A Bitter Divorce
Concerns about the implications of New Deal policy for the prospects of recovery had come to occupy much press comment on the Roosevelt administration by the end of 1934, particularly as a result of the unexpected slide of the economy late in the year. The conviction was near universal among newspapermen that the New Deal was retarding recovery. For a minority of them, represented by Mark Sullivan, the suspicion was growing that the delay in recovery represented a conscious policy on the part of some of those within the New Deal who were intent on using the depression as justification for widespread social reforms. The majority, however, clearly regarded it as the result of incompetence rather than design, and assumed, as 1934 ended and 1935 dawned, that the experience of 1934 would usher a new realism into the policies of the administration, and that business recovery would now take priority over reform, as critics as diverse as John Maynard Keynes, businessmen, Republicans, many Democrats, and even the press, itself, were urging.
For Walter Lippmann, Roosevelt's 1935 state of the union address to Congress marked "an important change of emphasis and direction." It signified a move away from the regimentation of the NRA and AAA and toward an emphasis on the responsibility of the federal government to, instead, "supplement and correct, to stimulate and balance the operation of private enterprise." 1 Of the budget presented by the president a few days later, Lippmann wrote: "Since the balancing of the budget is made dependent upon the revival of business, it becomes the duty of the government to reject policies which obstruct revival and to adopt policies which promote it. . . . It involves the abandonment of merely punitive