This Discussion by Brad DeLong and Arnold Kling over the Great Depression makes me laugh, not because of anything they present, but simply that the Points have been repetitiously given without much understanding. Readers should consider these facts when evaluating the New Deal:
1) The New Deal lasted over several FDR administrations under circumstances of Political dealing of the order seen today; the Survivor of the New Deal–Harry S. Truman–was not even known on the national stage when most New Deal legislation was passed. The chicanery of Political motivation of the New Deal, if anything, was greater than in Washington Today. Truman was chosen as the last Vice-President solely based upon his Work in the Senate eliminating Pork Barrel from Government War Contracts.
2) Much Legislation was passed in this lengthy era, and all of it loaded with Special Interest deals. No coherent economic policy was ever clearly defined during the New Deal, and most of the unworkable activity was gone by 1950, as one of the Commentators stipulated. The American people found real economic merit in those Programs which they retained.
3) The third element in consideration of the New Deal which has to be considered is the Question: Are the Programs, as initially designed, at fault; or is it later economic policy which has dislocated these Programs? One may ask how One can determine if it is faulty later economic policy which has been at fault. Health Care Costs are exploding, but why does this occur; could it be that Government policy facilitates Rent-Seeking in the Health Care industry? We have developed Labor-Saving equipment, in all aspects of Government activity; why then are Government Labor Costs ever-increasing? Why is there such consternation about Social Security and Medicare; when they purportedly have decades of accumulated Savings; is it not because a lobbied Congress and President prefers expenditure of these Savings, rather than increasing Taxes to pay for other Government services?
4) There is not a single Survivor program from the New Deal still existent which has not fulfilled it Designed or evolving function throughout the interim period since the New Deal. There is not a Survivor program from the New Deal which will not continue to function for the American people, if allowed to function as originally designed; what the Nay-Sayers worry about is the disturbance of later economic policies which will be engendered, unless the original programs are amended or eliminated. lgl