Thursday, June 30, 2016
The New Deal: Work, Not Charity
Above: The finishing touches are being put on a 1940 exhibit in Chicago. The panel reads, "The foundation upon which this nations stands is the dignity of man as an individual... his right to free expression in politics and religion, and in the labor by which he builds his way of life. Work is America's answer to the need of idle millions... work, not charity... peaceful work... useful public work to benefit us all." Unfortunately, over the past several decades, this New Deal philosophy of work has been replaced with trickle-down economics and neoliberlism. Today, if you're laid off and can't find a job, you will be called a parasite, grudgingly given some unemployment benefits and, when those benefits expire, told to find a church or charity that can put you on their dole. Even many Democrats have abandoned the New Deal work ethic. As I've pointed out many times before, when U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced legislation to create a new WPA in 2011 (when unemployment was very high and people were being financially destroyed) he received virtually no support from his fellow Democrats, including President Obama. Photo courtesy of the National Archives.