The Forgotten Man: How Election 1936 Defines Election 2008
About This Event

Amity Shlaes of Bloomberg News and the Council on Foreign Relations delivered the April Bradley Lecture.

The campaigns for the presidential election of 2008 have begun, and they already reflect an old political challenge. Whether Democrat or Republican, candidates must address the same dilemma: on the one hand, voters have enormous Listen to Audio

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faith in the private sector; on the other, they expect the government to provide them with evermore generous entitlements. In this Bradley Lecture, Amity Shlaes will take us back and prove that the roots of the problem lay in a single election year, 1936, when Franklin D. Roosevelt systematically established modern political interest groups from unions to artists to senior citizens. Roosevelt’s electoral strategy was to lavish federal money on these groups, so much so that federal spending that year outpaced state and local spending for the first time ever in peacetime. The consequence was the Roosevelt landslide of 1936—and the setting of the modern entitlement trap. Roosevelt often spoke of the “Forgotten Man,” the man “at the bottom of the economic pyramid.” Yet Shlaes shows that Roosevelt’s New Deal created a new “Forgotten Man,” the man who subsidizes the funding of other constituencies—and who haunts the politics of all developed nations today. This lecture is based on Miss Shlaes’s forthcoming
The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression (HarperCollins, June 2007).

Amity Shlaes is a syndicated columnist with Bloomberg News and a visiting senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Over the years her work has appeared in periodicals ranging from the Wall Street Journal, where she served on the editorial board in the 1990s, to the Financial Times, Commentary magazine, The New Republic, National Review, and AEI’s own The American magazine. Miss Shlaes’s latest book, The Greedy Hand: How Taxes Drive Americans Crazy (Random House, 1999), was a national bestseller. Her new book, The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, will be published this June by HarperCollins. This is her second Bradley Lecture based on The Forgotten Man; the first was “The Chicken Versus the Eagle,” delivered at AEI in April 2004.

5:15 p.m.
Christopher DeMuth, AEI
Amity Shlaes, Bloomberg News
Adjournment and Wine and Cheese Reception
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