FDR and Launch of the New Deal

FDR Giving a Fireside Chat
Giving a fireside chat

By 1934 it was clear that while the initial action of the Roosevelt administration had eliminated the worse aspects of the economic crisis, unemployment remained very high and economic activities remained at depression levels.  Roosevelt decided to implement what became known as the Second New Deal.  The main objectives of this plan were the creation of a massive Public Work Administration and the institution of Social Security.  The first had the goal of providing work for the unemploy- ed and pumping money into the economy.  The second provided a pension for all retired and disabled workers.  By 1935, however, major programs of the New Deal became endangered when the Supreme Court ruled the NRA and Farm Relief Act unconstitutional.

Throughout 1933 and into 1934, Roosevelt continued to believe that his initial programs, which cost the taxpayers little, would be enough to lift the country out of the Depression.  As 1934 progressed, it became clear that this was not to be.  Unemployment remained at 17% and the economy was stalled.  Some parts of the original New Deal program were ending (i.e. the Civil Works Administration), and some, like the NRA, seemed to be loosing steam and direction.  Thus, despite Roosevelt's bias towards a balanced budget, it became clear that a balanced budget would not be able solve America's economic difficulties.

Roosevelt began planning two major programs:  the Public Works Administration and the Social Security Act.  He asked for extensive funding for the newly formed PWA.  His first year's budget demanded $4 billion dollars followed by an additional $3 billion dollars for the second year and $2 billion for the third.  Between 1933 and 1939 the PWA financed the construction of 34,408 federal and non-federal  public works projects.  The projects included everything from battleships, to bridges, to sewage systems.  The program provided employment for a total of 1.2 million men. 

The second major program was the Social Security Act.  This act provided a nationwide pension plan for older Americans.  The plan was based on initial federal funding to be superseded by taxes collected on wages.

Second Fireside Chat on New Deal
Third Fireside Chat
Fourth Fireside Chat on the Currency Crisis
Fifth Fireside Chat-On the 73rd Congress
Sixth Fireside Chat- On Greater Freedoms
Seventh Fireside Chat on Work Relief