Currie and the 1937-38 recession
“When the Government disburses more to the community than it collects in taxes, it adds to national buying power and the demand for the products of industry. The excess of spending over tax receipts in the years 1935-36 was the primary factor in increasing national income, in increasing Federal revenues, in increasing national demand for goods and, hence, in finally making it profitable to make additions to plant capacity in 1936.
At a time when the national income is shrinking the Government is seeking to raise revenues and cut expenditures this merely intensifies the deflationary trend. We are in danger of starting again the hopeless attempt to increase Federal revenues when the national revenue is shrinking. The attempt failed in 1929-32. It will fall again. The only condition under which the Federal budget can be technically balanced in 1939 is a reversal of the present deflationary trend.”
I hope a memo like this has been sent to Bernanke. Hope springs eternal.