A Re-Birth of Faith in Our Future
A FREEDOM LINKED TO SECURITY
By THOMAS E. DEWEY, Governor of New York, and Republican Presidential Nominee
Broadcast from Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pa., September 7, 1944
Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. X, pp. 719-721.
TONIGHT we open a campaign to decide the course of our country for many years to come. The next national Administration will take office Jan. 20, 1945, and will serve until 1949. Those years 1945 to 1949 will be largely—and we pray, wholly—peace-time years.
For nearly three years our nation has been engaged in a world war. Today our armed forces are winning victory after victory. Total, smashing victory is in sight. Germany and Japan shall be given the lessons of their lives—right in Berlin and Tokyo.
America—our America which loves peace so dearly—is proving once again that it can wage war mightily . . . that it can crush any aggressor who threatens the freedom which we love even more than peace. The American people have risen to the challenge. The war is being won on the battlefronts. It is also being won in the factory, the office, the farm, the mine and the home.
Yes, we are proving that we can wage war. But what are the prospects of success as a nation at peace? The answer depends entirely on the outcome of this election.
At the very outset I want to make one thing clear. This is not merely a campaign against an individual or a political party. It is not merely a campaign to displace a tired, exhausted, quarreling and bickering Administration with a fresh and vigorous Administration. It is a campaign against an Administration which was conceived in defeatism, which failed for eight straight years to restore our domestic economy, which has been the most wasteful, extravagant and incompetent Administration in the history of the nation and worst of all, one which has lost faith in itself and in the American people.
This basic issue was clearly revealed in the recent announcement by the Director of Selective Service in Washington. He said that when Germany and Japan have been defeated it will still be necessary to demobilize the armed forces very gradually. And why? Because, he said, "We can keep people in the Army about as cheaply as we could create an agency for them when they are out."
For six months we have been hearing statements from the New Deal underlings in Washington that this was the plan. Now it is out in the open. They have been working up to it. Because they are afraid of peace. They are afraid of a continuance of their own failures to get this country going again. They are afraid of America.
I do not share that fear. I believe that our members of the armed forces should be transported home and released at the earliest practical moment after victory. I believe that the occupation of Germany and Japan should very soon be confined to those who voluntarily choose to remain in the Army when peace comes. I am not afraid of the future of America—either immediate or distant. I am sure of our future, if we get a national Administration which believes in our country.
The New Deal was founded on the philosophy that our frontiers are behind us and all we have left to do is to quarrel over the division of what we have. Mr. Roosevelt himself said in 1932: "Our industrial plant is built . . . our I task is not . . . necessarily producing more goods. It is the soberer, less dramatic business of administering resources and plants already in hand." The New Deal operated on that philosophy for seven straight peace-time years with unlimited power. At the end of that time in 1939, the New Deal gave its own official verdict on its failure by this cold admission: "The American economic machine is stalled on dead center."
The Administration knows that the war, with all its tragic toll of death, debt and destruction, is the only thing that saved it. They are deadly afraid that they will go back to resumption of their own failures. That is why they are afraid to let men out of the Army. That is why they say it is cheaper to keep men in the Army than to let them come home.
Now let us get another point straight for the records right here at the beginning. In the last hundred years we have had eleven periods during which business and employment were well below normal. During that period, the average depression lasted two years. In the entire hundred years the longest depression of all was five years and the next longest was four years—up to the last one.
When this Administration took office the depression was already over three years old. Then what happened? In 1933, when the depression was then five years old—longer than any other in a century, we still had 12,000,000 unemployed. By 1940 the depression was almost eleven years old. This Administration had been in power for seven straight years and there were still 10,000,000 Americans unemployed.
It took a world war to get jobs for the American people.
Let's get one thing clear and settled. Who was President during the depression that lasted from 1933 until some time in 1940, when war orders from all over the world began to bring us full employment again? The New Deal kept this country in a continuous state of depression for seven straight years. It made a three-year depression last eleven years—over twice as long as any other depression in a whole century.
Now, Washington is getting all set for another depression. They intend to keep the young men in the Army. TheNew Deal spokesmen are daily announcing that reconversion will be difficult, if not impossible. They say that relief rolls will be enormous. They drearily promise us that we will need to prepare for an army of unemployed bigger than the armies we have put in the field against the Germans and the Japanese. That's what's wrong with the New Deal. That's why it's time for a change.
The reason for this long-continued failure is two-fold. First, because there never was a worse job done of running our government. When one agency fails the New Deal just piles another on and we pay for both. When men quarrel, there is no one in authority to put a stop to it. When agencies get snarled up there is no one in authority to untangle them. Meanwhile, the people's business goes to pot and the people are the victims.
Right in the final crisis of this war, the most critical of all war agencies—the War Production Board—fell apart before our eyes. This is also the board in charge of reconversion and jobs. Yet, we have seen quarreling, disunity and public recriminations day after day as one competent man after another resigned and the head of the board was sent to China. We have seen this happen in agency after agency. The cost to the war effort to the country can never be calculated. And it's time the people put an end to it.
When the W. P. B. fell apart, so did your chance under this Administration for jobs after the war. For now the New Dealers have moved in, and their handiwork, their promise for America is not jobs—but the dole.
The other reason for this long continued failure—the reason why they are now dismally preparing for another depression—is because this Administration has so little faith in the United States. They believe in the defeatist philosophy that our industrial plant is built, that our task is not to produce more goods but to fight among ourselves over what we have.
I believe that we have not even begun to build our industrial plant We have not exhausted our inventive genius. We have not exhausted our capacity to produce more goods for our people. No living man has yet dreamed of the limit to which we can go if we have a government which believes in the American economic system and in the American people.
This Administration is convinced that we can achieve social security only by surrendering a little bit of freedom for every little bit of security. That is exactly what our enemies thought. So their people first lost their freedom and then their security. I cannot accept that course for America. I believe—I know—that we can achieve real social security only if we do keep our freedom.
There can be—there must be—jobs and opportunity for all, without discrimination on account of race, creed, color or national origin. There must be jobs in industry, in agriculture, in mines, in stores, in offices, at a high level of wages and salaries. There must be opportunity and incentive for men and women to go into business for themselves.
The war has proved that despite the New Deal, America can mightily increase its frontiers of production. With competent government America can produce mightily for peace. And the standard of living of our people is limited only by the amount of goods and services we are able to produce.
The New Deal prepares to keep men in the Army because it is afraid of a resumption of its own depression. They can't think of anything for us to do once we stop building guns and tanks. But to those who believe in America there's lots to do. Why, just take housing, for example. If we simply build the homes the American people need in order to be decently housed, it will keep millions of men employed for years. After twelve years of the New Deal the housing of the American people has fallen down so badly that just to come up to the standards of 1930 we will need to build more than a million homes a year for many years to come. And this does not include the enormous need for farm housing repairs and alterations.
By the end of this year we will have an immediate need for 6,000,000 automobiles just to put the same number of cars back on the road that were there in 1941. We will need after the war 3,500,000 vacuum cleaners, 7,000,000 clocks, 23,000,000 radio sets, 5,000,000 refrigerators, 10,000,000 electric irons, 3,000,000 washing machines and millions of other household appliances. There are 600 different articles made of steel and iron which have not been manufactured since 1942. All this means production and production means jobs. But that kind of production and that kind of job are beyond the experience and vision of the New Deal.
The transportations industry—rail, air and motor—is waiting to get going.
The mighty energy we found lying dormant and unused in this country at the beginning of the war must be turned from destruction to creation. There can and must be jobs for all who want them and a free, open door for every man who wants to start out in business for himself.
We know from long experience that we will not provide jobs and restore small business by the methods of the New Deal. We cannot keep our freedom and at the same time continue experimentation with new policy every day by the national government. We cannot succeed with a controlled and regulated society under a government which destroys incentive, chokes production, fosters disunity and discourages men with vision and imagination from creating employment and opportunity.
The New Deal really believes that unemployment is bound to be with us permanently. It says so. They will change this twelve-year-old tune between now and election. They have done it every time. But they've always come back to it after election. The New Deal really believes that we cannot have good social legislation and also good jobs for all. I believe with all my heart and soul that we can have both.
Of course, we need security regulation. Of course, we need bank-deposit insurance. Of course, we need price support for agriculture. Of course, the farmers of this country cannot be left to the hazards of a world price while they buy their goods on an American price. Of course, we need unemployment insurance and old-age pensions and also relief whenever there are not enough jobs. Of course, the rights of labor to organize and bargain collectively are fundamental. My party blazed the trail in that field by passage of the Railway Labor Act in 1926.
But we must also have a government which believes in enterprise and government policies which encourage enterprise. We must see to it that a man who wants to start a business is encouraged to start it, that the man who wants to expand a going business is encouraged to expand it. We must see to it that the job-producing enterprises of America are stimulated to produce more jobs. We must see to it that the man who wants to produce more jobs is not throttled by the government—but knows that he has a government as eager for him to succeed as he is, himself.
We cannot have jobs and opportunity if we surrender our freedom to government control. We do not need to surrender our freedom to government control in order to have the economic security to which we are entitled as free men. We can have both opportunity and security within the framework of a free society. That is what the American people will say at the election next November.
With the winning of the war in sight, there are twoovershadowing problems. First, the making and keeping of the peace of the world so that your children and my children shall not face this tragedy all over again. This great objective to which we are all so deeply devoted, I shall talk about at Louisville tomorrow night on the radio.
The other problem is whether we shall replace the tired and quarrelsome defeatism of the present Administration with a fresh and vigorous government which believes in the future of the United States, and knows how to act on that belief.
Such action involves many things: Tax policies, regulatory policies, labor policies, opportunity for small business, the bureaucracies which are attempting to regulate every detail of the lives of our people—these are all of major importance. I shall discuss each of them in detail before this campaign is over. I will discuss them in plain English and say what we propose to do about them.
I am interested—desperately interested in bringing to our country a re-birth of faith in our future. I am deeply interested in bringing a final end to the defeatism and failure of this Administration in its domestic policies. I am deeply devoted to the principle that victory in this war shall mean victory for freedom and for the permanent peace of the world. Our place in a peaceful world can and will be made secure. But nothing on earth will make us secure unless we are strong, unless we are productive and unless we have faith in ourselves. We can and we will recover our future and go forward in the path of freedom and security. I have unlimited faith that the American people will choose that path next November.