Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Reagan National Airport should be renamed Roosevelt National Airport

Above: The New Deal's Public Works Administration (PWA) helped fund the construction of Washington National Airport. The PWA was created by President Franklin Roosevelt and his fellow New Deal policymakers. The caption for this 1939 photograph reads, "Washington National Airport (Gravelly Point Airport). Photo shows operator of Caterpillar tractor and LeTorneau grading machine." Photo courtesy of the National Archives.
Above: President Roosevelt at the groundbreaking ceremony for Washington National Airport, 1938. Photo courtesy of the National Archives.

Reagan National Airport used to be called Washington National Airport. Grover Norquist--the anti-tax zealot who has done so much to increase the national debt and harm American infrastructure--was the instigator behind the renaming. But the renaming makes no sense because Reagan was, and Norquist still is, against "big government"... and Washington National Airport is a product of big government. It was funded and built by New Deal-created programs like the Public Works Administration (PWA) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA). To rename the airport after Reagan, who--during his presidential years--was so cynical about large government initiatives, makes no sense at all. What's next? Are we going to rename "Yellowstone National Park" to "Koch Brothers National Park" - because the Kochs have been such wonderful advocates for public land and environmental conservation?

President Franklin Roosevelt fought hard for the construction of Washington National Airport, after the increasingly conservative Congress hesitated - adding yet another layer of irony to the "Reagan" renaming (Reagan being the god of modern conservatism). Further, Reagan's modern-day disciples despise the unemployed - routinely calling them "parasites," "takers," and "lazy good-for-nothings." Yet, thousands of unemployed workers were hired by the WPA to help build our "Reagan" airport.

Given all of the above, it is clear--to even a slightly reasonable mind--that Reagan National Airport should be renamed "Roosevelt National Airport." Or perhaps even, "New Deal National Airport."

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