The Positive Role of Big Government in
Roosevelt's New Deal
The tumultuous years of the Depression left the United States in a financial ruin. Mass speculation had left the stock market a shambles, while overproduction by farms and under consumption by consumers had mixed to form a surplus of cataclysmic proportions. When Franklin Roosevelt took hold of the reigns of the country, he brought with him a New Deal, a series of programs aimed at getting the country back on its own two feet. Roosevelt planned on accomplishing this with the aid of a larger government role. This philosophy had many positive benefits.
The idea of a Big Government was not necessarily new, just under used. Throughout the administrations of Hoover, Wilson, and Coolidge, the political philosophy was one of "Ahead to the Past," or "Return to Normalcy-" the way things were before the first World War. A very big part of this philosophy was that of a "laissez-faire" government, or, one that did not participate in business very visibly. The government had not played a role in the lives of the American citizen and American business for a long time, and it was going to be difficult to make a return to such policy. Business had grown as well as, if not better, than the period before the war. While these government policies made the rich richer, they also made the poor poorer. Such national policy does not work for the general well-being of a country.
Throughout the presidential campaign of 1932, Herbert Hoover stated that the New Deal was "radical," that the measure prescribed in the program were far too severe. The common belief at the time was that internal economics were not to blame for the current downward trend, but abnormal stimuli from abroad. The failure of foreign markets, lingering war debts and reparations were all to blame for the problems at home. In keeping with the "Ahead to the Past" traditions of "laissez-faire," Hoover declared that a Big Government policy would wreck the nation. (V)
However, economist John Maynard Keynes supported the theory of a reasonably more active government in the life of the national economy. In his statement to the New York Times, Keynes declared "The notion that, if the government would retire altogether from the economic field, business, left to itself, would soon work out its own salvation is, to my mind, foolish." ( I ) Keynes supported the policies inferred by the New Deal program; he found them (policies) favorable to a return to economic stability.
In one of his earlier "fireside chats," Roosevelt identified many of the problems of the country. He outlined the New Deal program for the country. Problems included the repair of trade and commerce levels, prices for basic commodities, and as a result of these prices, the integrity of banks, savings banks, and insurance companies. (III) Many of these problems warranted its own program to focus on the calamity. These programs in...