THE Works Progress Administration is one department of his present government about which almost every American is curious -- and usually holds a violent and not always quite rational opinion. This unreason is not unnatural for the barest facts about this vast and unprecedented organization are staggering.
By the end of June, 1939, the Works Progress Administration had disbursed, through wages, materials, rentals, and other administrative costs, more than $8,000,000,000. This means that it has been able to spend more money over a shorter period of peaceful years than any other American institution. It has also employed more people over a longer range of time than any other American organization -- being surpassed in the total number of its employees on any given date only by its predecessor in federal work relief, the short-lived Civil Works Administration.
Just how many different men and women have actually received WPA checks and how many more men, women, and children have benefited from the sharing and spending of these checks no one can say exactly, though WPA officials estimate, perhaps too