way out of a recession. This laughable religion is called Keynesianism.”

    …and I take that your view on other “religious dogma” such as the ‘Reagan Revolution’ and similar shams is the same?

    There is overwhelming evidence that the New Deal worked back in the 30′s and built a society with many that many including “conservatives” enjoy and take for granted. Whether or Krugman’s and others (including oh-so conservative auto- and bank-CEOs) proposals will work is a totally different question.

    Amity Shlaes is nothing more than history revisionist, blaming all ills on whatever programs and policies that she doesn’t happen to agree with. She just says what the big boys wants to hear. Just a way to make a living I guess. ‘Council on Foreign Relations’ – what a joke.

  9. vic says:

    Urkel: nope, I think Reagan was a big failure too. And you’re totally wrong that the New Deal “worked”. Even making such a claim would require a model to show how it causally “worked” (and a definition of what that even means). You just state it as fact, which is a joke.

    The fact is that unemployment remained near 20% throughout the entire decade of the 30s. In my book that is a sign of failure, not success.

    For students of the Depression, the history that I recommend is Rothbard’s classic America’s Great Depression, which is free online

  10. stormrunner says:

    Unfortunately the CFR is not a joke, it’s a who’s who list of the monied powers of the country. Their yesterday’s dogma will likely become tommorrows reality. Of course tax money is better spent bailing the financial services industry than it could ever possibly be feeding people with wages earned in public works projects.

  11. bardium says:

    Repeating a misconception over and over doesn’t make it right. Why did the 1929 market crash and recession, which was not unlike the crash of 1907, last ten years instead of 18 months? The fact is that spending didn’t get us out of the depression. Ill-conceived policies of Hoover and the New Deal is what caused the depression. This blog keeps attacking Schlaes without any basis in fact, without any examination of the New Deal, and without an evidence that fiscal stimulus (a) works and (b) got us out of the Great Depression. Don’t bring up Krugman as the antidote, because his sloppy research on this topic perpetuates the New Deal myth.

  12. gloppie says:

    Here is a suggestion:
    Give everybody a substantial RAISE. It’s overdue anyway, right? Rescind revenue tax for a couple of year and give the amount to people. Let the financial and auto maker sectors fail, or collapse, and augment the support given to the unemployed, re-train who needs to retrain. That is where the bailout money should go.
    As soon as people are done paying off some of their debt, which we know is too big, they will start spending again.
    And no, they probably won’t want to buy a big SUV any more, because they remember $4/Gal gas. So whoever comes up first with an alternative will hit the jackpot. The race is on, no need for incentive on the supply side, we need confidence on the demand side. The incentive on the demand side is here, it’s always here, it’s called greed, also known as “me-first”

  13. anewc2 says:

    @vic: I’m not qualified to referee an Austrian/Keynesian fight, but it seems to me that Bob Murphy’s argument must be pretty weak on substance if he has to resort to so many personal insults.

  14. mfwesq says:

    You’re the one who is clueless: Shlaes knows how to get her face out there–and money in her pocket. If her answer is always “tax cuts”, there will always be a paying audience. Just because she says it doesn’t mean she believes it.

  15. PFLcandidate says:

    “The fact is that unemployment remained near 20% throughout the entire decade of the 30s. In my book that is a sign of failure, not success.”

    Let’s see, according to “Historical Statistics of the United States” via Encarta, the unemployment rate by year was:

    1932 22%
    1933 25%
    1934 19%
    1935 18%
    1936 14%
    1937 12% <—-
    1938 18%
    1939 16%

    (Numbers are approximate, due to Encarta geek not knowing how to scale an axis).

    Note that the unemployment rate was dropping, until 1937. In ’37, Roosevelt made the mistake of listening to those voices who advocated balancing the budget (via cuts), and the rate started back up.

    So listen, before you start quoting “statistics”, you might want to do some actual research. There’s something call “The Google” which can help with that.

    Krugman fantasy? Only in the eyes of the dead-enders.

  16. weinerdog43 says:

    “Krugman fantasy? Only in the eyes of the dead-enders.”

    Thanks PFL. Unfortunately, wingnuts and libertarians are impervious to facts.

  17. molten_tofu says:

    What I love is how close RP Murphy makes to the right answer. If we just reword his argument a tiny bit…

    “Consumers Don’t Cause Recessions” –> Recessions Don’t Cause Consumers


  18. VoiceFromTheWilderness says:

    Oh that is hilarious. Yes indeed, the one size fits all policy: cut taxes.

    When you have ‘surplus’ — cut taxes
    When you have a war — cut taxes
    When you are out of power, your rallying cry to get into power: cut taxes
    When there is a recession — cut taxes
    When there is a depression — cut taxes
    When you are out of work, and looking to gain traction in the book market — cut taxes.

    Sing it with me now:
    ‘we’re gonna cut taxes til there ain’t no more
    we’re gonna cut taxes, we’re going to war
    We’re gonna cut taxes, but we love to spend
    We’re gonna cut taxes, that way we can lend

    Oh and PS: cut regulation too, this makes your economy more ‘attractive’ to business.

    That must be why all the businesses are folding — too much regulation.

    I wonder when business is going to start being attractive to us…

  19. confusedguy says:


    Didn’t Keynesian policies result in fifteen years of recession/depression from 1930-1945? How exactly did government spending “work”?

    From where I sit Keynesian policies over the past 38 years have resulted in massive imbalances in our economy (i.e. 70% of GDP is consumption) as well as huge misallocation of capital (e.g. hummers, disney trips, speculation in housing).

    Government spending with money that is printed into existence will not produce prosperity anymore than I can dunk on a fifteen foot basketball rim. Simply does not happen logically.

    Am I missing something?

    Krugman makes no sense to me.

  20. molten_tofu says:

    The observation to make which I think would at least clear up confusedguy would be: “Keynesian” economics talks about “stimulating” the economy when we are entering a bad recession/depression. “Stimulating” the economy with low interest rates/deficit spending all the time creates more-or-less worse situation.

    In other words “Keynesian” economists understand (we hope) that deficit spending year after year after year after year after… makes for bad policy. Even the wiki page manages to make this distinction:

    “Keynes argued that the solution to depression was to stimulate the economy…”

    The wiki page is actually pretty good reading, not sure if it’s right but check the page discussion and I’m sure you’ll get a bunch of sides of this story…

  21. Scott F says:

    Qualifications I Can Believe In

    I hadn’t realized that Amity Shlaes is a “senior fellow in economic history at the Council on Foreign Relations.” I kind of wonder what it takes to get made a senior fellow in economic history at the Council on Foreign Relations. She’s got a bachelor’s degree in English and her columns once won a prize from a libertarian organization for some articles that “compared the failing economy of high-taxed and over-regulated US state of Maine to the success of the increasingly economically liberal Ireland; and showed that US workers benefit from taking responsibility for their own pensions.” That’s it.

    I have a really, really, really hard time imagining the CFR doing something comparable for a liberal with so little in the way of relevant qualifications or track-record outside an ideological cocoon. Just saying. Where’s my fellowship?

  22. howard0339 says:

    For the Obama supporters to conveniently blame the Bush administration for anything and everything that’s wrong is like the firemen approaching a burning building and blaming the past building codes for the blaze while squirting an untried substance on the fire and watching it burn even brighter. THE BUILDING IS ON FIRE. PUT OUT THE FIRE.


    BR: They must have been paying attention to the right wing which blamed everything on Clinton. The difference is the Left wing was doing it 30 days after W departed, the right wing 8 years after Clinton . . .

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