Liberal fascism in the Times

In “Stimulus thinking, and nuance,” New York Times economics columnist David Leonhardt credits stimulus courtesy of national socialism with reviving the German economy in the 1930’s. In the course of his column Leonhardt attacks Amity Shlaes’s critique of the received account of the New Deal. Leonhardt refers readers to “[t]he best takedown of Ms. Shlaes’s thesis” by Eric Rauchway, “a historian, who pointed out that her favorite statistic did not count people employed by New Deal programs to be employed.” Shlaes responds to this point here. At Contentions, Jonathan Tobin fairly characterizes Leonhardt’s column as “Liberal fascism in the Times.”

UPDATE: Reader Jim Cratsley writes:

The Times faills to mention serveral things that Hitler also did in conjunction with the stimulus. He called a May Day Rally in Berlin in May of 1933 and invited all the union leaders. The chairman of the Trade Union Confederation openly pledged themselves to support the Nazi regime. After the rally, Hitler had the union leaders arrested and put into prison.

He instituted strict wage and price controls. You complain – you got put into prison. The people accepted this because they went through the wild inflation under the Weimar Republic and were scared.

He put millions of men into the armed services, as we all know – that decreased unemployment greatly.

The wage and price controls started to cause shortages. Hitler’s agreement with Stalin was also an economic gift – Russia sent tons and tons of supplies to Germany – right up until the day Hitler invaded.

But the major thing was, Germany was close to bankruptcy by 1938 – there was only so much money it could borrow.

Jonathan Tobin makes related points in the linked post. William Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, available online via Google, covers some of the May 1933 events at pages 202-203, also noting that Hitler decreed an end to collective bargaining that month. Mr. Cratsley concludes: “This guy from the Times is a nitwit.”

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