Harding’s administration proved incredibly corrupt. He and Coolidge also invented modern economic conservatism: tax cuts for the rich, with no effective business regulation to protect workers or consumers. That produced a brief boom followed by the Great Crash and the deepest depression in world history.
You were fine up until this point.
Harding was indeed incredibly corrupt. And you’re right, he and Coolidge created a template for modern economic conservatism. That template was executed to end the post WW1 recession, and it did so marvelously, producing the decade known as the Roaring Twenties, which was much much more than a “brief boom”, and was responsible for an amazing amount of technological advancement, a period we did not see repeated until the internet boom, which was far more brief.
Far more than Herbert Hoover (1929–33), Harding and Coolidge deserve the blame for causing the Great Depression.
This sentence would get you an “F” in any economics class taught in America. Milton Friedman won an Nobel Prize largely for his work which, thirty years ex post facto, proved that the Great Depression was largely a monetary phenomenon caused by a hapless Fed which tightened policy when the banks needed it loosened.
Coolidge left office early in 1929. The market crashed in September of 1929, followed by the Fed raising rates, then failing to act as the lender of last resort. This turned a sharp but manageable stock market correction into the Depression, along with some questionable actions by Hoover.
This is why during the financial crisis of 2008, Dr. Bernanke did precisely the opposite of what the Fed did in 1929. He lowered rates to zero rather than raised them, drove the TARP program through Congress (and with Hank Paulsen, browbeat institutions into taking the money, even if they said they didn’t need it), and then instituted the QE program to insure that the institutions remained liquid as they unwound their stakes in useless assets.
Enjoy. And always remember that scholarship and fact cannot be replaced by partisan ideology.