Second New Deal Measures

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Emergency Relief Appropriations Act

Largest appropriation of relief to set up employment agencies with $45.5 billion allocated

Works Progress Administration (WPA):-

  • At any time it had about 2 million employees and by 1941, 20% of the workforce had at somepoint found employment with it
  • Wages were approx $52/month which was greater than any other relief but less than the going rate in industry
  • It did build 1,000 airport landing fields, 8,000 schools and hospitals and 12,000 playgrounds - it also had larger responces such as cutting the Lincoln Tunnel and building the Fort Knox

The WPA employed people for one year and it focused on those who were unable to get employed anywhere else.

The National Youth Administration (NYA):-

  • Was set up to provide part time jobs for students so they could finish their studies and contribute to the economy
  • African-Americans and Women were encouraged to join
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Rural Electrification Administration

Was formed to build generating plants and power lines in rural areas.

In 1936, only 12.6% of farms had electricity, mainly because it was non-profitable for private companies.

Banks were reluctant to lend to rural co-operatives but the REA offered low rates and farmers were encouraged to form co-operatives. 

By 1941, 35% of farms had electicity which included the installation of 348,000 miles of transmission lines.

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Resettlement Administration

Run by Rexford Tugwell who had ambitious plans to move 500,000 families from overworked land to areas which were more promising for their farming interests.

Overall, the agency was overwhelmingly unsuccessful with just 4,441 families ever being resettled, this was mainly for two reasons:-

1- There were a lot of barriers with costs of moving families

2- The majority of the time people were too settled and were reluctant to move so it ended up in little actually being achieved

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Revenue (Wealth Tax) Act

The Act was implemented to pay for New Deal reforms and those affected by it perceived it to be an attack on the right.

Roosevelt's main aim was not to see any major redistribution of wealth but rather to reduce the need for government deficit spending - so it seemed logical to target those who could most afford it.

The maximum tax on incomes over $50,000 increased from 59% to 75%

The new taxes raised comparitively little: about $250 million 

Only 1% of the population earnt more than $10,000 so increased income taxes did not raise large amounts of revenue.

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Social Security Act

First federal measure of direct help=

  • Old-age pensions funded by employer and employee contributions
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Childcare assistance

However, there were various issues and it was generally inadequate to meet the needs of the poor.

Pensions were paid at a minimum of $10 and a maximum of $85/month according to their contribution.They were not to be paid until 1940 so that everyong receiving had paid something into the scheme so it was very slow in getting going.

Unemployment benefit was a minimum of $18/week for 16 weeks only.

Childcare assistance varied widely within states:- Massachusetts paid $61/month whereas Missisipi paid $8/month.


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Wagner-Steagall National Housing Act

Designed to meet the needs for slum clearance and the building of public housing.

Congress allocated $500 million towards the projects, which was half of the amount which was requested.

By 1941, 160,000 homes had been built for slum dwellers with an average rent of $12-15/month.

This was, as expected, wholly inadequate to meet the problem for a number of reasons:-

1- The government were unable to know the true scale of the problem and could therefore not make adequate proposals

2- It was met with much opposition, e.g. conservatives feared this project of federal housing would threaten capitalism

It wasn't until the post-war period that congress began to provide adequate measures for public housing.

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Fair Labor Standards Act

In June 1938, the Act fixed a minimum wage and a maximum hours of work in all industries which was mostly seen as a revolution in radical legislature. 

Minimum wage was set at $25c/hour (due to rise to $40c)

Maximum hours which could be worked was set at 44 a week (to the hope it would fall to 40 in 3 years)

The wages of 300,000 people were immediately increased

The hours of 1.3 million workers were too automatically reduced

Children under 16 were forbidden to work and children under 18 were forbidden to work in hazardous employment.

To get the Act passed through Southern politicians, domestic servants and farm labourers were exempt from this Act. Good example of Roosevelt BYPASSING issues.

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