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Letter from Roy W. Howard on Policies Detrimental to Industry.

September 06, 1935

The following letter, dated August 26, 1935, was received from Mr. Roy W. Howard:

My dear Mr. President:

As an independent editor keenly interested in the objectives of the New Deal, I have been seeking reasons for the doubts and uncertainties of those business men who are skeptics, critics, and outright opponents of your program at a time when there is no commensurate dissatisfaction being evidenced by others of the electorate. . . .

That certain elements of business have been growing more hostile to your Administration is a fact too obvious to be classed as news. So long as this hostility emanated from financial racketeers, public exploiters, and the sinister forces spawned by special privilege, it was of slight importance. No crook loves a cop. But any experienced reporter will tell you that throughout the country many business men who once gave you sincere support are now, not merely hostile, they are frightened. Many of these men whose patriotism and sense of public service will compare with that of any men in political life, have become convinced and sincerely believe:

That you fathered a tax bill that aims at revenge rather than revenue-revenge on business;

That the Administration has side-stepped broadening the tax base to the extent necessary to approximate the needs of the situation;

That there can be no real recovery until the fears of business have been allayed through the granting of a breathing spell to industry, and a recess from further experimentation until the country can recover its losses.

I know that you have repeatedly stated your position on sections of the Nation's problems, but as an editor I know also the necessity for repetition and reiteration. There is need to undo the damage that has been done by misinterpreters of the New Deal.

I know that you feel as I do— that with all its faults, and the abuses it has developed, our system has in the past enabled us to achieve greater mass progress than has been attained by any other system on earth. Smoke out the sinister forces seeking to delude the public into believing that an orderly modernization of a system we want to preserve is revolution in disguise.

Cordially and sincerely yours,


Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter from Roy W. Howard on Policies Detrimental to Industry. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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