2013 WPA

It has been about 70 years since the WPA closed down due to low unemployment during WWII. I thought about the WPA as I watched Ken Burn’s presentation on PBS of The Dust Bowl Sunday evening. If you missed it, part 2 will be shown Monday evening at 8 PM. It is interesting to note that the section of the United States hit hardest by the drought of the 1930’s- in and around the panhandle of Oklahoma- is today one of the most anti-Federalist regions of our nation even though our Federal government sent huge resources to that area, attempting to help the farmers survive after the natural devastation and the precipitous drop in wheat prices. In the 2012 election, every county in the area of focus of the documentary voted for the Romney-Ryan ticket. Apparently the people there have short memories.

During the last 4 days of this year’s presidential election, the GOTV [Get Out the Vote] effort, UptheFlag and his wife drove to Ohio to help our team in that GOTV effort. In the infrequent down time, he and I naturally discussed politics and history. The standard line spewed by Mitt Romney- the magical creation of 12 million jobs- sparked our imaginations and we began to think about how such a goal might actually be accomplished.  We of course knew that Romney had no ‘plan’ to create those jobs, but was it possible- for real?

The Obama political line in connection with job-creation concerned infrastructure, although the candidate didn’t mention that as often nor as forcefully as did his opponent’s magical job creation promise. My friend and I spoke of the power of government in the context of history, specifically in and around the years of the Great Depression, and how that power literally saved our nation from wide-spread devastation. Franklin Roosevelt was the right man at the right time.  Sadly, those on the right-side of the political spectrum kicked and screamed all throughout FDR’s set of New Deal proposals. Fortunately for America, they were only an irritating minority and were summarily ignored.

In the next few days, the mysterious and vacuous ‘fiscal cliff’ is to be discussed in Washington.  This cliff, unlike the real one over which our nation was plunging in late 2008, is make-believe and was erected by those on the right-side of the political spectrum to scare the dickens out of the ordinary citizen. Imagine if you will what might have happened to our nation in the 1930’s if we had listened to those of the Right as FDR was proposing federal relief programs for the tens of millions of Americans suffering from both the Great Depression as well as the natural disasters on the western plains.

In January, President Obama has the opportunity to address the nation at his 2nd inauguration. It will be a golden opportunity for him to lead our nation forward for the next four years.  What will he say? What hope will he inspire? What vision will he hone? Will that speech match the speeches of FDR or John Kennedy? Will President Obama ask The People to agree to a second-generation WPA project, a proposal to put millions of our citizens back to work fixing our infrastructure? The highways, bridges, canals, ports, electrical grid, pipelines, airports, water resources, waste water, landfills, Broadband, parks, urban centers, rail and light rail.

Just imagine such a dual benefit- fixing America’s infrastructure needs and putting people back to work. It is clearly a win-win proposal. Unless we listen to the whining Right. FDR rolled right over them because his vision was much broader than theirs and much more inclusive. Will President Obama have the same fortitude as FDR? Will he be bold or tepid?

Seventy years is a lifetime- mine! Some of the bridges I drive over were built when I was babbling incoherently back during their construction.    We Americans need a new mission. We always rise to the challenge if someone inspires us to do so. Can President Obama take charge and ask our citizens to rise up [over the perennial whine of the Right] and move our nation forward in a new direction? Forward for progress? Perhaps towards an Infrastructure Reconstruction Act of 2013.

Will he? Will Congress?  Will the People?

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14 thoughts on “2013 WPA

  1. “Will President Obama have the same fortitude as FDR? Will he be bold or tepid?”

    You have nailed it, M_R. And, even the later expansion of “Will he? Will Congress? Will the People?”

    One of the problems in doing so, M_R, is money. To be sure, this can be classifed as good debt, as opposed to bad debt, like pouring $2.5 Billion down the rat hole in Afghanistan. What I mean is that the infrastructure is so immense that it is sometnhing like $60 Trillion. It will need to be a long
    term project! That is an important key, that is, to keep the politicians
    voting the money year after year. It is best to do it now, because the
    interest rates are so low.

    1. Yet you know, my friend, that it really is up to the will of The People. Nonetheless, the right-wing media frenzy will light up like the 4th of July denouncing reckless ‘big government’ spending. At that point, despite the wild ranting of the right-wing propaganda machine, The People ought to stand up and speak out for what THEY want, what THEY need, what THEY believe are the needs of the citizenry.

      Concurrently, the White House and the progressive leaders must flood the airway with positive spin, a positive message that this needs to be accomplished. They need to get out ahead of the right-wing echo chamber and Entertainment Complex and sell it to the people.

      Perhaps you already know that OFA, Organizing for America, the grassroots organization for Obama, is not disbanding. In fact, it is sending out emails to all of the people whose emails they culled during the election process that it is still ‘in business’ and that it wants to keep in contact. What better way to promote this new incentive!

      Stay tuned…

      1. “it really is up to the will of The People.”

        Oh, that it would be so! The “will of the people” is manipulated by the
        elites, my friend. It is all decided by the key business oriented lobbyists
        and there paid congressional representatives and staffers, not by the
        “will of the people.” That is the obstacle that has to be overcome.Reminds me of the civil rights slogan, you know, “We shall overcome!”

        But, we will not overcome by sitting back and hoping that by some miracle, the people will rise up in their righteous might and knock these plutocrats off their elitist platform. I dare say that the recent election demonstrates
        that fact. It was a narrow victory, my friend. Do you realize that if the
        hispanic vote of George Bush was the same percentage for Roimney,
        we would have president-elect Romney today?

  2. It appears that the President and Congress will be atempting to deal with
    the current debt and deficit issue prior to any new spending bills. It seems
    to me, M_R, this is where we need to have our focus now. You have
    approached that subject in the Post when you wrote “In the next few days, the mysterious and vacuous ‘fiscal cliff’ is to be discussed in Washington. This cliff, unlike the real one over which our nation was plunging in late 2008, is make-believe and was erected by those on the right-side of the political spectrum to scare the dickens out of the ordinary citizen.”

    What we have to argue against is any cuts whatsoever to the entitlement programs. We cannot allow to have Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to be cut. Well, cut in the term of benefits, but waste, fraud and abuse and provider costs cuts would be in order. In provider costs, I am suggesting Pharaceutical companies, then hospitals and clinics. I just went into the outpatient surgical area of a major hospital here in Jackson and had two skin lesions removed, no more than 30 minutes. My hospital bill came
    to $2400.00 and the surgeon charged $350.00, and the pathologist charged $43.00. In this regard, it seems to me that the provider expenses can’t be reduced all that much. Indeed, while the pathologist charged $43, medicare paid him $10.00! How low can you go, before doctors opt out?

    In any event I hear the President, Dems in Congress, and of course most, if not all, GOP calling for cuts in the entitlement programs. It seems to me,
    M_R, there needs to be the same organizational level as there was for GOTV
    to prevent any benefit cuts in the “entitlement” programs.
    Any benefit cut in the “entitlement” programs puts us farther to the right
    of center. The conservatives win again!

    1. UtF wrote, but waste, fraud and abuse and provider costs cuts would be in order…

      Recall that Romney ‘talking-point’ about the $714 billion “reduction” in ObamaCare was actually what you said- the reduction in wasteful costs of the program. Naturally, the Right twisted it all to hell because most of those cuts were to the Insurance companies who, like leaches, sucked out billions while providing few services.

      The People still don’ t this. The propaganda will be strong and fierce, especially from the Insurance giants, Big Pharm, and the Health Care industries. The People will be set up to vote against their own interests through the slick propaganda campaign. This is why a preemptive advertising blitz must occur.

  3. No time for organizing the masses…It was a masterful plan by the President and Boehner to take care of a “grand bargain” in the six weeks of work after the election. Gives no time for a grass roots effort or any advertising to develop and make itself felt. I think that we already hear the broad outlines.
    The President gets the middle class tax cut and an increase in the tax on the
    wealthy, probably not to the 39-5% but a compromise to 37% and there will be “reforms” to the entitlements like say social security age increase.

  4. Your post made my head hurt. It reminded me of my mother who has always bitched about that terrible President FDR and his New Deal. This would be the same mother currently surviving solely on Social Security and Medicare.

      1. My head was hurting because of my mother’s attitude. It can be so frustrating trying IN VAIN to get her to listen to fact. Her I can deal with (somewhat), but she represents so many closed minds who watch the likes of Fox News.

        1. NWO- maybe you should just let her live inside of her pretend universe. My wife and I have decided to allow my brother-in-law to remain in his make-believe world rather than trying to wake him up to reality. However, now that WSPD/right wing radio is having problems, he may not be able to continue to maintain life in that alternate land.

  5. M_R, I have watched both evenings “The Dust Bowl” on PBS…However,
    I was amiss in not having the DVR on. Is there a way to recapture it?

      1. Good suggestion, NON, thank you. Hope you have a peaceful Thanksgiving Day with the family. A daughter and her family arrived
        at 1230 this morning and my 13 year old grandson says after saying Hi, what did you think of the election, lol…I told him that my brain shuts
        down at 8 and we would have to discuss it when we get up, lol. The mother has raised the children as baptists, so it will be interesting. My wife will be threatening me all day to not get into an argument!!!!

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