Unemployment During the Great Depression

by on November 7, 2008 at 7:41 am in Data Source, Economics, History | Permalink

Regarding unemployment during the Great Depression, Andrew Wilson writing at the WSJ recently said:

As late as 1938, after almost a decade of governmental "pump priming," almost one out of five workers remained unemployed.

Historian Eric Rauchway says this is a lie, a lie spread by conservatives to besmirch the sainted FDR.  Nonsense.  In 1938 the unemployment rate was 19.1%, i.e. almost one out of five workers was unemployed, this is from the official Bureau of Census/Bureau of Labor Statistics data series for the 1930s. You can find the series in Historical Statistics of the United States here (big PDF) or a graph from Rauchway here.  Rauchway knows this but wants to measure unemployment using an alternative series which shows a lower unemployment rate in 1938 (12.5%).  Nothing wrong with that but there’s no reason to call people who use the official series liars.

So why are there multiple series on unemployment for the 1930s?  The reason is that the current sampling method of estimation was not developed until 1940, thus unemployment rates prior to this time have to be estimated and this leads to some judgment calls.  The primary judgment call is what do about people on work relief.  The official series counts these people as unemployed.

Rauchway thinks that counting people on work-relief as unemployed is a right-wing plot.  If so, it is a right-wing plot that exists to this day because people who are on workfare, the modern version of work relief, are also counted as unemployed.  Now if Rauchway wants to lower all estimates of unemployment, including those under say George W. Bush, then at least that would be even-handed but lowering unemployment rates just under the Presidents you like hardly seems like fair play.

Moreover, it’s quite reasonable to count people on work-relief as unemployed.  Notice that if we counted people on work-relief as employed then eliminating unemployment would be very easy – just require everyone on any kind of unemployment relief to lick stamps.  Of course if we made this change, politicians would immediately conspire to hide as much unemployment as possible behind the fig leaf of workfare/work-relief.

There is a second reason we may not want to count people on work-relief as employed and that is if we are interested in the effect of the New Deal on the private economy.  In other words, did the fiscal stimulus work to restore the economy and get people back to work?  Well, we can’t answer that question using unemployment statistics if we count people on work-relief as employed.  Notice that this was precisely the context of the WSJ quote

One final thing that one could do is count people on work-relief as neither employed nor unemployed, i.e. not part of the labor force which is what we do for people in the military.  Rauchway has data on this and it shows almost the same thing, nearly one in five unemployed, as the original series.  (In this case, however, Rauchway counts nearly one in five unemployed as a win for the New Deal because the same series also shows higher unemployment earlier in the Great Depression.)

Any way you slice it there is no right-wing plot to raise unemployment rates during the New Deal and a historian should not go around calling people liars just because their judgment offends his wish-conclusions.

Hat tip to Mark Thoma.

Lars Hvidberg November 7, 2008 at 7:56 am

“Notice that if we counted people on work-relief as employed then eliminating unemployment would be very easy – just require everyone on any kind of unemployment relief to lick stamps. Of course if we made this change, politicians would immediately conspire to hide as much unemployment as possible behind the fig leaf of workfare/work-relief.”

Funny, that’s exactly what they do here in Denmark, which is the reason we have such “low” unemployment. In reality 1/3 of the working force is on some kind of government programme.

Jason November 7, 2008 at 8:35 am

Person with no name,

Your statement makes no sense at all and is not backed by any statistics.

I understand and respect your personal disdain for President Bush as well as the Republican nominee, McCain, but that does not make your statement understandable.

If I am correct, you seem to be inferring that both McCain and Obama would/will be socialist presidents.

Seems like a stretch, but if your going that far, I think 3 is way too low of a number.

Adam November 7, 2008 at 9:00 am

Don’t forget the BLS changed their qualifications again in the early 90s which lowered the overall figure. By the broadest current BLS measure we are already at 11%, by the broadest measure of how it was previously calculated we are already at 15%. This 6% numbers is complete BS. BLS doesn’t count people who are so fed up with the job search that they gave up. Well, last I checked that still means they don’t have a job and should be included. http://www.shadowstats.com

torabora November 7, 2008 at 9:47 am

Making things up out of whole cloth is the Democratic method. Lies that advance their cause are truth. Hell, they just got elected a PAIR of liars! What’s the problem?

Eric Rauchway November 7, 2008 at 10:11 am

Alex, you’re citing the old (“bicentennial”) version of HSUS. If you look in the current (“millennial”) version, you find the data I’ve cited.

I think it is therefore incorrect to describe the data you cite as “official” and the data I cite as “alternative.” Indeed, if anything, it’s the other way around.

As to which series is more in line with modern methods of citing unemployment, I quote you David Weir, who composed the current official series (the one I cite): “counting all relief workers as employed is more consistent with modern theoretical interpretations of unemployment, so I include them as government workers.”

More here.

Yours,
ER

Richard November 7, 2008 at 10:18 am

Actually, if you read Rauchway, you would know that he didn’t call the WSJ liars for using different numbers–he called them liars for the totality of that editorial, which was full of false and misleading information.

Bernard Yomtov November 7, 2008 at 10:52 am

As late as 1938, after almost a decade of governmental “pump priming,” almost one out of five workers remained unemployed.

Alex,

Even if we use your series, the deception in this sentence is in the word “remained.” In fact, unemployment dropped from around 25% down to about 14% in 1937, and then spiked upwards in 1938, I believe partly due to a cutback in govt spending. To say “remained” is to suggest that this intevening drop did not occur, and that there was no progress on the unemployment front between 1933 and 1937. That’s not true.

Also, I think there is a case for considering those on work-relief as employed for some purposes. The paychecks did buy food, for example, so leaving statistical purity aside, there’s a case for considering them employed, especially in an era where social safety nets were otherwise non-existent.

Richard November 7, 2008 at 10:56 am

Wow MarkJ-

With that kind of analysis, you should take over Rauchway’s job. Professional academic historians have yet to discover your obviously useful tool of taking temporally separated historical events and willy-nilly performing superficial comparisons.

MarkJ November 7, 2008 at 11:06 am

Dear Richard,

And your point is…? Do tell me what part of my comments aren’t true.

As for taking Rauchway’s job, thanks for the recommendation but I’ve already gainfully–and honesty–employed. ;)

Steve November 7, 2008 at 11:46 am

Roger-

I agree with a lot of what you wrote. I am a conservative (fiscal- marry your toaster for all I care). Our side doesn’t practice what we preach. But it’s not schizo. It’s not even political weakness. It’s political viability. …which doesn’t make it right. The main flaw in your thesis is that FDR’s economically was anything more than politically successful. Whether it hastened or slowed recovery is far from proven. Nor does the US slide toward socialism by popular demand mean it will eventually be economically successful. It is a recipe for disaster. (The markets are already showing us this.) Disastrous as it may be, dems, repubs, and voters would rather bankrupt the nation than accept personal responsibility. The conservatives have to play this game too to get into office to ween our citizens off the public treasury. Bush’s pill bill, it’s substance, and the lies that got it passed, were awful. I’m glad to see Bush gone. This two trillion dollar bailout is sickening. And finally, there are far uglier things to be said about liberal politics.

floccina November 7, 2008 at 12:18 pm

It is hard for me to accept for that unemployment was greater than 10% for more than 10 years. In the absence of wage floor it would seem to go against the law of supply and demand.

An alternative model:

When I lived in Honduras people would tell me that the unemployment rate was 40% and yet everybody seemed to be working (except my brother in-law but that was voluntary). As far as I could tell people were working but since Honduras had a system to similar SS only the companies that paid SS where officially employed. It was my sense that most people worked doing things that were not official employment. I have to wonder if there was not a similar situation here during the great depression. Were the people selling apples on street corners considered unemployed? If I could get people to work for me at $1.00/hour I would hire plenty.

spencer November 7, 2008 at 1:38 pm

As late as 1938, after almost a decade of governmental “pump priming,” almost one out of five workers remained unemployed

But FDR took office in 1933. How did 1933 to 1938 become a decade?

What you are doing is taking the data at the bottom of the second 1930’s recession and making comparisons to 1929 to demonstrate that the recovery was weak. There is disagreement about what caused the 1937-38 recession– I lean toward the Fed raising the discount rate but other favor some story about FDR cutting government expenditures.

But I become immediately suspicious of anyone who elects to pick 1938 to base their comparisons on of biased analysis and of deliberately cherry picking the years that give the worse results.

Yes, the unemployment rate was 19% in 1938. But it was 17% in 1936–down from 25% in 1933. The very fact that you selected to make the comparison from 1933 to 1938 rather than from 1933 to 1936 demonstrates to me that you are cherry picking data to prove a pre-conceived conclusion. Yes, I plead guilty to that bias in using 1936. But if the 1937-38 recession was caused by the Fed raising the discount rate how do you defend yourself against the charge that you are cherry picking data points.

Blaming FDR for the 1937-38 recession is almost as bad as blaming him for the 1929-33 recession. The record is clear that the in 1937 the Fed concluded that the economy was too strong and they believed it was creating inflationary pressures and the Fed tightened to prevent the strong 1933-36 recovery — in their own words– from creating inflation.

Andrew November 7, 2008 at 1:54 pm

Well, if there is no vast right wing conspiracy, then the obvious course of action is to instigate one.

Let’s start by saying all permanent government workers are underemployed, which they are.

8 November 7, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Don’t forget the undistributed profits tax of 1936, just before the recession.

Tom T. November 7, 2008 at 2:49 pm

So, Tabarrok is wrong because (1) the New Deal worked and (2) the New Deal didn’t work?

y81 November 7, 2008 at 3:24 pm

If someone said, “At the end of the Bush Administration, the stock market remained below its peak under the Clinton Administration,” I think it would be an awful stretch to call that statement a “lie.”

Maybe to be more precise the WSJ should have said, “After half a decade of pump priming, the unemployment rate was not significantly lower than it had been in 1933.” That doesn’t seem like a big enough change to make the initial statement a “lie.”

Anderson November 7, 2008 at 3:49 pm

It is hard for me to accept for that unemployment was greater than 10% for more than 10 years. In the absence of wage floor it would seem to go against the law of supply and demand.

Didn’t someone write a whole book to explain that? Some “Keynes” guy?

Lord November 7, 2008 at 4:16 pm

Hoover insisted on the gold standard and on balanced budgets. FDR did not.

Barry November 7, 2008 at 5:17 pm

Charlie:

“The growth rate of real GDP:

1933 – 1939: 6.94%
FDR (first two terms 1933 – 1941): 8.39%
Reagan (1981 – 1989): 3.52%
Clinton (1993 – 2001): 3.46%

Things were really bad when FDR took over. After 8 years things were still not good, but a whole lot better. U.S. GDP fell 20% from 1930-1933, then bottomed out, then started growing.”

This is the key point – FDR turned the country around, after three years of Hoover’s failures. And we even have a confirmation, in the late ’30’s recession – a GOP faction in Congress forced a pull-back of the New Deal, with immediate bad results. Rather strong proof, considering most economics is observational.

DDP November 7, 2008 at 5:32 pm

Pull-back of the New Deal? By a GOP faction? The Democrat to Republican ratio at the time was like 3:1. Who’s to blame next? Snowball?

Andrew November 7, 2008 at 5:37 pm

If not for FDR, I suppose we would still be in depression.

Let’s say I’m a guy who creates jobs. The government taking my money, hiring dudes, making me have to compete with my own money to hire them away from the government wouldn’t seem to put me in a real creative mood.

Lord November 7, 2008 at 6:27 pm

In earlier times, it usually recovered by the discovery of new gold deposits or new extraction methods, altering the balance of trade through tariffs, and in other countries, devaluation. The 1907 panic was corrected by responding correctly to prior gold inflows after having failing to do so.

Lord November 7, 2008 at 6:29 pm

He did try to balance the budget and raised taxes to do so, but the economy was running to ground ahead of him.

Sammy November 7, 2008 at 6:51 pm

Conservatism is a schizo business at best, what with the rhetoric of ‘small government’ on one side, and Republican administrations remaining politically viable by turning around and inevitably expanding government just to remain in office. Hence, the existence of things like Bush’s 700 billion dollar pill bill, which had the effect of shifting enough people to his side in the over 60 demographic that he won in 2004. Or the putting through bills that provide price supports for agriculture, without which the red states would be the purest blue. Conservative senator Saxby Chambliss, for instance, would be history if it weren’t for his carefully making sure Georgia cotton farmers benefited from the New Deal agricultural policies, and has touted this in order to survive in his election campaign. Funny, he didn’t tout showing his conservative courage and cutting off the Georgia cotton farmers. I wonder why? Social security, medicaid and medicare – the latter two crafted in the spirit of the New Deal – have somehow miraculously survived Nixon’s, Ford’s, Reagan’s, Bush I’s and Bush II’s administrations – I wonder how?

The rhetorical push against the New Deal is particularly rich on the part of a newspaper that welcomed the massive support just offered by the Federal Government to socialize losses in the financial sector. But it is consistent with usual ability of the rightwing to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel – hence, the recent campaign to make Obama’s return to Clinton’s tax rates evidence of socialism, while at the same time ignoring the most socialistic and Rooseveltian proposal of the whole campaign, McCain’s 300 billion dollar “let the government take care of your mortgage” idea.

Obviously, the success, politically and economically, of the New Deal – its entrenchment of state intervention into the private sphere that all sides practically accept today, right and left – has to be dealt with by the right the way the Church used to deal with sex – it is a sinful thing by nature, but if you must do it, get married. That solution nicely produced guilt as, at the same time, it recognized reality. Which sums up conservative politics.

Roger said this above and sums it up best. The fact that Alex brings this up NOW signals the usual alarmist attitudes stirred up by conservatives and douchebag economists.

Recommended reading: THE PREDATOR STATE by James K. Galbraith

roger November 7, 2008 at 7:52 pm

“Government “workers” are not just unemployed; they are anti-employed because they are stealing from taxpayers.”

Wow. Since there are about 20 million people employed by the government at the moment, federal state and local, then American capitalism seems never to have recovered from the depression. Which is just what I thought – the private sector sucks, and has always sucked. Without the state to help them out, American capitalism would be exposed as an absolute failure…

Or maybe it is this… it is complete stupidity to say that government employees are stealing from the taxpayers.

Let’s see. I wonder then about, say, IBM engineers working on contracts for the Pentagon? Obviously, welfare chiselers. In fact, almost all engineers in the U.S., plus the chiselers who work for big pharma – floated by the massive infusion of medicare benefits – plus the banks are chiselers who we should count as anti-employed. That’s a lot of folks. We are in economic meltdown mode! I figure that, given these conservative truths, we can all see that in the last seventy years, the U.S. is really about as prosperous as Zimbabwe. The only true Americans, the only non-chiselers, are the brave men in Northern Idaho who are protecting our rights to bear arms in various compounds with funny flags over them.

Nice to know that fantasy and alternative universes are alive in the right wingosphere.

Mr. econotarian November 7, 2008 at 8:33 pm

“Hoover insisted on the gold standard”

In Hoover’s speeches, he claims that going off the gold standard would ruin debtors because mortgages contained clauses that they had to be paid in currency linked to gold. It isn’t clear whether he though a devaluation that maintained gold linkage would do the same or not.

Clearly FDR devaluing the dollar in 1933 and ending the massive deflation was an important part of ending the Depression from getting worse.

I wonder how the world would be different if Hoover mildly devalued in 1929, and we never had the NRA, etc.

indiana jim November 7, 2008 at 11:42 pm

Amazing, well not really, how the main stream media (MSM) etc. have missed the point, AGAIN.

The market downturn the day of Obama’s election (and the day after too because of the crosspartial with Pelosi-speak that day) was BECAUSE of it. The Democrats and MSM spun the market downturn post Obama election dizzingly but midwesterners are easily hypnotized (except by guns and religion, of course). I’ve been asked for months now, “are we going to have worse economic times”, and my answer has been “it depends, but yes, for sure if Obama is elected”. This is Econ 101: what do you expect when you get a person elected pres. whose voting record in Congress credibly makes him a socialist together with a larger Democratic majority in congress?

I hope that the Republican minority rediscovers some backbone and the evils of socialism and refuses to roll over, and blocks every New Deal type legislation they can. Obama and Pelosi think they can fine tune the economy with stimulus packages; what rubbish! Neither MR nor Cafe Hayek is posting anything critical of the notion of government fine tune the economy in response to the Dems public discussions of stimulus packages over the past several days. Why? Is it fear? Is it narrow self-interest? Furthermore, the correspondence of Cafe Hayek’s shut down of commentary to the timing of Obama’s election is erie. The next thing you know, the Econ. Dept. at GMU will be hosting Obama and/or his appointees to give talks on such things as “how government intervention can: 1) fine tune the US economy, 2) restore stablity, 3)provide universal health care, 4)redistribute wealth, and/or 4) change the world.” Yes, speeches by market interventionists may become preferable to “listening to insects buzz” by econ. faculty at GMU. Pray, let me be wrong!

Many of us “bitter mid-Westerners” were thinking that GMU (led by MR and Hayek Cafe) would become the next “Chicago school” in economics. I sure was, because GMU has accomplished so much by way of sponsoring open discussion of free markets; but now I’m beginning to have some doubts. I don’t think that the long run interests of those running Hayek Cafe and MR will be best served by pandering to the Left in the wake of Obama’s election. It is obviously an empirical question as to whether GMU’s econ. department will become the new “Chicago” school, but I’ll wager you this: pander will not work to this end.

Andrew November 8, 2008 at 2:15 am

I grant that I’m not like Colin Powell coming out for the other side, but it really is odd that people credit FDR for anything other than presiding over the longest malaise ever, which we weren’t out of until after his death.

The war that he didn’t keep us out of, whether he could have or not he didn’t, is credited as the major catalyst. Of course, I also think the war had more to do with smashing our industrial competition than creating sustainable economic growth, but that’s another story.

Government workers at best serve what is already a market demand. Market failure yada yada yada, even if truly a problem it’s a small area of externalities, certainly not 30-40% of the economy. If a government service is privatized, workers could still be doing the same job, e.g. postal service. If the incentives are right within the government service, then a bureaucracy can very closely approach the efficiency and innovation of a private business, but only approach it. The government employing these people takes them away from the private sector. To the degree that they fall short of the innovation and efficiency gains provided by business, yes they are less than fully employed in my book.

Anonymous November 8, 2008 at 8:55 am

I’m willing to bet a million dollars that Andrew wouldn’t put the same onus on Bush that he does FDR re: presiding over an economic mess.

Bill Stepp November 8, 2008 at 9:39 am

Wow. Since there are about 20 million people employed by the government at the moment, federal state and local, then American capitalism seems never to have recovered from the depression. Which is just what I thought – the private sector sucks, and has always sucked. Without the state to help them out, American capitalism would be exposed as an absolute failure…

Earth to economic moron: there is no source of production outside the market. Government steals to get its resources by taxation and inflation.
Capitalism is a success, at least to the extent it’s unimpeded by the criminal organization known as government.

Or maybe it is this… it is complete stupidity to say that government employees are stealing from the taxpayers.

Taxation is theft, period. So is inflation.

Let’s see. I wonder then about, say, IBM engineers working on contracts for the Pentagon? Obviously, welfare chiselers. In fact, almost all engineers in the U.S., plus the chiselers who work for big pharma – floated by the massive infusion of medicare benefits – plus the banks are chiselers who we should count as anti-employed. That’s a lot of folks. We are in economic meltdown mode! I figure that, given these conservative truths, we can all see that in the last seventy years, the U.S. is really about as prosperous as Zimbabwe. The only true Americans, the only non-chiselers, are the brave men in Northern Idaho who are protecting our rights to bear arms in various compounds with funny flags over them.

I hate to tell you this, but most of IBM’s contracts are in the private sector.
U.S. as prosperous as Zimbabwe? How ignorant are you?

Nice to know that fantasy and alternative universes are alive in the right wingosphere.

As opposed to your left nutosphere.

indiana jim November 8, 2008 at 3:59 pm

meter,

Ever hear of an “event study”? These are common in finance but maybe that is not your bag.

raft November 8, 2008 at 4:41 pm

Jason Smarcolmn: The difference between conservatives and liberals when discussing their presidents is best illustrated by comparing cons review of Lincoln v. libs of FDR.

when did lincoln become the great conservative hero?

what did lincoln do that was conservative?

WTF are you talking about?

catchy November 8, 2008 at 5:31 pm

Why do the comments suck so much on this blog?

I understand no one’s policing them, but I’m curious why the quality differential between site content vs. comments is so high.

Other sites w. unpoliced comments sections aren’t this bad. You’ve got 60+ comments for this post and circa 50 are worthless. And this isn’t unusual for here.

Looking for an explanatory hypo…

tf smith November 8, 2008 at 6:18 pm

Correction: an economist with a Nobel Prize.

Rorschach November 8, 2008 at 7:49 pm

gloucester,

The guys who gave Krugman that Nobel are the same retards who gave Al Gore the Nobel Peace Prize for his thoroughly deceptive enviro-screed of a film. (Depriving and starving people for the sake of saving Mother Gaia from a mythical threat sure helps make everyone more peaceful, doesn’t it? I just don’t see how.)

Krugman is still an idiot, however loudly his fellow idiots shout. Winning prizes from other idiots merely confirms no one should be listening to him. Empty-headed Nobel-Prize-worshiping cultists such as yourself shouldn’t go picking fights with other non-entities on blog comment sections, any one of whom has more brains than you and all your favorite idols put together.

RJ November 8, 2008 at 10:18 pm

Correction: an economist with a Nobel Prize.

Former economist.

Andrew November 9, 2008 at 5:07 am

Hey, I thought this one was good from way back. Here I contrasted Bush with Hitler, an FDR contemporary. Can one be more clear in their disgust with a politician than to mention them in the same sentence as Hitler?

“To clarify my previous post, I am not comparing Hitler to Bush. I’m contrasting them. Hitler was an adept micromanager. Bush just lets these things happen.”

Incidentally, I think history will show that Bush was such a “free market ideologue” that he let the government run amok rather than reigning in its excesses. Unfortunately, it don’t work that way.

So, about that million bucks…

James Solbakken November 9, 2008 at 6:08 pm

The 1st law of economic reality is, there ain’t no free lunch.

Someone mentioned God. God said, thou shalt not steal. God’s economic system is based on people producing their lunch by the sweat of their own brow.

Jesus did somewhat clarify & expand on that idea by requiring His followers to visit widows, orphans, and the abjectly poor in their affliction. But Jesus promised spiritual reward for doing so. He did not in any way suggest that human productivity would be enhanced by taking from workers and giving to the slothful.

Because I really love the poor, and am deeply concerned about the welfare of widows and orphans, I want the most productive economic system reasonably possible, consistent with moral rectitude. That’s why I prefer free enterprise capitalism based on private property. The more abundance and prosperity that exists, the more we can provide for those who cannot provide for themselves due to their limited or nonexistent productive capability.

That’s why I cannot in good conscience be a liberal.

Alex Tabarrok November 10, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Sebastian – yes, the word remained is troublesome. I would have written more clearly something like “throughout the New Deal period unemployment rates remained high.” Do note, however, that Rauchway did not make the “remained” argument until *after* my post. When he called the sentence a lie he linked to here:

http://edgeofthewest.wordpress.com/2008/10/10/very-short-reading-list-unemployment-in-the-1930s/

My post was an answer to that.

Alex

greg November 15, 2008 at 1:07 pm

THe larger conservative point is that government deficit spending fails to positively affect the economy during this period is not supported by the facts. If you read any of FDRs biographies or histories of the New Deal you would then know that FDR did not fully embrace deficit spending, and was more comfortable with balanced budget religion present at the time. New Deal policies were really tepid attempts at deficit spending–given what was really needed. But even these resulted in a 10% absolute drop in unemployment over a 5 year period from 1933 to 1937. So why the recession and spike in unemp in 1938? Roosevelt retrenched and cut the budget, and deficit spending. The real test of deficit spending, however came during WWII when the US massively, again, massively deficit spent and the unemployment rate plummeted below 2% (or was it 1%?). Conservatives don’t point this out–either because they don’t realize it, or they are not honest. Doesn’t matter, as they are wrong. By the way, what was the average GDP growth during Roosevelt v Reagan years? How about just Roosevelt pre WWII v Reagan years? Ouch.

Yana December 6, 2008 at 3:08 am

You are wrong about Workfare being counted as unemployment today – if someone is being paid for their work – they are counted as employed – period.

Now, if you are counted as workfare like in Colorado (which is different than most states) where you have to work for foodstamps – that is different. In most states, you don’t work for food stamps – you work for a paycheck and are therefore counted as employed in the CPS surveys. Get your facts straight – I got mine frome the federal government page where they explicitly outline who is considered employed.

kem cleveland January 26, 2009 at 8:31 pm

hello pannel,

I am a 30 year old african american “divorced” single mother of three. I have been living in san antonio texas working as a LVN for over 8 years who is now forced to live on social security because of a dsability. I am always looking for ways to “self educate” and my current circumstances has driven me to do anything I can to feed and comfortably take care of my family. I have just finished writing a book which is currently being published…….which brings me to the intrest in this topic and also to my point.

I would like to know your take on the simularities on the two ressesion’s. And when FDR was in office do you feel that his methods effectivly restored the economy? What are the diffrences in the situation back then compared to now? And with the exiting of Mr.GWB and the entry of Obama….in my own opinion I feel that the new president only takes on the mess that the last one left behind and gets the blame for it.

The second part of my question is, What was the ratio of unemployed citizens in 1929-1933-current. and what was the difference in size of population?

I gathered plenty of information off of this site, and if we all agree on the same things, opinions and issues, or agree to disagree….. it is great to be brought up to speed by what you have available here.

thank you

Kem Cleveland

aion kina March 18, 2009 at 2:15 am
peter May 14, 2009 at 9:25 pm

it will be harder and harder to live

flower May 14, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Everything is decided by the market instead of any single human being’s personal feeling.
But opportunity and efforts are same important on the way to yr goal.
Like the aion gold performance in the market.

Ashley St.Claire November 26, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Thanksgiving-2009

November 26, 2009 by politicalsnapshots.wordpress.com

Thanksgiving-2009

We are far removed from the days of Native Americans celebrating harvest festivals. It has also been hundreds of years since the English colonists celebrated thanksgiving as part of their religion or giving thanks to Native Americans. In 2009, we still celebrate the day even though some Americans are more thankful than others.

American banks, who have received the biggest chunk of the $787 billion stimulus money, have been well greased and highly stimulated. They should be very thankful to their government who had made it possible for them to prosper more, and continue to widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots in to a higher level.

To millions of average Americans this Thanksgiving Day is a day of unemployment, lack of insurance coverage, inability to pay mortgages and a day of stress like any other. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate rose to 10.2 percent in October. That is an increase of 558,000 persons out of work. Bringing the† official† unemployment total number to 15.7 million Americans. What a dazzling result of the stimulus package. Really. What a recovery.

On this Thanksgiving Day, could the White House tell us who the genius is that came up with “jobs saved or created† nonsense? It is easy to philosophize in the comfort of the White House, and come up with totally unverifiable numbers that do not stand simple scrutiny. What a joke. The reality is to be on line for hours looking for non-existing jobs. Reality is to lose a job. The reality is to be unable to pay your bills.

Let’s hope, next year’s Thanksgiving will be a real “Thanksgiving† to those who are unable to make ends meet.

Professor Mekonen Haddis

Brandon July 15, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Is it REALLY accurate to include anyone whose job was guaranteed by the gov’t, either through “workfare” (where government is paying rather than a business, even if the workfare job is for a business) or an actual job offered by an agency? After all, gov’t, esp. federal, can borrow quite a bit of money and doesn’t always have to balance its budget. It’s not so with business. If business operates at a loss for too long, they will go OUT of business! The federal government does not have to take that stuff into account; they can just hire as many new workers as they want.

For example, how exactly did the CCC contribute to meaningful economic growth? Yes, there’s the argument that people got a little extra spending money, but a few million or 5 million getting a few thousand dollars, after living costs are taken in, to spend on luxuries, isn’t going to stimulate things much. Agencies like the WPA and CCC worked on a lot of things that had nothing to do with business growth or selling anything. They were simply there to push forth an environmental or public works gov’t agenda and give workers a little more employment.

Counting government workers as employed ignores reality, the reality that that kind of employment DOES NOT REFLECT actual business and private sector growth in the economy. And besides, for some strange reason we include government spending in GDP, when gov’t tends to TAKE AWAY from the real economy, in the form of taxes and such. In fact, putting the G in the GDP equation only OVERSTATES how strong our economy is. If government spends $3 Trillion out of $14 Trillion, that’s at least 20% that shouldn’t be stated! After all, the only way government gets any money is either by printing it, asking for more money from investors, other governments and civilians who buy Treasury bonds, or taxes. It creates almost no wealth of its own.

Lebergott got it right, and Darby was a f*cking idiot. Darby only included gov’t workers because he clearly didn’t understand what real growth is and wanted to be “compassionate” by counting employment as employment no matter what. But employment, for the sake of growth, depends on the JOBS that are created. Whenever I hear Dems say “We need to create more jobs” without saying WHAT jobs they have in mind, I just can’t help but cringe and facepalm.

Besides, when growth in all other sectors of the economy is slow or sluggish, and government is the one spending most of the money, OF COURSE GDP will rise! But simply paying attention to rises in GDP like a moron without finding out WHY GDP calculations are higher is just the height of stupidity. And it’s deceptive for anyone to say that GDP rises due to gov’t spending alone somehow “makes the economy stronger.”

Brandon July 15, 2010 at 4:50 pm

If you ask me, Medicare should NOT be available to wealthy seniors. Any senior whose income was above, perhaps, 75 or 100 grand (or perhaps even 50 grand), except in the wealthiest of cities (where you could perhaps raise that cap to 150 grand), should be more than able to purchase at least basic health insurance from the private sector. If they have a preexisting condition, that may be grounds for Medicare, but it’s way too generous in its present form. Medicare is perhaps the ONLY welfare-state program that’s not means-tested! As long as you paid into the system and are of the right age, you’re eligible! Why??? That’s insane!

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