Sunday, November 9, 2014

New Deal Film: The National Youth Administration and Aviation

Above: This 9-minute silent film was produced by the National Youth Administration, circa 1937, and is described by the National Archives in the following way: "Shows opportunities in aviation offered by the NYA. Boys at Camp DeSoto, Tampa, Fla., work on motors and in wood and metal shops and classrooms. College students study aeronautics and meteorology. A seaplane lands and takes off at Glen Cove, Long Island. NYA administrator A. W. Williams and Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt witness the installation of a seaplane base at Poughkeepsie, N.Y."

According to the most recent jobs report, youth unemployment is still in the double-digits, where it's been for many years now.

In 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave America's aviation infrastructure a "D" letter grade, noting "an aviation system that was once the envy of the world is beginning to be overtaken by countries with ambitious investment programs for development of dozens of airports, and U.S. airports are no longer ranked among the world’s best by air travelers."

Earlier this year, Kevin M. Burke, president and CEO of Airports Council International North America, said "There's no question that U.S. airports suffer from an image problem globally, and the main culprit is our nation's lack of dedicated infrastructure investment, particularly in its aviation infrastructure. Many of our airports are operating well beyond the capacity for which they were originally intended several decades ago, and this is the reason why air travelers -- international and domestic -- experience crowded terminals and outdated facilities" ("U.S. airports are 'awful.' Here's the problem," CNN, April 3, 2014).

Here's an idea! Perhaps we can connect the dots--as we did during the New Deal (with, for example, the NYA & WPA)--and offer job opportunities to unemployed Americans to help create world-leading airports again! Yay!

Oh, wait.....that might threaten the tax evasion, the tax avoidance, the tax loopholes, the tax shelters, and the historically low tax rates that super-wealthy Americans are currently enjoying. Never mind. Sorry I brought it up. Let's just stick with crowded terminals, flight delays, air traffic congestion, and high youth unemployment.


  1. I just found this in the back of the 1933 town report of Swanzey New Hampshire.
    This crisis can be met, but not in a day or a year, and education is a vital factor in the meeting of it.
    The most important question requiring an answer today at the hands of the American people is: What are we going to do about our public schools? Shall we maintain them on such a basis as will give our children an education in those essentials absolutely necessary to equip them as individuals and as citizens to lead such lives as men and women must be equipped to lead in a self-governing republic of free men, or are we going to let them slip back into an era of unenlightenment, bigotry, and ignorance?
    —HAROLD L. ICKES, Secretary of Interior.

    1. Ickes would be sad that, today, in some parts of the country, we're apparently choosing "unenlightenment, bigotry, and ignorance."