Home / Welfare state / Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers Stick It to the WPA (1940).
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Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers Stick It to the WPA (1940).

Written by Gary North on June 5, 2013

The Works Progress Administration was the largest of the New Deal’s make-work programs, employing millions of men at taxpayers’ expense. In this long-forgotten song, Satchmo and the great Mills Brothers have some fun at the expense of the WPA.

Now wake up, boys, get out on the rock
It ain’t daybreak, but it’s four o’clock

Oh, no, no, no, Pops, you know that ain’t the play

What you talkin’ ’bout? It’s the W.P.A.

The W.P.A.
The W.P.A.

Sleep while you work, while you rest, while you play
Lean on your shovel to pass the time away
T’ain’t what you do; you can’t die for your pay

The W.P.A.
The W.P.A.
The W.P.A.

Now don’t be a fool; working hard is passe
You’ll stand from five to six hours a day
Sit down and joke while you smoke; it’s okay

The W.P.A.

I’m so tired, I don’t know what to do
Can’t get fired, so I’ll take my rest until my work
Is through

The W.P.A.
The W.P.A.

Don’t mind the boss if he’s cross when you’re gay
He’ll get a pink slip next month anyway
Three little letters that make life okay

The W.P.A.

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12 thoughts on “Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers Stick It to the WPA (1940).

  1. Larry the W. says:

    I highly recommend the book "New Deal or Raw Deal?" by Burton Folsom. The parallels between FDR and our current Fearless Leader are made astonishingly clear. FDR routinely used the IRS to target his opponents, Gov. Huey Long of Louisiana being the first. His distribution of patronage jobs to his political allies and his withholding Federal monies from his opponents is also outlined in stark detail. FDR's routine use of outright lying is also detailed, as was his fundamental ignorance of economics and his hostility to businesses. The make-work fiasco of the WPA and its many variations are spelled out. Before I began reading Folsom's book, I had little idea how fundamentally stupid yet cunning FDR was. Our current Fearless Leader and his minions seem to be copying FDR far more than I imagined–with very similar results.

  2. CrustyOldGeezer says:

    Should be easy to convert to cover government unions…..

  3. Obama's political and economic policies are more aggressive retreads of FDR's. He has turned back the decades and not just in the USA but world-wide it is 1938 once again … and what the coming repeat of 1939 will bring is frankly horrific.

  4. vitodanelli says:

    Why doesn't the Tea Party Economist gripe about the WPA-style projects that are being done in Africa under Bush's Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) (http://www.mcc.gov/)?

    Example: US taxpayer money is being used for a $10 million dollar Electric Grid in Tanzania!

    I suppose since it's Corporate Welfare (the work is being done by private contractors), the Tea Party Economist thinks that's the Free Market at work.

  5. Dale left coast says:

    Believe is called "Foreign Aid" . . . . loon ! ! !

    Bush? You just wake up from a long nap ?

  6. Blair Franconia, NH says:

    Today, it would be the GSA, and the IRS.

  7. exbuckeye says:

    When I was a kid (4or5) I remember adults tallking about the WPA – "We Piddle Around". but I think one of my
    mothers younger brothers went to the WPA for a job – any kind of a job – eating lard and boiled wheat kernals
    had gotten old, they were hungry..

    The program might have been a joke but people were hungry!!! A -lot- of people were out of work and mighty
    hungry for a long time after that event of Oct 1929!!! Wait till it comes again (and its coming too).

  8. Virgil_Hilts says:

    How do you know they're NOT?

  9. Virgil_Hilts says:

    Hi Blair…I'm in Manchester, NH!

  10. Blair Franconia, NH says:

    Hi, Virgil!

  11. Joy Florida says:

    In Obama's world the WPA has been replaced by the EBT…..some still starve and are not eligible and others fill their Cadillac Escalades up with the money…it's all pretty much determined by the color of your skin and not the content of your ….well you get the point..

  12. Lee Wacker says:

    I agree that the coming repeat of 1939 will bring horrific results!
    HOWEVER:
    I firmly believe that THIS time, the center of action will be on OUR OWN SOIL! I truly believe that China and North Korea are making deals with Mexico and other Latin American countries for their oil, and are going to use Mexico as a springboard to invade the U.S.A.!
    It will be a time for all citizens, no matter what their political affiliation, to step up and defend the country!