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ICYMI: An Evening With Amity Shlaes

February 6, 2013 3 minute Read by Jacqueline Lowe

This article, excerpted below, was originally posted here and is an interview with Amity Shlaes, The 4% Growth Project’s Director and author of the new biography Coolidge, after a presentation on Calvin Coolidge she gave at the Goldwater Institute.  

“Like Goldwater, Coolidge has been roundly castigated by the left, whose agenda it is to convince successive generations of Americans that the roaring twenties were a time of awful decadence and led to the Great Depression, a depression that only the socialist policies of an FDR could correct.

The actual historical record says something entirely different, of course.  The horrendous failure of those policies of the thirties caused the depression to last much longer than it otherwise would have.  According to Shlaes, the only way to alleviate this awful truth is to convince people that the twenties were really terrible and that Coolidge was to blame for the onslaught of everything from the Dustbowl to the collapse of Wall Street.

When Coolidge took office after the untimely demise of President Harding, few knew what to expect from this silent, slightly dour individual.  He never gained much popularity within the social elites of Washington.  Alice Roosevelt Longworth, the eldest child of Theodore Roosevelt, famously remarked of Calvin Coolidge that he was so sour-looking that he was apparently “weaned on a pickle.”"

“Equally as interesting as the character sketch provided by Shlaes, was her discourse on the emphasis that Coolidge put on reducing tax rates and cutting government budgets.  While Coolidge was in office, unemployment remained less than 5%, the top tax rate was reduced from over 70% to 25%, the budget was balanced every year, and government spending was when he left office than when he assumed it.

Coolidge was a hugely popular president, if not with the Washington bureaucracy, with the American people as a whole.  To paraphrase Shlaes, he proved that one could be square and still be respected and appreciated.”

To read the full article click here.

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