A truly startling and eye-opening read!
I started this book having no real understanding of economics. I hoped that it would teach me the basics, providing me with an understanding of America’s economic history and how it affects us today. It perfectly fit the bill.
I did not find the writing style heady. While there are a lot of facts, and even a number of charts, the author breaks down concepts and subjects into manageable and comprehensible sections. With each section, I found myself more engrossed and more shocked by the government’s flagrant severing from the Constitution; and even logic itself. Stories of real people are included throughout and this helped take it from concept to reality; understanding exactly how political changes alter companies and day-to-day life.
I appreciated the brief history of Franklin Roosevelt, which was included at the beginning, as it helped present a complete picture. And the last chapter of the book reveals how FDR’s ideology is still grotesquely entangled in our present economy and government.
In this shocking and groundbreaking new book, economic historian Burton Folsom exposes the idyllic legend of Franklin D. Roosevelt as a myth of epic proportions. Elected on a buoyant tide of promises to balance the increasingly uncontrollable national budget and reduce the catastrophic unemployment rate, the charismatic thirty-second president made dramatic federal programming changes that directly contradicted his campaign vows. His popular New Deal programs, marked by inconsistent planning, wasteful spending, and opportunity for political gain, ultimately elevated public opinion of his administration but fell flat in achieving the economic revitalization that America so desperately needed from the Great Depression. Many of the programs still in existence – farm subsidies, minimum wage, and welfare, among others – have a direct correlation with poverty today. Folsom’s critical, revisionist look at Roosevelt’s imperious approach to the presidency explores how the president changed American politics forever and why, more than sixty years after he died in office, we still struggle with the damaging repercussions of his legacy.
It does mention that Roosevelt had an affair with his secretary for several years but does not give any details.