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Oct 4, 2022·edited Oct 4, 2022Liked by Shikha Dalmia

I’d actually love to hear someone who ascribes to a Hoover-ist view spell out what an enlightened response to the Great Depression would have looked like.

Obviously FDR’s approach involved a lot of thrashing about, and no small number of programs that were counterproductive, but on a comparative basis, America did incredibly well. In practice, the conservatives I’ve met that think the New Deal was all a big mistake have also been subscribers to actual-Hoover’s “just let it play out” theory of macroeconomic management. To my mind, the experiences of the ‘30s and 2008 totally discredit that view.

But to me that suggests an opening for a conservative intellectual: what does a macroeconomic stabilization program look like that can keep the country out of depressions but that doesn’t trigger their nationalization and size-of-government concerns? Can we cleave opposition to social spending off of discredited and self-defeating fellow travelers like hard money and Austrian economics? If Continetti time-traveled back to the Hoover administration, knowing that “ride it out” gives you FDR (and much worse abroad), what would his advice to Hoover have been?

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