Was the New Deal a Good Deal for America?
In his presidential acceptance speech in 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed to the citizens of the United States, “I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people.” The New Deal, beginning in 1933, was a series of federal programs designed to provide relief, recovery, and reform to the fragile nation. The U.S. had been both economically and psychologically buffeted by the Great Depression. Many citizens looked up to FDR and his New Deal for help. However, there is much skepticism and controversy on whether these work projects significantly abated the dangerously high employment rates and pulled the U.S. out of the Great Depression. The New Deal was a bad deal for America because it only provided opportunities for a few and required too much government spending.
The New Deal did not notably benefit the majority of people. Walter Procter, in a letter to FDR, wrote, “The American worker – manual or brain – is not a dumb brutalized self. He is a man…why should ‘opportunity’ mean only opportunity for the privileged few to exploit the helpless many?” (Document 7). In other words, he is saying that all workers are humans and deserve opportunities from the New Deal. A handful of people should not take advantage of the rest. For example, the government during the New Deal era gave money to farmers; in exchange, the farmers concurred to limit farm productions, thus raising crop prices. Virginia Durr reflected this situation, “Have you ever seen a child with rickets? Shaking as with palsy. No proteins no milk. And the companies pouring milk into gutters. People with nothing to wear and they [farmers] were plowing cotton” (Document 5). This clearly demonstrates that the New Deal programs did not cover even the most basic needs. Many citizens lived in a state of destitute with nothing to wear, nothing to eat. They hoped for the promises from the New Deal that were never kept.
The government during the New Deal era spent enormous amounts of money to execute the work programs. In 1929, the...