"To the extent that these [New Deal policies] developed,
they were tortured interpretations of a document
[the Constitution] intended to prevent them."
Rexford Tugwell
(1891-1979) American agricultural economist, served in FDR's administration, one of the chief intellectual contributors to the New Deal, director of the New York City Planning Commission, Governor of Puerto Rico, and a professor at various universities.
quoted by Roger Pilon, Restoring Constitutional Government, CATO’S LETTER #9, p. 3, published by the Cato Institute (1995).
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Reader comments about this quote:
And the torture continues....
 -- J Carlton, Calgary     
  • 8
    I doubt that the Constitution was meant to prevent rational solutions to problems. If it was then it is time we change or amend it. Primarily Tugwell and his policies got farmers out of poverty by reducing production and raising prices.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
  • 3 9
    The policy intended to help the farmer meant every other person struggling through the depression needed to pay higher than necessary prices for food. An immoral side effect of bad government intervention.
     -- T Lappas, Silver Spring, Md.     
  • 10
    Much of the farming today is done by large corporations, so when the government props up the price of food products, such as cheese, they are aiding large corporations which liberals are always professing to hate. Farmers should sink or swim like any other business. Waffler, what "rational solutions" are you referring to? Perhaps it was when banks were told to make mortgage loans to people who couldn't possibly make the house payment. I think the term was "subprime loans". When government meddles it always makes matters worse.
     -- jim k, Austin,Tx     
  • 10
    Absolutely right jim k.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
  • 6
    Tugwell ought to know, he helped write the New Deal policies. As a result of such abuse of power, farmers today are paid to keep millions of hectares fallow (i.e. grow NO crops). And where does the government get the money to pay people to NOT produce? From those that ARE producing! It is a bunch of crap. America up to this point was the number one producing nation in the world, but once the Federal Reserve was established and created the boom and bust that followed, the solution was to exchange all of the people's money (gold) for interest-bearing script. And America has never recovered. The debt now is completely unpayable (and designed that way), America hardly produces anything any more because of price controls on labor, farming, manufacturing -- everything. Now we have to import crap from China made from slave labor because regulations forbid us to produce for ourselves. This was the intent of international communism -- you be the judge. The only decadence in America is the decadence of the socialists who demand more than what they deserve at the expense of everyone else.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 8
    There's no need for torture anymore. They don't even bother to pretend a law is constitutional now. I'm afraid we are no longer a republic (nor even a democracy for that matter): most people just haven't noticed yet.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
  • 8
    The constitution was the most well thought out document for governing ever created. It took people like this to justify subsidizing non productive activity, creating huge amounts of public debt and stripping individual liberties of americans. Our worst enemy is from within.
     -- J Allen, Arlington, Va     
  • 9
    Reducing production does not get people out of poverty. When farmers are being impoverished because of rising agricultural productivity, it is simply time for some farmers to rise out of poverty by doing something other than farming. The New Deal PROLONGED the Great Depression by about a decade.
     -- SaulOhio, Cleveland     
  • 6 1
    FDR took an oath like all presidents to uphold the constitution. He should have been impeached for his never ending attack on it.
     -- E. Fairley, NYC     
  • 8
    E. Fairley is spot on. FDR not only failed to uphold and defend the constitution, he attacked it and did more damage than all of our enemies combined.
     -- Jim B, NYC     
  • 8
    The preliminary concept of the originally de jure Constitution was to define the only things the federal government could do. If the Constitution did not specifically mention or address an act, the federal government was not authorized to act (see the IX & Xth Amendments). Wilson, FDR, etc. should have been tried for treason and dealt with harshly.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 6
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