JFK'S RIGHT-TO-WORK SPEECH
"I'm here today to talk about the right to work --
the right to have a job in this country
in a time of prosperity in the United States.
That's the real right-to-work issue of 1963."
Now that the once prosperous nations of the free world are joining the poor and enslaved nations in poverty and unemployment it is time to remember how things COULD have been if President Kennedy had been allowed to finish his two terms in office and his policies had been implemented.
After President Kennedy's murder in 1963 the United States spiralled downward into an abyss of war and an economy where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, not much different than the situation in Communist nations.
But in JFK's one thousand days as President he accomplished "the longest and strongest peacetime expansion in the history of the United States".
Exactly one week before his death JFK spoke to representatives of the working man at the Amercican Federation of Labour & Congress of Industrial Organizations convention and explained how a peacetime economy thrives.
I couldn't find this speech anywhere on the web and so have typed it  from the 1964 book, THE BURDEN AND THE GLORY, which is a compilation of JFK's public statements and speeches. ~ Jackie Jura
watch JFK 1962 Speech Advocating Tax Cuts
Path to Prosperity
excerpt from John F Kennedy's address to the Economic Club of New York
on 14 December 1962, YouTube
THE WORK DONE AND THE WORK STILL TO DO
President Kennedy's speech
to the AFL-CIO Convention
New York, New York, November 15, 1963
"...And here in the United States we've encouraged the peaceful desegregation of schools in 238 districts, theaters in 144 cities, restaurants in 129 cities and lunch counters in 100 cities, while at the same time taking Executive Action to open doors to our citizens in transportation terminals and polling places and public and private employment.
And finally, we've been working to strengthen the economy of the United States through the Area Redevelopment Act of '61, through the Public Works Acceleration Act of '62, through the Manpower Development and Training Act of '62.
We've increased industry's ability and desire to hire men through the most extensive and promising Trade Expansion Act in our history, through the most comprehenisve Housing and Urban Renewal Act of all time, through liberalized depreciation guidelines and through over a billion-dollar loan to small businessmen.
We have boosted the purchasing power and relieved the distress of some of those least able to take care of themselves -- by increasing the miniumum wage to $1.25, which is still much too low, and expanding its coverage by three and a half millions, which is still too little; by increasing Social Security benefits to men and women who can retire at the age of sixty-two; by granting for the first time in the history of the United States public assistance to several hundred thousand children of unemployed fathers; and by extending the benefits of nearly three million jobless workers.
By doing these things and others we have attempted to work for the benefit of our people. And I can assure you that if we could obtain -- and I see no good reason why we should not -- the prompt passage of the pending $11 billion dollar tax reduction bill, we will be sailing by next April on the winds of the longest and strongest peacetime expansion in the history of the United States.
Our national output three years ago was $500 billion. In January, three years later, it will be $600 billion, a record rise of $100 billion in thirty-six months. For the first time in history we have seventy million men and women at work. For the first time in history factory earnings have exceeded $100 a week. And even the stock market has broken all records -- though we only get credit when it goes down.
The average factory worker takes home ten dollars a week more than he did three years ago, and two and a half million people more are at work. In fact, if the economy during the last two and a half years had grown at the same lagging pace that it did in the last two and a half years of the fifties, unemployment today would be 8 percent. In short, we have made progress, but all of us know that more progress must be made. That's what we're here about.
I'm here today to talk about the right to work -- the right to have a job in this country in a time of prosperity in the United States. That's the real right-to-work issue of 1963.
In spite of this progress, this country must move fast even to stand still. Productivity goes up so fast, the number of people coming into the labor market is so increased, ten million more jobs are needed in the next two and a half years.
Even with this astonishing economic progress, which in the last eighteen months has meant that the United States has grown faster economically than France and Germany, than any country in Europe but two--even with this extraordinary economic progress in the last eighteen months, we still have an unemployment rate of 5.5% with four million people out of work. Productivity goes up so fast, so many millions come into the labor market, that unless we have the most extraordinary economic progress in the history of our country we cannot possibly make a dent in the 5.5 percent figure.
So while we take some satisfaction in what we've done and tried to do, this group more than any knows how much we still have left to do, and I hope the day will never come--nor do I predict it--when the AFL-CIO will be satisfied with anything less than the best.
Four million people are out of work. All the people who opposed the efforts we're making to try to improve the economic climate of the United States, who talked to us so long about socialism and deficits and all the rest, should look at that figure: four million people out of work. And judging from last summer's statistics, three times that many have experienced some unemployment.
That hanging over the labor market makes it more difficult for those of you who speak for labor at the bargaining table to speak with force. When there are so many people out of work, it affects the whole economic climate. That's why I think that this issue of economic security, of jobs, is the basic issue facing the United States in 1963, and I wish we could get everybody talking about it.
A quarter of the people we're talking about are out of work fifteen weeks or longer, and their families feel it. This is a year of prosperity, of record prosperity, and 1954 was a year of recession, and yet our unemployment rate is as high today as it was in 1954.
Last year's loss of man-hours in terms of those willing but unable to find full-time work was a staggering one billion work days lost, equivalent to shutting down the entire country for three weeks with no pay. That is an intolerable waste for this rich country of ours.
And that's why I say that economic security is the No. 1 issue today. It is not so recognized by everyone. There are those who oppose the tax cut, the youth employment bill, who oppose more money for depressed areas and job retraining and other public needs.
And they are powerful and articulate. They are campaigning on a platform of so-called individual initiative. They talk loudly of deficits and socialism. But they do not have a single constructive job-creating program of their own, and they oppose the efforts that we are making. I do not believe that selling TVA is a program to put people to work.
There are those who support our efforts for jobs but say it isn't the No. 1 issue. Some may say that civil rights is the No. 1 issue. This nation needs the passage of our bill if we are to fulfill our constitutional obligations. But no one gains from a fair employment practice bill if there is no employment to be had. No one gains by being admitted to a lunch counter if he has no money to spend. No one gains from attending a better school if he doesn't have a job after graduation. No one thinks much of the right to own a good home, or to sleep in a good hotel, or go to the theater, if he has no work and no money. Civil rights legislation is important. But to make that legislation effective, we need jobs in the United States.
And some may say that the No. 1 domestic issue is education, and this nation must improve its education. What concerns me almost more than anything is the statistic that there will be eight million young boys and girls coming into the labor market in the sixties who have not been graduated from high school.
Where are they going to find jobs? Which of your unions is going to be able to put them to work? Eight million of them. But the best schools, the best teachers and the best books--all these are of no avail if there are no jobs. The out-of-work college graduate is just as much out of work as the school dropout. The family beset by unemployment cannot send a child to college. It may even encourage him to drop out of high school to find a job which he will not keep.
Education is a key to the growth of this country. We must educate our children as our most valuable resource. We must make it possible for those who have talent to go to college, but only if those who are educated can find a job.
If jobs are the most important domestic issue that this country faces, then clearly no single step can now be more important in sustaining the economy of the United States than the passage of our tax bill. For this will help consumer markets, and build investment demand and build business incentive, and therefore provide jobs for a total addition to the economy of the United States in the next months of nearly $30 billion.
We dare not wait for this tax cut until it's too late, as perhaps some would have. On the average this nation's period of peacetime expansion before the downturn comes leading to a recession has lasted twenty-eight months since 1920 and thirty-two months since the end of the Second World War.
Today we are already in our thirty-third month of economic expansion, and we urgently need that tax cut as insurance against a recession next year. We need that cut where it will do the most good. And the benefits mostly will go to those two or three million people who out of that bill will find new jobs.
But tax cuts are not enough, and jobs are not enough, and higher earnings and greater growth and record prosperity are not enough--unless that prosperity is used to sustain a better society. We can take real pride in a $600 billion economy and seventy million jobs only when they are underwriting to the fullest extent possible to improve our schools, to rebuild our cities, to counsel our youth, to assure our health and to care for our aged and infirm.
Next Monday the House Ways and Means Committee will open its hearings on a bill too long delayed to provide hospital insurance for our older citizens. These hearings are desirable, but the facts are known.
Our older and retired workers are sick more often and for longer periods than the rest of the populaton. Their income is only half that of our younger citizens. They cannot afford hospital insurance. Their children cannot afford to pay hospital bills for three generations--for their children, for themselves and for their parents. I have no doubt that most children are willing to try to do it, but they cannot, and I think that the United States should heed its responsibilities as a pround and resourceful country.
I cannot tell whether we're going to get this legislation before Christmas, but I can say that I believe that this Congress will not go home next summer to the people of the United States without passing this bill. I think we should stay there till we do."
~ end quoting JFK speech to Labor November 15, 1963 ~
JFK LABOR SPEECH RECORD ALBUM (...I have an album in my possession, "John F. Kennedy's Last Words to Labor and His Inaugural Address". This album commemorates the last time President Kennedy talked to labor - the fifth AFL-CIO convention, New York city, November 15, 1963...)
JFK'S RIGHT-TO-WORK SPEECH
(longest/strongest peacetime economic expansion in history)
watch JFK'S LAST PRESS CONFERENCE #64
(JFK says USA will not trade with Red China)
November 14, 1963
JFK LISTENS TO MACARTHUR ON CHINA & USSR
(should have destroyed Communists at Korean War)
watch CHINA BUY BUY AMERICAN PIE song
(apple pie from China, president from Kenya)
ANYTHING MADE IN AMERICA?
& 9.Keeping Masses Down
JFK & IMF & EURO SCREWING DOLLAR and JFK TRUTHS & UNTRUTHS
UPDATE: JFK OPPOSED MONOLITHIC CONSPIRACY (...The speech you may be referring to is the SECRET SOCIETY speech JFK gave on April 27, 1961 to the Association of Newspaper Publishers requesting their help in informing and alerting the American people to "the deadly dangerous threat confronting every sphere of human activity"...)
Reader asks about speech JFK made ten days before he died
9.Keeping Masses Down and 11.Ministry of Starvation and 12.Ministry of War and 10.The Rulers and 6.Super-States
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