Brass Oldies: Part II

by Thomas Sowell

Songs that are “golden oldies” have much less pleasant counterparts in politics– namely, ideas and policies that have failed disastrously in the past but still keep coming back to be advocated and imposed by government. Some people may think these ideas are as good as gold, but brass has often been mistaken for gold by people who don’t look closely enough.
       
One of these brass oldies is the idea that the government can and must reduce unemployment by “creating jobs.” Some people point to the history of the Great Depression of the 1930s, when unemployment peaked at 25 percent, as proof that the government cannot simply stand by and do nothing when so many millions of people are out of work.
       
If we are going to look back at history, we need to make sure the history we look at is accurate. First of all, unemployment never hit 25 percent until after– repeat, AFTER– the federal government intervened in the economy.

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