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Obama or FDR who had/has a more Liberal Agenda?

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Since his election in 2008, President Obama has been blasted by the Conservative right for his liberal agenda. Based on what you have read about the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, which one of these two was more liberal and why?

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Solution Summary

A discussion of political liberalism, the way it has changed over time, and what constitutes liberal versus conservative policy. Compares and contrasts the policies of Barrack Obama with those of FDR.

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First off, you have to define liberal and conservative. The terms do not mean the same thing today that they meant 70 years ago during the Great Depression. I am going to assume you mean today's general definition, general because there is some disagreement even today. I am going to call a policy conservative if it promotes a smaller role for the federal government and a policy liberal if it promotes a larger role for the federal government. That is a generally tangible measure. The question comes down to a judgment call based on personal opinion because it is politics and not science.

Let us start with FDR. There is no doubt he increased the size and impact of the federal government on the everyday life of the average American. As part of the New Deal, he implemented many programs, the most famous of which are Social Security (SS) insurance, the various works programs such as CCC and WPA, the Federal Housing Administration, the Home Owner's Loan Corporation (HOLC), and he created the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The big thing about the works programs is that they ended when full employment returned with America's entry into World War II. Other programs such as SS and the TVA are still around. All of these programs increased the size and involvement ...

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