Jean Edward Smith points out the obvious yet neglected truth about Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s achievements:
The safety net provided by the New Deal allows time for government to move deliberately.
This is one of the extraordinary things about the legacy of FDR – that even as the nature of the state itself has changed significantly since he was president, the institutions he created still serve some – if not the same purpose – as they did back then.
Today, the safety net created by Roosevelt is an essential stabilizing factor in our society – on the order of regular elections, a civil society, a judiciary, a balance of powers.
The initial intention of these social safety net programs was consisent with the nation-states of the day, as they competed to see who could provide a minimal standard of living for various at risks groups – such as the elderly and the poor. But today it is far more useful as a stabilizing factor allowing businesses and government officials and individuals adequate time to respond appropriately to financial crises.