Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks Upon Arrival at the Airport in Denver

August 26, 1966

Governor Love, Mayor Currigan, Lt. Governor Robert Knous, your distinguished Senators Gordon Allott and Peter Dominick, who, I am very happy to say, came out with me today with your four great Congressmen, Wayne Aspinall, Byron Rogers, Frank Evans, and Roy McVicker:

I am also delighted to have with me Governor Calvin Rampton of Utah and Governor Jack Campbell of New Mexico; a good many Members of Congress from the great State of Oklahoma, Senator Monroney and Senator Harris, the distinguished Majority Leader Carl Albert, Congressmen Belcher, Edmondson, Steed, Jarman, and Johnson.

I brought with me today some of the leaders in our Government. We have Mr. James Webb of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Mr. Hyde, the Chairman of the FCC; Mr. Carver, the Under Secretary of the Interior; Mr. Foley, the Assistant Secretary of Commerce; Mr. Edwards, the Chairman of the National Mediation Board; Mr. Jenkins of the National Labor Relations Board; and my own Dave Bunn of the White House staff, without whom I don't think we would have ever passed a measure through the House of Representatives.

Lady Bird and I are very grateful to all of you good people of Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region, particularly of Denver, for coming out here to greet us today. You have not only brought us a lot of beautiful scenery and attractive personalities, but you brought us some fine weather.

Denver has always been exceedingly friendly to the Johnsons, and this trip is no exception. This is an area of the country that I think is definitely moving forward and Denver is a city that is on the move.

I am never surprised to learn how much it is growing. Since we came here 2 years ago, your population has already jumped more than 5 percent. Just think what would happen if I should come back here every 2 years for the next 10 years. That is not either a promise or a prediction, but that is something for you to think about.

I like to come back to Denver to get progress reports, because the news here seems to be always so much better. The further west you go, the better the news is, in my opinion.

The number of people living at the poverty level is down to 15 percent. That is 3 percent under the average for the large cities of America.

The number of people with less than 5 years in school is already down to 4 percent. That is less than 3 percent below other large cities in this country.

The number of people who live in crowded housing is down to 8 percent. That is less than 2 percent in the other large titles in this country.

I don't cite these figures as an invitation to smugness, because I know you are never going to be satisfied until you get all of these things down to zero. But I do cite them as an example of what can happen when a great city decides to tackle the problems of the 20th century under progressive leadership.

I am proud of what your National Government-and never forget that it is your National Government--is doing to help out. We are investing more than $143 million this year in Denver alone.

As I look around this energetic city, I can see that it is a very solid investment.

The other morning a newspaper columnist asked, "Why is the President leaving Washington this weekend--this Saturday-when he has so many problems to solve here?"

Well, I thought about that, and I think I should tell you why. Because all of our problems don't seem to be solvable in Washington. They are going to be solved in some places. Those places are going to be cities like Denver where people like you make up your minds to do something about poverty, to do something about your slums, to do something to improve your schools, to build your parks and your recreation areas, to make this a better place for your children to grow up, to restore your land to its beauty, to purify your waters, to improve your farms, to conserve your resources.

Now I know that sounds like Lady Bird's speech or Wayne Aspinall's speech, but I think they both learned something from us.

Some people say the Federal Government should do everything. Some people say the Federal Government should do nothing. Both are wrong.

America is all of us working together to do what none of us can do by ourselves. I came out here to tell you that I am not timid about America's future. I am not like the old man who was asked about the weather and replied, "Well, it is going to get better, if it doesn't get worse."

Look at the economy. Some people are saying the prosperity we have enjoyed for 6 years is about to come down like the snow on your mountains in the August sun. Well, I don't want you to believe that for a moment.

Prices have gone up. The cost of living has risen. Housewives are paying more for certain things. And they are concerned. But out of our dollar today, we spend 18 cents of it for food. Twenty years ago we spent 26 percent of it for food.

I know--and I hear it from Mrs. Johnson every day--about these food prices. I guess I am going to hear it from Mrs. Nugent, too, because I read in the newspaper where she did her first shopping the other day. And I haven't heard the last of it.

But the truth is that while prices have gone up 10 percent in the last 6 years--and we have kept a very accurate record of that through our Bureau of Labor Statistics-wages have gone up almost 20 percent.

Your family is still buying better food with a smaller portion of your income than it has ever bought before in our history. There are more than 6 million people working today than were working 5 years ago.

Last year I got 24 cents for my calves. This year I got 28 cents for my calves. And, of course, your meat may cost a little more when the producer gets a little more. But I believe there are some producers in the area, as well as some workers and some consumers.

I do not believe we can chase away our problems by only counting our blessings. But the fact is that our standard of living has gone up fast. We have the highest standard of living of any people in any country anywhere in all of the world.

I am concerned about inflation. My administration is looking at hard ways to deal with it and try as best we can to keep this a stable economy. But we know that you don't have inflation when people don't have jobs. We know you don't have inflation when no one has any money to buy goods. We know you don't have inflation when factories are closing down instead of expanding. We can keep inflation from running away with our prosperity if we will just remember what Woodrow Wilson once said: "that the highest and best form of efficiency is the spontaneous cooperation of all the people."

I think that is still so. And it is still the answer to many more problems than inflation. The spontaneous cooperation of our people is the secret weapon that made America great. And it is the only one that is going to keep America great.

I am very happy to be here. I am delighted to see so many old friendly faces, fellows that I went to school with, that I worked with years ago, like E. C. Lowe, that I served with in the Congress, like John Carroll.

I always enjoy coming back to Denver. I am going on now to the great, fine University of Denver. It is wonderful to be back in Colorado. I will be seeing you again. And I hope real soon--if not, at least 2 years from now.

Note: The President spoke at 3:06 p.m. at Stapleton Airport in Denver. His opening words referred to Governor John A. Love, Mayor Thomas G. Currigan of Denver, Lt. Governor Robert L. Knous, Senators Gordon Allott and Peter H. Dominick, and Representatives Wayne N. Aspinall, Byron G. Rogers, Frank E. Evans, and Roy H. McVicker, all of Colorado. During his remarks he referred to, among others, his daughter Mrs. Patrick J. Nugent.

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

Filed Under




Simple Search of Our Archives