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New Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR's Economic Legacy Has Damaged America
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New Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR's Economic Legacy Has Damaged America

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  753 ratings  ·  81 reviews
A sharply critical new look at Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency reveals government policies that hindered economic recovery from the Great Depression -- and are still hurting America today.

In this shocking and groundbreaking new book, economic historian Burton W. Folsom exposes the idyllic legend of Franklin D. Roosevelt as a myth of epic proportions. With questionable m

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Published (first published November 4th 2008)
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Arminius
Some historians consider FDR the greatest president. Others have him rated in the top three. They must be smoking dope. A 20% unemployment rate after 8 years as president makes you a great one?

FDR was smart though, however he spent like a drunken sailor. He would funnel money into sectors of large areas of large states to democratic cronies. These guys would dole out jobs in exchange for votes for themselves and FDR. He employed this tactic just enough in various states to ensure that each parti
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Jim
Actually found this to be enlightening, interesting and - despite what some critics said - well documented. I read it because of the similarities in the current economic and political climate.

It was disconcerting to see how so much economic clout put in the hands of the government can be used for political manipulation. And once that genie was out of the bottle, we've never been able to put it back - no matter which party was in "power".

It would seem that, for the first time (actually beginnin
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Rod
A must read in view of today's call for a "new" New Deal. Bottom line is that virtually every action Roosevelt took to mitigate the Great Depression prolonged it. Furthermore, many of his actions were clearly intended to expand his political power. We are suffering for the effects even today.

It's important to remember that US unemployment reached 20% during the depression, and lasted until 1940, when war production began in earnest. Unemployment in other western countries was high during the ear
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John Ethier
I thought the book was interesting and provided a view of Roosevelt's policies and approach/style to the presidency that was very insightful.
The book itself is very technical from a policy standpoint and gets into details of the political and economic approach that Roosevelt and his team took while in office. It provides of view of what worked and what did not. It does provide factual examples of various initiatives they took and what were the consequences of them. For most part it viewed his e
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David Robins
Completely obliterates the FDR myth, revealing him as a profligate scoundrel, using taxpayers' money to buy votes, support boondoggles, and redistribute the income of hard-working Americans - and with nothing to show for it except a longer and greater Great Depression. FDR was among America's worst Presidents: his legacy is that of government theft and dependence, and tragic losses of individual property and freedom.
Lori
The Myth of FDR still lives and history is repeating itself. We should all know the facts of how FDR's policies destroyed prosperity and undermined our Republic.
Aaron Miller
An eye-opening alternative to the heroic picture of FDR and his New Deal that's taught in our public schools.

One of Roosevelt's big programs was later declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Small business owners were jailed for not charging the high prices the government had arranged with giant corporations. And by the end, Roosevelt's own economic mastermind bluntly admitted that their plans had failed. There are many hard facts here to warn us against repeating these mistakes.

FDR had
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Tony Beard
When I've finished a book and I feel that it's been well written and either entertaining or informative, I typically conclude that I ought to rate it with five stars. A book like "New Deal or Raw Deal?" by Burton Folsom, Jr. can sometimes be the curve-buster though.

My fear is that I've rated so many books with five stars that me rating this with five stars will be overlooked. I truly hope that isn't the case. This book is one of the most insightful books I have ever read. We're taught all throug
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Jordan
Hats off to Burton Folsom for diligently compiling the research necessary for this work. While I don't dispute his facts and agree emphatically that the New Deal era continues to cripple American prosperity, listening to thousands of concrete examples of FDR's deceitful, manipulative, scandalous, power lusting soul, was difficult to bare(even for me)for the 11 hrs and 20 mins of this audiobook. Ellsworth Toohey put it best when he said, "Don't bother to examine a folly—ask yourself only what it ...more
Don
Franklin Roosevelt is a favorite subject for historians. He was a larger than life figure, with a compelling background story who was president during historic times. Invariably FDR comes across as a sympathetic, caring and heroic figure.

If that is the view you hold of Roosevelt, you owe yourself the challenge to read this critical assessment of Roosevelt's actions during the 1930's. The author makes a well supported argument that Roosevelt did not lead the country out of economic depression, bu
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Sean Rosenthal
Interesting Quotes:

"The Schechter brothers, who sold kosher chickens in Brooklyn, provided the court case that finally overturned the NRA in May 1935. The Schechters were doing some of the same things that landed Fred Perkins, Rose Markowitz, Sam Markowitz, and Jacob Maged in jail. To avoid their fate, the Schechters hired an excellent legal team, headed by attorney Joseph Heller, to keep them out of jail and try to have the NRA declared unconstitutional. When their case came before the Supreme
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Jpavalock
History class just didn't go into detail about how destructive the Roosevelt administration really was. We learn dates, and about the war, but not much about the destructive and unconstitutional policies of the 1930's and just how they prolonged the depression. Then they all say it was the war that brought us out, but actually Congress cut taxes and regulations to unleash the American spirit and look at the boom that followed!
Garrett Cash
It's horrifying how many similarities can be drawn between FDR and his administration to our presidential incumbent. Government relief that doesn't work, trying to spend our way out of debt, using the IRS as a weapon against detractors, unabashed dishonesty, etc. Just like Obama's "hope" mantra, anyone who lived at the time would tell you that FDR gave them hope that things were going to get better. But hope doesn't fix an economic crisis. Knowledge of how economics actually works fixes it. FDR ...more
Reynolds S
A wonderful book that systematically and deliberately examines the major policies of FDR during the Great Depression and the effects those policies had on the country. Needless to say, most of his policies and programs were spectacular failures and caused the Depression to last longer than past depressions. The one thing FDR did that was somewhat of a success what the Securities Act of 1934. FDR and his brain trust were of the mind that the actions of the president during the Depression of 1920 ...more
Kirstie
This was a very enlightening book about the FDR presidency and covers many things that you probably weren't taught in you history class in high school. Folsom makes a convincing argument that the New Deal did more to hurt America's economy and slow down economic recovery than help. The New Deal was more about politics and getting reelected than it was about helping the poor and unemployed and putting people back to work. Also, the extent to which FDR abused his power is appalling! After reading ...more
Cassandra
I had never closely examined FDR's presidency and was therefore of the camp (based on popular opinion) that he was probably one of our greatest presidents. All I can say is after reading this book, the wool has been removed from over my eyes.

Of course hindsight is 20/20, and they may very well have been doing their honest best to mitigate a disaster at the time, but it seems like most of FDR's policies and programs were really just vehicles to make him look good and grab more votes for the Democ
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Mark Johansen
As you might gather from the title, the author, Burton Folsom, proposes that the policies of the Roosevelt administration during the Great Depression did more harm than good to the economy.

This book is clearly politically charged, which makes truly objective reviews difficult. I've seen many reviews of political books which say almost nothing about the actual quality of the book, but rather use the book as a springboard to expound on the reviewer's own political opinions. I'll try to avoid that
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Rob Bryant
Mr. Folsom’s book New Deal or Raw Deal: How FDR’s Economic Legacy has Damaged America, is written well and very easy to read. However, I think the secondary title is a bit misleading, and should probably be considered more of the secondary ideal presented within the pages. While it does explain that more recent research has shown that many programs Roosevelt implemented allowed the Depression to extend itself, most of the writing consists of the corruption that Roosevelt brought to the presidenc ...more
Jarvis Johnson
As a fan of limited government and lower taxes, I wanted a counterbalance to the traditional narrative of FDR and the New Deal. This book definitely provides it. Folsom goes through what he believes caused the depression, and how the various programs implemented by Roosevelt affect the way we view government (and politics). In all fairness, he also attacks Republican Hoover for massive government spending, and signing the Smoot-Hawley tariff, as reasons for a sinking economy. My grandfather's fa ...more
Michael
This book has, at last, put so much into perspective for me. I listened to the audiobook. The calm, deliberate, clear narration was probably partly responsible for its powerful delivery. Free from all but mildly indignant intonation, which by other narrators might have been dripping with disdainful, sarcastic, and/or hostile intonation, it relays the facts in a digestible manner - allowing the listeners blood to simmer rather than boil.

The discussion of the NRA, AAA, WPA, and other early New Dea
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Brad
Thought provoking but not particularly rigorous. Amity Shales's The Forgotten Man and Wolfgang Schivelbusch's The Three New Deals are much better in the "FDR revisionist" vein. Folsom covers similar ground and quotes from Shales in particular and uses most of the same sources, but is more prone to rhetorical flourish and sensationalism to fit the history into his broader political narrative, where Shales and Schivelbusch are more apt to let the narrative stand on its own.

There are a few gems in
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Karl Tenney
Deep down inside I always knew that big government control over more and more aspects of our lives was not a good thing but never knew how to explain it. This book makes that explanation clear and understandable. It also gives great insight into the life of FDR and what influenced him to start moving the country in a far Left direction ... so different than what the founding fathers were inspired to create.

To my dear, sweet friend from the Provo days; one evening you and I got into a discussion
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Cheryl
A fascinating book! I learned so much about FDR's administration that I never knew before. FDR is a presidential icon but there is much more to his presidency than the public personae. Find out how he used New Deal money to target particular election districts for votes with the strategy that "no one shoots Santa Claus." How he used the IRS to go after critics in the newspaper business and Congress to silence their opposition to his programs. How he went after the rich with a top income tax rate ...more
Jarod
Incredible book. All too often the only reputable books to find on the New Deal are positive, which are great and all, but it was refreshing to see a mainstream book touch on the negatives of FDR and the New Deal regulation.

Good, informative read regardless of what your political views are.

*Warning* is Conservatively/Classically liberally economic in view point.
Danmcgohan
Excellent analysis of Roosevelt's New Deal policies. Detailed how the President used his relief policies to pressure other politicians and to purchase votes from the electorate. The book demonstrates how so many historians have got it wrong on the ranking of President Roosevelt. It also shows how so many present day politicians are repeating many of the same mistakes.
J.M. Noble
A great summation and convincing critique of the effects many of FDR's policies had, and still have, on the American economy. If the reader spends time reflecting on what is written here, the author has built a strong case against a great deal of the progressive movement's ideals and agendas.
John Harder
During all previous serious economic contractions the American government always did the same thing. They cut expenses and/or cut taxes. As this tactic always succeeded in reversing the downturn in short order, Franklin Roosevelt, just for variety I suppose, decided to do just the opposite. The result: as most countries dug out of the depression, America stayed deeply mired. Burton Folsom’s New Deal or Raw Deal explores the immediate and long term effects of the New Deal and the reasons this dis ...more
Renay
A very different look at Roosevelt's New Deal. Breaking away from the More common progressive or liberal look at the New Deal, Folssom takes an economic conservative approach to looking at the New Deal. He challenges FDR's assumption of underconsumption as the problem with his economic decisions leading to New Deal programs. He claims the New Deal programs prolonged the depression and that a different approach of lowering taxes and tariffs to stimulate business would have provided better results ...more
Kim
This book certainly takes Roosevelt down a peg or two from what I learned in high school civics. I seems like a relatively believable account of politics and the great depression. The biggest revelation for me is grasping how Roosevelt's changes to the federal government were so revolutionary for the time - minimum wage, unions, subsidies to various industries, FDIC, etc. Since the federal government is so involved in our lives now, it is hard to imagine what it would be like for it not to be. T ...more
Ken
This was a very interesting read. I literally wanted to throw the book through the wall every time I picked it up because of the things I was reading that FDR did. He was a pathological liar and bully who used the FBI and IRS to attack anyone who opposed him. He obviously had a lot of Socialist ideas he wanted implemented and he hated the Supreme Court always telling him that his legislative laws were unconstitutional until he was able to place enough judges on there who favored him. Amazingly, ...more
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Burton W. Folsom, Jr. (born 1947 in Nebraska) is an American historian and author who holds the Charles F. Kline chair in history and management at Hillsdale College and is a senior fellow in economic education for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
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