New Deal Policies Didn't End the Great Depression
Intro: Many people are looking back to the Great Depression and the New Deal for answers to our problems. But while we can learn important lessons from this period, they’re not always the ones taught in school.
The traditional story is that President Franklin D. Roosevelt rescued capitalism by resorting to extensive government intervention; the truth is that Roosevelt changed course from year to year, trying a mix of policies, some good and some bad.
Conclusion: In short, expansionary monetary policy and wartime orders from Europe, not the well-known policies of the New Deal, did the most to make the American economy climb out of the Depression. Our current downturn will end as well someday, and, as in the ’30s, the recovery will probably come for reasons that have little to do with most policy initiatives.
Tyler Cowen, professor of economics at George Mason University, in today's NY Times