Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at the Swearing In of Andrew F. Brimmer as a Member, Federal Reserve Board.

March 09, 1966

Dr. Brimmer, Mr. Vice President, members of the Brimmer family, Chairman Martin, members of the Federal Reserve Board, most distinguished guests, Members of Congress, ladies and gentlemen:

Thirty-three years ago this week not a single bank in America was open for business. It was a time of depression and despair as Americans lost confidence not only in their dollar but in their system of government itself.

Today all of that seems to be behind us. Our banking system is sound and there is confidence in the American dollar. Instead of depression or recession, we are beginning our sixth year of uninterrupted prosperity, the longest in America's peacetime history.

No accident of history brought about this change. It has come because we have learned the economic facts of life and we now realize that recession and inflation are not inevitable. They can be avoided through sound economic fiscal policies. It has come because we have learned how we can work together, cooperating with each other for the benefit of all the people of our land.

The great abundance of America is the result of responsible cooperation between business and banking, between labor and Government. No member of that partnership, from Government's viewpoint, is more important or has greater responsibilities than the Federal Reserve System of this country. The seven distinguished Governors of the Federal Reserve System share the task of deciding how much money and credit should be supplied to America's economy--and that, ladies and gentlemen, is no easy burden.

The entire Nation, every worker and every housewife, every businessman and every farmer, is affected by the progressive spirit and the wisdom and the prudence of the men who sit on that Board.

In the choice of those men who sit there, the President of the United States has no more far-reaching decision to to make. Today the Federal Reserve System of our Nation has a new Governor. I am proud of this choice. His qualifications, I think, are rare. For if it is true, as some have said, that not 1 man in 100,000 really understands the complexity of high finance and monetary policy, Dr. Andrew Brimmer is one that, I believe, does understand it.

He has been both student and teacher in major universities on both the east and west coasts of this land. He worked for several years in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York City. He is a doctor of economics from Harvard, a professor of economics on leave from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania. We borrowed him from Pennsylvania to serve in the "little Cabinet" as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs in the important Department of Commerce.

He was the chief economist for that Department. He was also in charge of the voluntary program carried out by the businessmen of America which has done so much to correct our balance of payments problems by reducing our deficit from $2.8 billion last year to $1.3 billion this year.

Dr. Brimmer was born on a farm in the State of Louisiana. His achievements in life are his own. Through his own intelligence and by his own efforts he rose to the highest academic honors. In the process, he developed a deep feeling for Americans in every walk of life. He is still a young man at age 39.

Last month, in fact, he received the Arthur S. Flemming Award which is presented to the 10 outstanding young men in Government service. I don't know of a recommendation that I have received from any man in Government that was stronger than the recommendation Secretary Connor made of Dr. Brimmer and the work that he had done in the Commerce Department.

So, ladies and gentlemen, Dr. Brimmer brings energy and high professional standards, profound qualities of heart and mind to one of the most critical assignments in our public life today. He will recognize the challenges as they arise and I hope he will help us face them with intelligence, with knowledge, and with moderation.

I do not expect Dr. Brimmer to be an easy money man or a tight-money man. He knows, as I think we all do, that the complexity of today's economy defies such a simple and such a rigid qualification. I expect Dr. Brimmer to be a right-money man, one who, I believe, will carefully and cautiously and intelligently evaluate the Nation's needs and the needs of all of its people, and recommend the policies which his conscience and his judgment tells him will best serve the national interest.

He takes office at a time when there is much to be done by all working together, cooperating. We must continue to sustain high employment without inflation. We must complete the adjustment of our balance of payments with other nations. We must meet the heavy demands of our military and economic effort in Vietnam without losing our momentum for social progress here at home.

To achieve all of this is not going to be easy. It is going to be difficult. It is going to try the best that is in all of us. The decisions are going to be many and they are going to be difficult, but I think that the people of America can all be glad that Dr. Andrew Brimmer will be helping us to make them.

So I welcome each of you to this historic East Room this morning to witness the swearing in of this most gifted American to this most responsible post.

Note: The President spoke at 10:40 a.m. in the East Room at the White House. In his opening words he referred to Dr. and Mrs. Andrew F. Brimmet and their daughter Esther, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, and William McC. Martin, Jr., Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, who administered the oath of office. During his remarks the President referred to Secretary of Commerce John T. Connor under whom Dr. Brimmet served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at the Swearing In of Andrew F. Brimmer as a Member, Federal Reserve Board. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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