One of his first bills, the Economy Act, reduced government spending in such areas as veteran benefits and the salaries of federal employees--and it actually exacerbated the nation's greatest problem, deflation. The National Industrial Recovery Act, the most popular legislative achievement of Roosevelt's first 100 days, created a corporatist behemoth that also promoted deflation by artificially increasing prices without increasing incomes. Its failure was visible well before the Supreme Court struck it down in 1935.100 Days of Disquietude
But in those early days, Roosevelt did more good than harm. He saved the financial system from collapse, almost certainly the most important event in the first 100 days, and perhaps in the first two years, of the administration. The "banking holiday" he declared immediately after his inauguration, the passage of the Glass-Steagall Act (which created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and whose repeal in 1999 is often blamed for much of our own present crisis), and the birth of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the undermining of which in recent years contributed to the financial collapse)--together, these measures helped the nation's financial institutions to survive, even if they did not immediately flourish. Other New Deal measures in these first months helped create a significant public works program, jobs for the unemployed, relief for people in need, and aid to the staggering farm economy.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
100 Days of Disquietude
Posted by Anthony J. Pennings, PhD at 12:38 PM