Below is a partial list of New Deal "alphabet agencies"
and their primary function (relief, recovery, or reform).
AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT ACT (Recovery)
Created in 1933,
he AAA paid farmers for not planting
crops in order to reduce surpluses, increase demand for seven major farm commodities,
and raise prices. Farm income rose, but many tenants and share-croppers
were pushed into the ranks of the unemployed. In 1936 the Supreme Court
voided the AAA.
Camp Euclid, Ohio September 1936
CIVIL WORKS ADMINISTRATION (Relief)
in 1933, the CWA employed four million people--paid
an average of $15 a week--many in useful construction jobs such as repairing
schools, laying sewer pipes, building roads. Some CWA
jobs, however, were criticized as useless (e.g., leaf raking).
Roosevelt disbanded the program after
less than a year.
FARM SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (Relief)
was created in 1937 (formerly called the Resettlement Administration in 1935)
to aid sharecroppers. The FSA set up temporary housing for "Okies" and "Arkies"
(Dust Bowl refugees from Oklahoma and
California in hope of finding work.
DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORP. (Reform)
To restore confidence in banks and encourage savings, Congress created the FDIC
to insure bank customers against the loss of up to $5,000 their deposits if
their bank should fail. Created by the Glass-Steagall
Banking Reform Act of 1933, the FDIC is still in existence.
FEDERAL EMERGENCY RELIEF ADMIN.
Created in 1933, FERA
supported nearly five million households each month and funded thousands of
work projects for the unemployed. It also provided vaccinations and literacy
classes for millions of poor people.
FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION (Recovery)
The FHA was created in
1934 to stimulate the building industry by providing small loans for home construction.
A related program, also created in 1934, was the Home Owners' Loan Corporation
REORGANIZATION ACT (Reform)
The Indian Removal Act of 1934 (called the "Indian New Deal,
reversed the forced-assimilation policies in effect since the Dawes Act of 1887.
The IRA tried to stop the loss of Indian lands and encouraged Native American
tribes to establish local self-government and to preserve their native crafts
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT (Reform)
(also called the Wagner Act) of 1935 created the National Labor Relations Board
to protect the rights or organized labor to organize and collectively bargain
NATIONAL RECOVERY ADMINISTRATION
The National Industrial
Recovery Act of 1933 created the NRA to promote economic recovery by ending
wage and price deflation and restoring competition. The NRA set business
codes and quotas. Under its symbol of a blue eagle and slogan ("We Do Our Part"), the NRA
temporarily restored investor confidence and consumer morale, but it failed
to stimulate industrial production. In 1935 the Supreme Court declared
the NIRA unconstitutional.
NATIONAL YOUTH ADMINISTRATION (Relief)
the Emergency Relief Act of 1935, the NYA provided
more than 4.5 million jobs for young people.
WORKS ADMINISTRATION (Relief/Recovery)
Established by the
NIRA in 1933, the PWA was
intended both for industrial recovery and unemployment relief. Eventually
over $4 billion was spent on 34,000 construction projects including public buildings, highways,
bridges (e.g., San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge), and dams for water and power.
Before the New Deal, only
10 percent of the country outside cities and towns had electricity. The
REA (1935) gave low-cost loans to farm cooperatives to bring power into their communities.
By 1941, the REA succeeded in raising to 40 percent the number of farms with
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
(Reform)The SEC was
created in 1934 to serve as a federal "watchdog" administrative agency
to protect public and private investors from stock market fraud, deception and
insider manipulation on Wall Street. The SEC is still in existence [its
reputation was tarnished a bit by the Enron collapse in 2001-02].
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (Reform)The Social
Security Act of 1935 established the SSA to administer
a national pension fund for retired persons, an unemployment insurance system,
and public assistance programs for dependent mothers, children, and the physically
disabled. The pension was financed by a payroll tax to begin in 1937.
It exists to this day as the nation's most important and expensive domestic
program, covering over 40 million Americans and accounting for about one-fourth
of the federal budget.
Alabama May 30, 1933: TVA
TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY (Reform) Perhaps the
most ambitious undertaking of the New Deal, the TVA was a comprehensive federal
agency created in 1933 for the economic development of the
Tennessee River watershed. The TVA built
twenty dams to control flooding, generate
hydroelectrical power, increase agricultural production,
and revitalize the Tennessee Valley region. The TVA also provided
jobs, low-cost housing, reforestation and other services.
PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION (Relief)
the $4.8 billion Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935, the WPA lasted until 1943 and
employed at least 8.5 million people at an average of $2 a day. They built
thousands of roads, bridges, schools, post offices and other public construction
projects. In addition, under the WPA's Arts
Program, thousands of unemployed writers, musicians, artists, actors, and photographers
temporarily went on the federal payroll, producing public projects ranging from
murals to national park guidebooks.*