Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal is a popular touchstone in these Depressionary days. It’s evoked by everyone from Barack Obama (“Green New Deal!”) to Robert Higgs (“No New Deal!”), from Paul Krugman to Peter Schiff.
Roosevelt’s New Deal rescued America from the Great Depression OR Roosevelt’s New Deal prolonged America’s Depression, and caused even further economic woes. Both these propositions can’t be true. Whichever side of this historic debate you’re on, however, it’s agreed by all sides that the economic predicament of today can find lessons in that Great Disaster of yesteryear:
- Do we spend dramatically to stimulate ever bigger bubbles?
- And if so, how much?
- Or do we cut our coats according to our rapidly-shrinking cloth, and learn to do more with less?
- And to save more of what we have left over?
Different lessons based largely on different readings of the success or otherwise of FDR’s New Deal – so a debate on the effectiveness or otherwise of the New Deal could not be timelier.
Head therefore to Public Square, where Jeff Madrick (author of The Case for Big Government) and Robert Murphy (author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal) go head to head to answer the question Was the New Deal a Raw Deal?