Guest post by Neptune Wellness Solutions CEO Michael Cammarata
On June 8th, the National Bureau of Economic Research officially declared that the U.S. is in a recession driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic slowdown.
Considering the current data on unemployment and the decrease in federal and state tax revenues, it’s clear that the U.S. is in the midst of the biggest and most uncertain economic crisis since the Great Depression.
And yet, within that dark comparison may lie one of our biggest opportunities. We can learn directly from the past to help develop our future, and it won’t take great leaps in technology or a complete reliance on taxpayer-funded stimulus to do it. History provides a guide, and Democrats and Republicans alike will soon have the opportunity to follow its lead.
The 18th amendment to the U.S. Constitution had prohibited the manufacture, sale or distribution of alcohol in 1920. As the Great Depression took hold, and millions of Americans found themselves out of work and struggling, politicians began to rethink the merits of their previous actions. Franklin D. Roosevelt ran for President in 1932 on a “wet” platform, advocating for the return of the legalized liquor industry, which would result in hundreds of thousands of jobs and a dramatic increase in federal tax revenue. After his election, he made the repeal of Prohibition one of the first steps in his legendary “First 100 Days”, which ultimately led to the passing of the 21st Amendment officially ending the alcohol ban in 1933.
It’s important to note that the repeal of liquor laws did not single-handedly end the Great Depression. It took years for economic policy to truly take hold and lift the American people out of the negative economic cycle. It did, however, directly fund a significant portion of