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growing numbers of needy families. By 1933, for example, families on public welfare in New York City were paid just $23 a month.In 1930 Hoover appointed the Committee for Unemployment Relief to assist state and local relief efforts. The committee, however, did little beyond urging Americans to contribute more to charity. The human misery of the depression continued practically unchecked.Hoover’s belief in rugged individualism led him to oppose direct federalrelief for those in need.BOOSTING THE ECONOMYAlthough critics would later charge that Hoovers relief plans failed because he did not get the government involved, Hoover was not totally opposed to the government intervening in the economy. In fact, despite his opposition to direct public relief, Hoover’s administration played a--- Nurses, such as this one in Maryland, often went door-to-door offering people free medical assistance.
--- Private charities and organizations such as the Salvation Army helped families in need of assistance by bringing them food and clothing.--- President Hoover addressed 250 leaders of finance, industry, and commerce in August 1932. In his speech, Hoover asked business leaders to assume more responsibility for improving the economy.684more active role in attempting to shape the economy than any previous administration had.Stimulating the economy.Within weeks of the stock market crash, Hoover called a White House conference of top business, labor, and political leaders. The New York Times hailed the meeting as a step in the right direction, noting:“ [It is] the largest gathering of noted heads of industrial and other corporations in Washington since the resources of the nation were marshalled for participation in the World War! “Hoover urged these leaders to maintain employment and wages voluntarily as a step toward reviving business activity and promoting recovery. At thesame time, he issued cheerful public statements designed to boost confidence and get the economy going again.Unfortunately, most people did not share Hoover’s optimism. Many became very cynical toward the administration as trust in government and in business declined. Moaned the chairman of the Republican National Committee: “Every time an administration official gives out an optimistic statement about business conditions, the market immediately drops.”At Hoover’s request, Congress funded several public-works programs, among them the giant Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. Hoover expected these projects to achieve two goals: (1) to stimulate business by providing contracts for construction and materials and (2) to provide relief by employing jobless workers. Overall, he approved some $800
million in public-works funding. Yet the crisis was so great that even this large amount had little impact on the depression.Coping with the farm crisis. Hoover also took some steps to ease the plight of farmers. As crop prices fell, Hoover instructed the Federal Farm Board—created through the Agricultural Marketing Actof 1929—to buyup surplus wheat, corn, cotton, and other farm products. Officials believed that reducing crop supplies would cause prices to rise. The