Brian Domitrovic is author of Econoclasts: The Rebels Who Sparked the Supply-Side Revolution and Restored American Prosperity. He holds the Ph.D. in history from Harvard, where he also did graduate work in the economics department. His A.B. is from Columbia. Currently, he is assistant professor of history at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. He has taught at Grove City College, Allegheny College, and Slippery Rock University. He lives with his wife and three daughters in suburban Houston. His blog, "Supply-Side Economics Today," is at econoclasts.net.
Perhaps the most forgotten period in American economic history is the eight years that followed the creation of the Fed and the income tax in 1913. The period included two long recessions: one beginning in 1913, and another from 1919 to 1921, which was the worst depression the nation would ever suffer outside of the 1930s. In short, 1913 was the worst year ever.
The cycles of the market are not always the result of purely economic forces. Behind the spreadsheets, there are human choices, human mistakes. After the high-growth period of 1962 to 1968, a new direction in legislative policy created the conditions for the simultaneous increase of inflation while growth remained flat—the “stagflation” of the 1970s. A key component to recovering America’s prosperity was a similarly human endeavor: the lonely battle of William F. Buckley and the editors of National Review to gain a hearing among the nation’s leaders for non-Keynesian economics. . . .
Washington used to be a nice town, the reminiscence goes. Before our own day, when “the personal is political,” time was when the partisan fighting was fierce at the Capitol, but everyone played by the rules and went out for drinks together after all the wrangling was done. This is one of the most intransigent clichés in American politics....
Jacqueline Kennedy revealed more than she could have known when she made the following remark on November 22, 1963, after hearing that Lee Harvey Oswald had killed her husband, President John F. Kennedy: “He didn’t even have the satisfaction of being killed for civil rights. It had to be some silly little communist. It robs his death of any meaning.” . . .
Long ago, The Nation had a conservative editor. Paul Elmer More edited the already venerable magazine for five years just before the First World War. On joining The Nation, More was already an entrenched conservative; indeed, he preferred the term “reactionary.”. . .
For an investigation of the course of American economic history since the Civil War reveals a remarkable truth: all periods of prosperity in the United States have coincided with decided efforts to keep collectivist inclinations at bay.
Europe East and West by Norman Davies(London: Jonathan Cape, 2006). 560pp.
BRIAN DOMITROVIC teaches in the Department ofHistory at Sam Houston State University. He receivedhis Ph.D. from Harvard University.