KE Cellars

FDR was finally forced to “get it.”

Click here to listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on KTBB AM 600, Friday, July 13, 2012.

For your summer reading I recommend to your attention the book “Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II.” In a very well-written, well-researched and highly readable volume, author Arthur Herman describes how the Roosevelt administration, which had come into power by denigrating business and capitalism at every turn, was forced by the monumental demands of a global war to enlist the help of the very American businesses that they had been hitherto quick to condemn.

In dozens of anecdotes and stories, Herman explains that corporate titans and small business owners alike, who freely chose to bid on and win war production contracts (the government having no power to force any business to do any work it did not freely choose to do), out-produced the top-down, centrally-managed and highly coerced war production efforts of the Germans and the Japanese.

At the peak of production in the United States, the American economy was humming at full employment while average Americans were seeing economic prosperity and were creating wealth for the first time in over a decade.

At the peak of production in Nazi Germany, Albert Speer, Hitler’s Minister of Armaments & War Production, had succeeded in turning the country into what amounted to a giant underfed forced labor camp, a dark and dismal nation that despite the massive power of the German government to compel  work from its industry and citizens, never came close to matching the output of the United States.

American free-enterprise, far-flung and completely beyond the reach of any imaginable central management, beat the socks off of the top-down, government-run war production efforts of Japan and Germany.

It does not overstate to say that American businessmen and American free enterprise literally saved the world.

I would pay out of my own pocket to send a copy of Herman’s book to President Obama and every White House staffer if I thought that they would a.) read it, and, b.) understand it.

The truth is, however, based on the recent un-telepromptered utterances of the president, there is no chance he would understand it.

Which explains why he could say that business owners can take only limited credit for their own success. That’s what he said last week in a campaign speech. He went on to say that the lion’s share of the credit is owed to government for the teachers and roads and bridges and firemen and police officers that government provides, all of which, according to the president, facilitate the success of business.

Which is, of course, completely untrue. It’s the other way around.

Everything that government does and every benefit that the government provides – every highway, every bridge, every dam, every naval vessel, every fighter jet, every Humvee, every public school, every firefighter and every police officer – comes from the fruits of the success of the American people.

America’s success in defeating unspeakable tyranny in two hemispheres in World War II, and the abundance of the American experience that followed, has its genesis in the dreams, hard work and self-interest of the American entrepreneur, who freely risks his own capital and his irreplaceable time in the hope of earning a bountiful reward.

Every world-wide brand name in America comes from such roots.

It works like this, Mr. President. American businessmen and women would find a way to succeed even if there were no highways. But turn it around and examine it from the other side and you are quickly forced to understand that there would be no highways without the success of American business.

That’s the way it works, Mr. President. It worked that way before you got here. It will work that way after you are gone.


  1. I just watched your section on this topic and i strongly agree, with out the people of the USA you wouldn’t be in office sir. with out are say so your laws are no go, with out us the government is nothing. We the people means nothing to the president.

  2. Linda E. Montrose says:

    You are correct about the book…they may read it, but to comprehend what it is telling them is beyond the scope of understanding for liberals such as obama and those who surround him!
    One thing that has to be understood about obama, his intentions never were to make America prosper. He is working as hard and as fast as he can to destroy what is left of it by making it near impossible to go into business or STAY in business. His sole agenda has been to become America’s first DICTATOR. The MEDIA is helping obama’s dream come true! A man, that IF the MEDIA had done it’s JOB, never would have stepped foot in the Whitehouse to begin with.
    America overcame a lot in the 30′s and 40′s. But people were different then. People had PRIDE in America and America products. Pride IN their work…it was a different world then. We have replaced America PRIDE with whatever is cheaper, not caring where it came from or who made it. To over come what we are going to HAVE to over come NOW is a lot steeper mountain than it was back then. At least we had SOME people in congress who CARED what happened to this country back then. I do NOT see that core of strength in what we have up in Washington today!

  3. Brian Eggerman says:

    Another classic example of the conservative reliance on selective facts.
    The wonderful American capitalist system had just plunged this country, and soon afterward the rest of the world, into the greatest economic quagmire this planet has ever known. Dissatisfaction with the greed and incompetence of American enterprise was the common mood of the time. FDR recognized this fact and simply represented the will of the American people, as his huge margins of victory in subsequent elections attest.
    America, with its decided advantages in manpower and natural resources, did eventually outpace the war production of Nazi Germany, but only after several years of trying to catch up. Add to this the fact that we were not faced with day and night saturation bombing of our cities and factories, and the real miracle is not that we outpaced Nazi war production, but that it took us so long to do so.
    Amnerican business did indeed freely bid on government contracts for war material, but praytell what was their alternative? Reject such bidding and pass up millions of government dollars, then try to recoup those losses with domestic production in a time when consumption was limited both by government rationing and a populace placed on a war footing and thus reducing luxury spending? Don’t think so. Plus the companies who did win the bidding for war contracts were given specific quotas and specifications which the government had complete control over.
    Meanwhile, Soviet war production by the end of the war was on a par with American production in spite of the loss of vast territory and resources to the advancing German armies. This production was under complete government control and indeed involve the despicable use of slave labor. The result? It is estimated that eight out of ten German soldiers killed in WWII caught a Russian bullet.
    Nor were we ever able to catch up to the Germans in the field of technology, with their jet airplanes and long distance rockets. Even America’s greatest technological achievement of the war, the atomic bomb, was largely the work of expatriated German and Italian scientists.
    So how did we ever defeat the Axis powers? Our one advantage was our leadership, i.e. government! While Hitler’s delusions of himself as a master military strategist left the German war machine misdirected and overexpanded, FDR labored under no such delusions, limiting his role as commander-in-chief to outlining our war aims, while leaving the strategies and tactics to men such as Eisenhower, MacArhur and Halsey, government employees highly trained in the art of warfare at government run academies. Their experise was what brought us D-Day, the island hopping campaign, and the destruction of Japan’s Imperial navy.
    Finally there is the absurd notion that America somehow “saved the world” during WWII. This jingoistic notion ignores the fact that Germany had already lost at El-Alamein and Stalingrad before American forces could be fully brought to bear in the European theater. We undeniably facilitated and sped up the process, but as the Germans never regained the initiative in any subsequent military action, the idea that we would all be speaking German and cheering the great-grandson of Adolph and Eva is patently ridiculous.
    We do deserve the lion’s share of the credit for defeating the Japanese.
    The fact is American business, American government and the American people were all responsible for our success in WWII. I have always believed that the greatest insult to a people who have achieved something remarkable is to exaggerate and embellish that achievement, indicating that what they actually did wasn’t good enough. This is what Mr. Herman, and by proxy yourself, have done by cherry picking the facts that support your proposition while ignoring all others.
    What is the difference between selective facts and outright lies? There is none.

  4. C M Solomon says:

    “The ‘wonderful American capitalist’ system had just plunged this country, and soon afterward the rest of the world, into the greatest economic quagmire this planet has ever known.”

    Please note the sarcasm from an earlier comment!

    This is another classic example of the LIBERAL/SOCIALIST reliance on selective facts. I didn’t know that anyone could still be this ignorant in 2012 after so many economists (Milton Friedman, for example) who have elegantly explained that the Great Depression was caused and prolonged, in its entirety, by the inept fiscal and economic policies of the Progressives (Socialists) in the US Government.

    I think it is time to accept the overwhelming evidence that the Left is devoid of common sense and holds dearly to its RELIGION of Socialism-Marxism as incontrovertible FAITH that cannot be challenged no matter how many times Big Government fails. Five Trillion dollars of additional federal debt with nothing to show for it during the abominable Obama administration, is proof enough. No so-called “recovery” has ever had this despicable Return on Investment in the nation’s history.

    It is clear that the President and his minions are plunging this country into economic chaos in order to rebuild it into a dictatorial Marxist-State like ALL of Obama’s mentors have taught him from his youth. Only recently has Obama slipped-up and revealed his true beliefs. It is a frightening thing to realize we have a Marxist Trojan Horse in the White House. The BIG LIE marches on!

  5. We’re never going to make the left see reason. We share two polar opposite beliefs. The left believes man is basically good and if you give him enough stuff so he is never in want, he will behave himself and be creative and productive.

    Conservatives, however, believe in original sin – that man is basically corrupt. We believe that without rewards and punishments, man in his natural state is a greedy, self-centered power hungry brute and can’t be trusted.

    It is ironic that virtually the only system of belief that creates the guileless man the socialists so firmly believe in is Christianity and it is that very system of belief that so many of them despise and which Marxism rejects entirely as “the opiate of the people”.

    To put it more simply, the left believes we can create a heaven on earth without God. Most of the right believes we can only manage evil by allowing it to suffer the natural consequences of sloth, violence and corruption and that the selfless world that socialists long for is something that will have to wait for heaven.

    To conservatives the world is a crucible which tests, tries and teaches man how to live in a perfect world. To progressives the world is all the heaven we’re ever going to get and the idea that man can never achieve a perfect world on his own hook, terrifies them.

    Capitalsim will never give us a perfect world. It only prevents it from going to quickly to hell in a handbasket. – Tom King

  6. i can concur with all the write-up

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