FDR 'Prolonged' the Depression? Come On

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2009 11:29 PM CST
A bronze sculpture by Robert Graham of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd U.S. President, is seen at the Roosevelt Memorial December 29, 2008 in Washington, DC.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Fox News left one pundit scrambling for his history books last week after he dared to defend the New Deal. Supporting Congressional talk of a stimulus plan, David Sirota sat "mouth agape, deer in the headlights" as a commentator accused FDR's plan of prolonging the Great Depression. Sirota disagreed, and got laughed at. "Afterward, suffering pangs of self-doubt, I wondered... are conservatives right?" Sirota writes in Salon.

The short and long answers are both no, says Sirota. Revisionists base their New Deal critique on a short recession over 1937 and 1938, but that was when conservatives persuaded FDR to balance the budget. When he resumed spending, the economy grew again. Sirota admits to making one mistake on Fox: He forgot that "as conservatives try to obstruct a new New Deal, they're not making any arguments that are remotely serious." (Read more economic stimulus package stories.)