Efforts to dismantle the U.S. welfare state rely on the myth of the redemptive Depression. It's an erasure and repackaging of a great crisis.
In March 1933, the United States stood on the brink of ruin. Twenty-five percent of the population was unemployed; many people had not worked for several years. The situation was even worse in cities with major industries, where unemployment surpassed the national average.
Yet the real worry of the era cannot be captured by statistics alone.