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Talk:New Deal

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! Part of this article was copied from Citizendium and Wikipedia but the copied text was originally written by me, RJJensen (under the name Richard Jensen and rjensen) and does not include alterations made by others on that site. Conservlogo.png
RJJensen 16:23, 16 February 2009 (EST)

needs rewrite

I plan to complete\ly rewrite this article. It needs to say what the New Deal was and how it affected the USA. It now does a very poor job and sounds like a rehash of Flynn's essays from the 1940s. Keep in mind the New Deal was supported at the time by the likes of Ronald Reagan and Milton Friedman. RJJensen 15:47, 16 February 2009 (EST)

Both these men are classical liberals; neither ever lost their barings as that. Rob Smith 19:13, 1 September 2009 (EDT)
yes but that was later after Reagan and Friedman changed 180 degrees. In the 1930s and 1940s--they were leading New Dealers and keynesians, as both of them have said. see Friedman p 112 RJJensen 19:59, 1 September 2009 (EDT)
I'm not arguing that point at all. We may differ on what a "leading New Dealer" is, in the case of Reagan & Friedman, they are classical liberals. But both are repudiated by modern liberals, who claim direct descendancy from the New Deal. On the other hand, the list of New Deal economists who happen to have also been Stalinist agents, and some later Maoists, is incredible. Frank Coe, Solomon Adler, Greg Silvermaster, Harry Magdoff, Harry Dexter White, Michael Greenberg, and many others, all were economists. And I dare say this group had more impact on the legacy of the New Deal than Friedman or Reagan did. Rob Smith 21:32, 1 September 2009 (EDT)

Are you going to include all the work/ relief programs of the New Deal? --Rickrogers 15:53, 16 February 2009 (EST)
I think all the major programs should be at least be mentioned--there are about 10 or so relief programs that can be called "major" (WPA, PWA, CCC, CWA, FERA, NYA, RA, FSA, RFC... RFC needs special treatment becauise it is very similar to the 2008-9 programs of Bush and Obama) RJJensen 16:02, 16 February 2009 (EST)
Isn't the RFC chartered by Hoover? And what about the NRA? And should someone else create separate pages for those programs? --Sundance 21:10, 16 February 2009 (EST)
yes the RFC was created by Hoover (one reason it gets little attention). NRA is very important as are other alphbeticals but I was just listing the work-relief agencies. RJJensen 21:13, 16 February 2009 (EST)

Opening sentence

I changed:

The so-called New Deal was a socialist scheme during the Great Depression by Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt.


The so-called New Deal was the name coined by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, for the socialistic program he conducted throughout the Great Depression.

I did this to reflect these things:

  • "New Deal" was Roosevelt's own name for the program.
  • "Democrat" is a noun, not an adjective.
  • Although the New Deal was socialistic in tendency, the economy of the United States was not a socialist economy during that period.
  • "Scheme" does not fit here. Scheme can mean "A method for making, doing, or accomplishing something: blueprint, design, game plan, idea, layout, plan, project, schema, strategy." The New Deal was a scheme before Roosevelt was elected, but since it was actually put into practice it became an actual program rather than a scheme. It can also mean "A secret plan to achieve an evil or illegal end," but the New Deal was not secret, and the Supreme Court evidently did not judge it to be illegal, either.

Dpbsmith 14:06, 8 June 2007 (EDT)

Unemployment decreased/increased?

If you please Magic612, you need figures to back up what you said. Karajou 13:20, 13 February 2009 (EST)

Communist in the New Deal

Apologetics of this nature, "Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss went deeper underground" are prima facia deceptive. Chambers did not work in the AAA. Rob Smith 16:33, 26 June 2009 (EDT)


The NRA is considered a failure by conservatives. However it had no connection whatever to German or Italian plans. The German plans had not even started in spring 1933, and the Italian ones bore no resemblance. The farm programs (AAA) had no relation to anything in Europe either--it was thought out in Iowa and Montana. The NRA was a close copy of the War Industries Board WIB of World War I, and FDR brought back old WIB people to run it. RJJensen 13:40, 28 August 2009 (EDT)

  • farm programs (AAA) had no relation to anything in Europe either--it was thought out in Iowa and Montana
Comment: see here Facts for Farmers; also here, "Harold Ware, son of an old American communist wheelhorse, “Mother” Ella Reeve Bloor, benefited in the early 1920s from the patronage of Münzenberg’s network. With his wife, Jessica Smith, he set out to establish a “model” collective farm, using American tractors, in the Ural mountains. ...As the Soviet archives reveal, the experiment was a dystopian nightmare. Ware and Smith lured a group of unenthusiastic peasants into their grasp and proceeded to abuse them in a brutal fashion. A dozen years later, Ware appeared in Washington as an official of the New Deal’s Agricultural Adjustment Administration. In the AAA, Ware recruited a group of talented young men, including Alger Hiss."
Who was Muenzenberg? See here: Communist_front#Munzenberg_on_fronts. Respond to this, and I'll respond to the rest of your objections. Rob Smith 19:38, 28 August 2009 (EDT)
And this is good reading, too : Alger_Hiss#Agricultural_Adjustment_Administration
Ware was a spy but he did not make Ag dept policy. Peek did, using the ideas of a Montana State professor named Wilson.RJJensen 00:56, 29 August 2009 (EDT)
I'll get the material from Sam Tanenhaus's Chambers biography on Ware's impact and influence; I'm at the library but that book is checked out right now. Rob Smith 12:14, 29 August 2009 (EDT)
you're right about Ware--my point was that he was very junior and did not make policy. There was a whole nest of leftists --all of them fired in 1935 in a famous purge when they tried to set policy. The AAA was actually run by conservative businessmen (Peek and Chester Davis).RJJensen 19:08, 29 August 2009 (EDT)

I'd like to hear more about leftists getting purged, especially if it was legal and principled. I'm so sick of hearing liberals whine about the (assumed) excesses of "McCarthyism". --Ed Poor Talk 23:10, 29 August 2009 (EDT)

In 1933-35 there was a group of leftist lawyers in the Agriculture department, led by Jerome Frank and including Alger Hiss. Most were Communists or fellow-travelers. They wanted to use the New Deal farm program to redistribute income and power AMONG farmers--they favored the tenants farmers and sharecroppers as opposed to the farm owners. (The "conservatives" wanted to redistribute wealth away from the cities to the farmers, meaning farm owners.) The AAA head was Chester Davis, a "conservative" who strongly distrusted the leftists. One day in early 1935 Davis was on a trip and the legal office got the acting head to send out a ruling (written by Hiss) that protected tenant farmers in cotton. Davis was outraged as were southern farm owners, the Farm Bureau and politicians. Davis got approval from Secty of Agriculture Henry Wallace and in Feb. 1935 fired the main leaders. The leftists appealed to Wallace and FDR but they approved the purge. The main leftists sponsor (Rex Tugwell) lost his role in AAA; Hiss became an aide in Congress. RJJensen 00:58, 30 August 2009 (EDT)
So, here's the rub : the New Deal planners adopted agricultural set-asides, i.e. pay land owners cash not to grow foodstuffs. This would induce artificial shortages and thus raise prices and farm income. Whose idea this was, perhaps Prof. Jensen can help establish. Whatever, the policy was implemented. Black tenant farmers or sharcroppers were not landowners, however they were employed and working in 1932 and during the First Hundred Days. Once the commie infested (and later found to be unconstitutional) AAA was set up, Black sharecroppers were thrown off the land, became homeless and unemployed all in the name of liberal compassion, fairness, helping poor people, etc. Need I continue to expound? Rob Smith 15:10, 30 August 2009 (EDT)
The idea of raising farm prices by cutting production was developed in the 1920s by Profesor M. L. Wilson of Montana State University-Bozeman (I'm at Montana State U.--Billings--a different campus). The Wilson plan was adopted by the GOP into the 1980s, so it can be considered bipartisan. The idea was a) it would raise city prices a little and farm income a lot; and 2) it was assumed that farmers (not cityfolk) are the best citizens and they deserve special protection and support. The Reds in AAA that I mentioned above were champions of the black sharecroppers and tried to protect them. To be more exact: the "conservative" position (enacted in law) was that (in cotton) a landowner had to keep the same NUMBER of croppers. The "red" position was the landowner had to keep the same number AND THE SAME PEOPLE as croppers. The radical solution would have the effect of locking the croppers to a piece of land--something like serfdom did in old regime Europe. The radicals wanted that so they could eventually build a stable base of voters among the croppers (who otherwise moved so often they seldom could be mobilized.) The radical plan failed in the AAA because of the 1935 purge, but then Tugwell and other leftists tried to mobilize the croppers and tenants through two new agencies, the FSA and RA. Their efforts failed because the tenants wanted $$ to buy land and become landowners and the reds saw that meant losing the proletariat. As it happened most of the sharecroppers and tenants (white and black) left the farms during WW2RJJensen 16:28, 30 August 2009 (EDT)
  • (A) the Reds in the AAA created the sharecroppers plight, as Rahm Emanuel says, "let's not let a crisis go to waste." By another name this is called communist subversion.
  • (B) Cash for Clunkers is born of this idea, like destruction of livestock, creating a shortage of used cars by disposing of the trade ins will supposedly help improve the living standards of poor people by raising the cost of used cars. Likewise, as the workers have seized the means of production (i.e. UAW ownership of GM) they'll keep voting Democrat.
  • (C) Similiar to the Interstate Highway Act of 1957 and JFKs Urban Renewal program, African-Americans dwelling units were bulldozed to make way for the the federal highway programs. In other words, the federal government created the problem of homeless black people, just as they did in the New Deal with the AAA. The solution? Create another federal department called HUD, and herd them in HUD Gulags, otherwise known as "projects," only without a barbed wire fence. Rob Smith 18:16, 30 August 2009 (EDT)


Danial Patrtick Moynihan said it took a generation to get Venona documents out, and it probably will take a generation to understand thier significance. I suggest we start right here. Conservaitves are tired of this repression. Here's an excerpt from HNN,

"In a commentary published ten days after Venona was made public, Moynihan suggested that releasing the documents in 1950 would have convinced the Left of the reality of communist espionage, thereby heading off both the excesses of McCarthyism as well as the anti-anticommunism that distorted American politics for four decades." [1]

Enough is enough. No more perpetuating distortions. I say put the AAA section back in. Rob Smith 18:02, 30 August 2009 (EDT)

Nah,, the complete text is in the AAA article where it belongs (that'swhere all the conspirators were--as soon as they stuck their heads up--within days--they were fired by the top New Dealers). The problem of having too much detail is that readers will lose the big picture on the New Deal. That is a bad mistake in 2009 when the issue is Obama programs that resemble the New Deal. RJJensen 18:09, 30 August 2009 (EDT)
No, they got transfers and promotions. And pay raises. A pattern throughout the FDR & Truman admins. Rob Smith 18:18, 30 August 2009 (EDT)
they were fired from the AAA and that permanently ended their influence on farm policy. RJJensen 18:23, 30 August 2009 (EDT)
The incompetents who couldn't keep a low profile were fired, the smarter operatives like Hiss, Pressman, Collins and others moved on. Hiss moved on to the Nye Committee, the Justice Dept, the State Dept, the UN etc.; Pressman to CIO, and Collins to several Congressional Committees. As you say, the issue is the parallels with Obama. We know he already appointed a communist, Van Jones, who has a career remarkably similiar to Bernardine Dohrn who gave Obama his start in politics.
The American people have a right to know. No more communist repression, and no more suppression of the facts. Rob Smith 20:26, 30 August 2009 (EDT)


After a request that I review this article, I have some suggestions. Much of the theoretical analysis might be profitably moved to a separate article. At the risk of injecting more controversy into an already tense ideological stand-off, I think this article could be improved by being completely rewritten to explore at least some of the following historical material:

Mussolini was convinced that the New Deal was copying Fascist economic policies.[1] Nazi Minister of Economics Hjalmar Schacht declared that Roosevelt had the same economic idea as Hitler and Mussolini;[2] the official Nazi Party organ, Völkischer Beobachter, applauded “Roosevelt’s adoption of National Socialist strains of thought in his economic and social policies.”[3] Hitler expressed admiration for FDR’s approach, saying, “I have sympathy with President Roosevelt because he marches straight toward his objective over Congress, over lobbies, over stubborn bureaucracies.” FDR's Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes conceded that “what we were doing in this country were some of the things that were being done in Russia and even some of the things that were being done under Hitler in Germany. But we were doing them in an orderly way.”

The Italian Fascist Party program, first promulgated in 1919, demanded “Suppression of incorporated joint-stock companies, industrial or financial. Suppression of all speculation by banks and stock exchanges,” and “Control and taxation of private wealth. Confiscation of unproductive income.”[4] The Fascists called this economic system corporativismo (corporativism). As UCLA international relations and political science professor Herbert Steiner observed in 1938, “So substantial are the limitations under which private property and capital are exercised in Italy, that the conception of ‘capitalism’ is avowedly destroyed and replaced by corporativismo.”[5]

The centerpiece of the New Deal was the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) of 1933, which was “similar to experiments being carried out by the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in Italy and by the Nazis in Adolf Hitler's Germany,” according to John A. Garraty, past president of the Society of American Historians.[6] NIRA established the National Recovery Administration (NRA), “the New Deal’s attempt to bring to America the substance of Mussolini’s corporativism.”[7] As one NRA study concluded, “The Fascist principles are very similar to those which have been evolving in America and so are of particular interest at this time.”[8]

Just as Mussolini “organized each trade or industrial group or professional group into a state supervised trade association” that “operated under state supervision and could plan production, quality, prices, distribution, labor standards, etc.,”[9] the NRA “forced virtually all American industry, manufacturing, and retail business into cartels possessing the power to set prices and wages, and to dictate the levels of production.”

U.S. Ambassador to Italy Breckinridge Long wrote to Roosevelt’s economic advisor Rexford Tugwell, “Your mind runs along these lines [corporativism]… It may have some bearing on the code work under N.R.A.”[10] Tugwell, the “most prominent of the Brain Trusters and the man often considered the chief ideologist of the ‘first New Deal’ (roughly, 1933–34),” said, “I find Italy doing many of the things which seem to me necessary…. Mussolini certainly has the same people opposed to him as FDR has. But he has the press controlled so that they cannot scream lies at him daily.”[11]

As head of the NRA and thus “FDR’s leading bureaucrat,” the President appointed General Hugh Johnson, who was granted “almost unlimited powers over industry .” According to economist Thayer Watkins (who teaches economic history at California’s San José State University), Johnson was “an admirer of Mussolini’s National Corporatist system in Italy and he drew upon the Italian experience in formulating the New Deal.” Walker F. Todd, research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research, agrees that Johnson “did admire greatly what Mussolini appeared to have done,” and identifies the NRA as a “thoroughly corporativist” idea.

Johnson was said to carry around with him a copy of Raffaello Viglione’s pro-Mussolini book, ‘’The Corporate State’’, even presenting a copy to Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins.[12] In his 1934 retirement speech, he invoked what he called the “shining name” of Mussolini.[13] According to Jonah Goldberg, Johnson displayed a portrait of ‘’Il Duce’’ in his NRA office and actually “distributed a memo at the Democratic Convention proposing that FDR become a Mussolini-like dictator.”

Roosevelt appointed Johnson’s former business partner George Peek to head the AAA. Both men had “worked with the War Industries Board, the agency that regulated American production during World War I, and they believed their experience of managing an economy almost totally sealed off from the world market would suit the country now.”[14] They had long advocated a policy of expanding tariffs to keep foreign agricultural products out of the United States,[15] a policy that would have again rendered the U.S. economy “almost totally sealed off from the world market”[16]—a fair approximation of “autarky,” an economic policy particularly but not exclusively “associated with Nazi economic organization.”

  1. Stanley G. Payne, A History of Fascism, 1914-1945’’ (University of Wisconsin Press, 1996) ISBN 0299148742, p. 230
  2. William E. Leuchtenburg, ‘’Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal’’ (Harper & Row, 1963), p. 203
  3. Wolfgang Schivelbusch, ‘’Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt's America, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany, 1933-1939’’ (Macmillan, 2006) ISBN 080507452X, p. 19
  4. Count Carlo Sforza,’’Contemporary Italy - Its Intellectual and Moral Origins (Read Books, 2007) ISBN 1406760307), pp. 295-296
  5. H. Arthur Steiner, ‘’Government in Fascist Italy’’ (McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1938), p. 92
  6. John Arthur Garraty, ‘’The American Nation’’, 4th ed., vol. 2 (Harper & Row, 1979) ISBN 0060422696, p. 656
  7. Leonard Peikoff, ‘’The Ominous Parallels’’ (Stein and Day, 1982) ISBN 081282850X, p. 293
  8. Janet C. Wright, "Capital and Labor Under Fascism," National Archives, Record Group 9, Records of the National Recovery Administration, Special Research and Planning Reports and Memoranda, 1933-35, Entry 31, Box 3
  9. John T. Flynn, ‘’The Roosevelt Myth’’ (The Devin-Adair Company, 1948) pp. 42-43
  10. Long to Tugwell, May 16, 1934, Breckinridge Long Papers, Box 111, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress)
  11. Jonah Goldberg, ‘’Liberal Fascism: the Secret History of the American Left, from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning (Random House, Inc., 2008) ISBN 0385511841, p.156
  12. Frances Perkins, ‘’The Roosevelt I Knew’’ (The Viking press, 1946) p. 206. Socialist (Kent Worcester, ‘’C.L.R. James: A Political Biography’’ [SUNY Press, 1995] ISBN 079142751X, p. 175) George Rawich wrote that Perkins told him Johnson gave each member of the Cabinet a book by Fascist theoretician Giovanni Gentile, “and we all read it with great care.” Schivelbusch suggests the book was actually Mussolini advisor Fausto Pitigliani’s ‘’The Italian Corporativist State.’’ (‘’Three New Deals’’, p. 203, n. 28)
  13. Arthur Meier Schlesinger, ‘’The coming of the New Deal, 1933-1935’’ (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003) ISBN 0618340866, p. 153
  14. Eric Rauchway, ‘’The Great Depression & the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction’’ (Oxford University Press, 2008) ISBN 0195326342, p. 76
  15. William J. Barber , ‘’From New Era to New Deal: Herbert Hoover, the Economists, and American Economic Policy, 1921-1933’’ (Cambridge University Press, 1989) ISBN 0521367379, p. 50
  16. Neil Vousden, ‘’The Economics of Trade Protection’’ (Cambridge University Press, 1990) ISBN 052134669X, p. 91
I hope these suggestions may form the basis for fruitful discussion. FOIA 19:49, 30 August 2009 (EDT)
Some related items:
The New York Times reported that the mood in Washington in 1933 was “strangely reminiscent of Rome in the first weeks after the march of the Blackshirts, of Moscow at the beginning of the Five-Year Plan... America today literally asks for orders.” The Roosevelt administration, reported the Times, “envisages a federation of industry, labor and government after the fashion of the corporative State as it exists in Italy.”
Roosevelt privately found Mussolini "admirable," writing to his personal friend John Lawrence, "I don't mind telling you in confidence, that I am keeping in fairly close touch with that admirable Italian gentleman." (David F. Schmitz, The United States and fascist Italy, 1922-1940 [University of North Carolina Press, 1988 ISBN 080781766X, p. 139) FDR also wrote to U.S. Ambassador to Italy Breckinridge Long about Mussolini, "I am much interested and deeply impressed by what he has accomplished and by his evidenced honest purpose of restoring Italy and seeking to prevent general European trouble." (F.D.R., His Personal Letters, Vol. 3 [Ed. Elliott Roosevelt] [Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1947], p. 352)
Hitler likewise expressed "admiration" for Roosevelt's economic policies, and said he was in accord with" Roosevelt's "moral demand," which he identified as the "quintessence of German philosophy of the State," as he wrote in this letter to U.S. Ambassador to Germany William Dodd.
George Soule, editor of the pro-Roosevelt New Republic magazine, wrote in his 1934 book The Coming American Revolution, "We are trying out the economics of Fascism without having suffered all its social or political ravages." (p. 294) In the North American Review in 1934, the progressive writer Roger Shaw described the New Deal as “Fascist means to gain liberal ends.”

More anon. FOIA 22:06, 31 August 2009 (EDT)

CP should not be echoing the leftwing message that big business= fascism = evil. occasionally people in the 1930s did compare the New Deal and fascism, but the problem is they had very different things in mind. Soule a leftist for example meant fascism = control of the New Deal by big business. Footnotes 1-2-3 and the Hitler quote reflect support for FDR's bombshell message that ended the London Economic Conference. Footnotes 4 and 5 are the opposite of New Deal programs; the NRA (fn 7 and 8) was written by big business. On Johnson and NRA he did talk about Mussolini and was fired for that. On praise for Mussolini, On Peek and #14-15, they were endorsing the conservative Republican position of the day. There were similarities in a few small programs like the CCC; in each case the Europeans copied the Americans, not the other way around. (The NRA was a copy of the 1918 Wilson administration program and was not copied from Italy.) The bottom line is that most of these attacks on the New Deal originally came from the anti-fascist Communist left and CP will look pretty oddball by picking up that leftist amti-business rhetoric. RJJensen 05:38, 1 September 2009 (EDT)
Great_Depression#Causes : "Socialists tend to call it a failure of the free market system, while advocates of free markets blame the depression on government efforts to transform the U.S. economy into Socialism. The political realignment of the New Deal Coalition could take an anti-business tone because bankers were in bad odor in 1933 (just as they are in 2009). ...In historical terms, the "lessons" of the Great Depression have been applied to preventive measures, and in the Financial Crisis of 2008, helped determine what remedies to apply.
There seems to be a lot of interest in corporatism from Air America's hosts Ed Schultz and Tom Hartman lately.[2][3][4] Of course, this is the usual fascism = conservativism spin. Let's consider an examination of basic historical facts as one of the "lessons" needed to help determine what remedies. Rob Smith 16:04, 1 September 2009 (EDT)

In response to concerns stated above, "Footnotes 1-2-3 and the Hitler quote reflect support for FDR's bombshell message that ended the London Economic Conference." This is mixing apples and oranges. The London Economic Conference was on international exchange rates and the US decision to abandon the gold standard; the subject here under discusion is (to use Marxist terminolgy) "industrial policy"), a domestic issue. "the NRA (fn 7 and 8) was written by big business;" the NRA was written by a Democratic Congres & signed by a Democratic President. If the argument is the Democtrats were in the pocket of "big business," so be it. We need to be more specific, what and/or who is "big business"? Are "big busines" the practicianers of eco-aparteid? These types of phrases used to be dismissed as irrelevent, meaningless rhetoric, but now we've seen the radical agenda and disguised slanders hidden in letting this go unchecked. Is this "big business" and "industrial cartel" (to use the German phrase) like General Motors that swallowed up Buick, Cadillac, Pontiac, Oldsmobile and others?

Wiil respond to more points as time allows. Rob Smith 12:50, 5 September 2009 (EDT)

the problem with using 10pword snippets is that it forces the reader to guess what the historical characters were talking about. Nine times out of ten they guess wrong. For example the Hitler quote is praise for FDR's killing the London economic conference and starting an era of isolationism (which many conservatives at the time supported.) The NRA codes were written by big business--not Congress--so the left wing called it fascism. Repeating left wing criticism at CP is a bad idea. RJJensen 14:21, 5 September 2009 (EDT)
According to the article on the London Conference that you wrote, the issue was currency stabilization and the gold standard, the maitainance of fixed foreign exchange rates for international balance of payments transactions. That has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with domestic cartelization, writing industrial codes, failure to enforce anti-trust laws, or any other domestic New Deal program. The only coincidence is they both fall under the category of economic subjects, and unwarry students could be led to believe there was some conection.
What you are arguing is, that Hitler was lauding the effort of FDR to implement the ideas of "international bankers" to take the US off the gold standard. That argument is laughable and makes no sense. Rob Smith 16:09, 5 September 2009 (EDT)
FDR in 1933 killed the London conference and took the US influence out of Europe. American isolationists wanted that, and so did Hitler. Hitler was not commenting on the NRA,CCC, CWA, SEC, WPA etc. Reading the conservatives of the 1930s, I would say that many--probably most--approved of FDR's isolationism. RJJensen 16:56, 5 September 2009 (EDT)
The US was in a balance of payments surplus after WWI. Charles Dawes was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1925 for his efforts to refinance German war reparations. With the banking crisis of 1932-33 the trends began to reverse and huge net outflows of gold were occuring (you even reference this in FDR's bio, how Hoover sought FDR's help to make a statement to restore confidence in the banking system but FDR allowed the crisis to reach full apogee before he acted). One of the first acts then was confiscation of gold (see above fn4, "Confiscation of unproductive income"; while this is probably not what is directly refered to, some could have that perception).
Here's what is ridiculous about claiming FDR's decision to go off the gold standard was lauded by Hitler: removing the gold standard is one of the Protocols of Zion. Granted, Hitler was an idiot, but according to his own autiobiography Mein Kampf he read the Protocols and it shaped much of his thinking.
One more point, whatever conservatives or Republicans thought is almost immaterial because FDR and the Democrats were clearly in the driver seat and steamerolled the opposition. And the record shows FDR & the Democrats had much more in common with fascism and fascist ideas -- for the most part without the anti-Semitism that it is now mainly remembered for -- than FDR or the Democrats domestic opposition ever did. Rob Smith 17:18, 5 September 2009 (EDT)

I've never been clear on the difference between fascism and communism. Aren't they both totalitarian? What economic differences are there between them?

It can get confusing when Communists claim to be anti-fascist, because demagogues use fascist like an epithet. It can be a smokescreen. Can anyone here help our readers get clear on these and other related points?

Did the Great Depression prove that free market economics is fundamentally flawed, requiring some kind of socialism? Or is the freedom for buyers and sellers to agree on mutually satisfactory prices for goods and labor still a Pretty Good Thing, with only a few tweaks needed? --Ed Poor Talk 11:15, 2 September 2009 (EDT)

Good questions, Ed.

Part of the problem is, as Orwell wrote in 1946, “The word ‘’Fascism’’ has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable.’" He asks: “Since you don't know what Fascism is, how can you struggle against Fascism?”

Briefly: Corporativist ideas had been popular with British socialists and Fabians, as well as American progressives such as Herbert Croly, Edward Bellamy and Colonel House since the late 19th century.

Mussolini was a Marxist who took over the Italian Socialist Party at the Congress of Reggio Emilia in 1912, expelling his opponents and espousing doctrinaire Marxism, prompting Lenin to write, “the party of the Italian socialist proletariat has taken the right path.”

In 1917, Lenin took over Russia, the following year imposing a socialist experiment (“War Communism”); it quickly and spectacularly failed, resulting in mass famine and economic collapse. In response to this failure, communists like Oskar Lange and Georges Sorel theorized about a “third way” between capitalism and socialism; Lange called his theory “market socialism”; Sorel meanwhile adopted “syndicalism,” a type of guild socialism.

Mussolini followed the tutelage of Sorel, Lenin of Lange; National Socialism, emerging from the shattered remains of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, promised yet another a “third way” between capitalism and communism, uniting proletarian and bourgeois to fight for the state and race. It was in this atmosphere that the New Deal took shape.

Cultural historian Wolfgang Schivelbusch (Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt's America, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany, 1933-1939 [Macmillan, 2006] ISBN 080507452X) writes: "Roosevelt once spoke in the presence of journalists of Mussolini and Stalin as his 'blood brothers,'" (p. 30) and FDR "had nothing but 'sympathy and confidence' in Mussolini up until the mid-1930s". (p. 31)

Rexford Tugwell, "the most left-wing member of Roosevelt's brain trust" was "open in his respect for Mussolini's economic policies." (pp. 31-32) Of the Fascist system he wrote, "It's the cleanest, neatnest [sic], most efficiently operating piece of social machinery I've ever seen. It makes me envious." (p. 32) Eleanor Roosevelt's close friend Lorena Hickok, a journalist who covered the New Deal, wrote, "If I were 20 years younger and weighed 75 pounds less, I think I'd start out to be the Joan of Arc of the Fascist Movement of the United States." (Lorena A. Hickok, et al., One Third of a Nation: Lorena Hickok Reports on the Great Depression (University of Illinois Press, 1983) ISBN 0252010965, p. 218)

According to Schivelbusch, "the New Deal was often compared with Fascism." (p. 22) "Italy had several years earlier begun the transition from a liberal free-market system to a state-run or corporatist one." (p. 22) “The programme of the Fascists, as drafted in 1919, was vehemently anti-capitalistic,” wrote Ludwig von Mises. “The most radical New Dealers and even communists could agree with it.” (Ludwig von Mises, ‘’Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis’’ [Yale University Press, 1951], p. 576) “The slogan into which the Nazis condensed their economic philosophy, ‘’Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz’’ (i.e., the commonweal ranks above private profit) is likewise the idea underlying the American New Deal…” (Von Mises, pp. 578-579) Even "intellectual observers of economics and social policies who were otherwise Roosevelt allies... saw a Fascist element at the core of the New Deal." (p. 27) Liberal journalist Mauritz Hallgren wrote, "We in America... are being forced rapidly and definitely into Fascism..." (Spectator, August 18, 1933, p. 211)

"Reminiscent of Fascism is the principle that the state no longer leaves the economy to its own devices," wrote Mussolini in a review of FDR's book Looking Forward. "Without question, the mood accompanying this sea-change is reminiscent of Fascism." (p. 23) Völkischer Beobachter likewise commented, "Many passages in [Roosevelt's] book Looking Forward could have been written by a National Socialist." (p. 19)

"There was hardly a commentator who failed to see elements of Italian corporatism in Roosevelt's managed economy under the National Recovery Administration, the institution formed in 1933 to maintain mandatory production and price 'codes' for American industry." (p. 23) When Roosevelt referred to the industrial cartels established by the NRA as "modern guilds," notes Schivelbusch, he was making "reference to the corporatist system associated with Fascism." (p. 30) The Fascist Party journal of political theory Gerarchia (Leadership) characterized the NRA's plans as "bearing a Fascist signature" and as "corporatism without the corporations." (p. 24) Progressive journalist Robert Shaw agreed, "The NRA... was plainly an American adaptation of the Italian corporate state." (p. 27) FDR's own economics instructor at Harvard concurred, identifying the NRA as "essentially fascistic." (Gilbert H. Montague, "Is NRA Fascistic?" The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, July, 1935, pp. 149-161)

Mussolini wrote that the book New Frontiers, by FDR's Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace was "just as 'corporativistic' as the individual solutions put forth in it... The book leaves no doubt that it is on the road to corporatism..." (p. 24)

"The German Labor Service (Reichsarbeitsdienst—RAD) arose from a party organization set up in 1931 and known as the NS-Arbeitsdienst for the purpose of easing unemployment," (United States War Department, Handbook on German Military Forces [Washington: GPO, 1945] p. 203) "like its New Deal equivalent, the Civilian Conservation Corps," (David Schoenbaum, Hitler's Social Revolution: Class and Status in Nazi Germany, 1933-1939 [W. W. Norton & Company, 1997] ISBN 0393315541, p. 78) which would be established in 1933. According to a past president of the Society of American Historians, both "were essentially designed to keep young men out of the labor market. Roosevelt described work camps as a means for getting youth ‘off the city street corners,’ Hitler as a way of keeping them from ‘rotting helplessly in the streets.' In both countries much was made of the beneficial social results of mixing thousands of young people from different walks of life in the camps. Furthermore, both were organized on semimilitary lines with the subsidiary purposes of improving the physical fitness of potential soldiers and stimulating public commitment to national service in an emergency.” (John A. Garraty, "The New Deal, National Socialism, and the Great Depression," The American Historical Review, Vol. 78, No. 4 [October, 1973], pp. 907-944)

Regarding the New Deal's effectiveness in combating the Great Depression, Schivelbusch writes, "the consensus among historians today" is "that the United States completely emerged from the Depression only with its entry into World War II." (p. 26)

True, some business people supported FDR's policies. (e.g., "Although I'm a capitalist, I happen to believe in [Roosevelt's] program." [quoted in Lorena Hickok, One Third of a Nation, p. 218]) True also, Ronald Reagan was a New Dealer back when he was a liberal Democrat and a Roosevelt man, but he later saw the light, saying, "Fascism was really the basis of the New Deal." True again, much of Nazism was borrowed from American progressives and Democrats -- eugenics and "racial hygiene," for example. As Robert Nisbet observed, "the West's first real experience with totalitarianism—political absolutism extended into every possible area of culture and society, education, religion, industry, the arts, local community and family included, with a kind of terror always waiting in the wings—came with the American war state under Woodrow Wilson." (Robert A. Nisbet, The Twilight of Authority [Oxford University Press, 1975], p. 183) FOIA 11:04, 3 September 2009 (EDT)

  • "Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz’" (i.e., the commonweal ranks above private profit), in American English, "Putting people first." Rob Smith 16:02, 2 September 2009 (EDT)
Goodness gracious, Rob. There's a lot of material there. How are we going to get all those points into the most appropriate articles? --Ed Poor Talk 21:29, 5 September 2009 (EDT)
I have a plan, been working on it for years. I would like to get Prof. Jensen's input on this. And thanks to FOIA, it is extraordinarily well researched, all from scholarly & mainstream publications that would fit WP's citation policies. But WP wouldn't countenance factual material like this for 30 seconds, and would probably stalk, harass, take reprisals, and sanction anyone attempting to balance articles on this subject. Rob Smith 17:37, 6 September 2009 (EDT)

Criticism of FDR policies

Some economists have charged that FDR's "New Deal" policies were responsible for prolonging the Great Depression.

  • In their understanding of the Depression, Roosevelt and his economic advisers had cause and effect reversed. They did not recognize that prices had fallen because of the Depression. They believed that the Depression prevailed because prices had fallen. The obvious remedy, then, was to raise prices, which they decided to do by creating artificial shortages. Hence arose a collection of crackpot policies designed to cure the Depression by cutting back on production. The scheme was so patently self-defeating that it's hard to believe anyone seriously believed it would work. How FDR Made the Depression Worse - Mises Institute
  • On May 6, 1939, Henry Morgenthau, Roosevelt’s treasury secretary, confirmed the total failure of the New Deal to stop the Great Depression: “We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. . . . I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. . . . And an enormous debt to boot!” FDR's Folly: How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression