Saturday, July 23, 2016
The National Youth Administration improved the lives of young Puerto Rican men and women
Above: The description for this photo (ca. 1939-1942) reads, "Not outside the safeguards of the NYA health program are the 175 resident workers of La Mona. The outstanding medical and dental men of Puerto Rico recently visited La Mona aboard the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Unalga; they brought with them an X-ray machine and gave complete physical examinations to all the boys." The young men you see above were part of a National Youth Administration (NYA) project to perform forestry work on Mona Island. The NYA provided thousand of jobs for young Puerto Rican men and women who were not enrolled in school. Photo provided courtesy of the National Archives.
Above: The description for this photo (ca. 1939-1942) reads, "Waitress in University of Puerto Rico Student Restaurant Project." By providing work opportunities, the National Youth Administration helped many young Puerto Ricans finish high school or college. For example, during any given month of the 1940-1941 academic year, nearly 1,200 students participated in the NYA's student work program. Photo provided courtesy of the National Archives.
The New Deal's NYA greatly improved the lives of young Puerto Rican men and women. Today, the story is quite different. As U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren has noted, many super-wealthy Americans want Puerto Rico to cut health care, close K-12 schools, and reduce its support for the University of Puerto Rico. Why? Because these super-wealthy Americans don't care about the health and education of young Puerto Ricans (or any young Americans). The misery of others means nothing to them, they just want more money. Living on $50 million per year is unacceptable to them - it has to be $75 million per year. And when they reach $75 million per year, that will become unacceptable - it will have to be $100 million per year. The New Deal ethos has been replaced with an ethos of insatiable and sociopathic greed - and young Puerto Ricans are suffering for it.