Posts Tagged ‘The New Deal’

Huey Long

Share the Wealth

Source: AJ Fowler: Huey Long- Share The Wealth

The progressive or even socialist side of Huey Long coming out that basically no one is entitled to a certain amount of money in society. Other than to meet their basic needs even if they create all of that money for themselves. Not sure if Huey was supporting let’s say an excise-tax on wealthy individuals to give to the people who do not have enough money or not.

With this excise tax going to government and then government decides how much money individuals need which is part of the socialist philosophy of there shouldn’t be any rich, middle or poor people and that it’s the job of the central government to prevent that from happening. That the central government should collect the nation’s resources and then give them back based on what they believe people need to live well.

And the central government does this by basically collecting most of the resources in society and then giving that money back to people based on what it believes that people need to live well. I’ll look it up in the future to see if that’s what Senator Huey Long believed in. But from this video he did seem to believe that it was it was unfair for a few people to be so rich while others are struggling. And that government should play a bigger role to see that no one is poor and perhaps no one is rich.


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Source: Daniel JB Mitchell: Huey Long Seen as Threat to FDR in The 1930s

Franklin Roosevelt and Huey Long were very similar Progressive Democrats in that they were both economic Progressives who believed in things like infrastructure investment funded by the public and making American capitalism work for more people. But there were several differences in the two and they mostly resulted around character.

Franklin had a lot of it and wasn’t a corrupt man or a corrupt politician looking to become some dictator over the United States. Huey was exactly that, but a dictator over Louisiana first as Governor where he basically ran the whole state under his leadership and when he left the Louisiana governors mansion to serve in Congress as a Senator, he was still running Louisiana.

But now Huey Long as a U.S. Senator had more national power and since these two men were similar ideologically at least on economic-policy, President Roosevelt saw Senator Long as a threat to his leadership and power and someone who needed to be put down. But Huey Long would’ve gone down anyway because of his lifestyle and how he carried himself in office.

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In the 1920s and 30s, the U.S. economy was a pretty freewheeling affair. Taxes were low and regulation of the economy was minimal.  Libertarians were as close to utopia as they had ever been.  When the first Franklin Roosevelt administration took office, they were confronted with the Great Depression.  The New Deal that they fashioned in response, though it seemed radical at the time, was actually a very practical, mainstream, economic response.
The Conservatives were saying that this was a natural fluctuation of the market and that it would recover on its own.  On the Far-Left, the Socialists were saying that this is capitalism at its worst and a great example of how it doesn’t work.  We need to replace it and come up with a completely different  economic system.

FDR was a pragmatic Progressive and didn’t enter the White House with a bold agenda for dealing with the Great Depression.  He had ideas but nothing big and bold.  In airplane pilot’s lingo “He created the New Deal by the seat of his pants.”  Saying that the Roosevelt Administration made it up as they went along is probably too loose but they put in ideas as they got them.  They had not developed a New Deal agenda as far back as the 1932 presidential campaign.

The Socialists were calling for steep new taxes on the wealthy.  I’m sure they wouldn’t have left what was left of the middle class off the hook.  They called for nationalization of industries and creation of a Nordic-like welfare state.   The Libertarians were saying that government should stay out of the way and let the economy fix itself, if anything lower taxes and regulations on private capital.

FDR’s New Deal was in the middle.  It affirmed American capitalism as a good system that empowers millions of Americans to be successful.  What it lacked, and what the New Deal provided, was an insurance system, paid for by the economy itself, for people who need help when the system failed.  This is how Social Security, Unemployment Insurance and Welfare Insurance were created.  The New Deal, included, as well, new infrastructure investment to do needed work that the private sector was neglecting and to provide employment to millions of Americans.

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Glenn Beck
This piece was originally posted at FRS Daily Times

I believe in Glen Beck Land or Glen Beck America, that we would go back to the days pre-New Deal, Progressive Era. And we essentially go back to being a libertarian nation. Where we are all on our own and when we need assistance, we get it through private charity. What he’s forgetting is back in those days, African-Americans were treated basically like Colonial Americans. Before the United States was formed, even though they were American as anyone else in America. Except for American-Indians. Their constitutional rights were not enforced under law or enforced equally.

So progressivism has made at least some positive reform in America. And no I’m going to interpret whether Mr. Beck believes if its okay for African-Americans to be treated like second class citizens or not. Let him do that for himself. We had of course had the Great Depression of the 1930s, which lasted at least through the 1930s. The New Deal did not pull us out of it, our involvement in World War II did that. But what the New Deal did and no one including myself would design the New Deal, the same way today as back then, was give the Great Depression a floor and allow of the economy to start recovering.

I would’ve not of given the Federal Government all of that power. To run the safety net and instead empower the states and private sector with that responsibility. Same thing with the Great Society in the 1960s. But what the New Deal and Great Society did was at least give people in need some floor of income that they could rely on. When they are out of work and that sort of thing. But of course none of those programs would’ve been designed the same way today by anyone.

The Glen Beck World that he talked about before the Progressive Era had some advantages. As we were becoming the richest country in the world, thanks to American private enterprise and our natural resources. But it also had some holes in it as well. With all the racial, ethnic and gender discrimination that was going on back in that era. That government let go on and did nothing about. Even though these people had the same constitutional rights in America as Caucasian men. But they were just not being enforced equally, which is how bigotry was able to take place.

Including with things like hate crimes, which is why government was needed to step in. And make this bigotry illegal and try to put a stop to it. And when people were unemployed, or didn’t have enough skills to get a good job and be self-sufficient, unless they were able to get help from private charity, they were out of luck. Which is why the New Deal was created and again I wouldn’t have designed the New Deal the same way.

No one would, but at least it was something that people in need could turn to. Things were definitely done differently pre-Progressive Era, but not exactly better in every sense, sometimes better. And in others like with equal protection, done worse. Sometimes moving forward and progressing as a society can be better, especially since we’ve never lived in a perfect world. Which is why we should always try to get better.


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