Matt Yglesias joins the attack squad on Amity Shlaes, author of The Forgotten Man, a history of the Great Depression and the New Deal. For me, the main take-aways from the book are:
1. Franklin Roosevelt had no coherent economic strategy.
2. He had a very coherent political strategy, which was to use government spending to forge strong links with electoral constituencies, in a way that was analogous to urban machine politics.
I think that those two points are very important, typically overlooked, and extremely relevant today. As far as I know, none of Shlaes' critics have challenged these points. That is why those of us who have read her book are not impressed by the critics.