We do live and learn, as we proved by the WPA in this century. The first WPA (Works Progress Administration) used limited federal funds to create work and jobs during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The latest WPA (Weinberger's Procurement Assistance) uses massive federal funds to create work and jobs to avoid a depression in the 1980s.
The major difference, as I see it, is that the political parties have reversed their positions on the issue of creating deficits to create work. During the 1930s, government creation of jobs was considered socialistic by some groups, but now the purpose of government-created jobs is to prevent socialistic expansion.
Whatever or whoever is right, history will decide, but unfortunately the only time we half-heartedly approve of creating jobs is when we are forced to remedy a depression or generate a military buildup for whatever reasons.
We should should all hope that some day we will have a statesman present a new WPA (Work People Always) with the goals of pay as you use, pay as you go and pay for everyone who is willing to work. There is plenty to do!