From a very entertaining review of David Michaelis’ new biography of Eleanor Roosevelt:
Eleanor was moved by the desperate plight of out-of-work miners and, because they lived so close to Washington, it was convenient to throw herself into the effort to help them… By the end of the decade, no factory had been built, most Arthurdale residents were still on welfare, and the unit cost of their homes had risen to $16,635, up from an original target of $2,000. ‘My Missus, unlike most women, hasn’t any sense about money at all,’ FDR shrugged.”
In her peculiarly lengthy heyday, Mrs Roosevelt was called “First Lady of the World” by toadying pressmen. Her Arthurdale debacle – reminiscent of Homer Designs a Car – did justify the title in one sense: the henpecking of treasuries throughout the Western world to “help” people became an enduring political and cultural norm. Now, more than ever, we’re all residents.