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Reagan's argument suffers, however, from one considerable flaw: it implies that Roosevelt, the great innovator and experimenter, would still recommend the remedies of 1932 for the problems of 1982. That is an implausible prospect. Though Roosevelt might not have favored the swollen growth of Government intervention, regulation and spending, it seems likely that if he could return to survey the results of the Fair Deal, the New Frontier, and the Great Society, he would bestow on them that famous smile of satisfaction.
But what actually remains today of the original New Deal? Alexander Heard, 64, who is retiring soon as chancellor of Vanderbilt University, remembers working in the CCC as a youth, remembers it as a time when a new President "restored a sense of confidence and morale and hopehope being the greatest of all." But what remains? "In a sense," says Heard, "what remains of the New Deal is the United States."
By Otto Friedrich. Reported by Ruth Mehrtens Galvin/Boston and Hays Gorey/Washington
* Then a reporter for the Akron Beacon-Journal, McKenney later became celebrated for My Sister Eileen, the Broadway comedy hit of the 1940 season.
* Pioneers and cowboys used the term for their practice of braiding together scraps of leather when they had nothing else to do. In the 1930s, when New Deal foes began using the word for make-work projects, the Boy Scouts also took it as the name for their leather lanyards.