Stop questioning the New Deal, conservatives!

Still, the New Deal debate does raise an interesting question: Why did Roosevelt’s recovery falter?

Unfortunately for conservatives, the evidence cuts against their conclusions. The rise in unemployment followed FDR’s cutback in government spending in 1937. The resulting spike in unemployment prompted him to shift courses and expand spending again, whereupon unemployment again fell…

Interestingly, one scholarly criticism of the New Deal is that federal spending wasn’t expansionary enough at a time when other levels of government were slashing budgets. “[I]f we take the seven years from 1933 on, in only two was the federal share significantly more than enough to offset state and local shrinkages,” MIT economist E. Cary Brown wrote in his well-regarded study of the era.

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