Spending cuts can right ship
Letters to the Editor, August 8, 2011
If Ben Franklin were alive today, his famous aphorism may have boasted quite a few more decimal places. In response to the Aug. 7 Decatur (Ala.) Daily editorial (“Tea party willing to harm U.S.,” What newspapers are saying at home) assigning the tea party an “F for loyalty to our country,” I would like to reveal the authors’ ignorance of U.S. economic history. Our friends at The Decatur Daily explained that the allegedly anti-American tea party, a grass-roots community of citizens unofficially represented by many legislators, ignores the “economic truism that drastic federal cuts in an already-depressed economy create a certainty of higher unemployment and greater need for governmental assistance.”
The depression of 1920-1921, not to be confused with the Great Depression, has been largely ignored by liberal fiscal policy crusaders (read: most of the media). It was caused by an all-too-familiar government spending binge, and many politicians recommended a prescription of higher taxes and even more spending. Because President Warren Harding and his successor, Calvin Coolidge, understood free-market economics, this depression corrected itself within a few years. Despite its indisputable effectiveness, their solution was very unpopular to those with the loudest voices; because of this, it has echoed in history as barely a whisper.
How did the duo slash the double-digit unemployment rate by two-thirds? Did they raise taxes; pick low-hanging fruit from the Fed’s young, prolific magic money tree; or create unnecessary government jobs? Nay, all Harding and Coolidge did was cut government spending on a titanic scale and cross their arms while Adam Smith’s invisible hand righted the capsized economy.
“Silent Cal” said it best in 1924: “A government which lays taxes on the people not required by urgent public necessity and sound public policy is not a protector of liberty, but an instrument of tyranny. It condemns the citizen to servitude.” President Ronald Reagan reaffirmed this more than 60 years later: “The 10 most dangerous words in the English language are, ‘Hi, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’ ”