Government and the Economy
THE CENTRAL ISSUE of the New Deal philosophy was the relation of the State to economic life. Roosevelt believed that government had responsibility for social welfare and social justice, and that these aims were closely tied to the production and distribution of wealth. His wish to "interfere with business" was not capricious, but was the logical outgrowth of his concept of the welfare state.
It is not surprising that the New Deal provoked cries of interference, regimentation, and dictatorship. Most businessmen, farmers, and workers do not object to the idea of social justice, but it is another matter when government tells them what wage to pay, or how much corn to plant. The economic measures of the New Deal brought the Administration into bruising contact with the great interests of the country, as well as millions of "little fellows." It is small wonder that the governmentand-business issue became a source of strife during the thirties-and left scars still visible a generation later.
There is a rather widespread notion that Roosevelt was ignorant on the subject of economics. He may well have appeared so to a theoretical economist, such as John Maynard Keynes -- or to a practical merchant