Since World War II America has consistently embarked on formulating and implementing programs aimed at assisting its citizens to enjoy the social policies that are needed within its economy. There have been early expansion deals, new deals in the 1950s and later developments, which came in the 1960s. However, although some of these expansions are still functional, the economic state of America seems to be too overwhelmed to support all of them any further. Therefore, this study will discuss the contents accrued to each expansion era and the ability of the American government to help them.
Early expansion of the New Deal after World War II
Integration of the Armed Forces
On July 26, 1948, President Harry Truman issued an executive order requiring that racial discrimination is abolished in the United State Armed Forces which led to the end of a segregated military service. Therefore, when he was faced with such an intense domestic affair as segregation in the defense system using his veto powers, Truman ended racism in the military (Hatch et al. 1048). Also, he mandated that a committee should be formed so that investigations and recommendations can be made to ensure that civilian leadership in the military implement the new policy.
GI Bill of Rights
President Roosevelt enacted the G.I Bill, as it is commonly known, into law in 1944 as the Servicemens Readjustment Act. This law provided that the World War II veterans should be compensated in one way or another. Thus, for the excellent service rendered by the war veterans Roosevelt and his cabinet decided that they should receive unemployment insurance and be mustering out pay to sustain them as they looked for work (Hatch et al. 1045). On the other hand, education and training would ensure them a better life. Also, they would receive an expanded and easier access to hospital care while the disabled veterans would receive their pensions as per the requirement of the previously formulated law.
Increase in Minimum Wage
In 1944, the Congress came to an agreement that a single administrator who would be appointed would delegate the Department of Labor (DOL) by the President and get approval from the Senate. The power of the DOL was mandated to structure the wages and hours division in the entire state. The Congress thus agreed that the national minimum wage should be $0.25 and required that by 1944 it should not be below $0.30 while by 1945 it was supposed to be not less than $0.40 (Hatch et al. 1046). Nonetheless, some occupations were exempted from this increment requiring the administrator to increase the minimum wage for only particular industries.
New Deal in the 1950s
The Soil Bank Program
In the mid-1950s, while the surpluses from farms were steadily increasing the profits they were giving were decreasing instead. Therefore, in 1956, the Congress enacted the Soil Bank Agriculture Act and the assistance law. This Act was formulated with several purposes. They were reducing the production of the primary crops in the US, ensuring that farm income is maintained, and conserving the soil (Goetz 33). As a result, by 1959, the soil bank program had proven to be useful with some participants in the conservation reserve program doubling although the funds to rent land were inadequate at that time.
N.D.E.A in 1958-1959
In 1958, the National Defense Education Act greatly assisted in ensuring that college accessibility and an enrollment boom was realized. Moreover, this Act offered higher education institutions the opportunity to fund students research and scholarships. This Act was primary enacted to compel students to major more in defense-related courses especially those of mathematics, foreign languages, and sciences (Goetz 30). Also, this N.D.E.A Act facilitated students with loans, funding graduate fellowships, and subsidizing teacher training programs in universities. By so doing, the education sector became an open door through which students who had abandoned their college plans flooded schools with the federal funds coming in handy.
Increase in Minimum Wage
In 1949, after President Truman won his seat the Democrats in Congress embarked on raising the minimum wage, and the Senate agreed to the increment of $0.75 /hour. The Congress, on the other hand, narrowed the scope of pay increase by reducing the coverage to 500,000 workers but agreed to the substantiated $0.75 /hour wages (Goetz 40). However, the Congress exempted those from the laundry, cleaning, and clothes repairing industry from acquiring these changes.
In 1950, the polio vaccine was established as remarkable medicine development and advancement ever developed in the American history. The importance of having the polio vaccine as one of the essential drugs in the World Health Organization was because it left more than 457,000 people with a certain deformation from polio paralyzes (Goetz 50). However, on Salks announcement of 1955 of a polio vaccine the cases dropped with up to 85 %within the next two year.
The New Frontier
J. F Kennedy during his reign recurrently advocated for the frontier idea. During his inauguration speech, Kennedy asked Americans to be pioneers of his newly adopted frontier. He ensured to ask the young ones, and the spirited regardless of their party affiliations to cultivate the resurrection of the frontier ideology of progress (Quiggin 20). This doctrine echoed throughout his administration. Notably, Kennedy promoted his frontier ideology through emphasizing that individuals should indulge more in technology and space exploration.
The Medicare Act that was formulated in 1965 was primarily meant to cover the health insurance of the elderly people in America. This Act was formulated after it was established that almost half of all the old people in the US then did not have any health care coverage plans. It was meant to act as the standard through which the employer could sponsor the health insurance issues of their employees (Quiggin 32). With the Medicare requirements being met the elderly especially in regards to their income and health status realized more benefits. Evidenced by the fact that life expectancy beyond 65 years has increased for several years and the poverty rate amongst the elderly has decreased by more than a half.
Peace, Job and Teacher Corps
The Peace Corps Act was founded in 1961, and established under the executive order of President Kennedy. This volunteer program was forged to ensure that America would maintain peaceful relationships with other states in the world. It ensures that technical assistance is provided where interested people from other countries want to understand Americas culture and consequently Americans know the culture of individuals outside their boundaries (Quiggin 28). By so doing, America has consistently promoted social, economic developments globally.
President Johnson established the Job Corps under the Economic Opportunity Act in 1964. The main aim of creating this Act was to attack the roots of American poverty. Thus, with Job Corps individuals would be given some valuable vocational training (Quiggin 28). From this program many disadvantaged and high at risk youths have been provided with vocational training, social skills training, and integrated academic which is needed to form a basis for taking higher learning, gain independence, and get long term jobs.
Teacher Corps were established to ensure that teachers from low-income schools needs could be met. The reason why Johnson pushed this particular Corps was because he understood the need that teacher from low-income schools often faced. Therefore, it was decided that the federal government would consistently acquit low-income public schools with the resources required by teachers to teach (Quiggin 30). More so, the private schools were allowed to share their resources and especially learning materials with the public low-income schools.
Vista and OEO
In the process of dealing with poverty Johnson also initiated the Volunteers in Service to America Program (VISTA). From this approach, Peace Corps programs could also be effected adequately in the American society. Therefore, instead of sending all volunteer Americans to foreign countries VISTA sends them to do the same jobs in community organizations and especially the poor American neighborhoods (Quiggin 35). Further, VISTA program provides legal aid to poor Americans and creates medical clinics in the poor neighborhoods.
In 1964, President Johnson passed the Economic Opportunity Act, which led to the opening of an office referred to as the office of economic opportunities (OEO). The OEO as an agency was mandated with the responsibility of administering the poverty programs formulated during President Johnsons time (Quiggin 36). This body was supposed to help end poverty through providing preschool children especially those from low-income families to have their emotional, health, nutritional, social, and psychological needs met.
How much can the Government afford to cater for all these Programs?
By the year 2015, Americas federal budget was at $3.8 trillion. This amount surmounts to more than 21% of Americas economy as per the Gross Domestic Product. From this sum, the Treasury divides its money between discretionary, mandatory spending, and debt interests. Both discretionary and mandatory spending surmounts to ninety percent of the federal spending and paying for all governmental services and programs through which the people rely upon. Mandatory spending is the most dominated earned benefits Avenue with Medicare and other social security roads being prime spenders (Baker 12). Due to the massive debt that America has there is a threat that it will have a slow growth rate, harming Americas economic opportunities, and also threatening its national security. Although President Obama has led to raised taxes, the economy does not seem to improve. Therefore, if the Congress does not embark on reforming the entitled programs only to benefit and be made affordable for those people who greatly need it then it is clear that by 2024 Americas federal spending will have grown by 66%. This is an alert that its economy will be chronically unstable considering that the Medicaid program, social security, and Medicare are too large for America and their growth rates are going up the roof.
It is clear that each expansion era and its contents are of significant benefits to the American people. Moreover, the Congress members and the Presidents during each period ensured that America improved considerably. Nonetheless, all these programs have to be funded extensively an undertaking that seems to burden the federal government. Therefore, if America will be able to keep its economic stability intact, then a manageable budget should be composed and implemented fully to cater for only the most important programs.
Baker, Scott R., Nicholas Bloom, and Steven J. Davis. Measuring economic policy uncertainty.No. w21633. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2015. Print
Goetz, Edward G. New deal ruins: Race, economic justice, and public housing policy. Cornell
University Press, 2013. Print
Hatch, Stephani L., et al. "Life in and after the Armed Forces: Social networks and mental health
in the UK military." Sociology of health & illness 35.7 (2013): 1045-1064. Print
Quiggin, John. Zombie economics: how dead ideas still walk among us. Princeton University
Press, 2012. Print
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