Rather than end the Great Depression, his policies prolonged it
My seventh-grade son recently wrote a U.S. History paper extolling the virtues of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. “It ended the Great Depression,” he wrote with great certainty. He’s only 12 and parroting what the history texts and his teachers told him.
That’s his excuse. What’s Ken Burns’?
Mr. Burns’ docudrama on the Roosevelts — for those who weren’t bored to tears — repeats nearly all the worn-out fairy tales of the FDR presidency, including what I call the most enduring myth of the 20th century, which is that FDR’s avalanche of alphabet-soup government programs ended the Great Depression. Shouldn’t there be a statute of limitations on such lies?
Ask nearly anyone over the age of 80, and they will say that FDR cared about the working man and “gave the country hope,” a point that Mr. Burns emphasizes. Roosevelt exuded empathy, which isn’t a bad thing — remember Bill Clinton’s memorable line “I feel your pain”? — but caring doesn’t create jobs or lift gross domestic product.