Lyndon Johnson's Terrible Legacy

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Patrick Barron via The Mises Institute,

Recently my wife and I spent a morning at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas. The damage done by this big bully is incalculable. His library reminds us of the start of the blizzard of government expansion during Johnson's presidential term, which lasted from the Kennedy assassination in October 1963 to his decision not to run for a full second term in 1968, which usually is attributed to his failure to end the war in Vietnam.

Johnson was an admirer of FDR and was determined to revive and complete what he believed should have been integral parts to FDR's New Deal. Johnson called his program The Great Society.

As if ignorance of the consequences of this socialist expansion of domestic control by government was not enough, LBJ expanded the war in Vietnam, promising America both Guns and Butter. Even today we live with this expansion of government domestic programs and seemingly never-ending wars as the modern Welfare/Warfare state.

The Johnson Treatment

I called Johnson a big bully in the paragraph above. I believe my assessment is justified by what actually is celebrated at his presidential library. The displays proudly explain and document "the Johnson touch" in print, photograph, and actual recorded telephone interviews. Johnson was a big man who towered over most people. He had a habit of getting very close to someone, leaning over at the waist, and forcing his partner in conversation to bend over backwards to avoid an uncomfortable encounter with LBJ's face. There is a large picture of Johnson giving Supreme Court Associate Justice Abe Fortas this "Johnson Treatment", literally face-to-face. Fortas, who was a long time LBJ supporter, appears to be taking the "Treatment" in good humor, but it is easy to see how it would be almost impossible to keep one's dignity with the president of the United States performing this obviously uncomfortable act.


Surprisingly the JBJ Library celebrates the Johnson Treatment with recorded phone conversations. One conversation was with powerful US Senator Richard Russell, a long time LBJ colleague. Johnson wanted Russell as his personal eyes and ears on the Warren Commission, tasked with investigating the Kennedy assassination. In the recorded phone conversation we hear Russell politely tell LBJ that he is honored but that he has no respect for Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren and must decline the offer. LBJ then badgers and bullies Russell into accepting the position. He says that he wants Russell to ensure that the commission does not investigate whether the Russians or Cubans had any role in the assassination. Russell's vociferous objection in writing to the Warren Commission's "single bullet" theory seemed to justify his opinion of Warren and the commission. The commission's staffers jumped through rhetorical hoops to claim that the report had the unanimous approval of all members.

That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Unseen

The library is full of typical memorabilia. The entrance has a huge display of pens with which Johnson signed hundreds of pieces of mostly domestic legislation. For example, Johnson authored and signed sixty pieces of legislation that effectively federalized education. Of course, the library is full of specious statistics that attempt to "prove" that all this legislation was effective, citing, for example, that the poverty rate decreased and that the percentage of Americans with college degrees increased. Even if one accepts such "facts" at face value, an Austrian economist would point out that all such so-called advances came at the cost of diverting resources from other, more highly sought preferences. Education is an economic good, as is healthcare, retirement savings, food, etc. If Americans valued higher education so much, they would have applied more of their limited resources to this end. The LBJ library ignores the cost, including the social cost, of all these programs and gives the impression that government supplied goods and services could be provided without any change in the nation's production of other goods and services. Thus, the famous "Guns and Butter" claim that we can have it all...a claim that survives to this day.

Perhaps the most enduring legacy of the LBJ years is that his Guns and Butter policies put the US on a path that ended the gold exchange standard, agreed upon at Bretton Woods in 1944, by which the US pledged to honor central bank dollar convertibility to gold at thirty-five dollars per ounce. In the 1950's Eisenhower's budget deficits were very modest and he actually balanced the budget for a short time. But Johnson's Guns and Butter policy caused huge deficits and prompted unprecedented money printing by the Fed. The Austrian economists in Charles de Gaulle's France understood the consequences--that the US did not actually have enough gold to honor central bank redemptions at thirty-five dollars per ounce--and began a run on the US gold supply that eventually drove the US off the gold standard in 1971. (Let me make it clear...the French did NOT cause the run on the US gold supply. The Fed caused the run by printing dollars to pay for LBJ's Guns and Butter policy.)

Vietnam Exposed the Limits of the Johnson Touch

The LBJ library openly shows us that Johnson never had a method for winning the war in Vietnam or extricating the US from what became known as a quagmire. In another telephone recording from early in his administration library visitors hear LBJ tell a partisan that he doesn't know how to win or how to bring the troops home honorably. That is a very bitter revelation to someone who had comrades in arms who died in Vietnam and others who endured captivity in the infamous "Hanoi Hilton". Repeatedly Johnson tried to get the North Vietnamese to a peace conference. This is pure LBJ hubris, convinced that everything is negotiable and that he can use the famous Johnson Touch on Ho Chi Minh. His pathetic bombing pauses to signal our desire to negotiate merely convinced the North Vietnamese that American involvement eventually would end.

What Have We Learned?

Apparently, not much. Today Johnson's Guns and Butter policy is alive and well. Few, if any, Great Society programs have been repealed. The federal government continues to wage war in faraway places and promises ever more goods and services, funded by fiat money set free from any semblance of a gold standard. There is no talk of eliminating any domestic programs or ending any of our wars. On the contrary our government seems determined to provoke new wars in Korea and possibly with Iran and even Russia. The legacy debt for all the federal government's programs--i.e., the unfunded obligations emanating from the government's entitlement programs — has been calculated to be well over a hundred trillion dollars. It is clear that it can be paid only nominally and not with money of even today's reduced purchasing power. So, was LBJ's presidency a success? Unfortunately for America, LBJ would say yes!

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Fiat Pirate's picture

Wilson, Lincoln, FDR, LBJ.  Strait from hell to destroy the USA.

TBT or not TBT's picture

Not uniquely evil though.  He was a progressive among many. 

Automatic Choke's picture

he was famous for getting his start in state level politics by circulating rumors that his opponent had sex with barnyard animals.  his handlers were shocked, "we can't accuse him of being a pig fucker"..... LBJ:  "i don't care if he fucks pigs or not, i just want to hear him deny it in public".


TBT or not TBT's picture

The first rule of progressive club is get power.  

Five Star's picture

All the budget deficits since WWII combined are less than the interest expense on the national debt over the small period

ScratInTheHat's picture

We can thank FDR for the POS LBJ! FDR called the IRS off of LBJ otherwise he would have been in jail long before he screwed the country up!

wee-weed up's picture



But just like Jimmah, ol' LBJ will always be able to proclaim...

Thank God for Obozo!

DownWithYogaPants's picture

Yeah LBJ was uniquely evil.  He killed JFK to put himself in the presidency.  That's clear as can be.

I can't believe people in the know still pussy foot around this topic.  He fucking shot Kennedy's head off.

Then he's surprised he turns out in the end to be perceived as a dickheaded failure.  

I am not surprise a bit.  It appears kharma caught up with the guy and I do have to take some satisfaction in his being forced to eat shit in the end.

BaBaBouy's picture

THUMP... Release The JFK Docs Like You Promised !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

insanelysane's picture

They released some on Friday night but I think the Tylers have the weekend off.  One of the new docs has a guy that came forward and said Ruby called him and asked him to go watch the "fireworks" at Dealy Plaza.  After the shooting the guy says Ruby said he had to leave and walked away.  Nothing to see here.  Move along.

Manthong's picture



Try to find out about his trouser tailor and bunghole issue.

….what a guy…………

Stuck on Zero's picture

His "Great Society" welfare programs doomed 200 million people to crime, dismal job prospects, opioid addiction, hopelessness, and despair.

Hugh_Jorgan's picture

I'm not a violent man, but I think if I had been the good Justice from those photos, I might have had an involuntary spasm that sent my forehead careening into the nose that was inside my personal space. With my profuse apologies, of course.

TBT or not TBT's picture

The Dems have a rule.   No enemies on the left.   Prosecutions that do happen are resisted and minimized by press and media.  

GunnerySgtHartman's picture

We can thank FDR for the POS LBJ!

And we can thank Woodrow Wilson for the POS FDR.

buttmint's picture

LBJ was known to many as "THE BIG DIPPER."

All revolved about this colossal asshole. Gave Texans a bad name. Had no capacity for empathy or reflection. Drain bamaged.


Oh---don''t forget that the VietNam War allowed the Bush Crime Cartel and CIA to get into the heroin trade bigtime to fund CIA "SPECIAL OPS."

Poppies were refinedin Vietiane, Laos during 50s-60s-70s. Then moved operations to Middle East.

GHW Bush is an even bigger asshole than LBJ, but Bush knew how to STFU.


max2205's picture

The fucker died at 64 years old....lucky us 

yogibear's picture

POS LBJ knew was involved in the Kennedy assassination,  it haunted him til his death.

JRobby's picture

They are all filthy, sociopathic, sub-human minions of Satan.

The fact that he rose to the top office through murder, just shows he was more so than the rest of the pack of filth. He could not deal with the hateful backlash and packed in. Not at all good form for a heartless "servant of the people."

A racist bastard selling "Great Society" bullshit. "Slave Society" is what they have always wanted and the "policies" show this over and over and over again.

44magnum's picture

progressive or asshole one in the same

TBT or not TBT's picture

An asshole could make a fine President.   The founders' design includes the feature that it guides even the wrong people to nevertheless do the right thing, or mostly.   Thus progressives' relentless pursuit of unshackling their Will to Power from the Constitution's constraints.  

Chuck Walla's picture

Fucking Johnson, who went to congress poor and returned a millionaire, killed all those American boys for his ego. He thought he would win and a cake walk to re-election. Ho had other ideas.

DownWithYogaPants's picture

Was not for his ego. Johnson was the head puppet of the M.I.C.  They had been planning a thing in Vietnam since 1945.  They were not going to be put off their payday. Powers higher than LBJ ok'd the JFK assassination.  It just happened to suit Johnson's plans.  Had they said no he would have had to suckit.

Bay of Pigs's picture

LBJ worked hand in hand with Allen Dulles and the CIA to murder President Kennedy. His wife’s family also owned some of the media outlets in Dallas that pushed the lone gunman narrative almost immediately around the world. The ensuing coverup started from the get go and the Warren Commission was a total whitewash.

SixIsNinE's picture

but of course you do repeat yourself - LBJ's 14 inch and 4"girth was well known amongst the Hoover crowd....

Snake Johnson .... way before his time....

anytime LBJ boarded the aircraft, the pilot quickly warned all aboard,  "Snake is On the Plane!  Snake is On the Plane!"


So It Goes's picture


Some LBJ truthiness.

It really is about time.

N0TME's picture

USS Liberty co-conspirator

Stackers's picture

His phone conversations are online as well. The guy was a serious asshole that governed by intimidation and threats.

Not to mention a hard core racist that bent over backwards to block Eisenhower's attempts at racial intergration, and then turns around and is praised as a "civil rights hero"

ReZn8r's picture

and that is because the demoncrats lie lie lie about everything and their nigga constituents are plain fucking too stupid to understand the truth.

red1chief's picture

I assume you will renounce your Medicare and Social Security.

Fiat Pirate's picture

Absolutly when I get my $400,000 refund for my "contributions".  In gold.

slvrizgold's picture

Yeah me too!!!   Infinite upvotes!  I'll take mine in Gold Eagles, preferably fractional sizes.

So It Goes's picture

Amen brother.  I paid in for years and years - now approaching 65 next year - there will be nothing left but worthless debt notes.

Sadly, it won't even be the first time these socialist dirt bags have fleeced me.

Bam_Man's picture

Stopped reading at the second sentence when the author mentioned "the Kennedy assassination in October 1963".

Escrava Isaura's picture

Mises just can’t help themselves. Their ideology blinds them of the facts, dates, and so on.


TBT or not TBT's picture

The Warren Commission shifted the dates too, to throw everyone off even as to their perception of time.  

ScratInTheHat's picture

Maybe some of the planning was included! LOL!

Ace006's picture

Who gives a damn where or whether you stopped reading?

Utopia Planitia's picture

Johnson (and McNamara) should be remembered for the destruction of the USA and the (eventual) blossoming of Vietnam.  The exact opposite of their supposed intentions.

Escrava Isaura's picture

Did Vietnam bomb the streets of Boston?


Paul Kersey's picture

Many years ago, I stayed with a friend in Aspen, Co, whose family owned a house next door to Robert Mcnamara's house. The Mcnamara house was vacant, so we played tennis on his tennis court. It was juvenile on my part, but it still felt liberating when I pissed on his tennis court. That's the closest I ever got to pissing on the man who, through his use of the Selective Service to enforce involuntary servitude and incarceration on American's young men, shit all over so many years of my life. If there is a hell, he and LBJ are there, rotting away for all eternity.

Squidward_Tentacles's picture

Yes, and waiting for Bush the dimmer, Cheney and Rumsfeld to join them.

Lying Sweetly's picture

1) All wars are banker's wars

2) All wars are started by lies (and they would be even if they didn't need to)

3) Even when you lie and "win", you're still a loser, because liars are ultimately losers

Here's what lying is really about:

KingTut's picture

Not to mention the fact that if you twittered LBJ form the oval office he'd make Trump look like choir boy.


blueskyranch's picture

As a native Texan I have no love for the man. He was a liberal's liberal and my 60s-70s era boys paid a high price for the guns and butter nonsense. I know in my heart LBJ was instumental in killing Kennedy as I have studied the many books on that subject. Today, LBJ is twisting and toasting like a worm on a hot El Paso sidewalk and I can't think any good thoughts for him...

Throat-warbler Mangrove's picture

I've read the "Path to Power" series by Robert Caro.  The man was nasty, dishonest, and complicit in a lot of illegal activities.  Sorta reminds me of Hillary C.