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By Larry Schweikart

Ever hear of the Great Depression of 1920? No, me either. Do you know why? Because the recession that began shortly after World War I ended never deepened and never became “great” (as though any depression is great). There is a history lesson in that story that our leadership in Washington should keep in mind today.

As the United States, and the world, came out of World War I, the economies of the warring powers had been cranked up to full production to meet wartime demands. Suddenly, in 1918, the Armistice was announced, and within a year, troops began returning to civilian life. The influx of millions of soldiers worldwide introduced sudden unemployment, and thousands of farmers came back to farms that were already at or near full capacity, causing farm prices to fall. In the United States, Woodrow Wilson’s hand-picked successor, James Cox, the newspaper magnate from Dayton, Ohio, ran on a platform of reducing America’s wartime debt through a policy of maintaining Wilson’s outrageously high wartime tax rates.

The Progressive President Wilson had been in office when the Income Tax Amendment was passed—a story in itself. While the goal of the Progressives who favored an income tax was first and foremost wealth redistribution (not raising money to run the government), the income tax itself was largely sold to the American people on two major positive features. First, its rates were (by current standards) ridiculously low. Most people paid no income taxes at all, the bottom bracket paid only about 1%, and the very richest Americans paid only 6% (today, many states have higher income tax rates than that!). As a Vegas comedian would say, “What’s not to like?”

But it only took Wilson a couple of years of war to jack up the top rates to an astounding 73% (near confiscation) and hike the bottom rate to 25%.

Now for a little sidebar: how often have you heard that “World War II got us out of the Great Depression?” Probably more times than you can count. What is often forgotten is that when your very survival is at stake, as it was from 1941 to 1945, people will submit to most anything—rationing, confiscatory tax rates, muzzling of civil liberties. This is laudable and natural. But it is wholly unnatural and oppressive for a government to seek to maintain wartime tax levels and intrusions on civil liberties in peacetime. Hence, to return to our story, Wilson “got away” with the outrageously high tax rates during the war because . . . it was a war! Once the threat was over, however, Americans expected their country back.

Cox’s opponent, Warren Harding, also of Ohio, ran on a platform of returning the country to its pre-war “normal” economy and freedoms. While he didn’t explicitly endorse a tax cut, voters rightly inferred that’s what he meant, and sent him to the White House instead of Cox. In perhaps his shrewdest move, Harding asked Pittsburgh millionaire Andrew Mellon to be the Secretary of the Treasury. When Mellon told him he “didn’t want the job,” Harding knew he had the right guy. Mellon finally gave in, and immediately studied the recession, which was severe.

Various estimates of the 1920-1921 recession suggest that Gross National Product fell anywhere from 2.4% to a whopping 6.9%. Estimates of unemployment put the rate at between 7% and 8%. Interestingly, while most economists correctly identify the issue of returning troops as a “shock,” few note that the extremely high tax rates dragged the economy down faster than “Bernie” behind the boat (reference to “Weekend at Bernies,” if you haven’t seen it).

Mellon performed a review of another phenomenon: even though Wilson’s boys consistently pushed up tax rates, the relative return from those rates fell steadily. Without knowing it, Mellon had come up with an early version of the “Laffer Curve,” which says that at a certain point, raising taxes will result in less revenue to government, because people will silently revolt and either cease work or go into the black market. Mellon convinced Harding to ask Congress for a radical tax cut. Of course, many in government opposed. In a stunner, the New York Times of 1909 had actually warned that “when men get in the habit of keeping themselves to the property of others, they cannot easily be cured of it.”[1] Harding died in office, but his successor, the great Calvin Coolidge, remained committed to steeply reducing tax rates. Mellon, Harding, and Coolidge succeeded in reducing the top rate from 73% to 25%, and the bottom rate from 25% to 5%. There are two observations one can make: a) that’s an astounding drop, and all three men are to be commended, and b) it was still many times higher than the pre-war rates!

Nevertheless, the economy quickly recovered. Unemployment rates fell, down to 5%, then 4%, then finally, in 1926, to 1.6% according to one study. Even more shocking, the share of taxes paid by the rich . . . skyrocketed. Those earning over $50,000 (a “supermillionaire” back then) had only paid 45% of the total taxes when the rates were sky-high, but after the Mellon cuts paid 62%. Those in the “Bill Gates” category of “so-rich-they-wouldn’t-pick-up-a-$100-bill-on-the-sidewalk” rich ($100,000 at the time), saw their share of taxes paid almost double, from 28% to 51%.

We call what happened next the “Roaring ‘20s,” because the economy absolutely went nuts. Average Americans came to own cars, radio, have appliances and the electricity to power them (electricity use rose by almost 300% between 1899 and 1929), telephones, and a myriad of other products once considered luxuries.[2] Ford’s Model T, once considered revolutionary for its low cost and simplicity, now was out; General Motors, with its different car line for every income class was in. And they say tax cuts don’t work? Tell that to the Americans of the Roaring ‘20s.”

Larry Schweikart

Professor of History, University of Dayton

co-author, A Patriot’s History of the United States


[1]. Quoted in Arthur B. Laffer, Stephen Moore, and Peter J. Tanous, The End of Prosperity: How Higher Taxes Will Doom the Economy—If We Let It Happen (New York: Threshold, 2008), 49.

[2]. See Larry Schweikart and Lynne Pierson Doti, American Entrepreneur (New York: Amacom, 2009), ch. 9.

Glenn Beck: Here's how YOU can fix the Great Reset's housing crisis

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How's the housing market looking these days? Because under Build Back Better (aka the Great Reset), investors are grabbing up homes at a record pace.

On "The Glenn Beck Radio Program," Glenn discussed a recent Redfin News report, which shows that almost one in five homes sold in the U.S. during the third quarter of 2021 was purchased by an investment firm, and many are paying tens of thousands of dollars over the asking price.

"Think of that, one in every five homes that are sold are going to a big investment firm," Glenn said. "Investors bought more than 90,000 homes, totaling more than $63 billion, representing 18% of all homes sold in the quarter. The numbers broke all records."

"The same factors have pushed more Americans to rent, which also creates opportunities for investors, because investors typically turn the homes they purchase into rentals," he continued. "And now they can charge higher rents. Rent for single-family homes surged by more than 10% in the 12 months, through September. The fastest annual rent inflation in 16 years."

"And nearly 77% purchased were bought in an all-cash transaction," Glenn added. "That's not your average person. These investment firms, like BlackRock, are going in and buying entire neighborhoods. They are the people that come in, and say, 'I'll give you $70,000 over the asking price.' ... Now, why would investment firms think they will just be able to make money paying $70,000 over the asking price? What is it that they know, that you don't know? Could they know, as the Great Reset states, that by 2030, you will own nothing and you'll like it?"

Watch the video clip below to hear Glenn offer his thoughts on how you can solve the Great Reset's housing crisis:


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On "Glenn TV" Wednesday, Glenn Beck exposes the radical plan to flip the United States from capitalism to socialism and into a lawless nation. It's an old strategy that mirrors a communist Cold War playbook. The goal now, as it was then, is this: How do they get a revolution without all that civil war stuff? It’s a five-step plan, and we're deep into several of the main steps RIGHT NOW.

Our justice system has been infiltrated by woke leftists, and something called "the progressive prosecutor movement" is methodically transforming Main Street USA into Main Street Gotham City. We can see it all over the country in places like San Francisco, with the Waukesha massacre as a terrifying glimpse into more of what's coming. And the media? They're currently running interference in one of the largest misinformation operations in history.

It’s happening at the city, state, AND federal levels. And President Trump might be one of the biggest victims of them all, a fact that even Trump critic Joe Rogan has realized on the Russia collusion hoax: “No one is being held accountable!” That ends now, as Glenn calls on Americans to push back on the lies that keep us divided in a cold civil war.

Watch the full episode below:

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A "one-world government" is being formed right now and it’s called the Great Reset, Glenn Beck said on the radio program Monday. And now, rebuild plans for the fire-damaged Notre Dame Cathedral hint at the formation of a global church, too.

In this clip, Glenn detailed plans for the iconic, 850-year-old church’s "woke" renovations that sound more like a 'politically correct Disneyland' complete with a "discovery trail," "emotional spaces," and 14 themed chapels.

"Notre Dame is now being built back better as a 'woke theme park' dedicated to environmentalism and social justice," Glenn explained.

"There will be several different chapels within, [for example] a chapel for social justice, and then chapel for environmental justice," he continued. "Which leads me to this point. The 'one-world government' is being formed, right now. One-world government. It is being formed and it's called The Great Reset."

Glenn went on to predict that one of the first steps in the direction of a one-world government will be a push for a global religion.

"I think we're seeing the first church now being dedicated to the new global religion — and it is social justice, environmental justice, and all this gobbledygook. We all know, it's not just wrong, it is dangerous. That's the first church, the cathedral of Notre Dame, in France, is the first global church. Mark my words. Christian, Jews, Muslims ... this global church will bring darkness unlike you've ever seen."

Watch the video clip from "The Glenn Beck Program" below:

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The Omicron COVID-19 variant: Should we ACTUALLY panic?

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As the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus approaches, it seems like those in power want everyone to be terrified, Glenn Beck argued on the radio program Monday.

The chair of the World Medical Association's Council, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, is already comparing the variant to Ebola and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has declared a state of emergency, despite the doctor who announced its discovery describing the new variant's symptoms as "unusual, but mild." So, should we really be worried or not?

In this clip, Glenn and producer Stu Burguiere reviewed what we know about the Omicron variant so far and gave a few reasons why we should wait for more information before succumbing to panic.

Note: The content of this clip does not provide medical advice. Please seek the advice of local health officials for any COVID-related questions & concerns.

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