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Free Example of Free Example of History Essay about the New Deal Programs Essay

Abstract

Franklin Roosevelt, who was the president of the United States during the time of the Great Depression, knew very well that people of America were going to lose a lot of money and others would go without food because of scarcity of money and jobs during that period. This led to him making the decision to introduce the New Idea made up of 3 programs since people needed help very fast. Roosevelt’s Keynesian economics philosophy manifested itself into three R’s which were relief, recovery, and reform.

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The programs that were created to be able to meet the goals of the three R’s gave hope to people and generated more jobs for people (Foner 95). They also led to the creation of a series of agencies and acts, which led to the creation of bureaucracy. This great New Deal by Roosevelt is what led America out of the Great Depression.

Relief

Relief was the immediate action, which was taken to be able to stop the deterioration of the economies through the provision of jobs and money to all victims of Depression. Relief was a temporary help, which was meant for people who were suffering from high unemployment rates, which were being experienced in the country. Many public work projects were made, which led to many people being employed as construction workers.

Bank Holiday

Bank holidays were declared nationwide so as to stop the panic due to the Depression. The banks were closed, and only the banks that had been approved to operate by the Government were allowed to reopen again.

An Emergency Banking Act was enacted to close all banks, which were insolvent and only reopening the banks, which were solvent. When bank holidays were effected, many banks closed on the holiday, but only a few of them were reopened after the bank holiday.

This was because after the Great Depression hit the country, the banks had to be closed as they had given out a lot of money, which led to an increase in the amount of money in circulation thus destabilizing the local currency (Foner 120). This act helped stabilize American banks as the banks in the entire country were closed so that an evaluation on all banks could be conducted on each bank. All banks which did not meet the criteria of being safe were closed down to ensure confidence on savers.

Federal Emergency Relief Act (FERA)

This relief gave immediate help to all those who highly needed help, which was given in the form of cash payments. A total of about $510 million was set aside to assist the poor. The main goals of the FERA were to be effective, cater for a diverse relief programs, and create job opportunities for people who did not have jobs. They provided federal government grants, which were directed towards various projects in the arts, agricultural sector, education sector, and construction sector.

Majority of people who received this aid were mostly workers, who were highly skilled. It provided hope to the American community by providing large variety of jobs and good salaries, which were similar to the salaries that workers received in their previous jobs so that the whole economy could benefit.

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Civil Works Administration (CWA)

Temporary jobs were provided, which included building and repairing bridges and roads. This CWA was a project, which was aimed at increasing the benefits of citizens of America. A total of about 4 million workers were able to lay a sewer pipe, which was about 12 million feet, build over 40,000 schools, 3,700 playgrounds, and roads.

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

There were provisions of temporary jobs to all single and unmarried adult citizens, who were helping in disaster situations and included the filling of sand bags. All participants were properly taken care of as they were provided with barrack type housing, which catered well for their housing in their new jobs. This CCC provided people with all job training skills that they required to prepare them to be able to move into jobs, which were offered by private sectors after the economy was recovered from the Depression.

Recovery

Recovery was the pumping of new programs to restart consumers' demand flow, which promoted business expansion. Recovery was used in order to help the economy be able to get over the Great Depression. It was done through the abandonment of the gold standard, by getting more young people in school, and by limiting of farm produce to be able to trigger the prices of the crops upwards.

Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA)

Food processors were taxed, and tax money was then given to farmers directly as a payment for them not to produce or grow food. This payment to farmers to decrease production led to the decrease in supply of food so that prices of food commodities would rise up drastically. This was a technique used by FDR to solve agricultural overproduction, which resulted in the falling of the value of crops grown by farmers. Farmers had to be limited in terms of the amount of their output.

National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA)

The National Recovery Administration (NRA) was created, which was a combination of many businesses and was solely organized by the Government. It had the power to set rules and regulations governing the entire economy. All members of the NRA had a blue eagle display. There was a board, which included an elected official, a business leader, and unions, which set wages, production levels, and prices of all industrial goods to be able to guarantee profits for the businesses.

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Home Owners Loan Corp

Loans were given to home owners to enable them to repay their mortgages. This action was meant to save the homes of people through refinancing their mortgages. This provision of loans was aimed at preventing people from being homeless and also at preventing the collapse of many banks and financial institutions.

Works Progress Administration (WPA)

WPA enabled the provision of government jobs, which were long-term e.g. building of social facilities like schools and public works projects. There was the creation of NYA, which was part time jobs meant for teenagers. As of 1935, a total of about 2.1 million jobs were created per year. Between years 1933-1935, the WPA had an expenditure of about 3.3 billion in association with a number of companies, which were privately owned to be able to put up about 34,599 projects, some of which were very large.

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

The agency was created to build and create dams in the Tennessee river valley to be able to provide a stable irrigation scheme for farmers to increase food productivity and also for the provision of hydroelectricity power, which was cheap for citizens and, most importantly, make electricity power available in all poor areas of the United States.

Reform

Reform included permanent programs, which were aimed at insuring all citizens against all future economic disasters and prevention of a repetition of the conditions, which triggered the Depression. The reform idea was used to fix and re-adjust the Government to be able to ensure that re-occurrence of the Depression was not experienced in the country.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

There was a setting up of a SEC, which was a permanent agency aimed to monitor activities of the stock market and make sure that there were no fraudulent practices or any insider trading taking place in the US market.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

FDIC was a permanent agency, which was established to insure all money of depositors in savings banks. The insurance capacity per depositor was $5,000, but it has drastically increased to $ 100,000 as of today.

Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration was a permanent agency, which was established to ensure that older segment of the US society was well taken care of and that they had enough money to survive. This was the idea that the elderly were to be provided for in terms of allowance to ensure that they had the capability of spend money for the rest of their lives like any other segment in the country.

National Labor Relations Act and National Labor Relations Board (NLRA/NLRB)

The NLRA/NLRB is commonly known as the Wagner Act, which was helping the unions. The NLRA was beneficial for skilled workers, trade associations, employers, and also unskilled workers. Labor laws were enforced to make sure that all business practices were fair and were upheld. The NCRB was created to supervise all union elections and all collective bargaining, which outlaws employer retaliation.

Soil Conservation Act

Laws were set in place, which mandated proper and efficient soil maintenance to make sure that the occurrence of another dust bowl in the country was avoided.

The Ideas and Proposals of Huey Long, Dr. Francis Townsend, Father Charles Coughlin, and the Unions

Huey Long, Dr. Francis Townsend, and Father Charles Coughlin were critics of the New Idea Programs by Roosevelt as they believed that the programs only helped poor people of the United States and neglected the middle class people of the society, the programs did not help end the Great Depression, they only helped farmers, and they created one of the largest Federal deficits ever experienced in the history of America

They believed that the NEW Deals could have helped end the Depression by engaging in a greater deficit spending, keeping a sound currency, and keeping the gold standard, giving a greater role to the local government, and lastly, allowing the private sector in the economy to solve problems, which were brought about by the Depression.

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Huey Long

Frustration from the raised hopes, which had been raised and the progress, which had been stalled begun in its manifestation as 1934 wore on as recovery was beyond reach. This frustration sought all unconventional outlets as Huey Long came up with the idea of sharing wealth in the society in early 1934. He promised people that he was going to make them kings through the redistribution of all the national patrimony.

Huey Long, who was the Louisiana charismatic senator commonly known by the name Kingfish, proposed a shaky scheme on economic grounds, which advocated for a widespread support among the impoverished farmers from the South. His political career was mainly based on the attacks he made on Standard Oil Company and banks. Long supported populist issues, which included lowering utility rates, free textbooks, and revision of tax codes. This was because he was appealing to the powerless.

Huey’s plan proposed the redistribution of wealth belonging to the richest Americans by imposing capital ownership strict limits. This plan on wealth redistribution called for heavy taxation on all accumulated wealth over 1 million dollars. This step was taken to make sure that each and every member of a family in the US would have about $5,000 capital sum with $2,500 minimum income.

This made wealthy people in the richest class of the society to have a limitation to capital of about $5 million with $5,000 annual earnings. He supported old age pension at the age of 60 years, the immediate payment of all benefits received by veterans, free vocational school and college tuition, Government storage and purchase of the entire surplus from agricultural activities.

Charles Coughlin

Charles Coughlin strongly believed in the revaluation of the dollar and in the nationalization of gold. He had a very strong following on the Midwest and North urban working classes. Since he was considered a charismatic leader, he was one of the early supporters of Roosevelt as he advocated for nationalization of the banking system, re-monetization of the currency and credit.

Revered Coughlin was called the Radio Priest as more than 40 million people were followers to his 9030s weekly broadcasts. He was also considered to be one among the first political people to be able to reach a large number of people through the use of radio.

Both Long and Coughlin focused on the attack on financiers and wealthy bankers. Coughlin finally split with FDR as he strongly felt that FDR administration did not thoroughly deal with money powers, which included bankers, corporate magnates, and stock brokers.

Fr. Coughlin had a strong belief that wealth originated from natural resources and the labor, which came from God’s sons, spends upon natural resources. His plan called for a living wage, abolition of the Federal Reserve, lifting of taxes on the working class, and for strict regulation or nationalization of the banking and the utility co.

Dr. Francis Townsend

At the same time that Huey had his idea of wealth redistribution, Dr. Francis Town came up with the Old Age Revolving Pensions Ltd., which was aimed at promoting all Americans, who were above the age of 60 years through paying 200 dollars per month to all those people. The Townsend plan was that all recipients of this benefit were supposed to spend the whole benefit amount within a period of 30 days.

The plan was supposed to be funded by a 2% tax, which was levied on goods production. This movement by Townsend had more than 5 million supporters. His main idea was to bring an end to Great Depression through consumer spending as one of the ways into reducing poverty levels among the elderly people in the United States.

This plan by Townsend was aimed at lowering unemployment rate by removing all people who were above the age of 60 years from the workforce, which he thought would result in a higher demand for workers, thus higher wages. Seniors were forced to spend the benefit they received from this plan, hence increasing demand, which would further lead to the decrease in unemployment rate. The plan was known to prompt the action on Social Security Act.

The Unions

Labor unions were advocated by Roosevelt immediately after he took over the office, where he was able to come up with important laws, which helped advance labor’s cause. One of the positive policy changes was the Wagner Act, where workers were given the right to form unions as well as the right to bargain collectively through representatives of unions.

All unfair labor practices were monitored and punished by the NLRB, which also organized elections when employees joined and formed unions. This gave protection to workers as they forced employers to comply by giving back pay in case of discharging an employee, who engaged in the activities of unions.

The maximum number of hours that an employee could work in a week was set at 40 hours, and the minimum wage was also set, where no employer could pay an employee lower than the minimum wage. Unemployment insurance was also provided, and child labor was banned as children who were below 16 years were not allowed to work.

The New Deal Response to These Ideas and Proposals

The New Deal was mainly concerned with a creation of new job opportunities for unemployed, welfare provision, and recovery. With the continuation of the Depression, the FDR had to come up with ways to respond to the ideas and proposals, which came from both the left (Huey Long, Dr. Francis Townsend, and Father Charles Coughlin) and from the right (the Unions).

In order to battle these proposals and ideas from these critics, the FDR came up with new economic and social measures, which were aimed at fighting poverty and unemployment through provision of real jobs.

New Deal Response

Social security Act of 1935

The attempt by FDR to create the Social Security System was the coopting of the Townsend plan with a program, which was far more moderate. This law helped in the creation of Government-sponsored programs benefiting the elderly, survivors’ insurance plan, which was a retirement benefit for retired workers, and unemployment insurance, which was a federal state plan by the Government. This plan was more advanced as compared to the plan by Townsend as it involved sponsoring of the program by both employees and employers as compared to Townsend’s plan, where only the Government sponsored full costs.

Social Security Act had three major parts: old-age insurance, which is commonly known as the social security; the public assistance, which was aimed mainly for the aged, the blind, the needy, the families who had children who were dependent on them, and for people who had disabilities in the society; and an unemployment compensation and insurance (Foner 602).

Social Security Act established an old age pension for the older people, who were above the age of 65 years. This benefit was made available through employee-employer contributions, where the system was later made to include all dependents, disabled people of the community, and other special groups of people.

Federal funds were dispensed to help in the development of state programs like public health services, vocational rehabilitation centers, child welfare services, and other services, which were aimed at assisting the handicapped and the elderly in the society. This act also instituted a mandatory old-age insurance system that issued benefits, which were proportional to individuals over 65 years and the establishment of a reserve fund, which was financed through the imposition of payroll taxes to employees and employers.

Employees who were in the commercial and industrial occupations were the only ones who were eligible for protection according to Social Security Act of 1935. Rates of taxes and benefits were also adjusted to be able to keep up with rising inflation rates in the country.

Wagner Act

Wagner Act of 1935 was a trailblazing law, which gave labor the mandate and right to be able to bargain collectively. National Recovery Administration (NRA) was established, which attempted the stimulation of industrial recovery through centralization of the planning on all the cooperative basis management, government economists, and labor. Big businesses were not broken up, but they were just influenced through control, which then led to a strengthened and organized government and labor.

Social security system was also established and it also authorized the Public Works Administration (PWA), which was a government lending program, which was designed in a way to decrease unemployment rate through lending of funds for construction of structures throughout the country, which provided many job opportunities to unemployed people as they were employed in these construction works (Foner 321). Construction of roads and airports took place as well as writing books, conducting plays, conducting music concerts etc. It also guaranteed provision of housing loans to all workers in the labor force.

Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 made sure that minimum wages and maximum hours for workers were set. Maximum hours that workers could work were 44 hours in every given week with a minimum set wage of 25 cents for every hour for majority of workers irrespective of their categories.

Child labor was forbidden, where children under 16 years were not supposed to work. All children who were under the age of 18 were not supposed to work in a dangerous environment or an environment, which posed a threat to their health. This led to an increase in wages of 300,000 workers with a reduction of 1.3 million hours.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the New Deal was one of the main reasons why America was able to get better after the Great Depression. Relief, recovery, and reform were of great help to American economy during the time when the economy was just recovering from the Great Depression. This is because they helped boost consumption levels, which further led to an increase in production levels thus reducing unemployment rate in the country.

This led to the end of the Depression. The relief, recover, and reform helped many people in the United States, who were deprived during the Great Depression. The New Deal was able to offer a change to American economy, and it helped in the restoration of hope by making radical change to be unacceptable and undesirable by most Americans.

Huey Long, Dr. Francis Townsend, and Father Charles Coughing were among conservative opponents, who thought the New Idea was socialism as it killed individualism, increased power of the president, and increased national debt. These men went to the extent of using radio programs and campaign speeches to be able to communicate their contempt on the New Deal to people directly.

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