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Remarks at the Swearing In of Dr. James Duesenberry as a Member, Council of Economic Advisers.

February 02, 1966

Dr. and Mrs. Duesenberry and family, Chairman Ackley, Members of the Cabinet, distinguished Members of the Congress, my friends:

We are here this morning to engage in a bit of barter with Harvard University. Harvard made us give them back Otto Eckstein. We wouldn't do it until they gave us Jim Duesenberry.

Dr. Duesenberry is, as we all know, one of this Nation's leading economists. When I was growing up, that didn't seem to mean very much, but since I grew up we have learned the error of our ways.

In fact, it occurs to me that the legal profession had itself better be on guard. I haven't had any head count, but it wouldn't surprise me a bit to find today that the economists in Government already outnumber the lawyers.

Someone once defined an economist as a person who says that we move in cycles instead of running around in circles. The new breed of economists that we have on our Council of Economic Advisers are busy proving that we don't even have to put up with the cycles any more. For the fact is that for 5 years now, if the press will accept my apology, this country has been moving straight ahead and we think in the fight direction.

We are now in the 60th month of record-breaking prosperity, I read this morning, and the Council of Economic Advisers has a lot to do with that amazing achievement.

Abraham Lincoln once described the problem of government in these words: "If we could first know where we are and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do and how to do it." That is what we think Gardner Ackley and his brilliant associates are trying to do for this economy of ours.

We believe that they have taken some of the guesswork out of the job of trying to steer this Ship of State. With their help, with the close relationship and constant contact with American business, and American labor, and American Government, we have tried to chart a common course that has kept us in the mainstream of prosperity in this country.

It has taken more than their advice. It has taken industrial statesmanship. It has taken labor responsibility. It has taken a Government which is looking out every minute of the day for the best interests of all the people. And we are going to continue to encourage this great partnership.

Prosperity, I think, then will take care of itself. But prosperity by itself is not just enough. We have already proved that recessions are not a necessary fact of life. Now we must prove that inflation is not necessarily a result of prosperity.

I, for one, do not believe that it is. I believe that with the continued cooperation of all Americans, if we can get that cooperation, we can hold inflation in check. At least this is our goal. And this is our objective and this is our determination.

So this morning I again appeal to all my fellow Americans to help their country in this hour of need. I appeal to business not to raise prices. I appeal alike to labor to observe the guideposts.

I believe that the fiscal 1967 budget is designed to hold our economy in balance. I would remind you that in this budget cash receipts exceed cash outlay. Your Government will, we think, the next fiscal year, take in $500 million more than your Government will spend in that fiscal year.

So I appeal to the Congress to enact the revenue measures that I have proposed. I urge the Congress to keep the recommended appropriations within the limits that we have requested.

It gives me a very great pleasure this morning to welcome Dr. Duesenberry to the Government and to my administration.

I think we should observe that he comes here at no small personal sacrifice. He has come to Washington because he loves his country and he wants to serve it, and he loves his Government and his Government needs him.

He and his lovely wife and their four wonderful children are most welcome additions to our official family. I think that they will write a record here, as his colleagues on the Council have written, that will excite the admiration of not only all their fellow Americans, but will excite the admiration of leaders in other governments throughout the world who frequently comment to me about the wisdom, the foresight, the stability of the United States of America and its policies. There is no group that is more responsible for that stability or that leadership than the Council of Economic Advisers.

Dr. Duesenberry, we are delighted to have you. Welcome aboard.

Note: The President spoke at 12:05 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. In his opening words he referred to Dr. and Mrs. James Duesenberry and Gardner Ackley, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. During his remarks he referred to Otto Eckstein, former member of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at the Swearing In of Dr. James Duesenberry as a Member, Council of Economic Advisers. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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