A Stimulus Program That Worked

We capitalized on some fabulous weather and an obscure federal holiday last weekend. Columbus Day is one of the handful of days during the year when I don’t mind big government!

To celebrate, my oldest sons and I jaunted west to the Commemorative Air Force Airsho (sic) in Midland; then on to Monohans Sandhills State Park; and lastly to Balmorhea State Park. Anyone can vacation on the coast. Only the daring vacation in the desert.

Come to find out, the Airsho is a big deal. Regional corporations purchase PGA Tour-type hospitality tents for their clients.

Volunteers come from across the nation to help run the event, including my Tennessean father who tipped me off that more than dust would be flying in Midland on Sunday.

Sure enough. Everything from jet-powered gliders to wing-walking women in leotards to the B-29 that dropped the A-bomb flew over. I even flew in an F-16 simulator with my 7-year-old. He thought the barrel rolls were barrels of fun. I strained to keep my lunch to myself.

A short drive west of Odessa brought us to Monohans and the “Sahara of the Southwest,” rolling hills of fine-grained sand fit for Destin beaches.

A genuine West Texas anomaly, the sandhills are known for their beauty and their thrills. Visitors can sled down the dunes on rented disks.

Unfortunately, my oldest had been on a virtual fighter jet the day before. The sand sledding didn’t meet his speed requirements. He resorted to rolling down the dunes.

My risk-averse 4-year-old, however, braked often, especially after spotting snake tracks in the sand. He eventually tired from the trudges back to the top (lifts are for Colorado cowards) and suggested we go swimming.

Perfect, I thought. We’re but 77 miles from the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool.

Balmorhea State Park is home to San Solomon Springs, a magical marvel that gurgles a million gallons of pristine water through the earth’s surface every hour.

The springs’ constant 75 degree temperature is perfect for any day of the year, especially a sunny, sandy one in October.

Usually, man cannot improve upon nature’s majesty. But in this case, humans have nicely complimented God’s handiwork.

Decades ago, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed a 2-acre swimming (and now scuba diving) pool over the springs along with bath houses and lodges. The Corps even dug smoothly flowing canals that make Seaworld’s lazy river look like a vain impostor.

In the 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt championed the CCC, which ended up being a hugely popular “stimulus” program (92% of Democrats and 67% of Republicans approved).

The program focused initially on maximizing reforestation and minimizing soil erosion. But it also helped turn some of the nation’s natural wonders into accessible recreational venues. Twenty-nine Texas state parks have their roots in the fruits of the CCC.

The CCC put hundreds of thousands of unemployed young men to work. It sent many disenchanted youths from city slums to worthy, “shovel ready” projects in lands of enchantment.

I have to wonder: Has the Democrats’ $1 trillion stimulus bill of 2009 funded any CCC-like programs whose effects will be felt now and for generations to come? Or is it paying out benefits without requiring results in return?

2 Responses to “A Stimulus Program That Worked”

  1. 1 heath jackson October 19, 2010 at 01:39

    Your articles have gone from great to greater! It is refreshing to see positive conservative writing. I look forward to every article!

  2. 2 Lad Mingu October 19, 2010 at 15:09


    Your article was interesting all the way through with the exception of the last sentence. In my mind, it could have been expressed like: Would this CCC be a good program today? Would this truly help to stimulate our economy today while bringing lasting rewards? etc etc

    When your bring party affiliations in you make the article polemical rather than a thoughtful way of exploring ideas. Your title of Right of Center should not be partisan but philosophical.

    Lad Mingus

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