Blogs > Liberty and Power > More New Deal Apolgetics

Jan 12, 2009 1:38 pm

More New Deal Apolgetics

Over at Marginal Revolution, Alex Tabarrok thoroughly demolishes one of the latest examples of New Deal apologetics:

As late as 1938, after almost a decade of governmental"pump priming," almost one out of five workers remained unemployed. Historian Eric Rauchway says this is a lie, a lie spread by conservatives to besmirch the sainted FDR. Nonsense. In 1938 the unemployment rate was 19.1%, i.e. almost one out of five workers was unemployed, this is from the official Bureau of Census/Bureau of Labor Statistics data series for the 1930s. You can find the series in Historical Statistics of the United States here (big PDF) or a graph from Rauchway here. Rauchway knows this but wants to measure unemployment using an alternative series which shows a lower unemployment rate in 1938 (12.5%). Nothing wrong with that but there's no reason to call people who use the official series liars.

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