FDR’s Folley: How Roosevelt And His New Deal Prolonged The Great Depression
The traditional view of Franklin D. Roosevelt is that he motivated and helped the United States during the “Great Depression” and was a great president, however, as time has passed, economist historians have begun analyzing Roosevelt’s presidency. Many have concluded that he did not help America during the Great Depression but instead amplified and prolonged the depression. Jim Powell wrote about FDR economic policies and did an excellent job explaining Roosevelt’s incompetent initiatives. Roosevelt did not know anything about economics and his advisors made everything worse by admiring the Soviet Union.
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The New Deal, Second New Deal, National Recovery Administration, and Tennessee Valley Authority were examples of his ignorance. He did not care that the policies were failures that contradicted each other. One policy would create jobs and another one would increase taxes. Franklin D. Roosevelt hired advisors called the “Brain Trust.” Many of his advisors were graduates from top universities in the United States, such as Harvard, Yale, University of Chicago, and Columbia. All of his advisors were successful in their careers as business people or lawyers, leaving one to wonder why they could not solve the problems of the Great Depression.
The National Recovery Administration was created by Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of the New Deal policies. The National Recovery Administration increased the prices of manufactured goods. It hurt the farmers that needed to buy tools and equipment. As they did not have the money to buy the taxed equipment, they could not do their job. It was a detriment both the consumers and the companies. “New Deal spending was supposed to stimulate the economy, but New Deal taxing depressed the economy.”
The National Recovery Administration was a monopoly controlled by big business. The United States Supreme Court killed the NRA because it was un-constitutional, but it was replaced by other agencies “The U.S. Supreme court struck down the NRA and a number of other early New Deal measures for violating the Constitution.” The agency that replaced the National Recovery Administration was the Public Work Agency. It was supposed to fix the mistakes from the National Recovery Administration, but it did not. The Public Work Agency was financed by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, “Hundreds of millions more came from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, which bought bonds issued by the PWA.”
The head of the National Recovery Administration was Hugh Johnson. He had a tough character and sometimes was called “Old Iron Pants.” The second in command of the National Recovery Administration was Donal Richberg, a lawyer from Chicago and former partner of Harold Ickes. He was known for his aggressiveness and taking much money from men “known for his hostility to business and the mastery of the world for the witless purpose of squeezing more money out of more men.” Their policy on unions was not very effective. If a majority of workers wanted to join a union for representation, the entire labor force at that company had to join. It was un-constitutional because it “disregarded the right of individuals to bargain freely on their own.” The National Recovery Administration gave power to the unions in order for them to obtain wages higher than minimum wage. They did not realize that Hoover had tried it before unsuccessfully using the same incorrect notion “that the depression was caused by falling wages, and if wages could be forced up, the depression would be cured.”
The New Dealers did not consult one very important and successful man...