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New Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR's Economic Legacy Has Damaged America Hardcover – November 4, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Threshold Editions; 1ST edition (November 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416592229
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416592228
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (215 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #334,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I have been proud to support research for this book." -- William F. Buckley, Jr.

"History books and politicians in both parties sing the praises for Franklin Delano Roosevelt's presidency and its measures to get America out of the Great Depression. What goes unappreciated is the fact that many of those measures exacerbated and extended the economic downturn of the 1930s. New Deal or Raw Deal? is a careful documentation and analysis of those measures that allows us to reach only one conclusion: While President Roosevelt was a great man in some respects, his economic policy was a disaster. What's worse is that public ignorance of those policy failures has lent support for similar policies in later years. Professor Burt Folsom has produced a highly readable book and has done a yeoman's job in exposing the New Deal." -- Walter E. Williams, John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, George Mason University

About the Author

Burton W. Folsom, Jr. is a professor of history at Hillsdale College in Michigan. He is a regular columnist for The Freeman and has written several books, among them The Myth of the Robber Barons, as well as articles for The Wall Street Journal, American Spectator, Policy Review and Human Events. He is a former senior fellow at the Mackinac Centery for Public Policy and associate at the Free Enterprise Institute. He has appeared on television frequently, including Glenn Beck and other FOX shows. He lives in Hillsdale, Michigan. Anita Folsom has pursued a career in both politics and the teaching of history. She attended Mississippi State University for Women and completed two degrees at Murray State University in history. She has assisted with the editing of Burton Folsom's first book and several of his later manuscripts on economic history. Anita served as county chairman for the Reagan/Mitch McConnell campaigns in 1984, and she worked for U. S. Senator Mitch McConnell for two years after he was elected. Her publications include a book review of William Manchester’s The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone, 1932-1940 in Continuity and a biography of Andrew Mellon for the Encyclopedia of the American President. She currently blogs at BurtFolsom.com. She and her husband have one son, Adam.

More About the Author

Burton W. Folsom is a professor of history at Hillsdale College in Michigan and senior historian at the Foundation for Economic Education in Irvington, New York. He is a regular columnist for The Freeman and has written articles for The Wall Street Journal and American Spectator, among other publications. He lives in Michigan.

Customer Reviews

His policy prolonged the great depression.
Kelly
This book was recommended to me by a friend who said that I would be amazed at the similarities between FDR and President Obama.
Alexis' Mom
This is a very well written and well researched book.
Francis Meyrick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

267 of 314 people found the following review helpful By Doug on December 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Burton Folsom's New Deal or Raw Deal? is a timely, informative and captivating read on the destructive economic policies on the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Administration. This book is a valuable addition to the growing number of books on how government intervention, not free markets, plunged the United States deep into the Great Depression.

Folsom corrects many common misconceptions about the New Deal and the Great Depression in this book. The first misconception is that President Hoover was a principled advocate of laissez-faire capitalism. In fact, Folsom argues, Hoover was a big government Republican. Consider the Smoot-Hawley Act, which imposed unprecedented tariffs on thousands of imported items. Not only did this drastically increase the prices of U.S. imports (hurting U.S. consumers), but it also encouraged European nations to impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports (hurting U.S. producers.) Furthermore, Hoover responded to the early onset of the Great Depression with disastrous economic regulations. He endorsed the Federal Farm Board, which issued over $500 million in cotton and wheat subsidies only to have the massive surpluses dumped on an oversaturated world market. Hoover also supposed the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, which spent over $1.5 billion on bailouts to failing banks and industries.

Another major point of Folsom's book is that many of FDR's programs were struck down as unconstitutional. These include the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) and the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA). The NIRA imposed economy-wide price controls and production regulations on domestic manufacturing. The AAA was similar in spirit, except it focused on price and production controls on agriculture.
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210 of 248 people found the following review helpful By Liberty4all VINE VOICE on January 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I'll confess to not being a fan of big government so I was prepared to be receptive to a harsh assessment of the New Deal. However, I was not prepared for the scathing indictment armed with facts, logic, primary source quotes and data that constitute this powerful book.

The book is hard to put down even as you recoil in horror at the lunatic economic policies of the era and the blatant turn to fascism. If you tried to design a program to extend the Great Depression indefinitely, you could have done little better than FDR did. The economic incompetence and unintended consequences which are detailed in all their frightening glory is mind boggling, but it is only part of the story.

The book also demonstrates the endemic political patronage and vote buying that resulted from the concentration of money and power in the hands of the federal government. State and local politicians who supported Roosevelt were rewarded with a cascade of federal dollars, those who opposed him were frozen out and inevitably lost subsequent elections.

Citizens who opposed FDR were set upon by the IRS or the NRA. The use of government power to persecute and intimidate dissension is chilling. There are several quotes or diary entries from even Roosevelt's supporters and cabinet members that point out both the insanity of the policies and the dangers of FDR's abuse of power.

With our government setting out on what's been called the "New New Deal", this book should be required reading for every citizen so they can understand both the failure of the New Deal as an economic cure and the abuse of power and vote buying that the huge transfer of money and independence from the private sector to the public sector caused and will undoubtedly cause again.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By E. G. Bradford on March 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I read the book.

I thought it was revealing and showed how FDR
thought and operated. Does anyone doubt that FDR did a lot
of things with reelection in mind? In 1938 unemployment was
still over 20%. Eight years of New Deal had little to nothing
to show as mentioned in the Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau quote:

"We have tried spending money. We are spending more than
we have ever spent before and it does not work. ...
After eight years of this Administration, we have just as
much unemployment as when we started ...."

Folsom's review of the current literature on the New Deal
and FDR is informative. He points to Leuchtenburg and others as
the standard histories of the New Deal and suggests that they
paint a biased picture of FDR. He questions whether these
historians have let their political ideology guide their writings.

It has become a standard trait of historians to embed
their viewpoints in the presentation. They let their political
philosopy guide the story. That is also true of Folsom. The saving grace
of Folsom is that he lists extentsive references to the facts he
presents and references some the opposing viewpoints. Furthermore, he is
readable. If you want to understand the New Deal you must read this
book. However, once you have read it you won't understand the New Deal.

It seems to fully understand the New Deal, there is not a single book
to be read that can be trusted. What must be done is to read many of
them and only then, come to your own conclusions. Folsom provides an extensive list of references for those who wish to learn more.
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