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[An MP3 audio version of this article, read by Floy Lilley, is available as a free download.]
Dear Dr. Drew Westen,
I read your commentary this morning, as many have undoubtedly done. The economy is a very interesting and pressing current affair. I realize you may receive volumes of email regarding what you have written, so I hope you will consider taking time to read what I have to share.
Although I take issue with virtually all of what you have written in your commentary, please allow me to address a specific portion of your article:
The president needs to tell the American people the story, over and over, of how we got in this mess, who put us in it and what will and won't get us out of it. Franklin Roosevelt had no trouble pinning the nation's economic difficulties on the Republicans who had fiddled with free-market extremism as the nation's economy burned, and it took 40 years and the charisma of Ronald Reagan for anyone to put voice to that ideology again.
I interpret this as your granting license to use propaganda to convince the people that free-market capitalism is to blame for the current situation, and that divisive politics should be used to make the case against the market. Is that your intention? If so, I would like to share a few pieces of information with you.
There is ample contrary historical evidence that shows that Hoover and the Republicans were actually quite a bit more involved in the affairs of the economy than supporters of the New Deal realize. Some of the best evidence I've come across is America's Great Depression by Murray N. Rothbard. If you have not had a chance to read it, I highly recommend it as a fascinating and insightful book. In this work, Rothbard shows that FDR simply extended policies put in place by Hoover — after running on a platform for decreased spending and less government interference. Can you imagine that? The Democratic candidate ran on a platform of lower taxes and smaller government in order to contrast himself to his predecessor who raised taxes and spent on many programs that were extended into what is today known as the "Roosevelt" New Deal. Rothbard systematically shows how, contrary to popular historic interpretation, artificially low interest rates and loose monetary policy of the Federal Reserve System fostered the boom of the roaring '20s. He then shows how government interference, combined with an increased burden to the taxpayers, prolonged the Depression duri...
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