Driven across a bridge lately? Used a public park? Visited a library? Walked on a sidewalk? Hiked on a trail? Taken your kids to a public school? Enjoyed a drink of clean water thanks to water treatment facilities? Taken a swim in a municipal pool? Thank the Works Progress Administration (WPA), through which these were built in cities and towns across the nation. The WPA wasn’t a welfare program; it was an infrastructure investment program that paid people for their work, sustained commerce and enabled a high quality of life for generations.
Seven decades later, the public infrastructure created by the WPA has aged, is crumbling and needs replacement. Unemployment is surging and the income of working Americans has been sinking for years (2008 reasons, esp. #76-83). The U.S. Government has tried the strategy of giving hundreds of billions of dollars to financiers… and rather than investing with it, those financiers are stuffing the money in their figurative mattresses.
Is it time to resurrect the WPA?