President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal was an intensely politically active time, and in addition, American society was tremendously impacted by New Deal legislation. It can be justified to call the New Deal a revolutionary break with the past, rather than to say the New Deal was primarily conservative, pursuing to make only those new additions to legislation in order to prevent revolutionary changes. The New Deal increased the power of the Federal Government and brought about change to the citizens of the United States. Furthermore, the main goals of the relief programs created during the New Deal were to increase employment, and to stabilize the economy. Nevertheless, there were ...view middle of the document...
The people working under the New Deal also had similar ideas to President Roosevelt. The goals of New Deal administrators included providing jobs for the unemployed, easing economic distress, and promoting economic recovery.3 In addition, the “New Dealers” responded to the United States’ substantial employment problem by accommodating an extraordinary amount of government jobs.4 The New Deal was a combination of many versatile programs that sometimes worked at cross purposes.5 Eighty-five percent of the programs were used to hire the unemployed on work relief jobs.6 President Roosevelt stated the following to the public about these government jobs:
We have put 300,000 young men into practical and useful work in our forests and
to prevent flood and soil erosion. The wages they earn are going in greater part to
the support of the nearly one million people who constitute their families.7
These relief grants included the Works Progress Administration, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Civil Works Administration, and the Social Security Administration’s Aid to the Blind, Aid to Dependent Children, and Old-Age Assistance programs.8 However, the relief programs caused a long-term structural shift in the financial responsibilities of the local, state, and national governments because the federal government began spending abundant amounts of money where it had spent small amounts of money before.9 Federal spending was thirty percent in 1932, and it increased to forty-six percent by 1940.10 The New Deal desired to return to the peak economic levels of 1929.11 Nevertheless, the New Deal’s relief programs changed over time. The empirical results may be different if the data was accumulated during the early New Deal because different work programs hired workers with different characteristics.12 Private spending was “crowded out” by these federal projects.13 New Deal spending may have stimulated economic growth, however, it also slowed economic growth which may have encouraged policy makers to spend more.14 Even though millions of workers were hired through various relief programs under the New Deal, the official unemployment statistics continued to show high, and extensive unemployment.15 In brief, it is uncertain the effect that relief work had on employment statistics.16
The New Deal programs influenced retail sales. Retail sales served as a strong agent for personal consumption of durable goods and non-durable goods.17 This has been considered a key variable in order to understand the Great Depression because it can calculate rates of consumption.18 It was evident the retail sector was going to show the impact of the New Deal because the money which went to relief workers, and the needy, was most likely going to be used for instantaneous needs, such as food, clothing, and other manufactured goods.19 Retail sales were used by New Deal administrators as one of their leading measures of the health of local...