Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Forgotten Man

Amity Shlaes has written a marvelous work titled, The Forgotten Man. It's a new history of the great depression with a narrative that moves quickly through its numerous pages.
If you have a penchant for history, you'll love this work. If you watch current events, you will appreciate this work as much of that which is past is prologue.

Here are some fascinating quotes from Pg. 332.
  • There is no permanent class of hired laborers amongst us. Twenty-five years ago I was a hired laborer. - Abraham Lincoln
  • To preach hatred of the rich man was such (is) too mislead and inflame to madness honest men. - Theodore Roosevelt

Here's a vital paragraph that comes from that same page: "What the interviewers observed especially was that Muncie's citizens were unhappy in receiving two opposing lessons from governments. The first might be labeled: "Saving - the Private Man's Only Safeguard." The second was "Spending - the Nation's Hope." The citizens had trouble squaring those two ideals, and the contradictions made them anxious. There was, what's more, the "growing feeling of the insecurity of future investments due to national government policies. Stocks and bonds are now very uncertain." But perhaps most telling of all the material that the Lynds (the interviewers) had amassed was yet another editorial from the Muncie papers - one about "the forgotten man." "Who was the forgotten man in Muncie?" asked the paper. "I know him as intimately as my own undershirt. He is the fellow that is trying to get along without public relief. . . . In the meantime the taxpayers go on supporting many that would not work if they had jobs."

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