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Response to firebrand80 (Reply #7)

Thu Jun 2, 2016, 10:18 AM

16. I'm one of those avoid-the-boiling-frog kind of guys.



JFK tapes offer lesson in income inequality

By Tom Putnam | GLOBE CORRESPONDENT JANUARY 24, 2012

DURING THE last days of his presidency, John F. Kennedy had a number of concerns on his mind. In tapes being released today by the Kennedy Library, we hear, for example, the president focus on his reelection and issues of economic inequality. What can we do, he asks his political advisers, to make voters “decide that they want to vote for us, Democrats? What is it we have to sell ’em? We hope we have to sell them prosperity, but for the average guy the prosperity is nil. He’s not unprosperous, but he’s not very prosperous. He’s not . . . very well-off. And the people who really are well-off hate our guts.’’ As questions about growing social inequity increasingly dominate our current political dialogue, it may be instructive to look back at how these issues played out a half century ago.

Having witnessed the country survive the Great Depression and World War II, JFK understood the economic and military vulnerabilities of democratic capitalism. Though insulated by his family’s wealth, JFK was affected by the poverty he witnessed on the 1960 campaign trail. One of the memorable lines from his inaugural address “if a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich’’ helps explain his first executive order: increasing surplus food allotments to poor communities across the nation.

Once in power, his economic policies were ideologically balanced, combining, for example, a proposed tax cut to stimulate the economy with efforts to raise the minimum wage and expand unemployment benefits. Like the current incumbent, JFK’s legislative efforts - especially those designed to help the poor and advance civil rights - were often stymied by members of Congress. During his 1962 State of the Union address he reminded his congressional colleagues: “The Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress. . . It is my task to report the State of the Union - to improve it is the task of us all.’’

In terms of his administration’s relationship with the “really well-off,’’ his most famous confrontation came during the steel crisis in 1962. Having helped to negotiate a non-inflationary wage settlement with the United Steelworkers Union, Kennedy thought he had an agreement with industry executives that, in exchange, they would not raise the price of steel that year.

CONTINUED...

http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2012/01/24/jfk-offers-lessons-income-equality/ST1GsaQM77N0mWXoG8GT4L/story.html


Mass Denial in the Assassination of President Kennedy

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