John F. Kennedy on Welfare & Poverty
"My name is John Kennedy, and I come here as the Democratic candidate for the presidency of the United States."
[Oct. 20, 1960] left a mark on my own consciousness. "I don't say that all people have equal talent," Kennedy told his crowd of supporters. "But what I do say is that everyone should have the chance to develop their talent equally. I want it said that at the end of our administration, if we are successful, that every American had an equal chance, every American had a fair chance to develop his talents, and that is all we ask and that is all that any American asks."
My mother She did not have to bring me along that day. But doing so was her way of showing me just how much she longed to believe in the yet unfilled promise of the country, and in the possibilities, it held for her son.
Kennedy was a relatively ineffectual senator. During parts of 1954 and 1955 he was seriously ill with back ailments (compounded by Addison disease, for which he was treated from as early as 1953). Critics observed that he made no effort to oppose the anti-civil libertarian excesses of Joseph McCarthy. His friends later argued, not entirely persuasively, that he would have voted to censure McCarthy if he had not been hospitalized at the time.
The president must cast the net of his promises wide; the more he can offer to more people of diverse economic interests, geographic sections, and nations and racial groups, the most likely he is to triumph.
Jack Kennedy, running in the deeply Democratic district, had no reason to fear the national trend. Calling himself a "fighting conservative," he harbored private contempt for the social and economic policies of the New Deal. "Mr. Roosevelt has contributed to the end of capitalism in our own country," he wrote in this diary the summer before, "although he would probably argue the point at some length. He has done this, not through the laws which he sponsored or were passed during his presidency, but rather through the emphasis he put on rights rather than responsibilities."
"The war against poverty and degradation is not yet over," he said. "As long as there are 15 million substandard American homes, as long as there are 5 million American homes in the cities of the US which lack plumbing of any kind, as long as 17 million Americans live on inadequate assistance when they get older, then I think we have unfinished business in this country." Repeatedly through the campaign he called for "an economic drive on poverty."
KENNEDY: Well, Republican Senator George Aiken testifying in 1959--said there were 26 million Americans did not have the income to afford a decent diet. You can't tell me that any one who uses beans instead of meat--and there are 25 million of them--is well fed or adequately fed. I believe that we should not compare what our figures may be to India or some other country that has serious problems but to remember that we are the most prosperous country in the world and that these people are not getting adequate food. And they're not getting in many cases adequate shelter. And we ought to try to meet the problem.
|Other past presidents on Welfare & Poverty:||John F. Kennedy on other issues:|
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)
Past Vice Presidents:
Natural Law Party