Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Steve Kagen, Not WWII, Ended Great Depression

There is a broad consensus among historians that the combination of Roosevelt's New Deal and the onset of World War II combined to bring an end to the period known as the Great Depression. But during a campaign stop in Rhinelander, Democrat Steve Kagen (8) seemed to challenge this consensus. WJFW reports:
"Take a look at the facts, if the facts matter in this case. I pulled our economy back from the abyss, back from the Great Depression. We've stabilized our economy. We've guaranteed access to care for everyone. We're turning away from war. And, I'm pushing to invest your tax dollars here at home to grow the jobs we need to work our way back to prosperity. I'm the fiscally responsible and socially progressive candidate in this race," explained Kagen
Even for someone with Kagen's reputation for bombast, this seemed too over the top to be true. But the link above includes video of Kagen making the statement.

I listened to it twice to be sure, but I think what he said was he pulled the economy back from a great depression, not the Great Depression. But is there anyone in this country that thinks Steve Kagen himself actually pulled the economy back from the abyss? I guess such a claim should really be no surprise since Kagen also claimed to be writing the healthcare bill.

Since the Congressman claims that the facts matter, perhaps we should fact-check his statement.

"We've stabilized our economy."
- Paul Krugman argues this is no recovery.

"We've guaranteed access to care for everyone." - CBO estimates 23 million nonelderly will remain uninsured under the new healthcare law.

"We're turning away from war." - President Obama sent an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan.

"I'm the fiscally responsible...candidate in this race,"- For fiscal year 2010 Kagen requested almost $18 million in earmarks.

"I'm the...socially progressive candidate in this race,"- This is true. Kagen's record of voting with Nancy Pelosi 96% of the time proves it. Only problem is that Kagen represents WI-8, not CA-8.

Claims about the Great Depression aside, I know that after hearing Kagen's remarks I am greatly depressed that he represents me in Congress. I'm confident that I'm not the only one that feels this way.


Dad29 said...

Megalomania is not restricted to the White House, eh?

Dale said...

Very true Dad.

Anonymous said...

Jeez Jeremey, it is obvious from a casual reading that he refers to the second great depression. Are you dense or just that partisan?

Anonymous said...

He's clearly talking about the second Great Depression. Plus, why do you rightwingers always pull out WWII to argue that it, not Roosevelte ended the Great Depression? Wasn't WWII MASSIVE amounts of government spending?

YLW said...

Jeez Anon, you actually think Kagen personally pulled us out of ANY great depression?!

Jeremy R. Shown said...


Thanks for the comments.

As I said, the New Deal plus WWII is seen to have brought an end to the Great Depression. I think that's pretty much mainstream, not right wing, thinking.

Also as I made clear in my post, Kagen probably wasn't talking about the Great Depression, but he has a history of grandiose comments so one can't be too sure.

Dad29 said...

BTW, watch Kagen claim that he voted "against TARP."

Here's the URL he'll use:

But THAT vote was taken after all the money was already gone. It was an "against it after I was FOR it" vote.

D said...

Anon 2 brings up an absolutely brilliant point.
Anyone who concedes that Keynesian economics does not in fact stimulate the economy cannot claim on the other hand that 'WWII ended the Great Depression.'

To claim that relentless spending on domestic projects doesn't help the economy, but somehow creating a trillion Broken Windows helps the economy is the height of absurdity.

ALL WWII spending was purely on Broken Windows. It didn't help a single consumer that he was taxed to build a tank that was destroyed in Africa. It didn't help a single consumer when he was taxed to build a boat that was sunk in the Pacific.

Well, maybe I'm wrong. If wars end depressions, we can sign an agreement with China to build 100,000 boats each and sink them. Depression averted.

Sound absurd? That's because it IS.

Government spending on dams IN the US doesn't work. Why would anyone think destroyed bombers would? Cognitive dissonance.