Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Recommended Reading

Michael Barone has a great column today, even by his standards. A sample:

In the 1930s Americans supposedly lost faith in markets and rallied to government. But if you go back and look at public opinion polling then, you find something rather different. You find majorities grumbling about Big Government, scorning Big Business and opposing Big Labor.

The 1940s were different. Facing the threat of total war, Franklin Roosevelt transformed himself from "Dr. New Deal" to "Dr. Win the War." He fostered cooperation between Big Government, Big Business and Big Labor. Roosevelt was brilliant at selecting, from all these sources, the best men (and women) for jobs he considered important.

The result was a war effort that was brilliantly successful. America was the arsenal of democracy, vanquishing its enemies and inventing the atomic bomb. Big Unit governance gained enormous prestige and held onto it for a generation after the war.

The result was prosperity but also stasis. The Big Government of 1970 looked a lot like the Big Government of the 1940s. The same Big Businesses that dominated the Fortune 500 list in 1940 did so in 1970. The list of Big Labor unions remained pretty much the same.

About 1970, these Big Units lost their edge. Big Government got mired in wars on poverty and in Vietnam. Big Business got hidebound and bureaucratic. Big Labor started to shrink.

Read the whole thing.

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