Unpublished CES Studies
||Volume IX. Committee Publications
What The Economic Security Program Means To You
IN HIS message to Congress of June 8, 1934, President Roosevelt called attention to the great need of the American people for protection against the many hazards of life over which they have no control-- unemployment, old age, illness, and death of the breadwinner of the family. Millions of families were destitute and dependent on public relief and at least 90 percent of the American people lived in fear of what the future might bring. Soon after, the President created the Committee on Economic Security to make recommendations to him as to how a reasonably secure life for the individual might best be achieved. After 6 months of careful, thorough study the committee submitted a comprehensive program for the economic security of the American people, a program which would relieve the millions now destitute and prevent destitution and dependency in the future. The Federal Economic Security Program aims to restore to American citizens their traditional right, the right to "a proper security, a reasonable leisure, and a decent living throughout life."
WHAT THE ECONOMIC SECURITY PROGRAM PROVIDES
FOR THE MILLIONS NOW UNEMPLOYED-- JOBS INSTEAD OF RELIEF
Millions of men and women are today unable to secure a job and earn their daily bread. Though able and willing to work, they are forced to seek public relief while society must support them in idleness. The economic and human waste of unemployment is too great to be measured. The unemployed want work, not relief, and they can be given work and wages on public projects which will benefit the entire Nation. When a large group of worker are given jobs, other jobs are Immediately created, factories and shops set going to provide materials and tools. Through a great public employment program we can restore the unemployed to self-respect and independence and stimulate the Nation's business.
FOR THE LARGE MAJORITY OF AMERICAN WORKERS-- UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
The much larger group of workers who are employed also need protection, unemployment Is an ever-present menace to all of them. The loss of a job which cuts off the family Income may at any time force the worker and his family to become public charges.
Unemployment Insurance will afford protection against this greatest of all hazards. It will provide the worker with a steady income during periods of unemployment, from reserve funds which have been put aside for just that
purpose during periods of employment. The worker, when he loses his job, receives as a definite right a regular weekly sum of money (usually 50 percent of wages) for as long as several months if he remains unemployed. He and his family remain secure and independent until he is again working. Unemployment insurance Is the best single measure of protection for the largest group in our population. It will free workingmen from the ever
present fear of losing their jobs which at all times threatens their welfare and that of their families.
FOR ALL AMERICAN CITIZENS--OLD AGE SECURITY
About 1,000,000 old men and women over 6.5 years of age are now actually dependent upon public relief for their food and shelter. Tragic victims of the depression, their savings gone, their children unable to help, they have been forced to spend their declining years in poverty and humiliation public charity wards. There are now about 7,500,000 people over 65 in this country, of whom at least a half are dependent on others. In 25 or 30
years the actual number of aged will be almost twice as great as it is now. There is a strong and growing public demand that society make more adequate and dignified provision for needy aged persons. For old-age security the Federal economic security program makes three distinct provisions:
1. The Federal Government will match the States dollar for dollar in providing the present needy aged with pensions adequate to support them in their own homes for their remaining years.
2. Compulsory old-age insurance, whereby employed workers will be able with their own and their employers' contributions, to build up an annuity to sustain them In their old age.
3. Voluntary Government annuities at cost for self-employed workers not included in the compulsory insurance system.
These measures will provide for the present aged who are in need and will enable the aged of future generations to provide for themselves. It will give old people what Is theirs by right-the opportunity to spend their declining years in dignity and comfort.
FOR THE CHILD-- BETTER HEALTH AND A NORMAL HOMELIFE
There are now over 7,000,000 children under 16 on the relief rolls. Many of them have never known a time when their father had a steady job. Their lives have been darkened by poverty and the threat of being scattered among relatives and friends or in institutions. What this will mean in terms of weakened health and broken lives no one can foretell.
Every part of the economic security program, in protecting the wage earner's family life, will protect the child. The children who must be given special attention are those deprived of a father's support. These children need not also be deprived of a normal childhood. Through adequate mothers' pensions they can grow up in their own homes under their mothers' care. The economic security program will make this possible by granting aid to the states to strengthen and expand their mothers' pension systems. It will further guard the welfare of the child by aiding the States in child and maternal health work and In the care of dependent and physically handicapped children.
The Federal program is designed to give the future citizens of the land a more secure and healthy childhood.
Ill health is one of the greatest causes of poverty and destitution. To prevent illness wherever possible is the first step in dealing with this problem. The Federal economic security program will make it possible for the States to strengthen and expand their preventive public-health services.
Ill health, when it occurs, is enormously costly and falls most heavily on families of low income. The Committee on Economic Security is studying health Insurance plans to aid families in carrying this heavy burden which so often renders them helpless.
"Among our objectives I place the security of the men, women, and children of the Nation first."
COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC SECURITY
Secretary of Labor, Chairman.
HENRY MORGENTHAU, Jr.,
Secretary of the Treasury.
HOMER S. CUMMINGS,
HENRY A. WALLACE,
Secretary of Agriculture.
HARRY L. HOPKINS,
Federal Emergency Relief Administrator.
EDWIN E. WITTE,