President Roosevelt on fighting unemployment

Here’s what President Franklin Roosevelt had to say in a Fireside Chat on Sept. 30, 1934, about infrastructure improvement and unemployment.  What he said is just as true today as it was then.

To those who say that our expenditures for Public Works and other means for recovery are a waste that we cannot afford, I answer that no country, however rich, can afford the waste of its human resources.  Demoralization caused by vast unemployment is our greatest extravagance.  Morally, it is the greatest menace to our social order.  Some people try to tell me that we must make up our minds that for the future we shall permanently have millions of unemployed just as other countries have had them for over a decade.  What may be necessary for those countries is not my responsibility to determine.  But as for this country, I stand or fall by my refusal to accept as a necessary condition of our future a permanent army of unemployed.  On the contrary, we must make it a national principle that we will not tolerate a large army of unemployed and that we will arrange our national economy to end our present unemployment as soon as we can and then to take wise measures against its return.  I do not want to think that it is the destiny of any American to remain permanently on relief rolls.

Click on FDR Chat 6 for the whole speech.

Hat tip to Fred Clark’s slacktivist web log.

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