Amity Shlaes– growth produces more general prosperity than “equality”

Well that is how we summarize her essay which appeared today in Jewish World Review (written by her for City Journal).

Growth Not Equality  

Amity Shlaes is definitely one of the best economic researchers and writers. Her book  The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression is a great contribution to economic history and reasoning.

Here are some take aways to be internalized from her recent essay, recommended in its entirety:

“Prioritizing equality over markets and growth hurts markets and growth and, most important, the low earners for whom social-justice advocates claim to fight.”  (we think “social-justice advocates” fight for power and the managed society as much as anything)

Her background comments regarding Andrew Mellon’s dictum (often derided out of context) about the business of railroads applied to taxation policy ~~only what the traffic will bear ~~ and that imposing more than that means less business and tax revenues is instructive.  Mellon was Treasury Secretary to Harding and Coolidge.

That the New Deal’s equality measures prolonged and deepened the recession ( we highly recommend her book where she ably defends the premise)

This “truer words . . .” political economy insight –  “John Maynard Keynes newer theories were more congenial for politicians who sought to reward voters with instant gifts.”  We note the largess is to the extent of unsustainability and being counterproductive as in “against interests.

We missed that in referencing John F Kennedy’s tax and economic policies she did not incorporate a quote he often used that we are sure she knows well ~~ a rising tide raises all boats.  We think that as an economic analogy it is strong, criticisms weak, and should be controlling as an approach to political economy.  Continuing:

The left’s view that “subordination of growth to equality to be a benign practice”  NOT!

That Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society hurt low-earners . . . the disparity between black and white unemployment widened from the late 1960’s onward,with blacks enduring an ever higher measure of joblessness (and we would add, the sequelae of generational welfare dependence)

A “moral” summary interpretation by us of her essay is ~~ prosperity for all is a true value, equality is not.

Hers is a compelling essay providing a brief summary of US economic policy over nearly a century.  Highly recommended.

R Mall

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