Franklin Delano Roosevelt died in office on 12 April 1945, just a few months before WWII ended and during a time of great economic recovery. The reason America was doing so well, in spite of being in a horrific war, was FDR’s New Deal and its three ‘R’s (Relief for the impoverished, Recovery of the economy, and Reform of banking and Wall Street) … what is basically democratic socialism.
When Roosevelt was inaugurated March 4, 1933, the U.S. was at the nadir of the worst depression in its history. A quarter of the workforce was unemployed. Farmers were in deep trouble as prices fell by 60%. Industrial production had fallen by more than half since 1929. Two million people were homeless. By the evening of March 4, 32 of the 48 states – as well as the District of Columbia – had closed their banks … he declared a “bank holiday” and called for a special session of Congress to start March 9, at which Congress passed the Emergency Banking Act. This was his first proposed step to recovery. To give Americans confidence in the banks, Roosevelt signed the Glass–Steagall Act that created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to underwrite savings deposits [Congress gutted this Act in 1999 and Bill Clinton okayed it, and our country fell down and went boom in 2008 directly because of that, regardless of any apologist BS] … Roosevelt wanted a federal minimum wage as part of the NIRA, arguing that. “No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country”. The nation finally adopted the minimum wage in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, the last major domestic reform measure of the New Deal. Roosevelt did not raise income taxes before World War II began; however payroll taxes were introduced to fund the new Social Security program in 1937. He also convinced Congress to spend more on many various programs never before seen in American history. Under the revenue pressures brought on by the depression, most states added or increased taxes, including sales as well as income taxes. Roosevelt’s proposal for new taxes on corporate savings were highly controversial in 1936–37, and were rejected by Congress. During the war he pushed for even higher income tax rates for individuals (reaching a marginal tax rate of 91%) and corporations and a cap on high salaries for executives. He also issued Executive Order 9250 in October 1942, later to be rescinded by Congress, which raised the marginal tax rate for salaries exceeding $25,000 (after tax) to 100%, thereby limiting salaries to $25,000 (about $362,000 today).
America thrived under the New Deal policies, but there were some people who hated it (and FDR). Some of the wealthiest Americans didn’t like it because they quite enjoyed having an impoverished working class acting as de facto slaves for them and they didn’t see how they could live on what equates to $10 million a year. The rich hate FDR so much that Prescott Bush ( the pro-Nazi father of George H. W. Bush and grandfather of George W. Bush) headed a conspiracy to overthrow the US government and replace it was a “pro-business” fascist model. The Koch family also loved Hitler and hated FDR. There were also people who considered FDR to be a pro-Jewish dictator and warmonger.
FDR is quoted as having said, “I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made”. Americans did, and they reelected him to 4 Presidential terms as a result.
One of the things FDR had to fight for the hardest was a minimum wage. The arguments made by Big Business interests (and parroted by those who don’t do proper research) in 1933 are EXACTLY the same as the arguments they are making today. Wahhhhhhhh!!! Minimum wage of $$/hr will destroy jobs/economy/world/civilization!!! Well, that is malarkey and poppycock. Minimum wage increases pour money into the economy and stimulates it, which in turn creates jobs. A significant minimum wage increase (to $12/hr or better yet $15/hr) would not only boost the economy and provide faster job growth, it would also lift millions of people out of poverty. When the minimum wage is a LIVING WAGE everyone benefits. It is just that simple. All arguments against a living wage have been refuted by both academic studies and by reality itself.
God knows FDR wasn’t perfect. He was racist and an adulterer and authorized Japanese-American interment camps and supported a murderous dictator in Nicaragua. There are few saints and he wasn’t one of them. However, his New Deal was the salvation of America and capitalism and the world lost a great man when he died.