Like a lot of Canadian Tories, Black is a big admirer of FDR. By building a social safety net and putting minimal regulations on capital markets, FDR made America safe for wealthy people again.
Roosevelt expressed frustration to Felix Frankfurter and others that his opponents didn’t recognize that he was “the greatest friend American capitalism ever had.” He wanted to, and did, make America safe for people who lived in 40-room houses on 1,000-acre estates, as he did. He directed all the anger and frustration of the Depression into a cul-de-sac of mythological characters — economic royalists, war profiteers, monopolists, malefactors of great wealth, money changers, and speculators — and preserved the moral integrality of the nation to focus hostility on its real enemies: Nazism and Japanese imperialism. He was no bleeding heart, and he reduced welfare outlays in the summer, explaining, “No one ever dies of starvation in this country in the summer.”
It is, to say the least, unrigorous for current spokespeople of the intelligent Right to claim that Roosevelt’s peacetime elimination of unemployment was a failure, that war-mongering was his real antidote to economic depression, and that the grateful electors of the most successful politician in the country’s history were hoodwinked, as FDR would have said, “again and again and again.” Instead of trying to debunk FDR, Amity Shlaes, Holman Jenkins, and even Jim Powell should complete his liberation from leftist kidnappers and claim him for themselves. He was a reformer, and also one of the very greatest conservatives in American history.
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