My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Tuesday—Last July I wrote a column urging people to take a personal interest in how their representatives in Congress stood on certain questions that seemed to me important.

I did not think that my own congressman would think that it was addressed to him and make any response, because my real intention was to stir the average citizen to the point where he would feel he had a job to do in finding outwhere his congressman stood before Election Day came around.

My congressman happens to be Mr. Hamilton Fish, and needless to say, he did not notice my column. But, in New York City, I happen to have an apartment in the district of Congressman Arthur G. Klein. Mr. Klein evidently feels that he has an obligation to try to answer questions his constituency might ask. Because I think his answers are remarkably honest and clear, and because all of them are pertinent to matters that are coming up today, I am printing some of them here and will give the rest tomorrow.

I assume that, when he answered me, he did so for the information of his whole constituency.

1. "I agree with your businessman acquaintance that 'there is not only going to be work for everybody at the end of the war, but plenty of it.' However, to implement the continuing trend towards total employment and, if necessary, to cushion against the possible temporary decline in employment which may be occasioned by a sudden change-over from a wartime to a peacetime economy, I propose the following:

  • "A) A flexible public works program, to be expanded or diminished as unemployment rises or falls, such a program to embody the construction of housing developments, schools, hospitals, playgrounds, highways and similar works. This program should be modeled after that carried out during the years from 1934 to just before the present war.

  • "B) A guarantee to returning members of the armed forces that they may have their old jobs back, wherever possible or practicable.

  • "C) Transfer of civilians displaced from jobs reclaimed by returning servicemen to other employment through the function of the United States Employment Services in the several States.

  • "D) Extension of unemployment compensation benefits to civilians thus displaced pending their reemployment, as well as those classes of labor, including farmers, not now within the provisions of such legislation.

  • "E) Mustering-out pay to honorably discharged members of the armed forces, sufficient to cover a reasonable period for rehabilitation to such men and women."