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last posted Feb. 24, 2013, 6:14 a.m.
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I started reading Coolidge today by Amity Shlaes and am finding it rather engrossing.


I know little about Calvin Coolidge but so far what I am learning about this POTUS is that we could certainly use some of application of his approach to governing and budgeting, today.


So as Coolidge is coming of age while at Amherst there are a lot of interesting economic forces at play that seem to be a backdrop to his development.


First off, there is the issue of currency / gold standard / bimetallic (silver was introduced along side gold). William Jennings Bryant was popping up on the scene as an ardent opponent of not only gold but also large corporations and railroads.

Secondly, it was the first time that people weren't more or less self employed (mostly has farmers). With industry popping up, there were large numbers of people employed in factories and other industrial settings that required large numbers of workers.


There were large strikes by workers in response to pay cuts and/or layoffs. This was everyone's first time at this (or so it seems to me from my read of the history).

Management not having precedent to figure out how to deal with lower demand/economic contraction while having a large workforce. It certainly didn't make sense business-wise to continue producing when you couldn't sell at the same volumes previously.

Labor seems to be first realizing that they can in fact collectively refuse to work and put pressure back on Management to comply with demands.

While yet an undergraduate student, Coolidge had the wisdom and foresight to recognize just how short-sighted this striking business was. Labor might win in the short term but were only hurting themselves in the long run.

I think this is part of when the story of Coolidge starts to crystalize some of his socio/economic/political opinions. One thing is for certain, is that he was thinking through these issues on his own rather than adopting the views of those around him or from his upbringing.

He seems to have been an extremely reflective and thoughtful individual who was not afraid at where a course of reason and logic might take him.