the best idea yet for rebuilding in Katrina’s wake

I lifted the following quote from a post on Jersey Perspective, which I found linking from Shelley’s, as usual, on-target take on what should never have happened. (And I linked to Shelley, from Jeneane, whose blog I still check just about every day now for three years).
The problem of what to do with and for the hundreds of thousands of people – maybe millions – who have been left homeless and jobless by Katrina is perhaps the most significant facing the government in the storm’s aftermath. Instead of bringing in some immense developer to reconstruct the city, why not create a modern-day Works Progress Administration to oversee a civilian-led rebuilding of New Orleans? Thousands and thousands of refugees from the city could be hired to do the construction of homes and buildings, giving them not only money, but a sense of ownership and pride in the rebuilding effort. Many of the city’s residents were jobless or at least desperately poor to begin with. I can’t think of a better idea both for rebuilding the city of New Orleans, and also lending a hand to the people of that city who were already down, and have been knocked out by Katrina.
Ah yes, the Works Project Administration, which
… was a “make work” program that provided jobs and income to the unemployed during the Great Depression. WPA projects primarily employed blue-collar workers in construction projects across the nation, but also employed white-collar workers and artists on smaller-scale projects, and even ran a circus.
According to author Nick Taylor, “The WPA built 650,000 miles of roads, 78,000 bridges, 125,000 buildings, and seven hundred miles of airport runways… It presented 225,000 concerts to audiences totalling 150 million, and produced almost 475,000 works of art. Even today, almost sixty years after it ceased to exist, there is no part of America that does not bear some mark of the WPA.”

Yup, Jersey Sam’s grandpa, who remembers the WPA, has come up the best long-term solution for helping the shattered Gulf coast get rebuilt while giving its people a way to survive back in their home territory.
What’s that you say? Halliburton already got the contract? Well, isn’t that just the Republican way of getting things done!! They certainly wouldn’t want to resurrect the WPA; that was put in place by a popular Democratic president FDR, and

businessmen and bankers were turning more and more against Roosevelt’s New Deal program. They feared his experiments, were appalled because he had taken the Nation off the gold standard and allowed deficits in the budget, and disliked the concessions to labor. Roosevelt responded with a new program of reform: Social Security, heavier taxes on the wealthy, new controls over banks and public utilities, and an enormous work relief program for the unemployed.
In 1936 he was re-elected by a top-heavy margin….

Not only do we need another WPA. We need a entirely brand New Deal.

4 thoughts on “the best idea yet for rebuilding in Katrina’s wake

  1. The thing is Elaine if it happens during this administrationor any other Republican (and dare I say any likely Democratic) administration you just know that it be a contact handed out to who would, after skimming off a large chunck, hire people to do the “work” in the most half-assed fashion in order to get even more contract to skim to repair what they should have done right in the first place.

  2. Thanks for appreciating the words of Sam’s grandfather. He’s a very interesting man. However, it’s important to understand that the vast majority of government contracts go to private entities, which was the truth during the days of FDR’s New Deal as well. Nevertheless, for a disaster this huge, it’s important that there is IMMEDIATE relief provided for the people of the area, as massive poverty would make New Orleans an even more crime infested city than it was before. Moreover, the money that is going to be spent on union workers hired by Halliburton will probably acceed that spent on a public works program. How effective it will be? Who knows.
    Stop by the Jersey Perspective again.
    – Jersey Perspective

  3. I would like to see places donated to store donated furniture cloths dishes bedding to be given to these families as needed. I have seen this work for single parents and it helped them some volenteered time later as they could. I have used dressers couches toys to give an no where to take them i have rebuilt my life over and took what was offered to put a home together for my children and im sure they would too if we could get our items to them.

  4. I noticed you quoted me about the WPA’s achievements, and wanted to let you know that my book about the WPA, called American-Made, is finally due out next February, 2008.

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