That was then, this is now

[Andrew] Jackson imagined his role as that of a Roman tribune or dictator, summoned to executive power for a season for defend the plebeians against corrupt patricians.  That meant, among other things, slashing federal expenses and retiring the national debt.

Jackson in fact worked hard to strike down “internal improvements” in only a single state, as he was convinced that such legislation was unconstitutional, and that a corrupt Congress was working to enrich itself.

That is all from Walter A. McDougall, Throes of Democracy: The American Civil War Era 1829-1877, p.60.

Comments

Jackson's economic policies consisted of bitterness, resentment and bigotry, and led to the Panic of 1837, a sort of Great Recession which lasted into the next decade and played a role in deranging American politics in the lead up to the strife over slavery

Speaking of executive power, and now, a nice thread on Trump and the Fed:

https://twitter.com/PeterContiBrown/status/1077988095184773121?s=19">Peter Conti-Brown

Good summation of you. "Presidents and Fed Chairs have met all the time." But this time it's Trump, it's a national crisis.

In many circles yes. Follow up question: Correct?

Ben Bernanke while head of the Fed admitted that the Fed was responsible for the Great Depression thanks to excessive concerns over inflation. If they did it once they could easily do it again. The stock market certainly thinks like this as recent events have shown. It is very funny that the Supreme Court appointments are the ones that people most hyperventilate about, but the heads of the Fed are vastly more important for all real life issues.

I can barely see those goal posts from where I'm standing.

The question is actually "what the hell happened to the FED decision making process?"

That is if you now actually actively support presidential intervention to set interest rates.

If you're calling "President makes remarks critical of the Fed" an "intervention," you can't really complain about goalposts being moved.

Direct criticism on interest rates by the President is no way in hell "a norm."

In fact, it's sad that this is the game you must play. "What is this 'independent Fed' stuff? Some liberal fever dream?"

You are on an econ site. That's a totally normal viewpoint.

What is really odd is that a genuine economic site would approach this from economic theory and make a normative argument about what monetary policy should be.

That is obviously not happening, and we are left to wonder why.

Perhaps right tribalists have just made the decision that they "support Trump" in the passive-aggressive sense.

They aren't going to argue for his policies from first principles, but they will snipe from the corners at any criticism.

National crisis is a good to describe his erratic and possibly criminal behavior.

Calm down.

"Jackson imagined his role as that of a Roman tribune or dictator, summoned to executive power for a season for defend the plebeians against corrupt patricians." Some things never change. Book review in today's NYT of Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/24/books/review/edward-j-watts-mortal-republic.html

Ironic given that Jackson is one of the most corrupt Presidents ever to serve in that office in the United States.

My first response, exactly. On 2nd thought, perhaps Jackson was like Trump - i.e. living in his own imaginary world.

Anti-establishment presidents’ (Harding, Truman, trump and Jackson) admins were and are all characterized as corrupt. Is this because they actually are more corrupt or just have more powerful enemies and fewer powerful friends.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Another comparison to 'then and now' might be Harry S. Truman. Truman surrounded himself with his old friends, and appointed several to high positions that seemed well beyond their competence.
There were numerous charges of corruption among senior administration officials. He loved 'executive time'--in his case, spending as much time as possible playing poker, telling stories and sipping bourbon. He recognized Israel. His election in 1948 was a come-from-behind stunner to received opinion and the experts.

'Then and now' is a fun parlor game, and there are plenty of disanalogies as well as analogies.

Jackson is a good example of a guy who really believed he was doing the right thing and applying good ol' common sense to reduce corruption and bring the state under control. And the functional result of his policies really was to enable massive corruption and destroy the economy.

A true credit to his party.

That might indeed be a good characterization of Jackson -- and another "then and now" parallel.

I don't want to Trumpize another thread, but have you seen the ads for "Trumpy Bear". It's just so *embearrassing *.

Love that book. Every high school kid should read that book, or at least the last three chapters.

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