FDR’s war on poverty

Posted Monday, Jan. 13, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew how to fight poverty. You throw everything at it, including the kitchen sink. Public Works Administration project 1342 (a.k.a, the Will Rogers Memorial Complex) cost just over $581,000 dollars in 1937. I venture to guess it earned back its cost more than a hundredfold long before now.

Unemployment? FDR had the solution for that too. The Civilian Conservation Corps put hundreds of thousands of jobless folks back to work building infrastructure that generated millions of private sector jobs, and that in turn made the CCC obsolete in less than ten years.

The lesson of history is clear: When you’re in a slump, prime the pump.

We do not need a new plan to fight poverty. We have the blueprint ready to go. And for those who bewail deficit spending, remember the cardinal rule of business in a free market: “You have to spend money to make money.”

Congress needs to get off its broad political background, and put some doggone money where its lip service is.

— Paul R. Schattman, Arling

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