The Roaring '20s all over again

Before electricity, factories ran their machinery using  a central steam boiler, which powered everything through elaborate sets of belts.  If you ran a lathe, its motive power came from a belt, or cable, which wound back to the power source.  It was dangerous and  inefficient.

Then, from 1900 to 1940, electric motors replaced steam.  Each power tool had its own small, efficient, pollution-free motor.  Needless to say, the adoption of electricity as the power source in manufacture led to an explosion of productivity, a vast creation of wealth that we still enjoy today.

Thus, we had one of the most prosperous decades in all of history, the American Roaring '20s.  Like all business cycles it ended, and became the Great Depression largely as a result of governmental stupidity.  The reaction to the Depression was the New Deal political consensus, which lasted until 2016.

Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge were partly responsible for the Roaring '20s.  Their low tax, pro-business policies were helpful.  They also severely limited immigration.  By 1924, very few immigrants were being allowed into the country.  This had the effect then, as it would have today, of increasing the bargaining power of the American worker and of a more widely shared prosperity.

All the stars have aligned for another decade of powerful economic growth, a 21st-century Roaring '20s.  Trump, like Harding and Coolidge, is ferociously pro-business.  He wants jobs, and for that he needs business to expand and hire.  He wants the benefits of all this wealth creation to be shared with the working men and women of America.

Trump's efforts have a mighty wind at their back, as the wizardry of Silicon Valley permeates every business in America, large or small.  This productivity explosion may well prove to be greater than steam to electricity.  It could last for decades.

If we let it.  The government, under the wrong Democratic president, could screw this all up.  The Democratic nominee will have pledged to enact a program that would end all this magnificent progress.

So if you care about the future of this country, you shouldn't just vote for Trump.  You should work for him.

Fritz Pettyjohn knocked on doors for Barry Goldwater in 1964 and blogs at

If you experience technical problems, please write to