Sunday, May 12, 2013

A New WPA Could Help Reduce America's Suicide Rate

(WPA laborers working on a cemetery wall at Antietam National Battlefield. Image courtesy of the National Park Service.) 

When people lose their jobs, face financial hardship, and have difficulty finding new employment, they are probably more likely to consider suicide. The Centers for Disease Control recently noted "Possible contributing factors for the rise in suicide rates among middle-aged adults include the recent economic downturn (historically, suicide rates tend to correlate with business cycles, with higher rates observed during times of economic hardship)..." (See "Suicide Among Adults Aged 35–64 Years — United States, 1999–2010").

A new WPA could serve as an employer of last resort; a way for unemployed Americans to maintain a certain level of dignity and hope. Today, there are 26 million Americans who would like a full-time job but can't find one (see

But we're not creating, or even discussing, a new WPA. Instead, we've been twiddling our thumbs for 5-6 years now, waiting for the mythical "job creators" to come save us while more people are killing themselves out of despair.

There's a better way to handle unemployment, than perpetual speculation and forecasting about the economy. It's called direct action.

No comments:

Post a Comment