Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hero Time: Andrew Mellon

Andrew Mellon was one the world's great wealth creators as well as one of the world's great philanthropists.  However, he's a hero in the OLS's book for an entirely (though not unrelated) different reason: his tremendous fiscal performance as a U.S. Treasury Secretary under Presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover.  Essentially, Mellon understood the tremendous productive power of reduced tax rates and worked tirelessly promoting this view during the 1920s while at the Treasury.  He was also an interesting person, as Lawrence Reed shows in his excellent article in The Freeman a few weeks back.  Here's a slice to whet your interest:
Arguably, Mellon’s greatest contribution to America was not the vast wealth he created or the vast wealth he gave away, but rather the vast wealth his fiscal policies allowed millions of other Americans to produce. Mellon’s riches did not insulate him from the real world; rather, they reinforced in his mind just how the real world works.
Reed's article touches on numerous fascinating episodes and events in Mellon's life, and also has a nice aside where he takes a couple of (deserving) swings at the FDR-as-hero  mythology.  You can (and should) read it here.