The Great Depression, Make-work, Psychology, and Economics.

I’m sure if you’ve been watching the talking heads on TV, you’re probably getting your fair share of Great Depression hysteria.  The thing that advances the story is that we’re slipping into the next Great Depression.  It’s a load of crap.

So, let’s talk about the Great Depression.

What most people fail to understand is that there were two key things that drove the Great Depression: the European fall-out from WWI, and the Dust Bowl.  They also fail to understand that it wasn’t the policies of Franklin Roosevelt that got us out of the Great Depression.

A little history lesson.

In 1929 all the way to 1941 agriculture was something like 25% – 30% of our GDP, and employed just about the same percentage of people.  Nowadays, the US economy is so spread out and diversified that 1% of the people generate more agricultural output than ever before.  The present percentage of GDP for farming is something like 5% – 10% (if that).

The first big no-no was Hoover passing bill that put tariffs in imports.  European economies suffering from the economic and human catastrophe of WWI (something like millions dead, and entire economies in ruin – look at Germany during this time) were depressed, causing agricultural prices to fall off the face of the earth.  When the tariffs hit, Europe retaliated by essentially boycotting US products, and the agricultural sector went over the cliff.

Then the Dust Bowl appeared: a decade-long drought of Biblical proportions that devastated agriculture all along the breadbasket (the dust storms eventually reached Washington DC and New York City by 1938).

In one year, something like 25% of the workforce was out of a job, and there were no industries on that kind of a scale that could absorb the unemployed.  So people languished.  Something like 25% of the US economy vanished in that same period of time as well.

Essentially, the main driver for the Great Depression was a natural disaster, aggravated by traditional farming techniques.

While the financial sector took a nosedive, if you read up on the subject, you find that the financial was making a rebound in 1930.  But until the Midwestern drought ended, the major industry of this nation was crippled. This same event affected both the US and Canada, and was devastating to people, livestock, and (of course) crops.  From 1933 to 1941, the US umemployment rate was WELL over 10%, and usually held steady somewhere in the teens.


FDR got us out of the Great Depression.

This is just utter bull.

The Great Depression raged all the way through FDR’s presidency, and only ended after the drought, and with the advent of WWII.  However, what many people attribute to what ended the Great Depression wasn’t the war, but the Roosevelt socialist policies.  Most of these took the form of “make work” programs – work programs that employed people doing manual labor, mainly on “infrastructure” projects.  Sound familiar?  It’s the same trick that Obama is using to get the economy going.

What actually got us out of the Great Depression was WWII, and the rebuilding of both Europe and Asia.  We were the only free economic and military power still standing, and we were producing a HUGE amount of war materiel.  We basically had the only strong industrial base in the world that was free from communism.  So, we funded and supplied the rebuilding of the modern world.  THAT’S what got us out of the Great Depression.

In reality, all the New Deal make-work programs did was keep people employed, and little else.  The newsreels of the time, filled with all those smiling faces, were nothing more than propaganda churned out by the US government in support of Roosevelt’s socialist policies.  The fact was, those jobs paid very little, and they accomplished very little.  They certainly didn’t overcome or change prevailing weather patterns.

Land reforms were implemented by the FDR administration around 1938, which roughly coincided with the end of the drought.  This is essentially marked the beginning of the end for the Great Depression period.

But, make-work jobs definitely didn’t end the Great Depression.

Make-work jobs haven’t ended the 8-year recession we’ve had in Michigan.  In fact, I saw an article recently that noted that Michigan had another annual budget short-fall of some 1.5 billion. We have some of the highest and most onerous taxes in the nation.  Consequently, people have fled Michigan to live in other states because of the crap economy, and because of the cost of living here (much of which has to do with taxation).

You see, Governor Granholm’s solution to everything is taxes and construction jobs, which usually means roads and bridges – infrastructure.  And it hasn’t done diddly-squat to fix the economy.

Granhlom’s main response to a one-state recession was to a) blame Bush (especially when the rest of the economy in the nation was booming), and b) increase funding for “infrastructure” (roads) and “educational investment”. One of those major “road” projects is a left-turn light that cost MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars, and is probably one of the most confusing pieces of crap I’ve ever seen on the roads.

In February 2007, Granholm “accelerated” the 2009 road construction season into the 2008 season.

In 2005, Granholm announced the The Jobs Today Initiative, as, “…a three year program to accelerate the pace of state and local infrastructure projects that were scheduled to begin over the next decade.”

Eight year later, Michigan is undeniably worse off. But hey, she suckered enough people into voting for her.

Here we have the same strategies tried on both a state and national level, and both were (and are) miserable failures.  Yet liberals are praising Obama’s “infrastructure” strategy.

And I hope people never wonder why I think most liberals are idiots.

Much of the failure of federal and state make-work programs have to do with the psychology of Economics.


The psychology of the economy.

Yes, economies are largely driven by psychology.  Economics itself is the study of commerce.  Commerce is an exchange of property or services between two individuals – both of whom are human, or are controlled by humans.  So human motivations, desires, and needs drive basic economics.  This is the reason why Capitalism is the natural state of human interaction, and why Socialism is a dismal failure.  The former provides an equitable exchange of property or services (relevant to the two parties involved), and the other tries to control people, control commerce, and make societies conform to a rigid set of beliefs that go against human nature.

In the end, however, human nature has a funny way of reestablishing itself in one form or another (these are typically called “revolutions”).  But I digress.

Human behavior is pretty predictable.  This is why things like supply and demand can be categorized and graphed.  People can be influenced, which is why if you run around claiming that the sky is going to fall, eventually there will be enough people who will believe you.  This is linked to the same behavior that caused people to drink poisoned Kool-Aide at Jonestown, was responsible for the slaughter of six million Jews during WWII, and causes some cult members to sell everything they own, and huddle together on the top of a hill on a certain date in time because they believe (and have been told) that the world is going to end (and it usually doesn’t).  People can be heavily influenced by others because the information they are supplied rises to a certain level of acceptability in their minds.  Thus, illusion becomes reality.

That is until reality decides to assert itself.

And, by the way, if you think YOU’RE not susceptible to influence, you’re deluding yourself.  Everyone is.  I am, you are, Obama is – everyone can be influenced to think up is down or left is right in one way or another.  This is part of our nature.  Liberals, however, and just more susceptible to flights of fantasy, which is why they are usually authors, musicians, poets, and the like.  They don’t generally live in the real world, and hence are easily they are seduced into irrational states.

So when you have idiots screaming on CNN that a recession is coming for three years straight, even a minor economic hiccup has a way of becoming a full-blown disaster.  This is the reason why the people who make it through battles and skirmishes are the ones who keep their head under fire, and manage to think things out rationally regardless of the chaos around them.

I looked it up.  Business Week had recession predictions (all of them wrong) going back as far as 2005.  George Soros predicted a 2007 recession in 2005…which he was wrong.

The reverse is also true.  If CNN went for three years straight saying that we were in an economic boom (when in reality we’re in a recession), it would eventually come true.  The media did this, by the way, when Clinton took office – highlighting how wonderful it was to have a 0.1% increase in GDP.  Nowadays, with Bush in office, that’s considered a sign of imminent doom.  But again, I digress.

So yes, propaganda moves people, and this eventually moves economies. If propaganda didn’t work, it wouldn’t still be around, and political parties wouldn’t pour so much money into it every 2 to 4 years.

So, now that I’ve established the humanity of economics, and the workings of influence on the human psyche, I’ll tell you why make-work jobs don’t turn the economy around.


The psychology of federal make-work jobs.

For about 80% of us, most people are satisfied when they actually PRODUCE SOMETHING.  They also have this drive for a little thing called ADVANCEMENT.  Two concepts that I’m sure are completely alien to liberals (being that 20% I mentioned).  Some people don’t mind digging ditches for a living.  And if you’re unemployed, I’m sure a perfectly good ditch-digging job will look like a great way to escape your economic woes.

Then six months pass, and you figure out that digging ditches kinda sucks.

Another six months passes and you wonder why in the hell you’re digging ditches when you have a perfectly good Art Appreciation degree that you can use to get yourself a job that sucks far less than digging ditches.

But you won’t get that job.  That’s because money that would have normally been circulating in the economy – to produce goods and services – has been siphoned off by a parasitic government to fill a bunch of make-work jobs that basically produce nothing…not even the feeling of euphoria that liberals and socialists said they would have.

After a year and a half, employers question why you’ve been a ditch-digger all that time, when you had a perfectly good Art Appreciation degree. They start to think something is wrong with you, and you get labeled as a potential employment risk because…well…you’re a desperate liberal with an Art Appreciation degree.

After twenty years, you move up to being head ditch-digger, burning your Art Appreciation degree, being resentful of people who didn’t make the same idiotic mistake you did by jumping at a government handout instead of toughing it out in the private sector.  You also have a tendency to vote Democrat…even after you’re dead in some states.

The money gets siphoned off by a government program that, once instituted, never gets shut down, or gets increased funding from one year to the next that goes beyond the rate of inflation.  Don’t believe me? Take a look at Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, ADC, WIC, and so on.

Then, there’s the low pay that’s usually involved with make-work jobs.  If you’re married, and your wife/husband works at Costco (which undoubtedly pays more than a government make-work ditch-digger), you’ll scoff at the notion of actually doing work when you can stay at home and collect your 128 weeks of Unemployment Compensation (because Obama and a Democrat-controlled Congress will keep extending the unemployment benefits so as not to make people “suffer”).

So, that’s why repeating a failed program will only end up with more failure.  It doesn’t work based on fundamental human behavior.

So ends the lesions…er…lessons of the Great Depression.


2 Responses to The Great Depression, Make-work, Psychology, and Economics.

  1. Miguel says:

    Nice post. Well said. Solidarity, Brother!

  2. unknownconservative says:

    (Raises first to temple.)

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