Monday, January 25, 2010

How About a 21st Century CCC, Instead of a 20th Century-like Freeze?

For a number of reasons, I was disturbed to hear that Obama is considering a spending freeze in the midst of the deepest recession since the Great Depression. Perhaps I would be less disturbed if the Obama administration had come in all FDR-like with a number of working programs aimed at those hit hardest by the "Great Recession," but that isn't the narrative. Okay, so the response wasn't a failure (I actually know someone auditing some of the stimulus funded programs), but it did not have the feel of an immediate impact, and for the infantile and impatient average American, that "feeling" is actually important.

I think that creating something akin to the Civilian Conservation Corps (1933-1942), a New Deal program, would be something that would have an actual immediate impact that Americans would understand easily. There are even people who are still alive who can tell tales of their days in the CCC, thus reminding Americans of how a similar program could help average Americans.

The Obama administration could decide where the members of the CCC would operate, with emphases, I would suggest, on infrastructure projects (Department of Transportation, for example), deferred maintenance projects (particularly from the National Park Service), and green projects (Departments of Energy and Agriculture and the EPA, for example). By developing a 21st century CCC, the Obama administration will have the potential of meeting a multiplicity of needs: immediate employment in new (albeit temporary) jobs, job training (with experience building), and shoring up the country's infrastructure.

I've no idea if anything of this sort is being discussed within the administration, but it is something that people could understand easily, and, I think, buy into rather quickly. It could be developed to help people with no skills, as well as people with advanced degrees, especially since the Great Recession has impacted so many across the economic spectrum. And what is the likelihood that the GOP would hate the idea? Remember this dig at using stimulus funding to repair the National Mall from the GOP?

Focus on the 21st century needs of the American people Obama, not on the 20th century siren songs of the GOP. Damn, those rocks are real close.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unions would never allow anyone to lift a shovel or hammer, if it could shine a bright light on the overdue fact that their protected monopolies need to be re-examined.

Do we need a CCC? Yes.

Will special interests allow something like that to happen? No.

Keep extending unemployment, but never crowd their theatre of extortion with able bodied people.