Is It Time to Bring Back the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Some voices on the left are calling for President Barack Obama to borrow from FDR’s legacy and reestablish the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as a means to lower unemployment and help the environment. The CCC was revolutionary for its time when Franklin Roosevelt created it in 1933, at the beginning of his first term, putting three million young men to work on public projects that involved planting trees, preventing soil erosion, building flood control measures and building infrastructure for the National Parks. The federal government financed the low-paying jobs which gave the unemployed a chance to get back on their feet, make some money, and help the country out as well.

Getting the CCC adopted wasn’t easy. Roosevelt endured criticism from both liberals and conservatives who viewed the program either as a threat to organized labor or a waste of taxpayer dollars. One of today’s most likely arguments against bringing back the CCC would be: Where does the money come from? James Ridgeway of Mother Jones suggests taxing the $45 billion in bank bonuses and using that revenue to recreate the CCC.
Modeled after the CCC, The California Conservation Corps was created in 1976. Each year it hires 3,300 young people between the ages of 18 and 25 who get paid $8 an hour to work on natural resource projects and emergency response.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
A Lesson for Obama from FDR (by James Ridgeway, Reader Supported News)


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