Legislative Foundations of American Consumer Society

Regulation, Deregulation and Their Impacts from the 1930s to Today


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About the Book

The current literature on consumerism is diverse, scattered, and unsystematic. This book remedies this by identifying the beginning of mass consumer society in the United States, starting with the New Deal. The New Deal framework of guaranteeing new home purchases by means of low down-payment, fixed-rate home mortgages lasted until the 1970s, at which time the legal framework unraveled due to a sustained attack on New Deal racism. Despite this, American consumerism continued and even flourished without a regulatory structure. This book analyzes seven key pieces of federal legislation which undergird American consumer society to this day.

About the Author(s)

Bob Sullivan is a professor emeritus of the political science faculty of the City University of New York. He has published five books and approximately 25 articles in peer refereed academic journals, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Bob Sullivan

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 193
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8588-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4405-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 3

Part One—The Regulatory Society
1. Democrats and Republicans Before 1932 11
2. ­Glass-Steagall as Foundational Legislation 18
3. Joe T. Robinson’s Home Owners’ Loan Act 29
4. The 1934 Housing Act and “Redlining” 37
5. ­Wagner-Steagall and Public Housing 52
6. ­Steagall-Wagner and the Creation of “Fannie Mae” 60
7. The 1945 Amended GI Bill and American Racism 67
8. African American Exodus and the 1949 Housing Act 76
9. Explosion! Levittowns and Shopping Malls 88

Part Two—The Deregulated Society
10. The White Working Class and the “Treaty of Detroit” 99
11. Brown, Civil Rights and the End of the New Deal 109
12. The 1970s: New Republicans and Old Democrats 117
13. Depository Institutions and the Flowering of Bain Capital 125
14. The Privatized Mortgage Industry of the 2000s 135
15. From Brooksley Born to ­Sarbanes-Oxley 143
16. Dodd-Frank and Legislative Approval of Consumer Society 152

Conclusions: The Consumer Paradise 161
Chapter Notes 165
Bibliography 173
Index 183