13-William-Jennings-Bryan-on-Govt

13-William-Jennings-Bryan-on-Govt - policy into a weapon of...

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Bryan on the Role of Government William Jennings Bryan US Presidential Candidate, 1896 ”The Cross of NAIRU” Wall Street Journal, 20 June 1996, A18. A hundred years ago to the month William Jennings Bryan raged at William McKinley. Bryan’s big line—“You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold”—was about a bimetallism issue so hot that it turned the presidential election. Bryan’s case for looser money was made in an era before the existence of the Federal Reserve system; voters had lived through the hardships of seeing deflation halve the value of their farms and houses against gold…. The reason for the Fed bashing of the sort Sen. Harkin practices is that it distracts from the real problem now, which is on the fiscal side. Focus public attention on monetary policy, the modern logic goes, so you can degrade tax
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Unformatted text preview: policy into a weapon of class warfare. In fact, the Presidents beloved (re)distribution tables have only become worse in his world of 40%-plus top marginal rates. Nor should we expect any Democrats today to deliver bellowing speeches about the incentive-smothering effects of the Clinton tax tables or high capital-gains rates. Indeed, the Democratic party has traveled a long way from its populist past. A hundred years ago, a pamphlet prepared after a Democratic National Convention in Chicago, this years site, advertised the Democratic candidate as a man who denies the right of any government to take from any man by means of taxation any money not needed for government expenses or to tax one man to enrich another. The candidate, of course, was populist William Jennings Bryan....
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