New Deal Descendants call on CCC and WPA to be included in Reconciliation
Dear Madam Speaker and Majority Leader:
As descendants of the men and women who designed the New Deal’s CCC and WPA, we strongly support inclusion of robust versions of both in the pending reconciliation bill.
President Biden has identified a new subsidized jobs program as a top priority in his 2022 budget, at a funding level of $4 billion. We strongly agree, and recommend using the framework of the “Jobs for Economic Recovery Act” (HR 1962), which makes subsidized jobs a permanent part of the Social Security Act. The program should be durable, flexible, and strong enough to quickly ramp up to counteract widespread unemployment and underemployment whenever a recession devastates the labor market.
While the economy is now recovering, the United States still has 5 million fewer jobs than before COVID-19 struck. While Americans are divided on many issues, an overwhelming 93% of Americans favor a national initiative that creates paid work and job training opportunities as part of COVID-19 economic recovery. Subsidized jobs reduce not only unemployment, but also poverty and racial disparity. They also help unemployed workers do better in their return to private sector jobs.
We also strongly support President Biden’s proposal for a new Civilian Climate Corps, modeled on the New Deal’s wildly successful Civilian Conservation Corps which created millions of jobs for unemployed Americans rebuilding and protecting America’s natural resources. The vast breadth and urgency of today’s climate-related disasters, combined with the continuing unemployment crisis, make it imperative to fund this program at the higher $30 billion level championed by Senate leadership.
Indeed, we support the bold pro-people agenda embodied in the entire $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. And we have no hesitance in urging that the revenues to pay for it should come from asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share — the richest individuals and the corporations who reaped massive tax cuts in the 2017 tax law — as well as serious enforcement of existing tax laws to recoup the estimated $600 billion lost annually to tax cheats. The New Deal was powered by tax fairness — raising and enforcing the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans.
Public jobs programs rescued and rebuilt America in its last great economic crisis. The American people deserve similar boldness and commitment to the common good today.
James Roosevelt, Jr.
Henry Scott Wallace
Harold M. Ickes
Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall