The centerpiece of the conflict between FDR and the Court was a program called the National Industrial Recovery Act, which was challenged in a case called Shechter Poultry v. United States. NIRA was—well, it hardly seems enough to call it a terrible program. The National Recovery Administration, the entity at the heart of the Schecter Poultry case, was quasi-fascist, and I do use that term advisedly. It involved organizing the entire economy into giant business cartels which were basically explicitly encouraged to engage in price-fixing in return for paying higher wages. Businesses that signed onto a NRA code (early version here) got to display an NRA Blue Eagle (fun fact: the Philadelphia Eagles are named after this logo). Americans were supposed to promise not to shop at any business that didn’t display that blue eagle. In a particularly creepy touch, 100,000 school children were apparently marched onto Boston Common so that Mayor James Curley could lead them in a pledge: "I promise as a good American citizen to do my part for the NRA. I will buy only where the Blue Eagle flies... I will help President Roosevelt bring back good times."
Saturday, August 18, 2012
The creepy New Deal: