Thursday, November 27, 2008

Economy Puzzle

Having a little trouble figuring out just how a stimulus to the economy will work when it is comprised of road and bridge building? Are you thinking, as I am, that these are the kinds of jobs that Americans "won't" do so we need to let illegals cross the border to fill those jobs? How is that going to help the white collar folks who have lost jobs? And anyone else, for that matter.

Then again, younger folks need to be reminded of the definition of CCC camps, PWA and WPA. If memory serves, the Civil Service camps were for men only whose contributions consisted of chores such as the felling and planting of trees in public forest areas.

I admit I had to google Public Works Administration and Works Progress Administration because I get them mixed up, but I recommend it for fascinating reading in any case.

PWA - Created in June of 1933 by the National Industrial Recovery Act and was to spend "big bucks on big projects" and "prime the pump" to encourage economic growth. Some 34,000 projects included dams for electricity, airports, aircraft carriers and seventy percent of the new schools and one third of the hospitals built during that time. Apparently they considered affordable housing to be unsuccessful. It was disbanded in June of 1941 in favor of war production efforts.

WPA - Established in 1935 by executive order and in 1939 transferred to the Federal Works Agency. Projects included highways and building construction, slum clearance, reforestation and rural rehabilitation. (Its size made waste, and political favoritism inevitable.) Interestingly, it also included artists, actors, musicians and writers which brought art to small town America. It served 8,500,000 individuals and 1,410,000 projects before it was terminated in June of 1943. Some projects overlapped the PWA or perhaps continued when PWA was disbanded. Over 651,000 miles of highways, roads and streets were constructed or improved; 124,031 bridges, 125,110 public buildings 8,192 parks and 853 landing fields were added to the list.

So on this Thanksgiving Day our hearts and hands go out to those in need, but we are still thankful that we are blessed to live in the greatest country on earth.

See ya.....

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