In order to justify his opposition to the proposed economic stimulus package, Vincent Patsy marshaled a host of statistics to suggest that both the New Deal and World War II failed to pull the United States out of the Great Depression and, instead, made it worse (Recession and depression myths, 2/3/2009).
Patsy recycles the standard dishonest claims of the far right. He argues that President Herbert Hoover attempted to build his way out of the Great Depression, citing the construction of the Hoover Dam. In reality, Hoover had been encouraging construction of the dam since 1922, seven years prior to the stock market crash.
Patsy’s other major piece of evidence is that unemployment in 1938 remained at 19 percent after five years of New Deal programs. He leaves out the fact that over the course of 1936 and 1937, Gross National Product grew at the fastest rate in US history. Unemployment dropped to 14 percent. In 1938, the GNP fell and unemployment grew, starting another recession after five years of recovery. The reason? Roosevelt, after a half-decade of deficit spending, attempted to balance the budget by cutting back on public works projects.
With a bit of honesty, Patsy would realize that the statistics he cites prove the necessity of government spending.
Zachary Martin is an LSA sophomore.