AUGUST 22, 1939
HYDE PARK, Monday —I had a very nice group of visitors here on Saturday. Commander Flanagan brought his two daughters and Miss Hickock and Mr. Harcroft from New York, and a young Oklahoma newspaperman, Mr. Tom Omstead, who has a temporary summer job in Poughkeepsie, joined us. We all swam and drove around the place and talked hard before and after dinner.
One interesting thought came out of the evening's discussion. It was finally agreed that the unemployment problem is not just in the U.S.A., but it exists in all the countries in Europe to a greater or lesser degree. The only real difference is in the way we have attacked the problem. Europe takes care of the greater part of its unemployed either in the armed forces of the nation or in the munitions factories. The people of the country pay for both, especially when there is a war. We, on the other hand, feeling more secure where war is concerned, tried a new method and started public works to take up the slack of unemployment, and these public works can be seen by anyone who takes the trouble to drive around the country.
It is just a different answer to the same problem. Both of them cost the taxpayers about an equal amount of money, but one plan leaves something tangible for the good of the nation and eventually is productive of jobs which do not cost the taxpayers money, while the other means a complete loss in the end. Most of us haven't got vision or imagination enough to look at the new programs and make up our minds as to which we prefer. We worry and we worry, but we rarely propose any practical alternatives.
Today I started off at 9:00 a.m. with Mr. Flanagan, Mr. Wagner and Mrs. Mellen to see NYA projects in my own neighborhood. We stopped first at the Hudson River State Hospital, which has been most cooperative and which is a very good place for young people to gain experience at real jobs under workmen who have held them for a long time. We went to the state agricultural experiment station, which, until today, I did not know existed in Poughkeepsie. We visited an abandoned trade school which has been turned over to the NYA program. Here I was shown a collection of fifty spoons made from different woods found in this vicinity. I carried away a really lovely one made out of pear wood.
Seaplane floats were being built in Poughkeepsie and in Newburgh in preparation for the flight which is to be made next Friday. The Newburgh work center was interesting and we enjoyed an excellent lunch served by girls studying home economics. The work done at the trail museum in Bear Mountain State Park by the young people is useful to them and to many sightseers. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, many of the youngsters are graduating from these programs into jobs.