The Case Against the New Deal


Writing in National Review, the Pacific Legal Foundation's Timothy Sandefur has a superb article explaining why the Supreme Court's "Four Horsemen of Reaction"—conservative Justices George Sutherland, Willis Van Devanter, Pierce Butler, and James McReynolds—were right to strike down portions of FDR's New Deal:

The Four Horsemen drew from a long line of precedent—some quite fresh—that correctly restrained government power and protected economic freedom in ways incompatible with Roosevelt's plans. Moreover, their forebodings proved justified: The theories the Court embraced in 1937 sapped state autonomy, fostered a federal bureaucracy totally alien to the Founders' vision, and abandoned individual liberty to the arbitrary will of legislatures. Today, government limits economic freedom in countless anti-competitive ways—requiring even florists and interior decorators to undergo years of expensive education and confiscating property virtually without restraint.

And for a closer look at one of the New Deal's many victims, in today's Washington Post George Will narrates the tale of Jacob Maged, who was jailed for violating FDR's National Industrial Recovery Act:

With his responsibilities as a father of four, Maged should have shunned a life of crime. Instead, he advertised his criminal activity with a placard in his shop window, promising to press men's suits for 35 cents. This he did, even though President Franklin Roosevelt's New Dealers, who knew an amazing number of things—his economic aides were not called a "Brains Trust" for nothing—knew that the proper price for pressing a man's suit was 40 cents.

For more New Deal villainy, see here and here.