“Few events in U.S. history can rival the Great Depression for its impact. The period from 1929 to 1941 saw fundamental changes in the landscape of American politics and economics, including such monumental events as America ’s going off the gold standard and the founding of Social Security. It was a watershed for the growth of the federal government.
The Great Depression created a widespread misconception that market economies are inherently unstable and must be managed by the government to avoid large macreconomic fluctuations, that is, business cycles. This view persists to this day despite the more than 40 years since Milton Friedman and Anna Jacobson Schwartz showed convincingly that the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies were largely to blame for the severity of the Great Depression. In 2002 Ben Bernanke (then a Federal Reserve governor, today the chairman of the Board of Governors) made this startling admission in a speech given in honor of Friedman’s 90th birthday: ‘I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression, you’re right. We did it. We’re very sorry.’” Read more.