You read about The New Deal (circa 1933 – 1938) in high school, but did you ever think you would get to live through it? They say that those who do not learn from history… you know the rest. In a nutshell, we are the doomed in this case. Just how closely is Obama and his band of merry morons resurrecting The New Deal? Let’s refresh ourselves on FDR’s version first:
FDR’s New Deal was a response to the economic downturn of the Great Depression. The stated purpose of the over one hundred new agencies created during this period was the “3 Rs”: relief, recovery and reform. (Sounding familiar yet?) . With the creation of The New Deal came a change to the country’s leadership and lawmakers, too: a Democratic majority and Democratically held White House. This is getting a little eerie. Probably just coincidence. Let us move on.
The initial phase of FDR’s New Deal dealt with large portions of the GDP, the money makers at the time: banks, railroads, farming and industry. These large entities were all struggling to get out from under the Depression and demanding aid. The second phase was enacted to promote labor unions, create Social Security, and regulate agricultural trade and work practices (including fair working conditions, wages and hours regulations).
This massive endeavor led to an expansive increase in the size of the government, and an unprecedented increase in cost of running the country. To put this in perspective, realize that the First Hundred Days mark for measuring a President’s advancement of his agenda came about because of what FDR managed in HIS first hundred days in office. Congress granted FDR’s EVERY request in those first 100 days of lawmaking.
FDR’s New Deal was met with opposition from Republicans. It was either vehemently opposed, or pieces accepted with promises to make it efficient. The opposition continued between 1933 and 1938, with little to show, since Democrats controlled both the White House and Congress. The opposition consisted mainly of what is known as the “Old Right” – made up of politicians, intellectuals, writers, and newspaper editors of various philosophical persuasions including classical liberals, and conservatives, both Democrats and Republicans. (Anyone for Tea?)
Though the initial phase of The New Deal showed sound economic growth, an economic downturn in 1937- 1938, coupled with the failure of many of its programs caused many to question just how effective the measure was overall. In 1939, Gallup asked ‘Do you think the attitude of the Roosevelt administration toward business is delaying business recovery?’. The reply, by a two to one margin was “Yes”. Unemployment was back down to dangerous levels and America was in debt to the extent that she had never been before.
Among the opposition to the New Deal were charges of Communism, Fascism, and Utopianism along with “a missed opportunity to do away with Capitalism”. FDR’s New Deal had its fingers in pies ranging from banking, healthcare, housing development and ownwership,agriculture, unions, welfare, alcohol, art, music and redistribution of wealth via severely progressive taxes and levies. In the end, FDR’s New Deal shaped a new political ideal – Progressive Liberalism – that went on to help shape the next experiment in social reform: The New Left of the 1960’s.
Move ahead to 2008 and the election of Barack Obama, or better yet.. go back to the beginning and read from there. I don’t see the point in re-hashing it in writing, since we have reached the second phase of Obama’s Not So New Deal.