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The New Deal is New Again

Dr. Sardonicus


America faced an economy ravaged by the great depression. Unemployment stood at 25%, and banks were frozen by money shortages. Environmental catastrophe stalked the land -- the dust-bowl consequences of unregulated farms. Foreclosures were at an all-time high.

Roosevelt's solution in 1933 was the "New Deal" -- for the government to print new money, and convert it into jobs for rebuilding America.

H.L MenckenH.L. Menken, Columnist

One man who disagreed with him was H. L. Mencken -- a powerful and talented Baltimore columnist.

Mencken wrote: "We have inculcated all morons, old or young, with the doctrine that decent and industrious people of the country are bound to support them for all time. The effects of that doctrine are bound to be disastrous soon or late."

F. D. RooseveltF. D. Roosevelt, President

Mencken denounced Roosevelt as a dictator and a socialist. He wrote that Roosevelt has "only one new and genuinely novel idea: whatever A earns really belongs to B. A is any honest and industrious man or woman; B is any drone or jackass."

"There is no genuine justice in any scheme of feeding and coddling the loafer whose only ponderable energies are devoted wholly to reproduction. Nine-tenths of the rights he bellows for are really privileges and he does nothing whatsoever to deserve them."

A grateful nation would elect F.D.R. to three terms of office, and Mencken -- often considered the most skillful writer since Mark Twain -- eventually wilted under accusations of anti-semitism. Nevertheless, Mencken never wholly surrendered his arguments, which still seem fresher than today's talk radio. (Mencken also showed considerably more style while smoking a cigar.)

Mencken's favorite writer Mark Twain wrote: "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."



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