Larry Kudlow: The Gilded Age is one of the greatest models

So, if you want to take a break from Joe Biden’s dismal left-wing progressive radical big government Green New Deal socialism — if you’ve pretty much made it this far and want to take a little vacation, I’ve got just the thing for you.

Tonight, on Fox Business, “American Dynasty” debuts at 9 p.m. Eastern. It’s a docuseries that takes a look at the most famous family empires in American history.

Specifically, the series focuses on one of my favorite periods in American history. Liberal historians disparagingly call it the “Golden Age” and its leading protagonists such as Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller and other key players call them “robber barons”.

Left-wing historians rank among the most successful entrepreneurs in American history, people whose technological innovations and inventions made America the world’s greatest economic power between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the abortive First Advanced Era in 1910—“Robber barons? “Really? I’d rather say it’s free market capitalism.


Do you know how Joe Biden’s socialism failed utterly? The free market capitalism practiced by these big business minds has been absolutely successful – absolutely successful. Remember: During this time they invented the telegraph, the telephone, the railroad, automobiles, oil refineries, cameras, electric lights, and steel. Oh, and did I say planes? That too.

With the possible exception of the Internet information age, this was the time of the greatest technological advance in American history. After the terrible war between states necessary to hold the Union together and abolish slavery, men like Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Andrew Mellon and Orville Wright changed the face of America.

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Here’s a short vignette of how middle-class people benefited from these geniuses.


Henry Dominguez: “Most companies at the time were trying to sell big, expensive cars to rich people, but Henry Ford never thought that was the right market.”

Larry Kudlow: “His strategy was to build and mass-produce cars that ordinary people could drive.”

Okay, here’s that story – the backstory… In 1914, Ford assembly line workers weren’t happy with $2.34 an hour for a 9-hour workday. So Henry Ford decided to double her wages to $5 an hour. Literally thousands upon thousands of workers lined up to claim this new higher wage.

Suddenly productivity increased. Conveyor belts hummed. The pay was now so good that people were willing to do all the work. Five bucks might not sound like a lot today, but it was a lot of money back then, and then came Ford’s second ingenious move. He had them build affordable Model Ts that his own workforce could afford with their new higher wages, and it worked. They bought and they drove and they changed America.

Scottish-American industrialist Andrew Carnegie expanded the steel industry. John D. Rockefeller discovered oil, first used it as kerosene and then learned how to refine it into gasoline for Henry Ford’s cars. Back then, oil was used as a light source across the country, but wait a minute.

Thomas Alva Edison, in conjunction with Samuel Morse and others, invented the telegraph and then the telephone to improve communications at speeds and international distances never thought possible, and then when Edison was playing around with electricity he found electrically powered lights , like light bulbs. As in the original mission that shaped the once-great company, General Electric.

Just look at this from the TV show The Gilded Age, look at this:


I’d say the whole story speaks for itself, especially with the oohing and the aahing, but that’s what they lit up, the whole office building or whatever it was with the new electric lightbulbs. This is stuff that modernity never imagined. Available and affordable to regular workers, and while all this awesome stuff was happening, Orville Wright was tinkering at his bike shop and after a few false starts, he and his brother eventually invented an airplane that took off from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

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While Carnegie made the steel for Henry Ford’s cars, Ford raised wages so his workforce could buy the cars. Rockefeller refined gasoline to fuel the cars. Edison made the electric lightbulbs to light the homes, factories, and office buildings at the end of the automobile’s destinations, and the Wright brothers introduced aviation.

Oh, and by the way, did I forget the incredible proliferation of railroads crisscrossing the country to pull the United States together and commercially connecting cities and towns everywhere, and then they could talk to each other on their phones? So parents could start keeping tabs on their kids, and the kids could talk to their grandparents? I don’t want to forget that either. All this in about 40 years – really?

Has anything as incredible as this story ever occurred to you? It’s true. It has its roots in free-market capitalism, where men and women were free to use their God-given talents, where success was rewarded, where work was made easier, and families could be together—all to improve life, to make America better and more prosperous, and a world power like never before seen or frankly made sense. That brings freedom. For this reason, Joe Biden’s socialist, anti-freedom policies must be stopped.

Have these entrepreneurs become rich now? Yes they have, but contrary to left-wing historians, rich isn’t bad. Rich is not bad. Rich came from the fruits of her spirit and labor, look at this:

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Larry Kudlow: “Every one of those industrialists became great philanthropists, they did. They gave away their money and that to me is one of the great definitions of free market capitalism // Your motivation must first and foremost be a reward for your work – you have to survive but your motivation should be to help people.”

Were the people helped? Well, consider this, just for starters: John D. Rockefeller founded the University of Chicago and Rockefeller University, and with his wife Laura Spelman, Rockefeller founded the historic black Spelman College.

Andrew Carnegie built Carnegie Hall in New York, built the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and co-founded Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh with his banker Andrew Mellon.


oil pump

The sun sets behind a crude oil pump jack on a drilling pad in the Permian Basin in Loving County, Texas, November 24, 2019. REUTERS/Angus Mordant/File Photo/File Photo (Reuters photos)

In Cleveland, Rockefeller’s buddy, industrialist Amasa Stone, founded what is now Western Reserve University, formerly Case Western. Railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt founded Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Ezra Cornell, who worked for Samuel Morse and Thomas Edison, founded Cornell University.

And these and many other Gilded Age heroes founded countless other colleges, libraries, hospitals, foundations, and you tell me. This is how wealth alleviates poverty. This is how genius comes from freedom. That’s how a great democracy like America became the world’s greatest economy, and unfortunately that’s why Joe Biden and his left-wing squad of success punishers, redistributors and income levelers are all so terribly, terribly wrong. That’s why the cavalry has to come and the “Golden Age” is one of the greatest models and I don’t care what left-wing historians say. I know what’s right

This article is an adaptation of Larry Kudlow’s opening commentary on the October 18, 2022 issue of “Kudlow.”


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