Economic Recovery: Lessons From The Post-World War II Period
We’ve talked about the myth that the post-WWII period demonstrates that Big Government fosters Big Economic Growth. A new report from Mercatus takes a careful look at the postwar boom. Particularly interesting, it addresses the left’s claim that much of the boom was a result of the GI Bill.
Although the GI Bill surely had a positive effect in the 1950s on the educational level of U.S. workers, the bill played a very minor role in keeping the immediate postwar unemployment rate low. At its height, in the fall of 1946, the bill only took about 8 percent of former GIs to college campuses and out of the workforce. Before the war, a number of government programs attempted to move unemployed workers into the labor force, with little success. In the years under discussion, however, no new government program was facilitating this transition; indeed, it was the end of government direction of the economy that facilitated the postwar boom in private employment.