For a conference this coming weekend, I'm reading a fascinating series of radio debates between Senator Robert Taft and Representative T. V. Smith that took place during the late 1930s. In the final installment, Taft is summing up his concerns about the New Deal. At one point he says the following, much of which could be applied to our current situation, especially with a double dip a distinct possibility. The italics are mine, as that section provides a tad more evidence for Bob Higgs's "regime uncertainty" argument, aside from any relevance they have for today. Here's Taft:
[The New Dealers] are willing to sacrifice individual freedom in order supposedly to improve the condition of the poor and increase their material welfare. But in this purpopse the policy has completely failed. There are more than 10,000,000 people unemployed today, and the largest relief expense this year, 10 years after the depression, than any in the history of the United States. Farm prices are lower than they have been for 6 years. Businessmen are discouraged and indignant. Deposits have piled up in the banks because rich and poor alike are afraid to put their time or money into private enterprise, because they fear that Government regulation will prevent success and Government taxation will take whatever profit there might be. The New Deal policy is the only one which has ever plunged us into a second depression before we were out of the first. If any policy leads backward and not forward, it is the policy of spending billions of borrowed money and piling up a tremendous debt for future generations to pay. A policy which leads inevitably to the bankruptcy and inflation of the currency will not only make the poor people poorer, but it is likely to force a socialism which will utterly deprive them of individual freedom.
This whole series of debates, which was reprinted as appendices in the Congressional Record, is really fascinating history.