The Case for a 21st Century Works Progress Administration in America Now
Dear President Obama:
The Depression caused by speculation in the stock market caused millions of people to lose their jobs. However, during the first 100 days of his administration in 1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt tasked Harry Hopkins with putting Americans back to work through the Civil Works Administration which became the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1935. Harry Hopkins put 4 million people to work within two months of the establishment of the CWA. As Thomas Frank said in his article “Easy Chair: More Government Please!”,
“Harry Hopkins …government-loving..Harry Hopkins — the all-time greatest job creator in American history.”
The Works Progress Administration which Hopkins ran from 1935-1938 created about 3 million jobs per year. All New Deal programs put 8 million people in America to work building roads, planting trees, building libraries, schools, post offices, painting murals, performing plays, performing music, writing guidebooks for parks, building dams, constructing bridges, and creating national trails. The United States would not be the same today without the amazing works of art and infrastructure built during the New Deal.
Many people put to work by the WPA and programs of FDR’s New Deal believed they were building the civilization of America.
Here is a list of many New Deal era achievements of the Civil Works Administration, Works Progress Administration, and the Civilian Conservation Corps:
- 650,000 miles of road
- 78,000 bridges
- 125,000 civilian and military buildings
- 800 airports
- 700 miles of airport runways
- 1500 nursery schools
- 900,000,000 (900 million) hot school lunches
- 5,000 concerts to audiences totaling 150,000,000 (150 million people)
- Theatre performances for audiences of 30,000,000 (30 million people)
- 475,000 works of art created
- 276 full-length books were written
Ronald Reagan’s Father worked for the New Deal era Works Progress Administration
Ronald Reagan in his memoir, An American Life, referred to the Works Progress Administration massive jobs program as:
“one of the most productive elements” of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Thomas Frank said in his article “More Government Please!”, while Reagan was Governor of California, in 1971 he proposed a “WPA-style public works program replace the state’s welfare apparatus.”
Now is the Time to Put America Back to Work for the 21st Century Progress
President Obama, millions of Americans are still out of work, in spite of tax breaks extended to many so-called “job creators.” The “job creators” need some help from the U.S. government which proved to be the best job creator to get the economy going in the 1930s and 1940s. The result of putting people to work building America is that we have a lasting concrete legacy that Americans are enjoying and benefiting from today.
Many people in America need to understand how wonderful a new Works Progress Administration would be. Put Americans to work repairing our infrastructure, building new buildings, roads, bridges and more for the 21st century. The best entity that can truly invest in America’s present and future at this crucial moment is the U.S. government. We need more Harry Hopkins and Frances Perkins in 2012. I’m certain there are young men and women ready to take on the challenge of building America now with you leading the way. Let’s begin right away by enacting the appropriate legislation and executive orders!
Everyone wins if we create a new Works Progress Administration to rival the New Deal Era one. Today without delay is a good day to begin for the sake of present and future generations.
Pick Yourself Up and Dust Yourself Off by Frank Sinatra
Words of Wisdom from Frank Sinatra to Pick Ourselves Up
This is what we can do in America…”pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again” with a Works Progress Administration
“…work like a soul inspired until the battle of the day is won.
Will you remember the famous men who had to fall to rise again so take a deep breath, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.”