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April 28, 2009

New Deal vs. the Stimulus

President Roosevelt’s New Deal program paid for many St. Louis landmarks- including the land for famous Gateway Arch. Funding from the New Deal built theaters, hospitals and schools that attracted money, jobs, and people to the Midwestern city. But while St. Louis was once the fourth-largest U.S. city, its population and economy have declined drastically since the 1950s. The city has been hit hard by the current recession as the industrial sector crumbles and unemployment rises. Now that government money has begun to trickle down to specific projects in St. Louis, developers hope that the stimulus package will revitalize the city the way that the New Deal did in the 1930s.

Quotes

“If you believe that the contents of the average teenage boy’s bedroom were put there by an interior decorator, then you might believe that Roosevelt had a coherent economic policy. But, in fact, he didn’t. He was experimenting.” – Robert Leighninger, author “Nationwide, the New Deal spent nearly 3.5 percent of GDP per year for most of the decade. Today’s stimulus spending is barely 2.5 percent per year over only two years.” – Paul Solman, economics reporter

Warm Up Questions

1. What was the New Deal? What did it do?

2. What is the stimulus package? What does it do?

3. Where is St. Louis? What do you know about St. Louis?

Discussion Questions

1. Compare and contrast the President Roosevelt’s New Deal with President Obama’s stimulus package? How were the economic times similar and/or different?

2. How was the New Deal effective? In what ways was it ineffective?

3. Do you think the stimulus package has the potential to revitalize cities like St. Louis? Why or why not?

4. If you could choose to spend federal stimulus money in your community, which projects would you spend it on?

Additional Resources

Read the transcript

Slideshow: The Lasting Legacy of the New Deal

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