In the course of demagoging President Obama's economic recovery bill yesterday, Charlie Sykes made the crackpot claim that the New Deal actually prolonged the Great Depression. Charlie's motive is obvious: The New Deal is seen far and wide as evidence that government stimulus can get people working. Undermine that, you can argue that government stimulus doesn't work. (And actually the New Deal had its problems, chief among them that it wasn't big enough.)
Thing is, it's extraordinarily difficult to find scholars who make a realistic case that the New Deal prolonged the Great Depression. New Deal denialism is a cottage industry among wing nuts, however.
The chart, incidentally, was prepared by the chief investment officer of the far left J.P. Morgan. He notes:
For the anti-FDR crowd that believes that WPA/CCC workers were not really employed: that would mean that the pre-war decline in unemployment to 10% by 1941 is even larger and more impressive, and that fiscal stimulus did an even better job. Another anti-FDR myth asserts that employment only improved via government workers; a chart decomposing civilian, government and emergency workers shows that all 3 contributed meaningfully to the employment gains of the late 1930s. I have relatives that despise FDR but can’t remember why; this phenomena seems to infuse a lot of the ideologically-based research against the fiscal policies of that era.