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Did New Deal Programs Help End the Great Depression? - HISTORY

Catledge describes one episode where he wrote an article for the Times based on a memo Douglas had from the President showing his willingness to constrain spending. The President then called Catledge in and told him he was disregarding his memo to Douglas. Rosen might have been better served by paying more attention to what his mentor Ray Moley wrote in his private diary in May after a frustrating meeting with the President. In other words, the political habits of his mind were working full steam with the added influence of a swollen ego.

Certainly there is more to Roosevelt than Moley suggests in that quotation, but Moley observed something very real about FDR, and few historians have captured the Roosevelt that Moley described. Burton Folsom, Jr. To keep prices high, consumers would need to pay more. The public had been burned badly in the crash, and most people did not have the resources to spend lavishly on goods and services.

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Not surprisingly, economic conditions worsened worldwide. Hoover's desire to maintain jobs and individual and corporate income levels was understandable. However, he encouraged businesses to raise wages, avoid layoffs, and keep prices high at a time when they naturally should have fallen.

Unable to sustain these artificial levels, and with global trade effectively cut off, the U. The New Deal he initiated was an innovative, unprecedented series of domestic programs and acts designed to bolster American business, reduce unemployment, and protect the public. Loosely based on Keynesian economics , its concept was that the government could and should stimulate the economy.

The New Deal set lofty goals to create and maintain the national infrastructure, full employment, and healthy wages.

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  7. The government set about achieving these goals through price, wage, and even production controls. Some economists claim that Roosevelt continued many of Hoover's interventions, just on a larger scale. He banned monopolistic, some consider them competitive, business practices, and instituted dozens of new public works programs and other job-creation agencies. The Roosevelt administration paid farmers and ranchers to stop or cut back on production. One of the most heartbreaking conundrums of the period was the destruction of excess crops, despite the need for thousands of Americans to access affordable food.

    Federal taxes tripled between and to pay for these initiatives as well as new programs such as Social Security. These increases included hikes in excise taxes, personal income taxes, inheritance taxes, corporate income taxes, and an excess profits tax. Roosevelt declared a bank holiday for an entire week in March to prevent institutional collapse due to panicked withdrawals.

    The projects offered employment for thousands via federal work programs. Historians and economists disagree on the reason.

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    Keynesians blame a lack of federal spending—Roosevelt did not go far enough in his government-centric recovery plans. However, it is possible that the relatively quick recovery, characteristic of other post-depression recovers, may not have occurred as rapidly post Robert Higgs, an American economic historian, has argued that Roosevelt's new rules and regulations came so fast and were so revolutionary—as were his decisions to seek third and fourth terms—that businesses became afraid to hire or invest.

    Philip Harvey, a professor of law and economics at Rutgers University, has suggested that Roosevelt was more interested in addressing social welfare concerns than creating a Keynesian-style macroeconomic stimulus package. The unemployment rate fell from 8 million in to under 1 million in However, more than In the private sector, the real unemployment rate grew during the war.

    Great Depression

    Due to wartime shortages caused by rationing, the standard of living declined, and taxes rose dramatically to fund the war effort. When the war ended, the trade routes remained open. The stock market broke into a bull run in a few short years. It could have been shortened or even avoided by a change in any one of these factors. Although the AAA had been mostly successful, it was abandoned in ; when the tax on food processors was ruled unconstitutional.

    Six weeks later Congress passed a more effective farm-relief act, which authorized the government to make payments to farmers who reduced plantings of soil-depleting crops -- thereby achieving crop reduction through soil conservation practices. By nearly 6 million farmers were receiving federal subsidies under the farm relief act.

    The new act likewise provided loans on surplus crops, insurance for wheat and a system of planned storage to ensure a stable food supply. The prices of agricultural commodities rose, leaving the farmer's with a sense of economic stability. The Great Depression of the s worsened the already black economic situation of black Americans. African Americans were the first people to be fired from their jobs as they suffered from an unemployment rate two to three times that of whites. In early public assistance programs blacks often received substantially less aid than whites, and some charitable organizations even excluded blacks from their soup kitchens. It was an extremely poor and desperate time for most African Americans. The black American's economic struggles sparked major political developments among the blacks. Beginning in , the St.

    New Deal for the American People

    Louis Urban League launched a national "jobs for Negroes" movement by boycotting chain stores that had mostly black customers but hired only white employees. Efforts to unify black organizations and youth groups later led to the founding of the National Negro Congress in and the Southern Negro Youth Congress in Hastie, who in l became the first black federal judge; Eugene K. Blacks benefited greatly from New Deal programs though discrimination by local administrators was common. Low-cost public housing was made available to black families. The National Youth Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps enabled black youths to continue their education.

    The Congress of industrial Organizations CIO ; established in the mids, organized large numbers of black workers into labor unions for the first time. By , there were more than , blacks in the CIO, many of them officers of union locals. The increasing pressures of the Great Depression caused President Roosevelt to back a new set of economic and social measures Prominent among these were measures to fight poverty, to counter unemployment with work and to provide a social safety net. Under the WPA, buildings, roads, airports and schools were constructed.

    In addition, the National Youth Administration gave part-time employment to students, established training programs and provided aid to unemployed youth. Although the WPA only included about three million jobless at a time, it had helped a total of 9 million people when it was abandoned in It "reversed historic assumptions about the nature of social responsibility, and it established the proposition that the individual has clear-cut social rights.

    Social Security created a system of insurance for the aged, unemployed and disabled based on employer and employee contributions. Social Security was funded in large part by taxes on the earnings of current workers, with a single fixed rate for ail regardless of income To Roosevelt, these limitations on the programs were compromises to ensure that the Act was passed President Roosevelt stated upon signing Social Security Act:.

    When congress passed the Social Security Act, the most pressing problems were double-digit unemployment and pervasive poverty. Although its origins were initially quite modest, Social Security today is one of the largest domestic programs administered by the U. Millions of people depend on Social Security to protect them in their old age.

    While the Social Security program is very complex and deals with more than 6 million employers, tens of millions of beneficiaries, and over million taxpayers, its administrative costs are very low - roughly 1 percent of retirement and survivor pension payments - well below those of private pension and insurance plans. From its modest beginnings, Social Security has grown to become an essential aspect of modern life. One in seven Americans receives a Social Security benefit, and more than 90 percent of all workers are in jobs covered by Social Security. From , when slightly more than , people received monthly Social Security benefits, until today, when over 42 million people receive such benefits; Social Security has grown steadily.

    These graph's show the growth of Social Security in the United States from , two years after the Social Security Act was created, to The SSI program combined three previous programs that gave need to the needy aged, blind and disabled individuals. During this time between there were numerous examples of growth of the government About thirty-two new government agencies were created during the eight-year period While many of the agencies formed have been abolished or replaced by another, some agencies still stand today.

    Leuchtenberg sums up the degree of change that occurred during the New Deal. Leuchtenburg, William E.