We should definitely think about the New Deal when walking over the Chorro Street bridge and anytime a "representative" is talking about creating jobs. Chris McGuinness and Gary Brechin ("Old New Deal," Nov. 9) fail to mention that while F.D.R.'s Works Progress Administration (WPA) had men build projects, it also gave rise to the new term at the time, "boondoggle." In Kentucky alone, WPA workers catalogued 350 different ways to cook spinach, according to "Great Myths of the Great Depression" (Lawrence W. Reed, Mackinac Center For Public Policy). Hundreds of "workers" were used to collect campaign money for Democrat candidates. Also, by 1941, only 59 percent of the WPA budget went to paying the workers.
Chris and Gary need to realize that progressives like F.D.R. praised the fascist planned economy, dreaming of the day when the business cycle would be eliminated. F.D.R.'s unparalleled number of executive orders and alphabet agencies stifled the economy so badly it caused a second depression by 1938. Yes, this elitist, centrally planned economic interventionism is exactly why we have corporatism today.
Programs like the WPA absolutely benefited some, but if left to itself, the economy would have recovered much faster—like the depression of 1921, which had some prices drop faster and farther than the Great Depression, yet recovered within a year and a half.
When you walk over the Chorro Street bridge, you should think of all the unintended negative results from F.D.R. trying to manipulate the capital structure and how agencies like the WPA made the depression the longest in U.S. history.
San Luis Obispo