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75th Anniversary of WPA

Critics of the Works Progress Administration saw it as nearly communist, but the agency, created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 as a Depression-era stimulus package, delivered a solid return on investment. A piddling program by 2010 standards, it spent $165 billion (inflation adjusted) over seven years. (Compare that to last year’s $787 billion stimulus.) The result: some 8 million jobs; thousands of roads, parks, and public facilities, such as San Antonio’s Riverwalk and New York’s LaGuardia Airport; and myriad works of writing and art created for the nation.

Critics of the Works Progress Administration saw it as nearly communist, but the agency, created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 as a Depression-era stimulus package, delivered a solid return on investment. A piddling program by 2010 standards, it spent $165 billion (inflation adjusted) over seven years. (Compare that to last year’s $787 billion stimulus.) The result: some 8 million jobs; thousands of roads, parks, and public facilities, such as San Antonio’s Riverwalk and New York’s LaGuardia Airport; and myriad works of writing and art created for the nation. New York painter Marcus Rothkowitz got $1,500 in today’s dollars per month for turning in a piece every four to six weeks. The WPA was “a godsend,” said the artist later known as Mark Rothko, “to so many who needed help.” 
— JEFF CHU

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thu, april 08
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