Sadly, this is a story that has been duplicated numerous times throughout the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, Red China, Vietnam, Canada and every other nation where the people have entrusted their health care to a faceless bureaucracy. It was a pathetic anecdote that was adored by FDR's critics.
More about New Deal spending can be read here...
As you can read in this article, you'll find that child labor throughout most of the Thirties had not been eradicated fully and was very much alive in some of the more brutal parts of the nation. That said, you might be surprised to know that the proposed amendment to the constitution concerning the ban on child labor (18 and bellow) has never been ratified by the Congress even to this day. When this column was written the proposed amendment was already nine years old and the politician who penned it held that the legislation was similar Prohibition in that it attempted to impose a moral code upon the American people. He believed that this was matter best left to the states; he further pointed out that the recently passed National Recovery Act had abolished child labor by fiat (and when the NRA was invalidated by the Supreme Court in 1935, child labor abuses increased a small degree).
Child labor was finally brought under control with the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938.
When Harold Ickes (1874 – 1952) assumed his post as FDR's Secretary of the Department of the Interior he found himself in charge of three distinct governmental concerns. The first of these elements to be lorded over was the public lands (mines, forests and Indian reservations). His second responsibility was involved with the drilling of oil. "The third and most observed cell in his official asylum was that of Administrator of Public Works Three Billion Dollar Fund. He was under instruction to spend this as rapidly as possible...It would give work to the workless, get money into circulation and encourage business."
Click here to read about President Harry Truman...
"At present the Federal Housing Administration is sponsoring the building of more than 1,000 small demonstration houses in as many cities, with the cost to range from $2,500 to $3,500. It is the belief of the belief of the FHA that 71.2 percent of American families have incomes permitting the purchase of homes costing less than $5,000.
Yet, regardless of the degradation of the Great Depression, the United States was still an enormously wealthy nation...
"The obligation for giving this year does not fall on the shoulders of the rich and powerful business concerns alone! It is an obligation which rests upon all who are gainfully employed...They should give, not because it is good policy, but because they have at heart the preservation of the human interests of the country."
- so wrote Newton D. Baker in this editorial from 1932 in which he promoted the effectiveness of the private charity that he was chairing: the Committee for Welfare Relief Mobilization. When President Hoover stepped-up and advocated for public donations to private charity organizations America answered the call in various forms.