The Great Depression and the New Deal. For generations, the collective American consciousness has believed that the former ruined the country and the latter saved it. Endless praise has been heaped upon President Franklin Delano Roosevelt for masterfully reining in the Depression’s destructive effects and propping up the
country on his New Deal platform. In fact, FDR has achieved mythical status in American history and is considered to be, along with Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln, one of the greatest presidents of all time. But would the Great Depression have been so catastrophic had the New Deal never been implemented?
In FDR’s Folly, historian Jim Powell argues that it was in fact the New Deal itself, with its shortsighted programs, that deepened the Great Depression, swelled the federal government, and prevented the country from turning around quickly. You’ll discover in alarming detail how FDR’s federal programs hurt America more than helped it, with effects we still feel today, including:
• How Social Security actually increased unemployment
• How higher taxes undermined good businesses
• How new labor laws threw people out of work
• And much more
This groundbreaking book pulls back the shroud of awe and the cloak of time enveloping FDR to prove convincingly how flawed his economic policies actually were, despite his good intentions and the astounding intellect of his circle of advisers. In today’s turbulent domestic and global environment, eerily similar to that of the 1930s, it’s more important than ever before to uncover and understand the truth of our history, lest we be doomed to repeat it.
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|Title of History eBook: FDR's Folly|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||FDR's Folly|
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The Great Depression has had an immense influence on our thinking, particularly about ways to handle an economic crisis, yet we know surprisingly little about it. Most historians have focused on chronicling Franklin D. Roosevelt’s charismatic personality, his brilliance as a strategist and communicator, the dramatic One Hundred Days, the First New Deal, Second New Deal, the “court-packing” plan, and other political aspects of the story. Comparatively little attention has been paid to the effects of the New Deal.
In recent decades, however, many economists have tried to determine whether New Deal policies contributed to recovery or prolonged the depression. The most troubling issue has been the persistence of high unemployment throughout the New Deal period. From 1934 to 1940, the median annual unemployment rate was 17.2 percent.1 At no point during the 1930s did unemployment go below 14 percent. Even in 1941, amidst the military buildup for World War II, 9.9 percent of American workers were unemployed. Living standards remained depressed until after the war.2
While there was episodic recovery between 1933 and 1937, the 1937 peak was lower than the previous peak (1929), a highly unusual occurrence. Progress has been the norm. In addition, the 1937 peak was followed by a crash. As Nobel laureate Milton Friedman observed, this was “the only occasion in our record when one deep depression followed immediately on the heels of another.”3
Scholarly investigators have raised some provocative questions. For instance, why did New Dealers make it more expensive for employers to hire people? Why did FDR’s Justice Department file some 150 l