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During the Great Depression era, the U.S government established programs to aid in rebuilding the economy. Examples of programs included the Work Progress Administration (WPA) that was established in 1935, which employed 2-3 million people building bridges, roads, post offices, airports etc (Duiker 2015). The Roosevelt administration also created new social legislation that launched American welfare state (Duiker 2015). One program that was proposed by Senator Huey Long from Louisiana was called the “share the wealth” (Marx 2020). This program would tax millionaires to fund pensions for anyone over 60 years old and the cost for funding the program was estimated to be $3.6 billion at the time (Marx 2020). Then Francis Townsend instead proposed a special sales tax to pay every American citizen over 60 years $200 a month. The cost of this program was estimated to be $2.4 billion and about 25 million people supported this proposal. Today there are programs that are very similar to the ones during the Great Depression. For example, Covid-19 relief programs have been established since many people have been unemployed and increase in everyday expenses so the government provided stimulus checks for those who qualify. The SNAP program is used today to help low income families buy food. I think the fears of a communist take over based on the implementation of these programs was not grounded in reality but I can see where the fears were coming from. I could see that ideas like the one Huey Long proposed would be seen as a more communistic idea because its putting the rich and poor on an even playing field. I think the reality of these programs was to provide jobs, restore the economy and relief for families the best way they can rather than creating a communist society.
References: Duiker, W. J. (2015) Contemporary World History (6th ed). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning
Marx, J. D. (2020, June 10). Great Depression: American Social Policy. Social Welfare History Project. https://socialwelfare.library.vcu.edu/eras/great-depression/american-social-policy-in-the-great-depression-and-wwii/