A short one about historical revisionism.

I spent a bit of time on YouTube today, catching old game show appearances and whatnot. YouTube’s pushing featured videos, and some outfit has been broadcasting little bits about immigration, or capitalism, delivered by professors not well known, from places that may or may not be. (Harvard, yes. But some of these others, no.)

So I watch one tonight, and it has to do with when the Great Depression “really” ended. We all learn that it’s either 1933 or 1941. (’33 if you count the mid-1930’s expansion and 1937 recession as their own things.) Well, some guy out there is saying that the Great Depression actually lasted until 1948. I paid attention during college–not just money—so this really surprised me. 1948?

Yes.

He says that you can’t count war production as part of an economy, because military equipment and spending on soldiers isn’t “wealth”. So, he says, the Depression ended in 1948.

Except the problem I have, is how we count the Defense Department for the next 63 years after that. If it wasn’t part of the productive economy in the Roosevelt Administration, then why was it in later years? Why was defense spending so good under Ronald Reagan, and does it mean that he didn’t “cure” the recessions associated with Jimmy Carter’s time in office (a short one in 1980 and then another, longer one in July 1981-November 1982 after Carter left?)

There is nothing out of the revisionist guru for that. Just simply that Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal was bad–even though everyone likes social security.

The 20th century revisionists are out in force, probably because of this summer’s Republican Phony Debt Crisis. Thank God the old game shows beat them in the hit count.

[Update: I’ve included the link, and watching it the second time, I still see it as pure academic shysterism. The man makes no mention of our current military spending, or even analyzes 1980 to now. If he did so, we’d have to conclude that we have been in the 1980 recession ever since.

The Roosevelt haters never went away—even in Japan—and its amazing to see how they keep trying to disguise the same tired arguments in new packaging.]