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Opinion Letters History of the New Deal: A bedtime story

Once upon a time our country went into a severe economic depression. It happened when I was just a young boy. My parents as well as many other folk wanted someone to lead us back to prosperity. That was when President Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president. The year was 1932. He was a rich northern Liberal and a Democrat. At that time the folks in the South from Texas to Virginia were solid Democrats. However, they were Conservative church going family folk. The South was hurt badly by the great depression. They joined Roosevelt's New Deal made up of big city bosses, Unions, and ethnic minorities, to create programs to improve the economy. They were happy that Southerner John Gamer, a Texan, was made Vice President. Everyone sang “Happy Days Are Here Again” when FDR won that election.

You need to understand that the folks in the South were for States Rights and not enamored to a big Federal government. They believed in individual freedom and not in Washington's mandates, regulations and restriction. By 1937 they were not pleased with some of the things FDR proposed to do. So many Southern Congressional members joined a Conservative Coalition with Northern Republicans, to block the President from packing the Supreme Court and some other laws.

With all of the new federal programs and spending, the New Deal did not get the country back on its feet. Poverty and unemployment was persistent and lingered on. The Great Depression was much worse than the recession we have today.

The wars in Europe and Asia however, caused much concern to our nation. In1939, FDR ordered the military to rearm, rebuild and prepare for war. The military prepared a draft system and began to recruit manpower. Manufacturing plants enlarged military production and hired more workers. All of that intensified when we were attacked by the Japanese on Dec. 7, 1941. By war’s end in 1945, the U.S.A. was out of the depression.

In 1960, another rich northern Liberal President was elected and the era of Camelot was not welcomed in the South. Sadly, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Therefore, VP Lyndon B. Johnson became president. President Johnson, a Texan, introduced his Great Society plan. Many in the U.S.A. were not happy with him for the Vietnam War; however the South was angry with him for his Northern Democrat Liberal agenda. That is when the South began to change party affiliation rather than change their principles. Now the South from Texas to Virginia are a dominate force in the Republican Party.

What did we learn tonight boys and girls? All of the money spent on the New Deal and the Great Society's Programs, regulations and mandates did little to eliminate the poor and the unemployed. They were not able to spread the wealth that our current President says he wants to do. So History keeps repeating itself and all the resulting debt remains for you to repay. Now sleep well. There may be real hope and change soon.

Philip J. Migliore — Franklin, N.C.

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