- The Washington Times - Monday, July 23, 2007

The Forgotten Man

What a wonderful column Suzanne Fields wrote about “The Forgotten Man,” my new history of the Great Depression (“The ‘forgotten man,’ ” Op-Ed, Thursday). One thing: I am not a trained economist from a graduate school, as suggested, but rather a journalist who developed an interest in history.

These days our culture tends to license only economists to write about economics, but a lot of economics is common sense. Franklin D. Roosevelt himself didn’t like too much math in the conversation. He preferred political economy, an older discipline in which philosophy, history and politics all went together when you talked about the economy. The common-sense reality of the Depression, from Herbert Hoover to Roosevelt, was that the government intervened too much and had too little faith in markets.

AMITY SHLAES

Senior fellow in economic history

Council on Foreign Relations

New York

Drug-war successes

Les Francis, a former member of the drug czar’s office under the Democrats — which, in the first three years of the Clinton administration was so ineffective that youth drug use in America virtually doubled — accuses the Bush administration of losing the war on drugs in his Saturday letter to the editor, “Losing momentum in the war on drugs.” Such chutzpah.

The truth is that the Clinton Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) refused to acknowledge or promote a random student drug testing (RSDT) policy. The Bush administration has reversed that position under drug czar John Walters’ leadership. This has resulted in the significant and sustained reduction of student drug use by as much as 25 percent during the past six years. President Bush has openly advocated RSDT, saying in his 2004 State of the Union address, “Drug testing in our schools has proven to be an effective tool to save children’s lives. The aim here is not to punish children but to send them this message: We love you and we do not want to lose you.”

This has resulted in a more balanced approach to drug policy by expanding drug prevention along with drug interdiction, both of which the Clinton ONDCP seriously subverted by its destructive reduction of the drug czar’s office by nearly 75 percent when Mr. Clinton first took office. The administration only restaffed that office and hired Gen. Barry McCaffrey after school drug-use rates had skyrocketed under their leadership.

We parents who are suffering enormous harm from the prevalence of drug use among our children in the nation’s schools that have not yet begun to use RSDT applaud the Bush administration’s major contributions to the nation’s war on drugs. We regret such destructive political sniping as seen in that letter from Democratic activist and ineffective former ONDCP bureaucrat Les Francis.

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