Why did Keynesian ideas appeal to President Roosevelt?

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps were two highly successful economic initiatives inspired by the ideas of John Maynard Keynes. At first an advocate of austerity measures, FDR was quick to recognize the continuing suffering of the American public under austerity and pivoted to embrace Keynes's belief that deficit spending would lead the country out of the Great Depression. Though it may have sounded counterintuitive to some, a budget deficit and stimulation of the economy through increased consumption of goods and job creation would ultimately increase employment and tax revenues.

Roosevelt came to believe that a balanced budget was not a worthwhile pursuit for the country if it meant that Americans could not gain sufficient employment to be economically secure. He went so far as to propose that people who came to depend too much on the government for support were fodder for dictatorships. To be a free American meant, in his view, to be self-sustaining and thus free.

FDR's first hundred days in office were marked by enacting New Deal initiatives that invested in building the country's infrastructure and thus creating jobs. That, combined with price stabilization, encouraged consumerism, brought new growth in the economy, and improved the lives of Americans who had been desperate, hungry, and out of work.

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