The story of the Schechters remains a powerful one, even if it did not mark the end of centralization. By outlawing chicken discounts, Roosevelt overreached, much as he later did in trying to pack the Supreme Court (motivated by decisions like Schechter). But beyond that, his economic meddling failed to accomplish his larger goal of ending the Depression. The “sick chicken case” thus became a useful précis of the argument that the New Deal’s reputation deserves to be more complicated than it is.
No wonder, then, that Amity Shlaes, a former editorial writer at The Wall Street Journal, now at the Council on Foreign Relations, has made the brothers heroic figures in her book “The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression.” Her argument is somewhat more subtle than the usual critique from the right. She sees both Roosevelt and his Republican predecessor Herbert Hoover as inveterate economic tinkerers. Hoover, the engineer turned politician, never lost his instinct to fix things and, as a result, signed the disastrous Smoot-Hawley tariff bill. His biggest sin, and Roosevelt’s, was a “lack of faith in the marketplace,” Shlaes writes. “From 1929 to 1940, from Hoover to Roosevelt, government intervention helped to make the Depression Great.”
Seems the neo-cons after all these years still can't accept that government intervention was necessary during this time of crisis, still adhering to the old "market approach." It was a good thing Bernanke and Paulson didn't think the same way. The book is nicely packaged, which tempted me until I started reading amazon reviews.