My own father, who was sent away because his family couldn't feed him, was able to go home. He finished high school and during WWII he became a Navy pilot. Then after the war he did something that he never dreamed possible. He enrolled at Ohio State University and became a mechanical engineer, thanks to the GI Bill. He went on to become vice president of a mid-sized corporation and then became a professor at a university in Tennessee which didn't exist before the New Deal.
He never forgot being fifteen and riding the rails and living in hobo jungles with absolutely no opportunities whatsoever. Or to what he became, all thanks to the New Deal and FDR. That's why it was so important for him to tell his son, "See it!" He'd say, "that's a WPA Bridge." Moses wandered for forty years seeking the Promised Land; Roosevelt found it in a little more than twelve. As to the academics, well there are some things that just can't be quantified or measured by statistics. The things that are made up more of feelings and intentions and in just caring about the people's suffering, like the difference between the WPA in New Orleans in 1935 and hurricane Katrina in 2005.
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