Statement by the Vice President of the United States on Kennedy Farm Program, Springfield, OH
Has Senator Kennedy abandoned his farm plan?
I hope so.
Just a month ago out in Sioux Falls, S. Dak., he unveiled his brave new program for farm prosperity, complete with "parity income" and "supply management."
But now what do we hear from him about his farm program? In Wisconsin the other day, he gave a speech on agriculture but, according to available press accounts, hardly mentioned his own farm plan.
I am not surprised.
My view on agriculture is that we should look upon our abundance as a blessing and put existing surpluses to constructive use here at home and in the battle for freedom abroad. We will seek through an imaginative attack on the surplus to speed the time when farmers will be free to manage their own operations. During this crucial period food prices would not be driven up and payments in kind would be used to support farm income. Our goal is abundance with freedom.
Now, in contrast we have Senator Kennedy's blueprint for planned scarcity about which he has fallen so strangely silent.
Could it be that once again his political nerve has failed him?
Or have second and third thoughts overtaken him?
Could it be that he hasn't the courage to discuss a plan that would raise the price of food sharply in the stores:
The price of a quart of milk up 6 cents;
The price of a pound of beef up 15 cents;
The price of a pound of chicken up 22 cents;
The price of a pound of pork up 23 cents;
The price of a dozen eggs up 28 cents?
All these things his new program would do, according to career farm and food experts in the Department of Agriculture - the same people who my opponent guaranteed in his Sioux Falls speech could calculate prices under his income parity concept.
Could it be that my opponent doesn't have the courage to point out that a million jobs would be lost on the farms of America? According to the same farm experts he previously mentioned that's what his program would do.
Could it be that he would like to forget that his program would throw out of work another million people who now serve farm families and handle their products?
Could it be that he doesn't have the political courage to cut the per capita supply of pork and beef below the rationing levels of World War II, and thus establish once again in our time a nationwide network of black markets? That's what his program would do.
Could it be that he doesn't have the nerve to put marketing controls on every farm commodity, some 250 of them? That's what his program would do.
Could it be that he again has had second thoughts about the fact he would cut cattle marketings 15 percent, to cut hog marketings 25 percent? These things his program would do.
Could it be that he doesn't have the political courage to say he would put at least 50 thousand new inspectors on the Federal payroll to keep an eye on every farmer and every farm and every field and every crop? That's what his program would do.
Could it be that he doesn't have the nerve to institute, in the words of a man who I have found little to agree with - former Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace - a greater degree of control over the American farmer than prevails in many Communist countries? That's what Senator Kennedy's program would do.
If Senator Kennedy has not lost heart, if he is determined to go through to the bitter end with this monstrous program, let him defend it not just in South Dakota but in Ohio, New York, and California - all over the Nation.
Let him break the silence barrier.
If he doesn't think his plan will raise your retail grocery bill 25 percent, as the experts say it will, let him tell you how much he would raise your food costs.
If he doesn't think his plan will throw 2 million people out of work, let him tell you just how many people he does plan to put out on the streets to hunt new jobs.
If he doesn't plan to put marketing control on 250 commodities, let him tell you just how many commodities he would control.
If he doesn't plan to set up a new crop of 50,000 or more Federal overseers to watch over everything every farmer does, let him tell you just how many new inspectors his plan would require.
If he doesn't propose to cut your meat supply below the World War II rationing level, let him tell you just how much meat he will let you eat every week. And let him outline his program to curb black markets.
Would he, for example, shift Chester Bowles, one of his leading foreign policy advisers, Prof. J. K. Galbraith, one of his leading economic advisers, and Mike Di Salle, one of his leading political advisers, back to their old OPA-type jobs and make them the bosses of a grand, new peacetime concept of OPA?
But if Senator Kennedy has lost his enthusiasm for his plan - and in the circumstance his loss is America's gain - let him do just two things for having proposed this totalitarian farm program in the first place:
(a) To America's farmers, let him apologize;
(b) To America's housewives from coast to coast, let him express regrets.
Richard Nixon, Statement by the Vice President of the United States on Kennedy Farm Program, Springfield, OH Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/273862