FDR policies, unintended consequences

In his January 4, 1935 State of the Union Address, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt made the following statement (quoted from The Cato Journal; I originally discovered this quote in Alfred S. Regnery’s “Upstream: The Ascendance of American Conservatism“):

The lessons of history, confirmed by evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence on relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. It is inimical to the dictates of sound policy. It is a violation of the traditions of America.

Given the benefit of hindsight, this statement exposes not blind luck prescience, but rather stunning historical recognition of the probable implications of his own proposals (if made permanent).

Here’s the full text of the 1935 State of the Union Address, well worth reading.  In it, FDR weaves a web from “weed[ing] out the over privileged”, to “no wise man has any intention of destroying what is known as the profit motive”, to “The Federal Government must and shall quit this business of relief.”

My jaw simply dropped when I read this last quote:  “Such people, in the days before the great depression, were cared for by local efforts–by States, by counties, by towns, by cities, by churches and by private welfare agencies. It is my thought that in the future they must be cared for as they were before.”

It’s unclear how (or whether) today’s secular left reconciles its dogged pursuit of permanent centralized control against this clear recommendation to the contrary by the movement leader they revere most.

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