Thursday, June 13, 2013

Colorado on fire, while millions can't find a job

(Public domain image, courtesy of

Right now there are several wildfires burning in Colorado:

Royal Gorge Fire: 3,800 acres burned, 0% contained, several buildings destroyed, historic Royal Gorge Bridge damaged.

Black Forest Fire: Up to 12,000 acres burned, covering 48 square miles, 92 homes destroyed, thousands evacuated.

Rocky Mountain National Park: 600 acres burning in the Big Meadows fire.

Klikus-La Veta fire: 50 acres burned, 200 residents evacuated.

The fires have strained Colorado's resources and they've requested federal help. But Congress has cut the budget of the U.S. Forest Service, even though this may be a record-setting wildfire season, so the amount of help the federal government can provide will likely be less than in years past.

During the New Deal, unemployed workers were hired into the WPA and CCC to (among many other things) fight wildfires, create thousands of miles of firebreaks, and plant about three billion trees.

So, will Congress give us a new New Deal, to fight the wildfires across America this year, and give job opportunities to the 6.5 million young adults who "are neither in school nor in the workforce" or the 4.4 million Americans who the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics describes as "long-term unemployed"? Of course not. They're too busy cutting food assistance to low-income children to worry about our country burning to the ground. 

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