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The Western Mail, January 5th 1934

  President Roosevelt and The America of the Future

Next Steps He May Take in Great Recovery Drive.

The U.S.A. “Fight the Depression” Badge.


“Our Government is a government of the people by the politicians for the bankers and the bootleggers!” said a New Yorker to me one day, and his smile had that sneering quality which reveals bitter disillusion.

  His mood reflected the thoughts of millions of his fellow-countrymen up to March, 1933.  Then there was something wrong with the state of America: the banks were toppling over like ninepins; the savings of many years had vanished like snow in a burning sun; the ideals of individualism and private enterprise were proving to be selfish and cruel.  The Americans yearned for a new system which would save them from collapse, but which would not bring with it the blood and horrors of armed revolt. 

This new system was introduced in 1933, and its continuance was indicated this week by President Roosevelt in his speech to Congress.  This crippled leader who by his smile can capture the hearts of his opponents, as Mr. Lloyd George could during the War, is determined to build up a new United States, just as Hitler aims at building up a new Germany.

Permanent Re-construction

His policy is not merely a series of temporary expedients, but a permanent re-construction of the American economic system.  He wishes to arouse the American people to a passion similar to that aroused in the Great War in order that a united nation may march forward towards a higher state of civilisation.

The foundations of the New America were laid in 1933 and President Roosevelt referred to them in his speech. “We have created a permanent feature of cur modernised industrial structure and ... it will continue under the supervision but not the arbitrary dictation of the Government itself.” he said.

The “New Deal,” which is the name given to the new system, is, therefore, to be continued.  If we cast a glance ever the “New Deal” we shall be able to envisage the America of to-morrow which Roosevelt is trying to build.

The N.R.A.

It was first the National Industrial Recovery Act, a gigantic drive to limit commercial and industrial competition; to increase wages; to lessen hours of Labour; and to encourage Trade Unions.  It gave labour new safeguards and elevated the workers to equality of bargaining power with employers.

Codes were drawn up between the industries and the Administration by which the employers undertook to raise wages and to cut down the hours of employment.  This policy will certainly be one of the features of the new economic system in America.

The National Labour Board was given great powers to maintain industrial peace, and has settled strikes and lockouts and averted disputes.  More than 300,000 workers have returned to employment.  The chairman of the Labour Board, Senator Wagner, is shaping an organisation of industrial courts which may be one of the outstanding features of the New America.

In 1933 great steps were made towards protecting the worker and his family against old age, sickness, and unemployment, for in this sphere the United States were decades behind Great Britain.

It is, obviously, these features of social life to which President Roosevelt refers in his speech and which he intends to continue.

Public Works Programme

The President introduced a 3,300.000,000 dollars public works programme, designed to stimulate industry and give employment to perhaps several mullion persons.  There is no doubt that this public works planning will be developed in the future.

Another feature of the “New Ideal,” which will probably form a part of the New America, was the creation of an army of about 250,000 young men called the C.C.C. (Civilian Conservation Corps).

Each of these steps is in the direction of a planned economy, and in his speech Roosevelt stated: “A national plan in a generation or two will return many times the money spent.”

The Future

What of the future?  The President is exceedingly vague, but if I had to guess his programme I should say that it will be on the following lines:

(1) He will strengthen the National Industrial Recovery Act; aim at making minimum wages still higher and at cutting down hours of labour still more.

(2) He will probably devote 500,000,000 dollars more to the direct relief of the unemployed.

(3) He may either introduce a Federal Unemployment Insurance system or encourage the States to introduce compulsory unemployment insurance.

(4) He will probably introduce banking reform to regulate investment banking business.

(5) He may bring in further measures of farm relief.

It is remarkable that President Roosevelt can dominate American economic life in the way he does without force.  Had Ford been a German and stood out against Hitler as he has done against Roosevelt he would long be pinning behind the barbed wire defences of a concentration camp.  Roosevelt is the only ruler in the world who is trying to introduce a planned economy without abandoning democracy.  For this reason his experiment will be of especial interest to the liberty loving peoples of the world who wish to build up a better economic structure without murdering freedom.

I hope when I next go to America my New York friend will, as a result of Roosevelt’s campaign, withdraw his cynical description of his Government and quote Lincoln rightly and call the New America “a government of the people, by the people, for the people.”








Dollar,  Yo-Yo.


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