John F. Kennedy photo

Excerpts of Remarks by Senator John F. Kennedy, Courthouse, Toledo, Ohio - (Advance Release Text)

November 04, 1960

In 1940 this area and this country became the arsenal of democracy. In 1960 this area and this country must become the workshop of freedom.

We must become the workshop of freedom in part to meet the challenge of communism. For the Communists have shifted their principal line of attack from the military to the economic. Where once there were Stalin's soldiers, there are now Khrushchev's salesmen. And to stay ahead of the Soviet Union in the world struggle means that we must stay ahead of the Soviet Union in the economic struggle.

We must become the workshop of freedom in part to win and to hold the faith and friendship of the underdeveloped countries now coming into their own in Asia, in Latin America, and Africa. For what these countries want immediately are the skills and the capital and the economic foundation that only the wealthy countries can supply. And if this country does not take the lead in building up the basic economic foundations of the new countries, if this country does not enter the vast markets of the new continents, then the Soviet Union will, and then the Soviet Union will profit in increased power and prestige around the world.

Yet even if the Soviet Union did not exist - even if there were no underdeveloped countries - we would have to build economically. For like it or not, the economy is moving - pushed forward by the forces of population growth and technological change.

Population growth assures that by 1970, we will have to feed, house, and clothe a population of 208 million - up 15 percent from today; find jobs for a labor force of 87 million - up nearly 20 percent from today.

Technological change assures that by 1970 we will be able to meet basic economic needs with a far smaller portion of the working force engaged in heavy industry. That will leave scope for a new burst in the standard of living - a rise of about 25 percent to a gross national product of $750 billion by 1970. But doing that requires shifting in emphasis from quantity to quality production; from heavy manufacturing to service industries. It requires diversification of product and site; and a vast expansion in the new fields of electronics, of space, of research and development.

The change in this direction is now in progress. It is because the administration has failed to master the drift, has failed to anticipate the change, has failed to ease the adjustment that there is now so much trouble in our basic economy. That is why steel is being turned out at 60 percent of capacity. That is why there are major pockets of unemployment in every center of heavy industry - in Buffalo, in Seattle, in Detroit, in Pittsburgh, in Youngstown. That is why unemployment is edging toward the 6 million mark. That is why the economy seems to be sliding into the third recession in 6 years.

Solving all those problems will not be easy. But it can be done. The next Democratic administration will take a giant step in that direction by acting rapidly to free the economy of all the shortsighted policies artificially imposed by the Republican administration.

First, we will free the economy from the shortsighted policies of high interest. For high interest is a drag upon the farmer, upon the homeowner and homebuilder, upon communities which must build schools or other public services. To assure full employment and a high rate of growth, the drag of high interest must be lifted.

Second, we must free the economy from the shortsighted policies of "no new starts" on resource development. For resource development - and the St. Lawrence Seaway and the port of Toledo prove the point - offers the best way there is to stimulate economic growth, to create new jobs, new industries, new needs, new opportunities throughout the country.

Third, we must free the economy from the shortsighted policies of an inadequate educational system - of overcrowded and underfinanced schools. For in the next decade to achieve the transition to higher living standards, we will need especially technically trained peoples. We will need probably 40 percent more executives and technically trained personnel than we have now.

Fourth, we must free the economy from the shortsighted views that permit racial discrimination. For the economy of the next decade requires, not only the willing work of all citizens but a high degree of special skill, and there will be no room, no excuse for the exclusion of other Americans from the common task and the common opportunity by reason of race, creed, or color.

We must free the economy - and the country - from the shackles of the Republican Party. For the Republican Party has always believed in scarcity - in scarce jobs, in scarce goods, in scarce money, in scarce houses. The Republican Party has a philosophy at odds with economy of abundance. But we Democrats believe in the economy of abundance, in full employment, in full development of resources, in full use of skills and plants, in full growth for America.

John F. Kennedy, Excerpts of Remarks by Senator John F. Kennedy, Courthouse, Toledo, Ohio - (Advance Release Text) Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives