Monday, February 22, 2010

Report from a Smaller Federal Government

Still thinking about Peter Goodman's provocative piece in the Times warning of prolonged bad times ahead for average Americans, we noticed Pennsylvania economist Duncan Black similarly was struck over the weekend by what passes in the popular press for analysis by Tom ("I married General Growth Properties") Friedman.

Then we happened across the article below. It's from one of the many decades in the nineteenth century when the U.S. economy was almost exactly like the "small federal government," no-federal-taxes, "every-man-for-himself" economy that today's right-wing conservatives lustily dream about. The economy had tanked back then, as it tended to do every ten or fifteen years from the nation's founding until Roosevelt's New Deal. Only the very rich had any money. The rest of the people more or less relied on barter and what they could grow themselves.

Is it possible the Capitalists and Bankers have always blamed the little guy for spending too much and not being sufficiently patriotic?

"The Editor of the Boston Manufacturer, in an article on the "Depression of Business," makes the annexed pertinent and indisputable assertions:
"The truth, unfortunately is, we have been living beyond our circumstances.The laudable economy and industrious habits of our ancestors, have been lost sight of, & we have yielded to the pleasing, but dangerous innovation of foreign luxuries, and their attendant habits. We must measure back our ground. There is no other course which we can now pursue with any hope of success. The flame must again be kindled on the alter of patriotism, and self-denial and rigid economy take the place of luxury and extravagance. The nerves of our effeminate young men must be strengthened by toil, and our females, instead of reclining on the sofa and humming over the piano, must learn to direct their attention to matters of more importance. They must shake off as unworthy the daughters of freemen, the tinsel of fashion, and the shackle of false refinement, and cherish the proud and sterling patriotism of their grandmothers."
-- Republican Star & General Advertiser (Easton, My.), July 21, 1829, p. 3

1 comment:

nehaa said...

Thanks for your interesting inputs over here.

koh samui villas