Pride, Prejudice, and Politics: Roosevelt Versus Recovery, 1933-1938

By Gary Dean Best | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 4
Delaying Recovery

REGULATION OF SECURITIES

As 1934 began, many critics of Roosevelt's policies continued to regard the Securities Act of 1933 as the most serious of the obstacles to recovery created by the New Deal. Economist C. J. Bullock observed in Harvard Review of Economic Statistics that the obstacles which the act erected to the flow of capital into industry suggested that, indeed, "one of its purposes was to hamper the growth of private and to stimulate the expansion of public enterprise," to "further socialization of industry and not to protect investors." While he conceded that such was probably not the intent of the New Dealers in writing the act, the point was made: if the Roosevelt administration had purposefully set out with the goal of destroying private enterprise and promoting government operation of an increasing share of the economy, the Securities Act of 1933 could hardly have been better designed to attain that result. 1 Like Bullock, most intelligent critics of Roosevelt's economic policies were still less concerned about the purposes behind those policies than their likely result. The charges of the more extreme critics that the Roosevelt administration was intent on transforming the United States into a communist or national socialist state still seemed hysterical to most, but they did worry that the apparent lack of deliberation behind many of Roosevelt's actions and, above all, the lighthearted, even flippant way in which policies and programs of major implication for the economy were adopted, might lead to that result by accident. They were concerned that a cycle ultimately destructive of a free economy and society had been unleashed. Roosevelt's policies were retarding the ability of business to recover and furnish needed

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