New Deal Agencies
Below is a partial list of New Deal "alphabet agencies" and their primary function (relief, recovery, or reform).
- AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT ACT (Recovery)
- CIVIL WORKS ADMINISTRATION (Relief)
Created in 1933, the CWA employed four million people--paid an average of $15 a week--many in useful construction jobs such as repairing schools, laying sewer pipes, building roads. Some CWA jobs, however, were criticized as useless (e.g., leaf raking). Roosevelt disbanded the program after less than a year.
- FARM SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (Relief)
- FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORP. (Reform)
- EMERGENCY RELIEF ADMIN. (Relief)
- FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION (Recovery)The FHA was created in 1934 to stimulate the building industry by providing small loans for home construction. A related program, also created in 1934, was the Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC).
- INDIAN REORGANIZATION ACT (Reform)
- NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT (Reform)
- NATIONAL RECOVERY ADMINISTRATION (Recovery)
- NATIONAL YOUTH ADMINISTRATION (Relief)
- PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION (Relief/Recovery)
Established by the NIRA in 1933, the PWA was intended both for industrial recovery and unemployment relief. Eventually over $4 billion was spent on 34,000 construction projects including public buildings, highways, bridges (e.g., San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge), and dams for water and power.
- RURAL ELECTRIFICATION ADMINISTRATION (Reform)
- SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION (Reform)The SEC was created in 1934 to serve as a federal "watchdog" administrative agency to protect public and private investors from stock market fraud, deception and insider manipulation on Wall Street. The SEC is still in existence [its reputation was tarnished a bit by the Enron collapse in 2001-02].
- SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (Reform)The Social Security Act of 1935 established the SSA to administer a national pension fund for retired persons, an unemployment insurance system, and public assistance programs for dependent mothers, children, and the physically disabled. The pension was financed by a payroll tax to begin in 1937. It exists to this day as the nation's most important and expensive domestic program, covering over 40 million Americans and accounting for about one-fourth of the federal budget.
- TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY (Reform) Perhaps the most ambitious undertaking of the New Deal, the TVA was a comprehensive federal agency created in 1933 for the economic development of the Tennessee River watershed. The TVA built twenty dams to control flooding, generate hydroelectrical power, increase agricultural production, and revitalize the Tennessee Valley region. The TVA also provided jobs, low-cost housing, reforestation and other services.
- WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION (Relief)
Established under the $4.8 billion Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935, the WPA lasted until 1943 and employed at least 8.5 million people at an average of $2 a day. They built thousands of roads, bridges, schools, post offices and other public construction projects. In addition, under the WPA's Arts Program, thousands of unemployed writers, musicians, artists, actors, and photographers temporarily went on the federal payroll, producing public projects ranging from murals to national park guidebooks.*