Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at the Airport in Idaho Falls Upon Departing for Denver

August 26, 1966

Mrs. Johnson and I have just been in your State a few hours, but never have we seen more smiling faces, more happy people, or a more beautiful scenic area of the United States.

We are so happy that we could come here and take off from Idaho Falls.

We have served with great pleasure through the years with the men that you have sent to Washington. We are particularly proud of a number of those who occupy the executive branch of the Government, men like Mr. Rosel Hyde and men like Mr. Carver, Under Secretary of the Interior, and the Idaho people are our kind of people.

We came here today to see this great adventure, this great experiment that you have taken in the field of atomic energy where you made electricity for the first time from the atom.

You have a great and growing country. It is inhabited by sturdy characters. And we have prosperous conditions.

Now we do have a lot of problems and they all seem to wind up sometime or other on my desk.

All I can say is this--that we are trying to meet these problems, both foreign and domestic, as best we can.

We have General Westmoreland, I think the most brilliant soldier that we have in the United States Army. He was the head of West Point. We selected the best man that the Secretary of Defense could find and we sent him to Vietnam.

This week we lost almost 100 boys in Vietnam. The enemy lost 1,900 boys. We hated to see anyone lose their life, but as long as they are infiltrating, as long as they are determined to conquer that country by force, we just cannot pick up and pull out and run.

I am, as President, carefully considering every move made. I have not made any that General Westmoreland has not been consulted on, that is not in accord with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the best military men who have spent their entire life on this problem.

Sometimes I get a plan or a program or an idea of my own. When I explore it and go into it in depth I see the things that I have overlooked.

I am sure that is true of nearly every citizen in the land. But the wonderful part about our land is that we have liberty and we have freedom and everyone can explore and everyone can suggest and everyone can complain.

But I don't know of another nation in the world that wouldn't trade places with us today. I don't know of a person in this country who would like to leave our country and go any other place.

On the domestic front we, too, have problems. We always do when we have nearly everybody working. We have shortages of labor. We have high wages. We have high prices. We have high profits.

When I went to Washington 35 years ago we had souplines. We got 3 cents for our calves. We were burning our corn in the field. Our farms were being foreclosed. We had none of our people employed. Everybody was looking for a job. If they could get on WPA they were thankful.

Now you have problems of that kind. Through the years, though, we have moved forward. Now our problem is not too few jobs, but we have 76 million people working. Now that is 7 million more people who have jobs than they had when I went into the executive branch of the Government.

Those people who are working in factories got an average wage of $112 a week for a 40-hour week. So we have good hours, we have good wages. And we have good workers and we have them in ample numbers.

When they go to spending that money to build new homes, to buy new cars, to buy color television, you have a greater demand sometimes than you have supply. So your prices go up.

Since 1960 prices have gone up 10 percent. But farm income has gone up. Wages have gone up 17 percent. Profits have gone up 83 percent. Now our problem is to try to keep all those things pretty stable without causing a downtrend. And we work at that every day as best we can.

There is no one in the United States that wants to have stable conditions, prosperous conditions, more than your President, more than your Cabinet, more than your Congress, made up of both parties. No man ever goes to office, to Congress, on a platform of doing what is wrong. He wants to do what is right.

Now some of us think we have all the answers. Sometimes we don't have them. But we do have better answers than they have any other place in the world. We do have the highest standard of living. We do have the best housing. We do have the most cars. We do have the most television. We do have the most leisure time. We do have the best roads. We do have the best planes. We have the best luxuries, the most recreation.

What it all adds up to is you are going to have problems if you live in the 20th century. It may be a problem of noise as we are speaking. It may be a problem of being too quiet in the middle of the night. But we have problems. The difference is that today we have a problem of prosperity and when I went to Washington we had a problem of depression. Now we are going to deal with them as best we can. That is what I am out here doing today. I am dealing with them.

I can speak to 60 million people over television. I am not a candidate for office. My name is not on the ticket. I have been elected until January 1969. But when I go to Idaho and I go to Colorado, and I go to Oklahoma and Texas, and to six New England States the other day, I see the people that run this country, that I must report to, that I work for.

I never forget what Thomas Jefferson, the father of the Democratic Party, said. "The wisdom of the many is much to be preferred to the decisions of the few."

So I am out here with the many and I am so grateful and Mrs. Johnson is, for your coming and extending this hand of hospitality.

Thank you. Goodby, and God bless Idaho.

Note: The President spoke at 1 p.m. at the airport in Idaho Falls. During his remarks he referred to Rosel H. Hyde, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, John A. Carver, Jr., Under Secretary of the Interior, Gen. William C. Westmoreland, Commander, United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, and Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at the Airport in Idaho Falls Upon Departing for Denver Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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