The Great Depression of 1920 only lasted one year, however, thanks to President Warren Harding’s inspired policy of cutting both government spending and taxes dramatically.
A most urgent question : will the current President have the courage to do what is right for the good of the nation as Warren Harding did, or will he succumb to baser instincts and refuse to cut spending and taxes dramatically?
Thomas DiLorenzo lays out the disasterous historical connection between politics, militarism and central banking. Heed the warnings contained or this nation will again see its wealth devestated.
Government can finance war (and everything else) by only three methods: taxes, debt, and the printing of money. Taxes are the most visible and painful, followed by debt finance, which crowds out private borrowing, drives up interest rates, and imposes the double burden of principal and interest. Money creation, on the other hand, makes war seem costless to the average citizen. But of course there is no such thing as a free lunch.
As a general rule, the longer a war lasts, the more centrally planned and government-controlled the entire economy becomes. And it remains so to some degree after the war has ended. War is the health of the state, as Randolph Bourne famously declared, and the growth of the state means a decline in liberty and prosperity. (Think Socialism, Communism, Totalianarism as epitomized by North Korea, Nazi Germany...who would want to live in a regime like those?)
Special interests joined the political coalition that created the Federal Reserve Board in 1913, which became an important source of finance for America’s disastrous participation in World War I four years later. The Fed did not just print greenbacks, as was the case during the Civil War. It printed enough money to purchase more than $4 billion in government bonds that were used to finance the war. The amount of money in circulation doubled between 1914 and 1920—as did prices. This was an enormous hidden war tax on the American people: wealth was cut in half, along with real wages, and just about everything consumers purchased became more expensive.
The boom created by the Fed’s war financing inevitably caused a bust—the Depression of 1920, the first year of which was even worse than the first year of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Gross domestic product declined by 24 percent from 1920-21, while the number of unemployed Americans more than doubled, from 2.1 million to 4.9 million. The Great Depression of 1920 only lasted one year, however, thanks to President Warren Harding’s inspired policy of cutting both government spending and taxes dramatically.