The Lessons of the New Deal: Did Obama Learn the Right Ones?

Badger, Tony (2012) The Lessons of the New Deal: Did Obama Learn the Right Ones? History, 97 (325). pp. 99-114. ISSN 0018-2648

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In 2009, as in 1933, there was a major economic crisis and an ensuing recession. A discredited outgoing American president had been succeeded by a charismatic newcomer with a clear electoral mandate and large congressional majorities. This article asks why Obama, whose economic advisers explicitly drew lessons from the New Deal’s economic policy, has been so unsuccessful politically. It notes that the Obama administration failed to get money into the hands of ordinary Americans quickly enough. Because the scale of the economic crisis of 2009 was less than that of 1933, congressmen of both parties have not come under the sort of pressure from desperate constituents to back their president that Roosevelt was able to exploit in the 1930s. As health care reform showed, Obama learnt the wrong lessons from Roosevelt about bringing in reform at a time of economic crisis. Above all, Obama has had to contend with the long history of popular distrust of the efficacy and intentions of the federal government that has characterized American politics since the 1970s.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: 25-1-2012 is date of online first publication
Subjects: T700 American studies
V300 History by topic
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2015 07:28
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2019 19:24

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