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New Deal-Type Jobs Program Proposed as Recession Remedy

December 31, 2009

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - As Congressional Democrats debate the need for a second federal economic stimulus package, one side is calling for a New Deal-style direct government jobs program, while others are promoting tax breaks as the answer to spur job creation. Both options could emerge in the proposal.

Carol Stambaugh, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers, Arizona chapter, supports a second stimulus program, saying it would put people to work. Doing so, even temporarily, she says, would have huge symbolic value beyond a paycheck.

"People right now need the tangible, the things that they can see - either in their hand, in their pocket or in their community. Such a program would provide that."

As a point of comparison, the New Deal programs, says Stambaugh, left behind numerous needed improvements to the nation's infrastructure.

"They're still with us today in the form of parks, sidewalks and even in improvements that make Grand Canyon National Park the treasure we have."

The nation has plenty of crumbling roads and bridges that could be renewed through a jobs program, along with other transportation improvements, she adds.

"We're looking at a greener society. We're looking at trying to change the way we do things and how we live life. This is a way to invest in some of those new ideas. For example, improving our already-existing mass transit system."

Some economists contend that New Deal jobs did little to shorten the Great Depression. Stambaugh argues the federal work programs were essential because they gave people hope and that public attitudes and perceptions go a long way in driving what happens in the economy.



Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV