Did the new deal prolong the great depression? Gary Dean Best argues that “Roosevelt established an ant business environment with the creation of the New Deal regulatory programs, which retarded the nation’s economic recovery from the Great Depression until World War II. In contrast to this view Roger Biles argues that “in spite of its reforms and non-revolutionary programs, the New Deal created a limited welfare state that implemented economic stabilizers to avert another depression” (212). The great depression triggered by the 1929 Wall Street collapse crippled the American economy.
Gary Dean Best writes “My principal problem with Roosevelt and the New Deal was not over his specific reforms or his social programs, but with the failure of the United States to recover from the depression during the eight peacetime years that he and his policies governed the nation” (214). Best explains that this failure was tragic because of the image that the depression-plagued United States projected to the world during this crucial time in international affairs. Best views democracy and capitalism during this time period as an overall failure by Roosevelt’s unwillingness to embrace Keynesian spending. He expressed that “Recovery came during World War II because the war at last forced Roosevelt to spend at the level required all along for recovery” (215). Best’s assessment of an administration seeking economic recovery will do as little as possible that might inhibit recovery and will consult with competent business and financial leaders, as well as economists, to determine the best policies to follow, which Roosevelt failed to do during this time period. Best overall perception of Roosevelt projects him as a narrow minded individual who only sought to attack big business and not deal with the problems at hand. Best says “There were certainly positive contributions under the New Deal, but they may not have outweighed the negative aspects of the period” (224).
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