Right Wing Lie Machine

Debunking the “New Deal Failed” Myth

The Election of Barack Obama gave new life to the GOP’s 70-year campaign to discredit the New Deal.  As in other areas, such as the recent denial that 9/11 even happened on President Bush’s watch so as to claim no terrorist attacks during his administration, facts need not get in the way of a good talking point. Below are a few bullet points to address some of the most common arguments, along with a few charts on point.


(1) FDR CAUSED THE GREAT DEPRESSION

“When (President Franklin) Roosevelt did this, he put our country into a Great Depression[.] . . . “He tried to borrow and spend, he tried to use the Keynesian approach, and our country ended up in a Great Depression. That’s just history.” – Rep.  Steve Austria (R-OH) (2011)


WRONG.

  • There was a reason the out of work set up camps called Hoovervilles.
  • The Stock Market Crash took place in October 1939 – 7 months into the Hoover Presidency.
  • GDP would fall -8.6%,  -6.5% and -13.1 over fiscal year 1930, 1931 and 1932 respectively.

 

(2) FDR EXACERBATED THE GREAT DEPRESSION

Whether you happen to have liked Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s policies, and there’s a number of them I still think exacerbated the Great Depression – Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) (2009)


 

WRONG.

    • Not unless McCain means makes it better, then the answer is clearly no.  See Chart 1 Below.

(3)ONLY WWII GOT US OUT OF THE DEPRESSION.

The only issue is that FDR did not get us out of the Great Depression.  It was World War II.  Just draft a million or so jobless young men and his unemployment problem was “cured” – Texas Tea Party (2011)


 

WRONG.

 

  • FDR posted six years of high growth prior to the onset of a “war economy”
  • I don’t recall Reagan or any other Republican icons coming anywhere close to 63 percent growth over a four year period
  • See Chart 2 and 4 below.

(4)THE NEW DEAL DID NOT ADDRESS THE UNEMPLOYMENT PROBLEM

A variation of Myth #3.


 

WRONG.

  • Unemployment fell 10.6 points during the first four years of the New Deal (Fiscal 1933-37).
  • The only reason is that it did not continue to fall was because FDR cut spending to appease the Republicans which resulted in a brief double-dip recession.  See Chart 3 Below.
  • Some on the right try to disguise this by counting those employed by the New Deal as unemployed since they are not private sector employees.
  • Finally, the right is too busy calling FDR a Socialist that they would not dream of giving him credit for saving the jobs of the Mr. Potters of this world.  That’s right, bank failures dropped from 5,453 in 1932-33 to only 35 in the following two years.
TABLE 1  
TABLE 2
TABLE 3
TABLE 4
Advertisements