Create Real Jobs for Rebuilding the Country
January 1, 2004 • 1:00AM

by Nancy Spannaus

“And we have to get, immediately, the launching of a program which is going to employ, very rapidly—in physical production—at least 2 million Americans. And  you’re going to have people understand, in January,  that there are going to be 2 million new jobs, in basic  economic infrastructure and associated production.”
—Lyndon LaRouche

Once the U.S. banking system has been cleansed of the   trillions in toxic waste through bankruptcy reorganization, the Federal government can begin to authorize the   issuance  of  credit,  directed  primarily  to  large-scale  projects  of  national,  basic  infrastructure,  such  as  rail,   water,  and  power  systems.  The  object  is  not  to  create jobs, per se, but to put people into productive work re- building the country. This means getting at least 2 mil- lion  people  immediately  employed,  with  a  concentration on young people, along with older people who can serve as the cadre force to help with training the young.   Millions more should soon follow. 

LaRouche’s approach contrasts sharply with the so-  called “green jobs” approach of the Obama Administration—which throws money away by employing people in useless make-work, or even counterproductive jobs.   Building acres of solar-panel parks, or wind farms, as the President proposes, is actually a net loss to the economy,  because  such  “energy  forms”  cost  more  to  produce  than  they  put  out  in  electric  power,  and  actually   degrade the physical environment which they are purporting to save. You might as well be digging holes, and   filling  them  in—as  that  fascist  John  Maynard  Keynes   proposed.  Instead,  LaRouche’s  jobs  program  calls  for  massive investment in the infrastructure and technologies   of  the  future,  concentrating  in  particular  on  the  need  for a rapid expansion in the number of nuclear plants,   and for rebuilding the dilapidated transportation system   of the country with state-of-the-art magnetic-levitated  train  systems.  While  these  areas  represent  the  engine of  technological  growth  in  productivity  for  the  economy as a whole, there will also be millions of jobs required for urgent tasks such as building hospitals, repairing  or  constructing  new  levees  on  the  collapsing  U.S. waterways system, and rebuilding decaying urban  infrastructure.

One  of  the  major  components  of  such  a  jobs  program  must  be  a  new  form  of  Civilian  Conservation  Corps (CCC), modelled on what Franklin Delano Roosevelt created back in 1933. As we will describe in more  detail  below,  the  CCC  played  a  critical  role  in  taking  young people, aged 18 to 25, into a work setting where  they were able to learn what it means to produce actual  improvements  in  the  physical  economy  of  the  nation.  Operating  in  camps,  under  the  supervision  of  retired  military personnel, who were brought out of retirement,  more  than  3  million  young  people  were  trained  to  be  disciplined, productive workers over the course of 1933  to 1941, when the program ended. At that point, many  of them were able to march directly out of their camps,  into  military  units  ready  to  deploy  for  the  war  against  fascism.

While providing work, and a modicum of income,  for impoverished, demoralized, jobless youth, FDR’s  CCC—which he established within the first 100 days  of his Administration—also had an immediately moralizing effect in the communities where the families of these  youth  lived.  They  began  to  see  the  prospect  of  a  future  for  their  children,  and  a  new  social  dynamic  was  created,  a  dynamic  coherent  with  the  traditional  American  spirit,  that  all  problems  can  be  solved,  if  we  simply  roll up our sleeves, and get to work to  tackle them.

In proposing to get immediate action  in creating millions of CCC-type jobs as  soon as this January, LaRouche is aiming  to achieve a similar effect—within what  will otherwise be an explosive situation  of  social  turmoil  and  hatred  against  a  government  which  has  betrayed  the  American  people.  We  will  first  review  the CCC model, and then the infrastructure projects which should immediately  be on the agenda.

FDR’s CCC

From the inception of the American  Republic,  as  reflected  in  the  works  of  the  founders  of  the  Massachusetts  Bay  Colony,  and later, by Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton— to  name  only  a  few—the  concept  of  government  included the obligation to provide for the improvement of  the  nation,  both  its  people,  and  the  physical  circumstances  in  which  they  lived.  This  was  primarily  to  be  done through a credit policy, whereby the relevant government  institution  provided  private  citizens  with  the  ability to invest in the future requirements of the nation,  to the benefit of all. That benefit was called the “general  welfare.”

The commitment to have the government provide  such  credit  was  almost  always  contested,  of  course,  and  there  were  long  stretches  of  the  nation’s  history  when  the  Constitutional  commitment  to  provide  for  the general welfare, was not realized. Franklin Roosevelt,  who  had  steeped  himself  in  the  study  of  the  Hamiltonian tradition, revived that commitment, under  conditions  when  he  could  mobilize  the  population  to  ram  it  through.  Thus,  after  having  asserted  government  control  over  the  banking  system,  through  his  Bank Holiday and the Banking Act, FDR moved rap- idly  to  create  productive  jobs  through  two  measures  which were passed by early May 1933—the Tennessee  Valley Authority, and the Civilian Conservation Corps  (CCC).

The TVA was a long-term project of infrastructure  construction  in  the  southeastern  United  States,  one  of  the poorest regions of the nation, and subject to the ravages of unharnessed nature. While its long-term character  and  broad  scope  required  a  lot  of  preparation,  the  TVA ultimately employed thousands, and improved the  living conditions of hundreds of thousands, by controlling water flows, and providing cheap electricity for the  modernization  of  life.  It  reflected  FDR’s  commitment  to  upgrading  living  conditions  qualitatively,  not  just  “putting people to work.”

The CCC was explicitly aimed at creating jobs, but  again, not just any old jobs with a paycheck. From his  own  experience  in  New  York  State,  where  he  had  served  as  governor  (1929-32),  FDR  understood  the  need  for  reforestation,  soil  conservation,  and  flood  control,  and  saw  the  CCC  as  a  means  of  improving  nature through these activities. At the same time, FDR  understood  that  the  excruciating  poverty  and  despair  among the nation’s young people, aged 18 to 2, had  to  be  reversed,  and  he  saw  the  establishment  of  the  CCC as a means of doing so. “We are conserving not  only our natural resources, but our human resources,”  he  said  in  his  May  7,  1933  Fireside  Chat.  The  CCC  system  paid  recruits  $1  a  day,  most  of  which  they were required to send home to their  families.  In  addition,  the  facilities  took care of the food, clothing, and  health  needs  of  the  youth,  at  what  was estimated to be another $1-a-day  cost.

The  result  was  phenomenal  for  the youth and the country. Hundreds  of  thousands  of  young  people,  who  came  into  the  program  undernourished  and  discouraged,  came  out  of  the camps as healthy, self-disciplined  workers.  As  to  their  accomplishments, they thinned  million acres of  trees,  stocked  almost  a  billion  fish,  built more than 30,000 wildlife shelters, dug diversion ditches and canals,  and restored Revolutionary and Civil  War  battlefields.  They  fought  pests,  built  fire-fighting  infrastructure,  and  they planted trees—millions and millions of trees.

The CCC infrastructure also provided  much-needed  work  and  pur-pose for their supervisors, many of whom were also in  desperate  conditions  prior  to  enlisting  in  the  CCC.  Many  were  quite  happy  to  also  teach  literacy  to  the  youth, tens of thousands of whom first learned to read  while at the CCC camps.

LaRouche’s CCC

The CCC idea has never really died; it has just lain  fallow. A vestige of the program actually still exists, in  the  form  of  the  National  Civilian  Community  Corps  (NCCC),  which  functions  as  a  part  of  AmeriCorps,  a  program started by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The  NCCC, like the CCC, has established camps for youth,  whom it deploys out to work on various projects. Like  the CCC, it employs retired, trained military leaders to  organize the youth in military squad formation, usually  on short-term assignments to deal with disasters, such  as floods and fires.

The  weakest  aspect  of  the  NCCC  program  is  its  limited scope. There are only five residential centers,  with approximately 20 youth apiece, each of whom is  signed up for ten months. This contrasts with the original CCC sign-up period, which ran for six months—although  many  of  the  youth  willingly  re-enlisted  for  longer  periods  of  time.  Like  the  original  CCC,  the NCCC  pays  a  nominal  salary  to  the  youth,  while  providing  them  with  their  food,  shelter,  and  health  care, for free.

Combined  with  the  Army  Corps  of  Engineers  structure,  the  VISTA  program,  and  the  Community  Healthcorps,  the  NCCC  provides  a  framework  which  could  be  immediately  ramped  up  to  absorb  the  millions  of  youth  who  need  to  be  put  to  work  in  physically productive jobs.  Facilities  could  easily  be  found  in  abandoned  military  bases,  or  deserted  living places. Proposals for  doing  just  that  were  advanced  in  the  Congress  during  200,  but  went  nowhere,  given  the  insanity  of both the Bush Administration and, later, the Pelosi-dominated Congress.

LaRouche’s plan for reviving the CCC concept calls  for a crash program of bringing youth into working on  projects  for  basic  economic  infrastructure,  under  the  supervision  of  skilled  workers  who,  themselves,  are  probably out of work at this point, but who can be mobilized to come either directly into the CCC program,  or into firms which would be subcontractors for the national  projects.  It  is  clear  that  these  youth  will  not  be  able to be immediately very productive; most youth in  the current culture don’t know what it means to produce  things—even  if  they  once  had  a  job  where  they  could  pick up a paycheck.

Thus, a major aspect of the CCC will be combining  training  with  actual  labor,  ensuring  that  the  youth  are  building up their capabilities for the future, within the  context of mobilizing to accomplish a national mission  of reconstructing an infrastructure which has been collapsing for more than 60 years.

One  particular  target  of  the  recruitment  drive  will  be the inner cities of the country, many of which are  largely  inhabited  by  African-American  or  Hispanic  youth who have been left in the most despairing or degrading  conditions.  Honest  unemployment  figures, like  poverty  figures,  are  very  hard  to  come  by  in  our  culture,  but  some  reports  from  the  Bureau  of  Labor  Statistics indicate that only 13% of youth between the  ages of 1 and 19 (who are not in school) are employed.  The  Mayor  of  Detroit  has  also  provided  a  gruesome  picture, reporting an unemployment rate of 7% among  inner city youth.

These  youth  are  often  targetted  by  piddling  make- work job programs, mostly oriented to getting them off  the  street  and  providing  them  some  cash.  That’s  not  what they and the nation need! This whole generation  needs  to  learn  what  work  is,  develop  their  minds  and  their skills, become a part of achieving a mission much  larger than themselves. By bringing them into a revived,  expanded CCC, they can be pulled out of their demoralization, with a radiating effect back into the communities from which they come.

The new CCC will not only produce real wealth,  but a new dynamic of optimistic striving for economic  progress, a new sense of morale that problems can be  solved. Not since the space program of John F. Kennedy has such a dynamic dominated American culture,  and  that  was  murdered  by  the  British-inspired  counterculture, the Greens who dominate and threaten  us  today.  Under  these  conditions,  we  will  again  lift our  eyes  to  the  stars,  preparing  to  colonize  Mars  within the century ahead.

Vital Infrastructure Projects

Since the United States has been in a state of infrastructure  deficit  since  the  mid-190s,  the  most  crucial  question in devising a plan for issuing public credit is,  where should the investment most productively be applied? The Army Corps of Engineers regularly puts out  a  survey  of  the  nation’s  infrastructure  needs,  and  has  identified projects that would amount to nearly $2 trillion. Some prioritization is obviously needed.

Lyndon LaRouche, the economist with an unmatched  track-record  of  forecasting  and  mastery  of  economic  science,  has  answered  that  question  by  specifying  two  crucial areas: 1) transportation systems, especially high- speed rail; and 2) power systems, with an urgent focus  on  nuclear  power.  Without  the  massive  upgrading  in  productivity  which  investment  in  these  two  areas  will  cause, the U.S. cannot jump start a real recovery. We are  already suffering insane bottlenecks in both these areas,  which waste valuable man-hours—among other destructive  effects—and,  when  we  actually  return  to  physical  economic growth, the shortfalls in electricity and transport will be even greater. Note, just in passing, that the  most  modern  train  system  in  the  U.S.,  between  Washington,  D.C.  and  New  York,  recently  ground  to  a  near  halt due to a power shortage. What a wake-up call!

Projects in these areas of transport and power should  be  identified  for  every  state  of  the  union,  LaRouche  argues.  Federal  credit  will  be  issued  for  the  projects,  which will employ the CCC workers directly, but also  issue  contracts  to  private  enterprises  that  will  do  the  support  work  required  for  the  jobs.  Given  the  way  in  which  the  manufacturing  sector  of  the  U.S.  economy  has been deliberately taken down, there will be a premium  on  reopening  and  retooling  factory  facilities,  which  will  undoubtedly  require  the  kind  of  improvisional, creative approach that characterized the Second  World War mobilization.

It will also be necessary to bring skilled engineers,  machinists,  and  others  out  of  retirement,  in  order  to  train the next generation of workforce. Our entire economy, oriented as it has been to “greening,” and post-industrial services, has left our nation tragically short of  the skills required to make the necessary investments,  but, as we, as a nation, have shown before, this can be  overcome under the proper leadership.