If government will back out of the current economic downturn, the economy will correct itself like it did during the recession of the 1920s, Amity Shlaes said in her lecture, “What Threatens the American Economy Today,” given Friday. Shlaes was the final speaker in a three-part lecture series funded by the Apgar Foundation and sponsored by The Project on Liberty and American Constitutionalism. In the lecture, Shlaes explains how American government has too much power in the economy and shows this by relating circumstances from the Great Depression in the 1930s to the current recession. “Private markets and free markets are self correcting,” said political science professor Anthony Peacock on Shlaes’ remarks regarding government involvement in the economy. “These big banks and entities that are too big should fail because they don’t work efficiently.” Peacock uses Shlaes’ New York Times best-selling book “The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression,” in his political science class and Shlaes takes her lecture topics from this publication’s main themes. The forgotten man she refers to is the man who is expected to “pay for everyone else’s good intentions” during the economic crisis of the Great Depression, Peacock said. During the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to help the lower class, however, money was taken out of the middle class workers’ and the wealthy’s paychecks without a consultation, he said. Peacock said this “forgotten man” picked up the tab for the New Deal welfare state. Shlaes said that in the 1930s, the New Deal was a necessary step, but was prolonged rather than abridged by the depression. Economic historians believe the New Deal was a successful act to take during that time period, Shlaes said.
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