Update: Paul Krugman agrees.
Update II: I gave a response to an email a reader sent me about the military being our version of WPA, as was mentioned in a comment on the Krugman post:
I think we need a CCC or WPA right now. Young kids have no idea what hard work is, how to use a hammer or plumb. The CCC was run by the military, and lots of members claim they became "men" under the guidance of the CCC and all the work they did and were proud of. They also sent most of their money home, as was required, creating stimulus. And they got fat. Literally put on weight. It was nothing but good.Update III: Watch the American Experience-The Civilian Conservation Corps. It will cause you to realize the need is now for a similar program, for many, many reasons.
There is nothing like that anymore, and there should be. That is partly my motivation for the draft; either the draft or making some kind of service mandatory would go a long way toward creating a sense of ownership of our country and reduce the perceived separation between the governed and the government.