Hit & Run

Progressives Propose Rebirth of Civilian Conservation Corps


Progressives evidently intend to resurrect every aspect of the hallowed New Deal. Just 37 days after his inauguration, FDR created the Civilian Conservation Corps to control erosion, build fire roads, and plant trees. The CCC moved hundreds of thousands of unemployed young men from cities in the East to forests out West. As the adulatory CCC Legacy site explains:

Eventually there would be camps in all states and in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. By the end of 1935, there were over 2,650 camps in operation in all states. California had more than 150. Delaware had three. CCC enrollees were performing more than 100 kinds of work.

Enrollees numbering 505,782 occupied these camps. Other categories, such as officers, supervisors, educational advisors and administrators swelled the total to more than 600,000 persons.

Now the Center for American Progress along with 80 other progressive organizations is proposing the creation of the Clean Energy Corps. As the press release explains:

The Clean Energy Corps is a bold proposal that combines job creation, service, and training to combat global warming, grow local economies, and create green pathways out of poverty. The CEC aims to launch a national effort to comprehensively apply cost-effective, energy-efficiency measures - from adding insulation to replacing inefficient boilers - to over 15 million existing buildings. 

"At a time of severe hardship in the construction sector, retrofitting residential buildings to cut energy use can save consumers money, expand economic growth, reduce pollution, and create jobs," said Bracken Hendricks, senior fellow at Center for American Progress.

By retrofitting millions of structures, the Clean Energy Corps will create at least 600,000 living-wage, career-track jobs in green industries, train people for them, and directly engage millions of Americans in diverse service-learning and volunteer work related to climate protection…

The CEC will work with employers, unions, educators and community organizations to offer job training and job placement programs.  It will also work to engage disconnected youth and jobseekers from disadvantaged communities and connect them to further education and training that result in industry-recognized credentials and places them on sustainable career paths.

The tide of New Deal nostalgia is running strong. The new vogue for mobilizing the masses for giant government projects is only going to get worse.