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Graph of Federal Spending (in millions of dollars), 1929-1945

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt entered office in 1933, unemployment hovered around 25%. The private sector, including factories and service industries, remained mired in an intractable depression: no one was spending money and no one was hiring. Proponents of federal spending argued that only the government had the spending power to stimulate the economy; by spending on various relief and employment programs, the government would put people to work and put money back in circulation. Despite doomsday criticisms about the cost of New Deal programs, this graph demonstrates that federal spending in Roosevelt’s first two terms was relatively low compared to the spending associated with World War II.

Source | Adapted from “Table 1.1—Summary of Receipts Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits (-): 1789—2009,” from Budget of the United States Government: Historical Tables Fiscal Year 2005, http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy05/hist.html.
Creator | American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning
Rights | Copyright American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Item Type | Quantitative Data
Cite This document | American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning, “Graph of Federal Spending (in millions of dollars), 1929-1945,” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed July 18, 2019, https://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/1509.

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