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For the Softies
(The Holyoke Transcript)

A Hadley farmer, who used to live in Holyoke, wanted a hired-hand to help out there this summer on his place where there is a lot of extra work clearing up the flood damage. It is a real hard job that faces the new man, about like the one that the farmer himself went to years ago from Holyoke, when he started off from scratch and built for himself a substantial farm property.

The offer was $30 a month with board and room. That's the CCC scale. Figuring it out on an actual cost basis with the $12-$14 a week WPA scale, it is quite a bit more. But a real day's work is required, the kind of effort with which the pioneer built up the United States of America to a land of strength and power.

The ex-Holyoker, with a lot of native pride, came to his old home to get the hired man. He figured that there were young men in the city without employment who would jump at the chance to take a good job and a hard one on a farm.

He went the rounds of Holyoke. He contacted many young men. He saw agency heads, federal and city ones. He went back to Hadley alone. Not a lad would accept the offer.

"Why should I? It's going to be hard work and I can get enough with a soft job on WPA or the city" was the gist of the answer the Hadley farmer got wherever he went.

Thus can be seen how extensively has the deterioration of the fibre of American manhood set in. The day is not far off when we are going to find the industrious working man of the type that built this nation, that created the superior American system, vanishing. Death takes its toll. This insidious habit of easy money for easy work will break down the spirit of the rest. Then this great country will really have its back up against the wall.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The New Deal's work relief programs were very popular during the Great Depression but they did have their critics. They were frequently attacked as useless "made work," leaf-raking," or "boondoggles." They were also criticized as political, providing jobs for those who supported the New Deal and the Democratic Party. Here, the Holyoke Transcript recounts the story of a local farmer who tries to find a "hired hand" among the city's unemployed. Although he offers $30 per month with room and board, no one wants the job. The Transcript blames the New Deal's work relief program, the WPA, for providing "soft jobs" (easy work) at higher pay. Such programs, it is claimed, lead to "the deterioration of the fibre of American Manhood."


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"For the Softies" editorial from the Greenfield Recorder-Gazette newspaper reprinted from The Holyoke Transcript

publisher   Greenfield Recorder-Gazette
date   May 15, 1936
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
width   2.5"
height   4.5"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L08.027

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See Also...

"The Dilemma" political cartoon from the Daily Recorder-Gazette newspaper

"Wage and Dispute at Monroe Bridge Causes Dismissal of Score in Department" article from the Greenfield Daily Recorder newspaper

"Welfare Workers on Hope Street Job Ask Two Packages of Tobacco" article from the Greenfield Daily Recorder-Gazette newspaper

"Immigration Restrictions Tightened to Alleviate Unemployment Situation" article from the Greenfield Daily Recorder newspaper

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