Sunday, December 1, 2013

New Deal Trust

(WPA poster, image courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.)

A recent poll indicates that Americans are trusting each other less and less with each passing decade. Is it any wonder? We have the largest prison-industrial complex in the world, unemployment is high, wages have stagnated in the face of rising prices, income inequality is soaring, the big financial institutions are pillaging our economy with impunity, Congress has become the embodiment of plutocracy, illegal tax evasion is rampant, corporations have sent our prosperity overseas, "hate radio" scapegoats the less fortunate, and so on and so on.

Also, in response to the survey, it is noted that "Less socializing and fewer community meetings make people less trustful than the 'long civic generation' that came of age during the Depression and World War II."

Indeed, the New Deal brought us together, and another, even stronger New Deal could do the same. For example, instead of calling the unemployed "parasites" we could create a new WPA and CCC to provide work opportunities for them. They could, among other things, create and improve national, state, county, and municipal parks. The unemployed would have useful jobs and Americans would have better parks. That's how you create good will, and build trust, in a citizenry.    

 (A bas relief in Greenbelt, Maryland, created by Lenore Thomas during a New Deal project, depicting Americans working together. Photo by Brent McKee.)

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