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Feb 11, 2009

Failure of the New Deal

Imitating Failure
02/08/09 - AmericanThinker by Nicholas J. Kaster
Burton Folsom Jr. writes that the New Deal didn't work. He is a professor of history at Hillsdale College, and has published New Deal or Raw Deal? (Threshold Editions, 2008).

Folsom says the New Deal combined bad economic policy and a more corrupt central government.

Obama's so-called stimulus bill, a "new" New Deal full of massive spending, is based upon the conventional wisdom of the New Deal.It will ensure that today's bad economy stays with us for many years.

Henry Morgenthau was Secretary of the Treasury and a confidante of Roosevelt. He testified May 1939:

We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. We have never made good on our promises. I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started and an enormous debt to boot!

Unemployment was 20+ percent in April 1939. This was nearly a decade after the 1929 crash and more than 6 years after FDR's inauguration.

During that time, FDR tried everything to end the crisis: cartelizing industry (the NRA), subsizing farmers (the AAA), creating make-work projects (the WPA), promoting organized labor (the Wagner Act), and finally, launching the modern welfare state (social security, minimum wage laws, the AFDC). It was all funded by a combination of increased debt, excise taxes, and high progressive income taxation.

Most historians tend to overwhelmingly support the New Deal. Folsom says:

Historians sympathize with FDR's "progressivism" and judge him on his good intentions rather than on the results. In the progressive view, intentions and sincerity are among the noblest virtues a president can possess.

If we probe deeply into Roosevelt's popularity, we almost always discover the presence of patronage -- creating and manipulating federal jobs to strengthen his political support.

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