In his March 2 article, “There’s no deleveraging the illusions of politicians,” Christopher Lingle argues that instead of trying to do something about the current economic turmoil, governments should get completely out of the way, and let the “market” decide wages. Lowering wages, he says, is the most “humane” way to deal with unemployment. This is absurd.
Lingle states that “When other solutions failed to cut unemployment rates during the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt invoked military conscription. This ‘solved’ the problem. . . . Much suffering, and perhaps the eventuality of war, might have been avoided if wage rates had declined under the pressure of market forces at the outset of the recession.” Nonsense.
Roosevelt introduced the draft in 1940 when war was already raging in Europe, and the threat of war with Japan was growing. Roosevelt knew that it was only a matter of time before America became involved. The draft was hardly a make-work program. Neither was the war. Besides, is there anyone in the world who thinks that lower wages and greater poverty in Germany in the early 1930s would have prevented Adolf Hitler’s rise to power? Or that lower wages in Japan would have prevented the attack on Pearl Harbor?
If Lingle is right, then Ford, GM and Chrysler would do much better if they could pay their workers $10 a day. But then who could buy their cars? Not the average working person. The “market” is mainly rich, greedy people who need to be kept under control. Lack of control led to the current crisis.
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