Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Statement by the President: Labor Day.

September 03, 1966

LABOR DAY means more to more Americans in 1966 than ever before.

Working men and women have been the dynamic force behind the most continuous, widely shared economic advance ever known to any people, anywhere in history.

From American shops, factories, mills, mines, and farms is flowing the greatest abundance of all time. American workers have produced it.

All of us, in the private and public sectors, can find satisfaction in our accomplishments as employment, wages, and output reach new peaks.

What was a dream in the early days of the New Deal--job security and social security,

unemployment compensation, Medicare, good wages--are realities today.

--A million and a half more Americans were working this summer than a year ago.

--Unemployment, at 3.9 percent has dropped to the lowest summer rate since 1953.

--Older Americans, once with little or no bulwark against the high cost of illness, have a new degree of protection.

--Our bright young people, thousands of whom were once denied an education because of inadequate funds, have a new opportunity.

--The unemployed and underemployed, the untrained and undertrained--more than a half a million of them in the past 4 years--have received help in learning new skills to equip them for available jobs.

These are but a few of the accomplishments we can look upon with pride. But they are only the beginning. The truly Great Society--the one we will build--requires that every American participate in the social and economic abundance which most enjoy.

The Great Society is not a goal that soon will be reached so that we may then pause. It has no fixed point. It is not the job of a President alone. It is not the sole responsibility of Congress. It is the duty, and should be the special goal, of every citizen.

This Labor Day we must focus on new ways to assure every citizen an equal share in the greatness of America.

To accomplish this we must:

--Establish a domestic good neighbor policy on every block in every city.

--Provide greater economic balance to assure that every working American is freed from poverty and shielded from the threat of inflation.

--Provide even more recreational facilities so that all may enjoy to the fullest their leisure time.

Social and economic justice is a basic goal of the Great Society. Working people and their organizations are leaders in the pursuit of this national objective.

Once, the free trade union movement channeled its efforts toward giving individual workers strength in their struggle with the privileged few.

Now, in the time of the privileged many, American labor works in behalf of the disadvantaged few--the poor, the victims of racial injustice, the elderly.

Every segment of American life--labor, government, business, the public at large-has a heavy stake in extending our prosperity to those it has eluded for too long.

By vigorous employment of our vast national wealth, energy, and intelligence, I am confident, on this day, that we can shape our society so that a useful and productive life may be the birthright of every American. This is our lasting goal.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement by the President: Labor Day. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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