November 14 — a fireside chat

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Nov. 14, 1937

Enforced idleness, embracing any considerable portion of our people, in a nation of such wealth and natural opportunity, is a paradox that challenges our ingenuity. Unemployment is one of the bitter and galling problems that now afflicts man-kind. It has been with us, in a measure, since the beginning of our industrial era. It has been increased by the complexity of business and industry, and it has been made more acute by the depression. It has made necessary the expenditure of billions of dollars for relief and for publicly created work; it has delayed the balancing of our national budget, and increased the tax burden of all our people. In addition to the problem faced by the national government our states and local governments have been sorely pressed to meet the increased load resulting from unemployment.

It is a problem of every civilized nation — not ours alone. It has been solved in some countries by starting huge armament programs but we Americans do not want to solve it that way.

Nevertheless, as a nation we adopted the policy that no unemployed man or woman can be permitted to starve for lack of aid. That is still our policy. But the situation calls for a permanent cure and not just a temporary one.

Unemployment relief is, of course, not the permanent cure. The permanent cure lies in finding suitable jobs in industry and agriculture for all willing workers. It involves cooperative effort and planning which will lead to the absorption of this unused man-power in private industry.


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