The New Deal programs were a series of economic policies, projects and programs introduced by Franklin D. Roosevelt to bring an end to the Great Depression and restore the prosperity of the nation. The purpose of these programs was to fetch instant economic relief and reforms in various sections of the American economy, that is, agriculture, industry, finance, labour, housing and waterpower, for increasing the opportunities of the activities of the federal government, which were majorly affected during the Great Depression of 1930. There were two New Deal programs, first (1933 - 1934) and second (1935 - 1936).
These programs were known as 3R’s, that is, Relief, Recovery and Reform, which were aimed at dealing with the impact of Great Depression. The First New Deal Programs in the first 100 days of Roosevelt’s Presidency in 1933 included Emergency Banking Act, Government Economy Act, Beer-Wine Revenue Act, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Abandonment of Gold Standard, Federal Emergency Relief Act, Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA), Emergency Farm Mortgage Act, Securities Act, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Act, Glass-Steagall Banking Act, Home Owners Refinancing Act, Abrogation of Gold Payment Clause, National Industrial Recovery Act, and Emergency Railroad Transportation Act. In 1934, Roosevelt introduced some more programs, such as, Gold Reserve Act, National Housing Act, Federal Communications Act and Securities Exchange Act. The Second New Deal Programs in 1935 included Soil Conservation & Domestic Allotment Act, Emergency Relief Appropriation, Rural Electrification Act, National Labour Relations Act/Wagner Act, Resettlement Act, and Social Security Act.
The New Deal Programs were meant to provide relief for the unemployed people, recovery of the American economy through job creation and federal spending and bring reform in the capitalism, by the means of the regulatory rules and legislations and by creating new social welfare programs. Thus, the large number of new deal programs helped to expand the size as well as scopes of the federal government significantly. In the process, these also fundamentally reshaped the political culture of America and established the principle that the federal government is responsible for the welfare of the people. These programs allowed the federal government to intervene in the economy for improving the conditions, which brought about more effective desired outcome. However, prior to 1930s, there was debate around whether the federal government should intervene in the economy to address the impact of economic slumps. Before Roosevelt, in Hoover’s Presidency, the federal government did not take strict actions for dealing with impact of economic slumps across the economy. Thus, the effect of Great Depression was much severe. On the other hand, the New Deal Programs and the policies were much effective than only adjusting the interest rates, introducing subsidies and creating short term work programs. These policies were successful in creating political coalition which included whites, blacks or African-Americans and the leftist intellectuals. The New Deal policies, such as, social security, federal subsidies on agriculture and unemployment insurance were successful in binding the nation together and brought growth and prosperity.
It has been argued that the New Deal policies were partly successful in fulfilling the stated objectives. Several policies were ruled out by the Supreme Court in 1935 and in consequence, Roosevelt expanded the Supreme Court by appointing 15 judges. It was a revolutionary action by the US President to defy the Supreme Court. It was seen that despite the dreams set by the New Deals, the nation recovered fully from the impact of great depression due to the excessive military spending brought by the World War II. Except for the unemployment, all the economic indicators remained excessively high until the World War II. 8 million Americans got employment through Works Progress Administration (WPA) under the New Deals Programs through the infrastructural development project, but the massive war production for the World War II created more jobs and brought huge inflow of money into the economy that ended the Great Depression.
Some of the New Deal programs are still relevant for the American society. The New Deal Programs launched by FDR were beneficial for increasing employment level, helping the banks in rebuilding their capital and restoring the economic health of the country by addressing all types of aspects of the economy. Although maximum number of the programs ended with World War II, some are still relevant for the current economy. Those are, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) which insures the deposits in the member banks of the Federal Reserve and improve customers’ confidence, Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) that purchases loans from the private lenders and frees the capital for the lenders to fund new loans, National Labour Relations Board for protecting employee rights, Securities and Exchange Commission that improves the securities market and increases consumers’ confidence and protects the rights of the investors, Social Security, which ensures the social benefits to the citizens for the dependent people, such as the disabled, unemployed, elderly, and children, for poverty mitigation, Soil Conservation Service for improving the agricultural condition and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), which focused on building power grid in the impoverished rural regions of Tennessee to bring in economic improvement for the poor residents of those regions. All these above mentioned programs are still in practice and beneficial over the years to bring economic improvement in the society. These programs address the most basic developmental aspects of the economy, that is, these aim for overall development and welfare of the economy by providing employment, security for the banks and all money lenders, agricultural support, infrastructural and power generation in the impoverished regions of Tennessee, which were developed by FDR during the 1930s, are still relevant in the modern economy of America.
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