Amity Shlaes is a syndicated columnist for Bloomberg and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. In addition to writing on political economy, she writes on taxes. She is a contributor to Marketplace, the public radio show. She has appeared on numerous radio and television shows over the years.
Miss Shlaes was formerly a columnist for the Financial Times and, before that a member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, specializing in economics. In the early 1990s she served as the Journal's features, or "op ed" editor. Prior to that she followed the collapse of communism for the Wall Street Journal/Europe. Over the years she has published in the National Review, the New Republic, Foreign Affairs (on the German economy), the American Spectator, the Suddeutsche Zeitung and Die Zeit. In 2002 she contributed an article on the US tax code to the thirtieth anniversary anthology of Tax Notes, the scholarly journal.
Ian spoke with economics expert Amity Shlaes, New York Times bestselling author of The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. Shlaes discussed some of the causes that led up to the Great Depression and how people were affected by the catastrophic economic conditions of the time.Foreclosures were common during the Depression era, Shlaes explained, noting that many of the people who were foreclosed upon owned as much as 90% of their homes. In that period banks offered interest-only loans on the other 10%, which made it almost impossible to pay off a mortgage, she added. The stock market dropped a staggering 80% and did not come back to its 1929 level until 1954, Shlaes said. There were widespread bank failures. According to Shlaes, more banks failed in the Great Depression than even exist today. Shlaes also pointed out that there was not enough money during the Depression, so people bartered and made their own scrip (a substitute for currency which is not legal ten ... More »Host: Ian Punnett