On the debit side, FDR’s New Deal carried with it a very high price tag. Roosevelt is often credited for staving off socialism  by his intervention in the labor, agriculture, and transportation markets. And Roosevelt should receive full marks for resisting government ownership of these operations. But two major blunders had lasting effects. First, Roosevelt did nothing to moderate the high progressive tax rates of the Hoover administration. Drying up private investment capital forced the government to prime the pump in order to facilitate capital improvements. But all too often, this approach gave priority to inefficient forms of public investment, driving out the more informed choices of private investors.
Worse still was Roosevelt’s infatuation with cartels, which allowed industry members to call on the government to curb output and raise prices. These cartels were formed for agriculture, ground transportation, airlines, labor, and many other activities. Their creation gave Roosevelt political running room to rail against various monopolists, real and imagined, for he well understood that cartels offered at least short-term assistance to large numbers of farmers and workers that helped forge his political coalition. But that master political stroke had strong negative economic consequences. It led to the burning of excessive agricultural produce to keep food prices artificially high, and to constant strikes and union actions which advanced the monopoly position conferred on them by the National Labor Relations Act. These legislative blunders, moreover, had considerable durability: the madcap systems, agricultural quotas, and collective bargaining system remain in place today, long after the short-term measures of the New Deal expired.