A Mellon For You Thoughts...

"(Andrew) Mellon's exceptionally long tenure as treasury secretary, from 1921 until 1932, serving three of America's most pro-business presidents, showed him adept at using public office for private gain. Like Dick Cheney, a continuing beneficiary of Halliburton largesse, he saw no contradiction between the two. An early proponent of the theory of supply-side economics, that cutting taxes on the rich would spur economic growth, Mellon anticipated by 60 years the pro-plutocrat policies of Reagan and Bush. As secretary, Mellon continued illegally to remain actively engaged in his business affairs, lobbying for tariffs to protect his firms and contracts to help expand them, while repeatedly lying to Congress and the press about his involvement.

In keeping with his distrust of government intervention (except in his favour) and fervent belief in inequality and social Darwinism (strains of thought used today to justify America's porcine corporate salaries and feeble social insurance system), Mellon chillingly rejected any notion that the government should intervene to help those ruined by the Crash of 1929, or those whose jobs and businesses were annihilated in the Great Depression of the 1930s. Speculators "deserved it"; while the unemployed "will work harder, lead a more moral life". Around this time, as criticism of Mellon grew, his son Paul saw this ditty written in a urinal: "Mellon pulled the whistle/Hoover rang the bell/Wall Street gave the signal/And the country went to hell." Cannadine perhaps fails to draw out how much Mellon's (lack of) policies towards the Depression discredited Republican laissez-faire economics for two generations, until their current vogue."

Mark Bearn
Book review of Mellon: An American Life by David Cannadine
Read view @ News Statesman

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