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Jobs Programs Still Working

I have mentioned before that my parents were employed in the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) when they graduated from college. The ‘make work’ programs, as wingers back then liked to call them, didn’t just build roads, bridges, parks and other needed structures. They also taught their employees skills that made them better able to find work later.

My parents were in north central Texas, and I find that the county where they worked has gained inestimably from the programs of the depression years. Sadly, since the discovery of oil in the area, the business climate has been taken over by oil mentality, and no longer benefits from the wisdom it showed in the thirties and forties.

Between 1920 and 1930 Grayson County experienced the only decennial population decrease in its history. Having increased steadily from 1850, county population reached 74,165 in 1920. By 1930, however, it had dropped to 65,843, and in spite of subsequent regular increases the 1920 total was not exceeded until the 1970 census enumerated 83,225. The agricultural and manufacturing sectors declined as Grayson County faced the traumas of the Great Depression and World War II.qqv The number of farms decreased from 5,169 in 1930 to 4,296 by 1940. Unemployment rose from 6.9 percent in 1930 to 19.5 percent by 1940, and in 1935, 4,705 county residents were on relief. Federal agencies were at work in the county, however, during these years. The courthouse, destroyed by fire in the Sherman riot of 1930, was rebuilt in 1936 with Public Works Administration funds, and the Civilian Conservation Corps did extensive soil-conservation work throughout the area. In 1938 the Rural Electrification Administration brought electric power to rural Grayson County, and by 1944 the cooperative had 2,086 members. The number of members increased steadily thereafter, to 4,633 in 1954, 7,497 in 1964, and 12,197 in 1984.

In 1938 Congress authorized the construction of a dam and reservoir north of Denison to control the flooding of the Red River, generate electrical power, and provide irrigation. Lake Texoma, the reservoir, with a shoreline of 1,250 miles, was developed by the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service and remains a major recreation area and tourist attraction.

The progressive steps taken by this area in the years before oil became dominant are still impressive. Those times saw gains made that we could really use now.

The local congressman, Ralph Hall, R (was D when they were winning in TX)-OilLobby, does another round at defending the Big Oil mantra of ‘drill baby, drill’;

“We should not rush to shut down drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf. The OCS is an important part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy that combines drilling with alternative and renewable fuels as we seek energy independence for our nation in the years to come.

“Government and industry, working together with our universities, can solve this problem – and we are in the first stages of doing so through the Ultra-deepwater and Unconventional Resource program that I led to passage several years ago. A collaborative partnership between the Department of Energy and the private sector, the program supports more than 70 research projects on ultra-deepwater and unconventional gas drilling technology. The research focuses on the many challenges associated with exploration and production in ultra-deepwater, including improving safety and performance and minimizing environmental impacts.

The expertise Hall touts is hardly evident in the failures now being demonstrated in the Gulf.

We have lost a great deal by turning oil into the all powerful giant it is. Electricity that is generated by the hydraulic power of Denison Dam is better in many ways than the power plants we’re building now.

The dethroning of oil will be a boon in so many ways, it boggles the mind. For that reason, alone, there is something to be gained from the massive catastrophe of the Horizon well explosion.

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Ruth Calvo

Ruth Calvo

I've blogged at The Seminal for about two years, was at cabdrollery for around three. I live in N.TX., worked for Sen.Yarborough of TX after graduation from Wellesley, went on to receive award in playwriting, served on MD Arts Council after award, then managed a few campaigns in MD and served as assistant to a member of the MD House for several years, have worked in legal offices and written for magazines, now am retired but addicted to politics, and join gladly in promoting liberals and liberal policies.