“The Government Can Create Jobs” ~AFL-CIO Blog.
Tens of thousands of unemployed Americans were glad to find work under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Depression-era New Deal programs of the 1930s. Their labor benefited the whole country, too.
They earned paychecks from Uncle Sam for constructing or improving streets, roads, highways, airports, courthouses, city halls, schools, post offices, libraries, fire stations, baseball and football stadiums, jails, state armories, band shells and parks. They planted trees, fought soil erosion and brought electricity to even the remotest farms.
They wrote history books and travel guides. They painted murals in public buildings, put on plays and concerts and taught people to read.
They were proud of their work, much of which survives, including the Works Progress Administration-built McCracken County courthouse in Paducah, Ky., where I teach history at the local community and technical college. (My grandfather and uncle were part of WPA crews that cleaned up Paducah after the Great Ohio River flood of 1937.)
Right-wing Republicans of old said FDR was a “socialist” because he believed government had an obligation to help people who needed help. Sound familiar? The GOP’s Roosevelt haters said the good times wouldn’t roll again until the government got out of the way and ”freed” the “free enterprise system.” Republicans are still crooning that tune.