Last Sunday, I listened to a roundtable of learned talking heads on Meet the Press instantly agree with the assertion one of them made that of course the federal government could not actually create jobs.
Later that afternoon, I went out for a walk in Merced. It is difficult to walk anywhere in my neighborhood without seeing the familiar stamp in the sidewalk that reads either "WPA 1940" or "WPA 1941."
WPA stands for Works Progress Administration, one of the keystones of the New Deal. During the Great Depression the federal government created a great number of jobs. Chances are that if you are of a certain age, you will remember your father talking about his Civilian Conservation Corps or WPA job or work in other government programs. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, from all walks of life, were in fact employed by the federalgovernment to do work they already knew how to do but for which money was lacking due to the collapse of credit.
The Central Valley Soldier Settlement Act gave preferred rights to qualified veterans of WWII to purchase farm land irrigated by the Central Valley Project, funded by the federal government, along with low-interest loans from the government and banks That created much work for many people for years. Today, military expenditure in the US is more than the rest of the world combined. The resource wars are employing many people in the most resource-wasting activity known to man: war.
We owe a great many sidewalks in Merced to the federal government creating jobs. Some farmers can trace their start to the soldier settlement act. Many, many returning veterans took their training in their professions under the GI Bill, which functioned well through WWII, Korea and Vietnam.
The talking heads on Meet the Press were babbling total nonsense. The facts are right under the soles of our own shoes on sidewalks beside city streets disintegrating before our eyes for lack of the will, ways and means torepair them so that they could be as good as the streets leading to the half-finished, half-abandoned new subdivisions in the northern part of town.
From a federal government jobs site:
Are you considering a government job? The federal government employs over 2,700,000 workers and hires hundreds of thousands each year to replace civil service workers that transfer to other federal government jobs, retire, or leave for other reasons. Average annual salary for full-time federal government jobs now exceeds $79,197. The U.S. Government is the largest employer in the United States, hiring about 2.0 percent of the nation's work force and the workforce is expanding significantly under the Obama administration. Federal government jobs can be found in every state and large metropolitan area, including overseas in over 200 countries. The average annual federal workers compensation in 2008, including pay plus benefits, was $119,982 compared to just $59,909 for the private sector according to the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis. -- http://federaljobs.net/
Corporate plutocrats in control of the political economy believe their own propaganda and their little flaks like David Gregory and his friends make their livings pushing the corporate, anti-working people line for all they are worth. As reported Thursday on "Democracy Now!" government subsidies for journalism at the levels enjoyed by northern European democracies would cost about $20 to $35 billion a year, or 12 weeks of the Iraq War. It is a bargain that might well have saved us from an unelected president and the lying pretexts for the Iraq War. Even now, as Iran, Russia and China collaborate on energy pipelines, Zionists and neocons rave on about the "inevitability" of war with Iran, likely to precipitate WWIII, while multitudes of working people in the US are a paycheck away from homelessness.
We need journalism for citizens, not plutocrats.
The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again, by Robert McChesney and John Nichols, looks like an important book for people -- as opposed to corporations -- to read this year.