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FDR's Folly: How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Government solutions undermine prosperity

This was a great read and illustrates the problem with government. Government can help to facilitate prosperity by standing aside and allowing the creative juices of the individual to create opportunities for those who seek it. A good example is the mininum wage. Rath...
This was a great read and illustrates the problem with government. Government can help to facilitate prosperity by standing aside and allowing the creative juices of the individual to create opportunities for those who seek it. A good example is the mininum wage. Rather than burden small buisness, why not allow people at this end of the economic spectrum to keep more of their hard earned money. Give them a pass and allow them to keep what they have earned until they have reached a level of self-sufficiency where they can be a contributor to the greater society. FDR and the New Deal crowd meant well in their intentions, but those intentions only aggravated an already difficult time and added to the misery that the average individual faced trying to survive. This is a classic example where government--big government can be over-reaching and a detriment to all. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should be the guiding principle in all what we do.

posted by Anonymous on January 11, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

Author Jim Powell doesn' t get it

This work gives the impression that today's Republican administration had a hand in its conception! Had FDR, one of the greatest presidents that ever governed this country, not performed the way he did, the Soviet Union would have had an American Communist 'twin sister...
This work gives the impression that today's Republican administration had a hand in its conception! Had FDR, one of the greatest presidents that ever governed this country, not performed the way he did, the Soviet Union would have had an American Communist 'twin sister'. If you want an outstanding read, I have provided an alternative title below.

posted by Anonymous on October 5, 2005

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2008

    Government solutions undermine prosperity

    This was a great read and illustrates the problem with government. Government can help to facilitate prosperity by standing aside and allowing the creative juices of the individual to create opportunities for those who seek it. A good example is the mininum wage. Rather than burden small buisness, why not allow people at this end of the economic spectrum to keep more of their hard earned money. Give them a pass and allow them to keep what they have earned until they have reached a level of self-sufficiency where they can be a contributor to the greater society. FDR and the New Deal crowd meant well in their intentions, but those intentions only aggravated an already difficult time and added to the misery that the average individual faced trying to survive. This is a classic example where government--big government can be over-reaching and a detriment to all. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should be the guiding principle in all what we do.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2006

    FDR: Sacred Cowboy

    FDR's Folly is an excellent antidote to the FDR worship found in most American History. I realized how much I did not know about FDR's administration while reading a 'Nero Wolfe' mystery by Rex Stout. Stout, a staunch FDR supporter, was describing the work done by a government agency regarding consumer prices. One's assumption would be that FDR was concerned with rising prices, but in fact the opposite was true: manufacturers were forbidden to drop prices. The more I enquired the more conflicted I became. Until FDR, the founders' interpretation of the Constitution had been upheld. The limitations placed on the power of the Federal Government to tax one citizen to benefit another were honored. Private property rights were respected. Businesses were, for the most part, run as the owners saw fit. In the 1920's, a clash of global developments converged to spark the Great Depression and touched off the firestorm of public opinion that swept FDR into the White House. Marxists in the US admired the USSR and believed Stalin's lies about the economic situation there. This was taken as proof that taxing Peter to pay Paul would result in a better society. Private property abolition also appealed to a certain portion of the electorate. Widespread automation was increasing productivity and technological advances were fueling societal changes. People were leaving the farms in record numbers. Automobiles gave personal freedom a boost it had never had. Radio brought daily entertainment to the masses. And then, it all started to stall. US farmers had borrowed expecting the post-WWI price spike to continue. The UK, in dire need of propping up the pound, asked the US to help. The US raised the interest rate 3 times in one year. The UK couldn't afford US exports. The US businesses were having trouble with the newly increased interest rates. Wall Street saw that earnings would be sharply lower and CRASH. FDR's Folly runs through all the hideous mistakes which actually prolonged the Depression. Prices were controlled at a high level and not allowed to fall. At a time when Americans were starving, farm output was limited and surpluses burned. It was all quite well intentioned, but disastrous none the less. You will learn why American banks failed and Canadian banks did not. You will learn the WPA projects in safely Democratic states like Virginia paid workers a fraction of the wage earned in battleground states where Democrats had an electoral fight on their hands. You will learn that when FDR could not get his way with the Supreme Court, he began to maneuver to increase the size of the court from 9 to 13. Can you imagine the uproar if President Bush were to attempt that today? At least in that attempt to overthrow the American way of life and government, FDR failed. Even if you are a great FDR supporter or perhaps especially if you are a great FDR supporter, get this book. It is sobering to read how easily good intentions can go astray. For my own family, the scars of the New Deal are still painful: my grandfather's birthplace was flooded by a TVA dam, my great-grandmother's ancestral home and graveyard is now part of Skyline Drive and family members are forbidden to keep it maintained. My great-grandfather's farm survived FDR because he had never modernized and taken on debt. My grandfather said to my mother, a girl of 11, on FDR's death that were he not a Christian he would have a drink to celebrate. No matter who you are, you will learn something new from FDR's Folly. And it is quite possible it will sharpen your thinking skills in general, it did mine.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2007

    Think FDR was a great President? This book will force you to think again!!

    This book should be mandatory reading in Econ 101 classes. With exceptionally detailed research, Jim Powell has blown the lid off the populist historical record that suggests that FDR was one of this country's greatest Presidents. FDR's Folly details the disastrous effects on the economy of one failed government program after another and the bombast with which FDR, with the support of a liberal Congress, enacted them. It is a manifesto on the danger of government attempts to 'control' the economy. Kudos to Mr.Powell.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2005

    Author Jim Powell doesn' t get it

    This work gives the impression that today's Republican administration had a hand in its conception! Had FDR, one of the greatest presidents that ever governed this country, not performed the way he did, the Soviet Union would have had an American Communist 'twin sister'. If you want an outstanding read, I have provided an alternative title below.

    4 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 8, 2009

    We must learn from the past to better our future.

    Let me make this clear; I am not a Republican. In fact, I truly loathe the current Republican leadership inside, and outside the White house. Now on to the book...<BR/><BR/>Despite my having an undergraduate degree in economics and a minor in US History, at no time did any of my professors plunge into the negative aspects of the New Deal as well as did the author of this great book. We are constantly bombarded with recollections of FDR as being a superhero who rescued our nation from the great depression and anyone who dares to research the subject and question the actual economic consequences of the New Deal is casted from academia and labeled as being a "right wing lunatic." But the Great Depression lasted more than a decade. So how could the New Deal have been responsible for our eventual recovery? More and more researchers are concluding that FDR's socialist price controlling schemes, huge increases in taxation, and overall forced manipulation of the marketplace as causing a recession, or short depression, to TURN INTO the famous Great Depression.<BR/><BR/>This book is an excellent read and a must for any person seeking to avoid the mistakes made by those of the past. Or at least gain a rounded view of one of our most popular presidents.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2005

    Revisionism

    Greed and capitalism created the depression. This book is a self serving mismash.I look at the cost of this book as a write off.

    3 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 13, 2012

    Worth Reading to See How Command & Control Can Damage the Economy!

    This book was a great read for anyone who does not know much about FDR and the New Deal. Although FDR meant well, his distrust of the American way-capitalism prevented the economy from growing out of this hole. The various programs, agencies, bureau's etc... created on behalf of FDR were nothing more than a waste of money. Whatever the value some programs, agencies, bureau's had were outweighed by the destructive nature of the intended and unintended consequences. What I found astonishing was the attack on productivity and buisness. The tax rates and the confiscatory policies nearly destoryed the U.S and the economy. Tax rates approaching 100% to what end? Fortunately, WWII provided an avenue for men and women to get back to work. However, there was much that had to occur to produce what was necessary to win the war. This book was an eye opener to how destructive misguided policies can wreck havoc on the average citizen. Grant it, FDR was at the helm in leading the U.S. and Allies in victory, but it was the American people and capitalism that won the war. I came away with the impression and appreciation for what capitalism can do when people and business are allowed to innovate and produce, as well as, how government interference can destory the veary fabric of what the U.S. and capitalism stands for and represents. The events of the last 3 years are instructive and suggest that history does repeat itself.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    How FDR Extended the Great Depression

    This book is concise, enlightening, well documented, well researched, and quite readable. It reveals the mistakes that Roosevelt and his minions made enroute to prolonging the Great Depression. There is not the lengthy character development that Amity Shlaes has in her book. However, Mr Powell cites the numerous errors made by the New Dealers in prolonging the Great Depression. FDR sycophants will want to avoid this fact based essay. Those with open, inquisitive minds will enjoy the read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2009

    Another Example of Conservatism's Lack of Respect For Basic Historical Research

    After reading the first seventy-five or so pages, I really didn't need to see anymore of Powell's whining and yelling over the New Deal. Here are some simple facts that he and the Friedmanites don't want you to know:
    1.) The Federal Reserve was established by Congress in 1913 in response to the recent 1907-1909 depression that struck the manufacturing industry the hardest among others. Before that, at least six depressions occurred throughtout the nineteenth century from 1819 to 1895, precisely when there wasn't any governmental control.
    2.) Many prominent Republicans and Democrats such as Presidents Roosevelt,Taft,and Wilson as well as the the presidential candidates Hughes (whom Powell mentions while he served as Supreme Court chief justice) and William Jennings Bryan all supported the enactment of central banking in order to promote stabilty.
    3.) The "Roaring 20's" that Powell and other right-wing apologists fawn over was, as Powell himself admitted to a degree in the book (thus contradicting himself), marked by unrestrained spending and mounting debt, which is percisely what caused stockholders to default on their debts to lenders in the markets, causing that inevitable bubble to eventually burst in 1929.

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2008

    Propoganda

    FDR's New Deal saved the lives of thousands of families, especially those that were lured into No Man's Land by the Homestead Act. READ ABOUT THAT!! He was a hero, and the previous reviews that say otherwise are just trying to rewrite history for the sake of right-wing politics.

    2 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted February 11, 2009

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    Posted December 17, 2008

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    Posted April 4, 2009

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    Posted December 28, 2010

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    Posted December 26, 2008

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    Posted November 6, 2008

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