The Conversation

The Conversation feedback: The New Deal

Last Sunday’s Conversation explored the nexus of New Deal projects lifting America from the Great Depression while creating a strong middle class and how a similar program might improve today’s workers who are having a hard time recovering from the recession while fighting to maintain a decent standard of living. The question we posed to readers: With high unemployment and millions of people struggling to get by, is the American public today willing to support the sort of nationwide works programs created during FDR’s administration?

From Facebook

Casey Vandenburg – The right will simply say it is a waste of money. The left will say it is long over due. The historians will question whether those programs actually helped. I would love to see New Deal projects if 90 percent of those working are from the list of long-term unemployed.

Alan Kendrick – I’ve supported this idea for almost 10 years now. I call it “The big rebuild,” and it is so necessary.

Mitch Zak – And how to pay for it? Raise California taxes even more? Other states achieve this by supporting small business to create middle class jobs and wealth. The New Deal was a good project at that time. Don’t use it as a political pawn to promote an agenda.

Jim Schrupp – Someone should approach Ken Burns on doing a documentary about the New Deal’s impact on America. It’s not only great American history, but germane to the concept of public works going forward in our country and might rally American opinion.

Alex Bianco – There’s not enough skilled laborers in the Millennial generation to support such a project; especially in Sacramento. We already have sufficient infrastructure. I suppose one argument for the movement is that current aging infrastructure needs to be updated or replaced, but where is the funding for this project coming from? I suspect that we’ll just end up printing more money and devaluing our currency further. Thanks for burning a big gaping hole in my pocket.

La Maestra Ingles – Sacramento may have a great infrastructure, but I can guarantee you the rest of the country most certainly does not. Our roads are crumbling, our schools are falling apart, our national parks need taken care of. Why not re-institute the WPA programs and put people back to work with a living wage and an honest day’s work? I would think Republicans would back this in a major way because it gets people off entitlements and puts them to work

Amreet Sandhu – Yes. Totally willing. Jump in any time, Feds. States need more American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) support until things turn around in a sustainable way.

Jon Campbell – They didn’t have to pay people $50 an hour to hold a stop sign in Roosevelt’s time. Get rid of public works projects and we might actually be able to start rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure!

Gerald O’Connor – There was a time when government was seen not as an obstacle to economic growth but as an engine driving it. Wealthy entrenched interests today would like to wipe that memory from our collective consciousness.

Jacqui Naud – One of the reasons why FDR’s New Deal projects were successful is there was no unemployment payments at that time and people were desperate to work at anything, no matter how far away from home they had to go. I seriously doubt many of the long-term unemployed have any skills related to construction or are willing to do hard, manual labor.

Casey Vandenburg – I am reading some really good comments here. Most people worry about the funding of these big projects. FDR pushed through these projects when the country was in the Great Depression. The people understood that every penny put into these projects would be paid off tenfold. Dams, highways, bridges, Nation Park trails ... They all gave us big returns on our money. Furthermore, the people who work these jobs put every penny of their paychecks back into the economy. When these people go to work, earn a paycheck, and spend their money – everyone benefits.

Jack Washington – It’s time for an FDR type works program to correct deficiencies in U.S. infrastructure. Bridges, subways and highways all need attention!