Saturday, October 18, 2008

David M Kennedy, Obama donor, New Deal Critic

David M Kennedy is a Stanford Professor of History who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for his book Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945. In it, he argues that "the most responsible students of the events of 1929 have been unable to demonstrate an appreciable cause-and-effect linkage between the Crash and the Depression" and his subsequent argument that, although it made order out of chaos, the New Deal did not reverse the Depression--that, he says, was the war's doing".

Mr Kennedy is also a maxed-out Obama donor. Why I bring this up? Because this week, many people suggested that if the Democrats regain control of the White House and the US Congress, they are thinking about bringing a sort of New Deal 2.0 to the United States. I wonder why Mr Kennedy has remained shut about this (correct me if I am wrong), when, as recently as last May 3rd he said in a lecture that is available in iTunesU :"1940 was the 11th year of the Great Depression"; referring to a government survey he said "45% of all white families, and 95% of all African American families in 1940 lived below the poverty line"; "the average unemployment rate for the entire decade of the 1930s was 17%"; "one Herbert Hoover administration; two Roosevelt administrations had not solved the crisis of the Depression"; referring to the US "this was a truly impoverished country".

He goes on arguing that the US economy prospered together with the US involvement in World War II. I grant him that in May 3rd 2008 few anticipated the magnitude of the financial crisis. But now, when Obama and the Democrats are proposing New Deal type of solutions, I find it astonishing that he hasn't stepped up criticizing Obama's "spreading wealth around" economic plan.

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