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Committee on Economic Security


Unpublished CES Studies

pen nib   Volume IX. Committee Publications

Editorial Opinion


Objective Called Magnificent
From the Des Moines, Iowa, Register

The objective of the administration's proposed economic security legislation is magnificent.

That objective is to eliminate the terror of abject want for all our people, and to accomplish it within the framework of a capitalist order. Nobody can deny the desirability of that nor the need in these times of making a courageous study as to how much can practically be done-and doing it.

As to the specific proposals themselves, they bear plenty of evidence of thoughtful, arduous preparation. There are respectable reasons for every point.

(January 18, 1935)

Beginning of a New Chapter
From the New York World-Telegram

The administration's long-awaited social security program writes American history.

It is the turning of a page, the beginning of a new chapter.

Only three years ago our Federal Government was refusing to accept even the duty of bare hunger relief. Yesterday it assumed responsibility for at least a minimum of security for America's underprivileged--unemployment-insurance, old age pensions and insurance, aid for widowed mothers and orphans, and the promise of later health insurance.

For the first time the government proposes to write into our laws the principle that industry must help to care for its own casuals. At least we are dropping the callous system of devil-take-the-hindmost. The harsh facts of machine civilization, driven home by the depression, have turned us into realists.

The President's program, as covered by the Wagner Security Bill, is criticized by die-hards as a radical departure from American traditions. Radicals assail it as too timid. To us it seems an effective starter.

(January 18, 1935)

Transcends Efforts Elsewhere
From the Newark Evening News

Social insurance for American workers and their dependents against certain hazards and vicissitudes of life, as President Roosevelt puts it, has a compelling appeal. It is only a ruthless but scattering few who would still adhere to the law of fang and claw, which by euphemism they would characterize as the survival of the fittest.

It is because we see only too many examples of the misery caused by unemployment, penniless old age, unpreventable illness and the loss of parents by dependent children that the people generally will welcome the ends sought to be obtained by the President's plan. The United States, as a nation is late in entering the field, but it is strictly characteristic that when we do take up these problems as part and parcel of national planning, it should be on a scale that transcends efforts elsewhere.

(January 18, 1935)

The Objects are Admirable
From the Washington, D. C. Star

The President proposes to put in motion a self-sustaining system of insurance against these hazards of life. It is a huge and important undertaking. It requires the most careful study before it is finally launched, and it must be guarded against the influence of politics.

The present program has been worked out so as to place as small a burden upon industry, in its struggle back from the depression, as possible. Nor does the financial burden to be placed upon the Federal Government appear staggering at all. Certainly not at the start. The objects of the social security program are admirable.

January 18, 1935)

Mitigate Unavoidable Distress
From the Baltimore Sun

We have gone a long way from those Collidgian days when in our ignorance and our arrogance, we condemned doles and despised the feeble governments of Europe which granted them. All of us know that when the dire pinch is felt in an industrialized nation, doles will be paid. Some will favor paying them for hunanity's sake. Some will pay because of fear, or by fear in the presence of such suffering as this country, along with all the great nations, has known since 1929. We do not have, in this matter, another chance to introduce the millenium. What we do have is the chance to mitigate, in an ordered and civilized manner, some of the most familiar evils of unemployment and old age and other unavoidable distress.

(January 19, 1935)

Plan to Goal of Greater Security
From the Atlanta, Georgia, Constitution

On such a broad and comprehensive and at the same time conservative basis, even so radical a departure as the new social service program can be regarded hopefully and--without trepidation. The complete job cannot be done at the start, but with the sound beginning proposed in the program submitted to Congress, and the assurance by the President that its working will be carefully studied in order that such adjustments and amendments tending to increased effectiveness and the greatest possible economy may be adopted gives promise that steady progress is possible in the plan to the goal of greater social security.

(January 19, 1955)

A Humanitarian Necessity
From the Kansas City Star

A program of this general character is a humanitarian necessity. The President states that not only most of the other advanced countries of the world provided such security, but their experience affords the knowledge that social insurance can be made a sound and workable project. America, with resources above those perhaps of any other nation of the world, cannot be a laggard.

(January 18, 1935)

Embody Best Thought of Day
From the Dallas News (Texas)

The scheme of social legislation submitted to Congress by President Roosevelt is the recommendation of four members of the Cabinet, along with the Federal Relief Administration. These recommendations are derived from reports made by experts in social service and social legislation. They embody the best thought of the day, after comparative studies of the social legislation of other countries and of the American states.

The nation as a whole will heartily endorse the President's idealism in his social proposals.

(January 18, 1935)

Deserves Hearty Support
From the Portland Oregonian

In President Roosevelt's program for social security, as set forth in his message to Congress, are greater potentialities than in anything the Roosevelt administration has done, for bringing a genuine New Deal to the aged, the unemployed, the underprivileged. It avoids the dangerous impracticability of such schemes as the Townsend Plan. It looks to the future, to permanence. Some details need clarification, but in general terms the program deserves the hearty support of Congress and the country.

(January 18, 1935)

Sound Considerations
From the New York Times

In submitting to Congress yesterday his long-awaited program of 'social security', President Roosevelt specified certain tests which plans of this sort should meet. They should 'not attempt the impossible' nor seek to achieve the milennium at a single bound. They should not overlook the necessity of safeguarding the national credit, nor ignore the rights and responsibilities of the States, nor fail to consider 'the capacity of industry to assume financial responsibilities.' Except for the money needed to set them in motion, all insurance schemes 'should be self-sustaining in the sense that funds for the payment of benefits should not come from the proceeds of general taxation.'

These are sound considerations, and it is evident that they have shaped at various important points the proposed legislation which Senator Wagner introduced yesterday.

(January 18, 1935)

Carefully Worked Out
From the Washington, D. C. Post

Although it is truly sweeping in nature, the President's social security program has been carefully worked out with unusual precautions to keep it on a practical basis. For this reason it will be disappointing to any who expected the Committee on Economic Security to work miracles. But thoughtful students of social problems may be expected to indorse most of the underlying principles out of which this policy has evolved.

(January 18, 1935)

Farewell to "Rugged Individualism"
From the New York Evening Post

Sweep all details aside and the shining fact today is that a President of the United States has at last asked Congress for Federal unemployment insurance, old-age pensions and old-age annuities.

This is so tremendous a break with the Stone Age tradition in American economic statesmanship that no one, not even liberals discontented with the specific form of the President's proposals, can fail to chalk up a big gain on the calendar.

President Roosevelt has established a policy which no future Administration can alter, except to extend. What he is putting into affect is in effect to stay.

We can say farewell to stuffed-shirtism and mealy-mouthed 'rugged individualism' palaver at Washington by millionaire statesmen with their eyes closed and their hands over their hearts.

(January 18, 1935)

Speed the Important Thing
From the New York Daily News

By and large it is a good plan, we think; one which will keep some buying power up when the next depression comes, and so keep some industries from demoralization and some workers off breadlines. The important thing is to get the system started at this session of Congress, so that it can be improved and enlarged in time for the next economic crisis.

(January 19, 1935)

Guarding Against Hazards of the Future
From the Flint, Michigan, Journal

One great outstanding merit plainly commends the program. It is comprehensive. It is not a piecemeal or hasty venture. Months of detailed study have gone into the preparation of this system which is expected to protect a great mass of citizens against the hazards of a highly complex industrial society in which the individual has less command of his future.

(January 18. 1935)

Safer Living the Keynote of the Administration
From the Sacramento, California, Union

The nation will rejoice because President Roosevelt sticks to his social security program. Despite rumors to the contrary the President is determined to make safer living the keynote of his administration.

(January 18, 1935)

Strikes at the Basic Causes
From the Springfield, Illinois, Register

Outstanding in the minds of all those who have read the President's message and the report of his special committee, is a renewal of the deep conviction that the President is not satisfied to proceed merely in terms of temporary relief for economic distress, but that he strikes at the basic causes of economic insecurity and is determined to correct them by such slow but sure processes as the credit of the government and the stability of business will permit.

(January 18, 1935)

Opposition Proof of Soundness
From the Oklahoma City Oklahoman

Perhaps the strongest proof of the soundness of Mr. Roosevelt's security program is the fact that two extreme schools of economic thought voice a vehement opposition to the program."

(January 19, 1935)

We Have Learned Our Lesson
From the Detroit, Michigan, News

We have learned our lesson. In some form, the recommendations conveyed to Congress by President Roosevelt will be enacted, because the country, taught by the depression, is ready for their realization.

Congress will adopt a plan; it will be followed perforce by the States, because they cannot afford to stay out of it. A Federal payroll tax, 90 percent of which will be remitted to employers in States that cooperate, is too strong an argument to be disregarded.

(January 18, 1935)
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