Deficit pp 55-60 | Cite as

Do Deficits and the Debt Matter?

  • Marie Bussing-Burks


The deficit debate has been brewing for decades. Notably, it was the thirty-second U.S. president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was against hiking deficits. FDR was a four-term president (1933–1945), elected in November 1932, in the midst of the devastating Great Depression. During his presidency, FDR instituted Social Security, welfare reforms, new banking controls, and New Deal programs. FDR did incur modest deficits in an attempt to restore the economy and assist the unemployed. However, “FDR refused to run up the deficits that ending the depression required,” according to the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers. Early efforts did bring recovery to output, but “[o]nly when the federal government imposed rationing, recruited 6 million defense workers (including women and African-Americans), drafted 6 million soldiers, and ran massive deficits to fight World War II, did the Great Depression finally end.”1


Welfare Reform Debt Matter Fiscal Crisis Congressional Budget Office Treasury Security 
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  1. 1.
    The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, “The Great Depression,” Teaching Eleanor Roosevelt, ed. by Allida Black, June Hopkins, et al. (Hyde Park, New York: Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, 2003), (accessed March 20, 2011).
  2. 2.
    Ron Suskind, The Price of Loyalty (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004), p 291.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The Concord Coalition, “About the Concord Coalition,” (accessed March 27, 2011).
  4. 4.
    Lydia Saad, “Americans Believe GOP Should Consider Tea Party Ideas,” January 31, 2011, (accessed March 25, 2011).

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© Marie Bussing-Burks 2011

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  • Marie Bussing-Burks

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