Shlaes' book warrants more discussion. Here's Free Exchange:

Ms Shlaes is being held up as some kind of authority on the economic issues surrounding the Depression, even though she often takes pains to emphasise that she's no economist. But she also isn't turning down the speaking engagements or saying no to editors who approach her for opinion columns, and she certainly isn't suggesting that conservative legislators trumpeting her book as an authoritative rebuttal of countercyclical macro policy are completely out of line. What a way to conduct a public policy discussion.

Weigel piles on:

The problem with the Republican arguments for a combination of deep tax cuts and spending cuts is that no one can point to a recession that this program ended. Tax cuts and spending, yes. Tax increases and meddling with interest rates, yes. But the homespun wisdom of Republicans like Gov. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), that the government should cut back spending just like an average family is doing, is not backed up by anything.

Tim Kane defends her here:

Rather than take on half of the economics profession, or Brookings, or just engage in a serious discussion of growth policy, the partisans have instead decided to target Amity Shlaes for writing a history book two years ago about the New Deal and FDR. Ironically, if you understand her title, The Forgotten Man is not about macro stabilization theory, but about the unprecedented scope of powers that were centralized in 1930s America, running roughshod over the Constitution and the middle class Americans who pay for grand plans. This, too, is fact even for fans of big G. But I guess describing facts makes you an enemy of the state and its toadies.

What is really at stake is a year of budgetary reckoning, which I now believe will become a decade of reckoning. The crisis of big entitlement promises is about to clash with the limits of taxation. Shouting down Amity Shlaes is just a warm-up.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to