A recent United Nations report ranks America near the bottom in child well-being, among developed countries. This is no great surprise, however, since 13 to 16 million American children live in poverty (see "By the numbers: Childhood poverty in the U.S."). Meanwhile, income inequality soars and billions of American dollars reside in offshore, tax-evading bank accounts (see, e.g., "Piercing the secrecy of offshore tax havens"). Also, according to a recent report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, "Nearly 6.5 million U.S. teens and young adults are neither in school nor in the workforce, veering toward chronic underemployment as adults and failing to gain the skills employers need in the 21st century..."
So, while we're preparing our low-income children for their debt, their unemployment, their hopelessness, and their incarceration in the world's largest prison-industrial complex (increasingly run by private, for-profit corporations), I thought it would be interesting to highlight 15 ways the New Deal helped young people blossom into America's greatest generation during the 1930s and 40s. This was during one of those rare times when government (or, "We-The-People") actually cared more about We-The-People than handing out tax breaks to the mega-wealthy and creating tax loopholes for job-exporting businesses.
1. Provided employment opportunities for their parents in programs like the Civil Works Administration, Works Progress Administration, and Public Works Administration.
The New Deal not only provided work for the unemployed, but also provided more work for private contractors via the enormous construction projects of the Public Works Administration (PWA), e.g., large dams, hospitals, highway projects, naval vessels.
2. Provided jobs and training opportunities to teens and young adults (ages 16-25) through the National Youth Administration.
4. Promoted reading and education.