The New Deal was a series of programs, public works projects, financial reforms and regulations enacted in the United States 1933-36, in response to the Great Depression. These programs included support for farmers, the unemployed, youth and the elderly. It included new constraints and safeguards on the banking industry and efforts to re-inflate the economy after prices had fallen sharply. New Deal programs included both laws passed by Congress as well as presidential executive orders during the first term of the presidency of Franklin D Roosevelt.
The New Deal produced a political realignment, making the Democratic Party the majority (as well as the party that held the White House for seven out of the nine presidential terms from 1933–1969) with its base in liberal ideas, the South, traditional Democrats, big city machines and the newly empowered labor unions and ethnic minorities.
The Republicans were split, with conservatives opposing the entire New Deal as hostile to business and economic growth and liberals in support.
The above is taken from text on Wikipedia. But the last line is important to note. The years from 1933 to 1969 saw tremendous economic growth. The middle class in the US grew to be the most robust middle class on the planet. The Republican objections and predictions of economic doom were completely wrong. Yet the GOP continues to march out these failed policies again and again. Why? Because they cannot get past the idea that anything liberal or progressive can be positive.
Here are the basic opposing philosophies.
- Conservatives believe that if you support business and the wealthy job makers then prosperity will trickle down to all.
- Progressives believe that if you make the bottom economic population viable and give them basic necessities, they will have enough to spend and thereby support business and everyone benefits.
The New Deal was the manifestation of progressive philosophy with great success. When the government power shifted to conservative philosophies the middle class began to falter. The economy boomed. But the economy is too often measured by the stock market and business growth. These factors benefit the rich and leave the poor behind.
The middle class was not effected very much at first. The middle class has been victim of a very slow moving condition: stagnant wage increases. When adjusted for inflation, we can see that wages have been stagnant since the 60’s. (when the GOP gained more control).
Reference a Pew Research report published just yesterday. It is a short article. Highly recommended reading at the link below.