AGENCIES OF 1933:
The Agricultural Adjustment Administration: This agency
was created to address the perennial problems of farmers, which were overproduction
and low prices. The AAA gave subsidies to farmers who curtailed their production.
During an era of widespread hunger, these policies were bitterly criticized.
But farmers' incomes nearly doubled between 1932 and 1936, the result of
both a prolonged drought and $1.5 billion in payments from the AAA. The
Supreme Court declared part of the AAA unconstitutional in 1936.
Civilian Conservation Corps: This agency provided employment
to young, unmarried men. The CCC planted trees, built flood barriers, fought
forest fires and maintained forest roads and trails. The CCC provided a
semi-military lifestyle for its enrollees, offering them food, shelter
and a $30 monthly paycheck. During its existence, it employed a total of
3 million men.
Farm Credit Administration: The FCA was created to regulate,
coordinate and examine the institutions belonging to the Farm Credit System.
This is a nationwide system of banks and associations that makes loans
to farmers, ranchers and agricultural cooperatives.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: With the March bank panic
still fresh in everyone's minds, the FDIC was created to insure bank deposits
in the event of bank failure. It also regulates certain banking practices
to protect the deposit-holder. Like the Federal Reserve, it is an independent,
quasi-government agency with its own member banks (although almost every
commercial bank is a member).
Federal Emergency Relief Administration: FERA was created in
the First 100 Days to distribute $500 million dollars in direct relief
to state and local relief agencies.
National Recovery Administration: The NRA established fair-practice
and trade codes, minimum wages, maximum work hours and the right of labor
to bargain collectively. It also regulated prices, credit terms and plant
construction. Unfortunately, the NRA was dominated by big business interests,
and many of its liberal intentions went unrealized. The Supreme Court unanimously
ruled it unconstitutional in 1935, although its provisions would be included
in later legislation.
Public Works Administration: This agency was created to stimulate
economic recovery through public construction programs. The PWA spent $6
billion in the 30s, building courthouses, hospitals, schools, libraries,
bridges, tunnels, roads, highways, dams, levees and even navy ships. However,
the funding was not heavy enough to spur economic growth.
Tennessee Valley Authority: The TVA is one of the largest and
most successful programs to come out of the New Deal. It brought electricity,
flood control, and improved navigation and living conditions to the Tennessee
Valley, which covers seven states. Publicly funded development and cheap
electricity spurred industrial growth and helped bring the region out of
pre-modern poverty. It has always had its critics from the right, who think
the TVA should be privatized. But there is no disputing that the TVA brought
a poor region of the U.S. closer to economic equality.
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