Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Our infrastructure, and our unemployed, wasting away

(WPA workers installing a water line, near Annapolis, Maryland, in April of 1938. Photo by the WPA, provided courtesy of the University of Maryland College Park Archives).

On November 12, 2012, the following was reported in the Baltimore Sun:

"For the second time in six days, Baltimore's aging water system ruptured, affecting service to dozens of businesses and homes downtown and in Essex, including two hospitals, while snarling traffic and providing yet another unpleasant reminder of the regions crumbling infrastructure." (Mary Gale Hare, City's infrastructure problems continue with two water main breaks Monday: Fractures join list of several this month in Baltimore City, Baltimore Sun, November 12, 2012,,0,2213225.story, accessed November 14, 2012)

During the New Deal, via the WPA, America offered work opportunities to the unemployed, and the unemployed embraced those opportunities.  Among their many accomplishments, WPA workers installed 124 miles of new water lines in Maryland, and 16,121 miles of new water lines across the country. (Statistics from the Final Report on the WPA Program, 1935-43, p. 136. Federal Works Agency, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1946)

According to the latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 5 million Americans who are considered long-term unemployed. (, accessed November 14, 2012).

Our infrastructure deteriorates, our unemployed lose hope, and year after year we refuse to connect the dots. Why?

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