I'm way behind the curve on this. In fact, TIME was apparently way behind, too ... since they stole the image idea from a blogger. But anyway, what's gotten me up to speed on this is Amity Shlaes' book, The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression.
I started reading it during the election and had to put it down. It was way too creepy. A master politician with great charisma runs for president and wins, not because he is qualified but because he is different, charismatic and skilled at creating class envy. You get one guess on who the press was in the tank for in 1932.
After Obama won I thought it would be safe to pick it back up. I was wrong. Now it's even creepier.
Once elected FDR surrounded himself with name brand politicians, but put folks with "new" ideas in key advisory roles and he used his position to tinker with the economy, trying to shape it along more collectivist lines. Communism was the way of the future! Of course, at the time, it had not been proven to be a complete failure yet and so this time around we get benevolent socialism as the model. Scary stuff.
But it gets even worse. Under the National Recovery Administration (NRA) pricing and wages were codified. And they prosecuted small businesses, the case Shlaes' detail is Schecter vs. United States, for violating the codes ... not only did they prosecute them, they specifically targeted the Schechter brothers to make an example of them! Very nasty stuff ... and not unimaginable in today's world, either.
So let's be honest here, which is scarier, the big, mean capitalists on Wall St. or government prosecution?
As I read farther it's apparent that FDR didn't really have a plan, other than to get re-elected. He was willing to change positions at any time for political purposes. He wrote the book on creating social divisions and then pandering to the separate groups who could get him elected. He had no qualms about hanging supporters and mentors out to dry. He was attempting a new, bold experiment to make us "better" ... to reform us from evil capitalism.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Happy days ARE here again, unless of course you're the subject of the experiment.