The United States is the land of opportunity. For hundreds of years we have provided a new frontier for those who need it the most, and allowed immigrants from all nations to come and make the United States a better place. However, the United States is not always bursting with innovation and know-how and opportunity. For far too long, we have been held down by the unemployed, the least productive in our society. This is not a specific demographic, nor any particular group of people, but my point is, this is not a permanent problem! Unemployment is a byproduct of capitalism, but it is not permanent, nor should it be.
In the depths of the Great Depression, about 1/3rd of the US workforce was unemployed. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, one of the greatest American Presidents, solved this with the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Millions of Americans were put to work building and repairing infrastructure, as well as beautifying America’s towns, and providing bridges and roads to communities that had never had them before. They were paid well, and their hard work allowed America to experience the greatest prosperity that we have ever experienced before.
The people of the United States do not need a handout. It is not the responsibility of the taxpayer to subsidize the activities of the unemployed. What is needed are opportunities for these unemployed people to work, and make money, and provide for their families.
That is why I am proposing that the WPA be revived, and funded with 6% of the National GDP. The long-term benefits will outweigh the steep cost by raising overall tax revenue, improving America’s infrastructure, and generally improving the quality of life for all.
If any refuse this work opportunity, and demand a handout, they should be barred from receiving government aid until they are gainfully employed. Any person who does not want to work should not expect the aid of the US Government.
There should be a variety of paths available. For those who are educated but do not have employment, they should be given upper-level management positions, architects, foreman's, etc. For those who are not as educated, they will be given a more construction and manual labor-oriented job, and should be given opportunities for vocational training and self-improvement. This should not be a temporary program, like how the original WPA was only active for 8 years, from 1935 to 1943. This should be a permanent program, because there are always things that need to be built and improved. When the worker reaches the age of 65, or if he or she is physically disabled, they should be given a pension and all of the usual Social Security/Medicare benefits.
There is absolutely no excuse for extended periods of unemployment or educating yourself if you are not a senior citizen, and a new WPA would reap benefits for all, including increased education, better infrastructure, and a better society. We all benefit from an educated, confident workplace, and the WPA capitalizes on the hard work of everyday Americans.
This new WPA can also be used for college students and intellectuals. The new WPA would fund research and laboratory experiments for students, and improve the quality of all colleges across the United States, and enable millions of students to participate in a work-study program which also decreases college debt and decreases unnecessary expenditure by colleges.
In conclusion, the United States has the potential to improve itself, and have a better workforce, and a new government-run WPA would have a lasting positive impact on our overall society and our people.