Hoisted from comments, this from reader barrisj. When I went to read the London Banker post in question, I too was struck by the passage barrisj singled out:
A remarkable document has been placed today on the “London Banker” blogsite, the testimony of Marriner Eccles to the Senate Finance Committee in early 1933. His testimony later was rewarded by President Roosevelt by bringing Eccles to Washington to help write or draft several seminal laws that essentially saved US capitalism from itself. In fact, “London Banker” highlighted this particular passage from Eccles’ testimony:
It is utterly impossible, as this country has demonstrated again and again, for the rich to save as much as they have been trying to save, and save anything that is worth saving. They can save idle factories and useless railroad coaches; they can save empty office buildings and closed banks; they can save paper evidences of foreign loans; but as a class they can not save anything that is worth saving, above and beyond the amount that is made profitable by the increase of consumer buying. It is for the interests of the well to do – to protect them from the results of their own folly – that we should take from them a sufficient amount of their surplus to enable consumers to consume and business to operate at a profit. This is not “soaking the rich”; it is saving the rich. Incidentally, it is the only way to assure them the serenity and security which they do not have at the present moment.
Where are people such as Marriner Eccles today?
I strongly recommend reading the post in full. Eccles gave a eloquent diagnosis of how the Depression became so severe and intractable, and a cogent, layperson friendly set of recommendations. I have yet to see any similar length discussion of our current crisis that is as clear and compelling.