Professor Rauchway now seems to be ok with the idea that Roosevelt’s policies prolonged the depression. There’s a trade-off between policy oriented towards increasing economic efficiency and policy oriented towards reducing economic depravity.
There’s a larger sense in which we’d like to know if Roosevelt got this trade-off right. Yes, make-work programs helped ensure people didn’t starve to death, but was there too many make-work programs in the sense that a lot more people were unemployed for longer of periods of time because of them? How to talk about optimal policy when the trade-off itself bridges normative frameworks?