Young's participation in President [[Woodrow Wilson]]'s Second Industrial Conference following [[World War I]] marked the beginning of his counseling of five U.S. presidents. In 1924, he coauthored the [[Dawes Plan]], which provided for a reduction in the annual amount of German reparations. In the late 1920s investments fell, and Germany again defaulted on its payments. In 1929 a new international body met to consider a program for the final release of German obligations; Young acted as chairman. Germany's total reparations were reduced and spread over 59 annual payments. After establishing this "[[Young Plan]]", Young was named [[Time Magazine]]'s in 1929. Unfortunately, the Young Plan collapsed with the coming of the [[Great Depression]].
Young was also instrumental in plans for a state university system in New York.
In 1932, he was a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination. He did not campaign actively, but his friends promoted his candidacy beginning in 1930 and at the 1932 [[Democratic National Convention]]. He was highly regarded by candidates [[Alfred E. Smith]] and [[Franklin D. Roosevelt]], and some convention observers speculated that they would support Young in the event of a convention deadlock.