"In America, the average man has not yet the faintest idea of what socialism means. It is, therefore, conceivable that the logic of facts may drive him to into it before he can shrink back in terror. He has begun to experiment, and when once Americans start moving as a mass, they are apt to go at a hot and headlong pace. If ever they do it, they will stumble into socialism unconsciously. It will be the consequence of their actions and not the conclusion of their reasoning. And when it is realized, they will believe it is an American invention patented in 1933."
The above is a quote from English Socialist, H. N. Brailsford 1935.
Indeed, who would have thought that America - home of Democracy and Freedom would embrace the presidency of a man who did so very much to advance the cause of socialism. The following link compares the American Socialist Party Platform of 1932 with the New Deal legislation passed by 1935.
Within a year after that article was written, The Supreme Court of the United States had struck down eight "New Deal" laws as Unconstitutional.
"The Supreme Court unanimously ruled FDR's National Recovery Administration unconstitutional [Schechter Poultry vs US, 295 US 495 (1935)]. And again the following year the Supreme Court ruled FDR's Agricultural Adjustment Act unconstitutional [Butler vs US, 297 US (1936)], stating that the AAA was 'a central government exercising uncontrolled police power in every state of the union.' http://www.sweetliberty.org/issues/wars/fdr.html
These rulings enraged the president and earned the wrath of the most liberal of Congressional Democrats.
As a result of this reaction, several constitutional amendments were introduced into Congress in 1936, including one that would require a two-thirds vote of the Court whenever an act of Congress was declared unconstitutional; another that would permit Congress to revalidate federal laws previously declared unconstitutional by repassing them with a two-thirds vote of both houses, and even one that would abolish altogether the Court's power to declare federal laws unconstitutional.
It is hard to believe, in 2011, that the Congress of the United States of America would consider eliminating the checks and balances which are the cornerstone of our Republic. Yet such was the power of the man named Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And such was the brilliance of the man that he remained silent on this proposal until after his re-election, then submitted his Administration's own plan to "pack" the Supreme Court.
Their plan had a different twist, however, for it proposed adding a justice for every justice over the age of 70 who refused to retire, up to a maximum of 15 total… Congressmen urged the White House to withdraw the bill, but confident of victory, FDR refused to back down. The cost was the alienation of conservative Democrats and the loss of the fight in Congress. http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/separation-powers/
But putting aside the Unconstitutional laws, the disrespect shown the Supreme Court and the foray into Socialism, what was the real disgrace of the "New Deal?" The fact that it was financed by the middle class and the poor. The massive tax increases and new taxes involved with the New Deal destroyed jobs and prolonged unemployment.
For example, the National Industrial Recovery Act (1933) cut back production and forced wages above market levels, making it more expensive for employers to hire people - blacks alone were estimated to have lost some 500,000 jobs because of the National Industrial Recovery Act. The Agricultural Adjustment Act (1933) cut back farm production and devastated black tenant farmers who needed work. The National Labor Relations Act (1935) gave unions monopoly bargaining power in workplaces and led to violent strikes and compulsory unionization of mass production industries. Unions secured above-market wages, triggering big layoffs and helping to usher in the depression of 1938.
For defenders of the New Deal, perhaps the most embarrassing revelation about New Deal spending programs is they channeled money AWAY from the South, the poorest region in the United States. The largest share of New Deal spending and loan programs went to political "swing" states in the West and East - where incomes were at least 60% higher than in the South. As an incumbent, FDR didn't see any point giving much money to the South where voters were already overwhelmingly on his side.
In 1937 the Republicans and Southern Democrats had had enough, and formed the Conservative Coalition. They released a 10 point plan called the Conservative Manifesto. It called for:
1. Immediate revision of taxes on capital gains and undistributed profits in order to free investment funds.
2. Reduced expenditures to achieve a balanced budget, and thus, to still fears deterring business expansion.
3. An end to coercion and violence in relations between capital and labor.
4. Opposition to “unnecessary” government competition with private enterprise.
5. Recognition that private investment and enterprise require a reasonable profit.
6. Safeguarding the collateral upon which credit rests.
7. Reduction of taxes, or if this proved impossible at the moment, firm assurance of no further increases.
8. Maintenance of state rights, home rule, and local self-government, except where proved definitely inadequate.
9. Economical and non-political relief to unemployed with maximum local responsibility.
10. Reliance upon the American form of government and the American system of enterprise.
The Socialist Agenda was falling apart.
Watch for more information on FDR's background and family in the next chapter.