Detractors of President Obama's stimulus effort flunk freshman American history. The U.S. rise to international powerhouse in the 1940s resulted from nothing more than a massive federal stimulus that ended the Depression, turned padlocked factories into productive defense plants with full employment, and even added 16 million of us service-age citizens to the federal payroll - at least for awhile.

Fort Rucker, where I took my infantry basic in 1945, was built in less than the 120 days allotted in the contract, turning Alabama farm fields into a functioning Army camp. That jobs generator didn't require months to begin whirring.

U.S. defense contracts sealed the deal, expending the bucks that created jobs and transformed idled workers into wage earners, consumers, and taxpayers who returned some of their dollars to the U.S. Treasury as income-tax payments and defense-bond purchases. This circular flow of money beat the Depression and won a war.

Speed-bump Republicans had no chance then to retreat to their lair of "no" as they do now. And now, as then, some bipartisan statesmanship and concern for others would go a long way in meeting our nation's current economic challenges. They are every bit as threatening as were the international pressures of war from Germany, Italy, and Japan in the early 1940s.

Wilson L. Barto