Government

The Moonshine Stimulus

Anti-Prohibition Parade

hide captionAn anti-Prohibition parade float circa 1925.

Olde Tymes/Flickr

Historians say it was the spring waters that brought President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Warm Springs, Georgia, in the 1920's. FDR, who suffered from polio, was said to have used the springs for physical therapy. Around town however, another story circulates, FDR was fond of the region's moonshine.

On today's Planet Money, we travel to Warm Springs to find out if the rumors are true. Did FDR really buy moonshine during Prohibition? Did he really violate the Constitution he had sworn to protect?

In our quest for truth, we meet the daughter of FDR's favorite fiddle player and an economist, who explains how a divisive moral issue, became a celebrated business stimulus plan.

FDR is often credited with popularizing the dirty martini, some say he even celebrated the repeal of Prohibition with one. Here's a recipe to make your own "FDR Martini" at home.

For more on inelastic goods, listen to our podcast about marijuana economics.

Subscribe to the podcast. Music: Gillian Welch's "Tear My Stillhouse Down." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/ Flickr. To download the podcast, click on the arrow icon in the podcast player above.

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