I’ve started The Forgotten Man, an economic history of the Great Depression. Much in the book was news to me. I’ll kick off my weblog coverage of this work with one quote: “Data from the 1930 census would show black unemployment nationally standing slightly below white unemployment.” (i.e., in 1930 a greater percentage of black Americans held jobs than white Americans)
After FDR’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and all of the other Big Government efforts over the past 80 years to fight inner city poverty and discrimination against blacks… the black unemployment rate is roughly double the white unemployment rate. During the same period, the Federal Government share of the economy, as a percentage of GDP, has grown from roughly 2 percent to roughly 20 percent.
[http://www.bls.gov/opub/cwc/cm20030124ar03p1.htm offers some historical unemployment data. In 1930, the year under discussion, the rate was 8.9 percent. During the Calvin Coolidge years (1920s), the rate was 3.3 percent. Note that these numbers would be much lower given modern measurement techniques that exclude large numbers of potential workers from the labor force. The ballooning of the unemployed during the Great Depression was an anomaly that will be discussed in a future post about the rest of the Forgotten Man.]