As the host of the “Financial Myth Busting” Radio Show, Dawn J. Bennett interviewed Amity Shlaes, the New York Times bestselling author of The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. Shlaes is also the chairwoman of the Coolidge Foundation, a group dedicated to advancing the ideals of former president Calvin Coolidge, and a political author and economic commentator for Forbes Magazine, The Financial Times and Bloomberg.
Shlaes’ book presents a striking reinterpretation of the Great Depression. The book captures the dark period in our nation’s history and traces the anguish of the New Dealers, as well as the men and women whose strong character helped them persevere.
In her interview with Bennett, Shlaes discusses how the events that unfold in her book still resonate today. Like with the Great Depression, we are most concerned with the quality of recovery. People in some sectors, like the government and energy, are doing quite well. Areas where those sectors are prominent, such as Washington D.C., Texas, and North and South Dakota, are doing well whereas the rest of the country is not. Today we are concerned with youth unemployment and the general feelings of cynicism felt by young people with limited opportunities. These feelings were also experienced in the 1930s. While what is occurring now is not a depression, the absence of solid recovery leaves Americans feeling puzzled, as well as concerned about the overpriced markets.
In her book, Shlaes writes the phrase “Nice work if you can get it.” While this phrase explains how many people during the Great Depression couldn’t get jobs, it still applies to our nation today. Shlaes explains how our nation has a paradox, where one person may have a job and be doing well why his/her neighbor can’t get a job. Those people without jobs experience a locked out feeling or can only find a temporary job. While older people with a union job are grandfathered and are promised a pension, younger union members and non-union members don’t receive the same benefits as those born before 1960.
Click here to read the full interview.