In 1929, Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon faced the impending Great Depression and said: Bring. It. On.
Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate … It will purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. People will work harder, live a more moral life. Values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up the wrecks from less competent people …
This is basically the stance of the House Republicans. Brad DeLong points to this nugget:
According to one GOP lawmaker, some House Republicans are saying privately that they’d rather “let the markets crash” than sign on to a massive bailout.
For the sake of the altar of the free market system, do you accept a Great Depression?” the member asked.
And John Derbyshire, over at The Corner approvingly cites the above Mellon quote and asks: “Won’t somebody please dig up some of Andrew Mellon’s DNA and get cloning?”
What we’re seeing is the resurgence of the Old Right. It’s been a long time in the making.