One of America’s great men, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), although not without faults, began the practice of speaking to the nation via radio shortly after he was inaugurated in the winter of 1933.
He was talking about the banking crisis that then enveloped the nation and his aim to was to alert the people about the problem and then sell them on his drastic proposals to shut all the banks, audit any and all of them, and then reopen the ones that were basically sound and put in place restrictions and guarantees that still underlay the banking system in this country.
And by the way, federal deposit insurance has turned out to be as successful a government program as ever was.
We have the strongest consumer banking in the world because of the FDIC. The next time someone questions whether government interference in the economy works, just whisper FDIC and there the quarrel stops.
Because of the informal nature of these talks, no audience, no cheering, no music, FDR came to call them Fireside Chats. Just like a family sitting around a fireside and getting instructions from the patriarch.
FDR used them as campaign material, too. He did not give them every week but instead gave about 60 of them in his 13 years at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The practice was picked up by Ronald Reagan in his eight years in the Oval Office.
He gave almost weekly chats over the radio to bolster his standing in the nation and to promote plans as varied as tax cuts and Star Wars missile defense.
His successor, Mr. Bush, also gave them as did his predecessor, Mr. Nixon. They were a low-key, low-cost way of reaching the nation.
So, this is a sort of fireside chat by me, your humble servant, about key issues as I see them.
First let’s get the economics out of the way:
The economy is staggeringly strong.
Trump’s promises to make the economy hum have worked out well. Unemployment has fallen by roughly five million souls. Unemployment is a true curse, and for it to fall that much is very good news.
The growth rate has greatly accelerated, close to doubling in the Trump years as compared with the Obama years.
The stock market is way, way, way up, as are corporate profits.
Even manufacturing jobs, which were believed to be dead and buried, have risen amazingly.
Oil production is way up, which is a miracle in these days of extreme uncertainty about the world’s energy supplies. The fracking states have stepped up to the plate in a way that literally avers war. We don’t need to fight over oil in the sand when we have plenty in North Dakota and Midland/Odessa.
Why is the economy so strong? Some say it’s because Mr. Trump has cut way back on excessive regulation, allowing expansion without fear of bureaucratic strangulation. Some say it’s just Mr. Trump’s lively cheerleader’s personality leading by example. Maybe, so writes Ben Stein, to read more of Ben Stein's article please . . .
But I am an economist, so I look for answers in economic theory. The one that gives me the most satisfactory answers is massive deficit finance.
To read Ben Stein's full article, please visit The American Spectator.
Ben Stein is a writer, an actor, and a lawyer who served as a speechwriter in the Nixon administration as the Watergate scandal unfolded. He began his unlikely road to stardom when director John Hughes as the numbingly dull economics teacher in the urban comedy, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Read more more reports from Ben Stein — Click Here Now.
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