AUGUST 10, 1944
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—The newspapers make interesting reading these days. On all the war fronts, in spite of great sacrifices, advances are made, but when you begin to read domestic news you are struck by the division of interests which seem to enter into all the questions that are under discussion.
If there are bills before Congress, one group, primarily interested in a particular thing, will tell you that "this" bill is perfect and "that" bill is no good. Organizations tear each other apart, people resign because they cannot agree and find a way out of their difficulties which will meet, in great part, everybody's desires.
I have come to the conclusion that if we could set up one of two standards by which we measured our thinking today, it will be a tremendous help. This would be to take a bill as it came up, or a candidate, or an organization, and say: "We want material things to serve human beings, we will work for material ends which we believe will benefit human beings; but as between material profit and the profit that might accrue to human beings, there is only one choice—the interest of the people must be served." Also: "We want men who think first of people, and only second of things."
Business is desperately important to us now. It should be given every legitimate help because we want the business enterprises of the country to continue to function at top production. We do not want this primarily, however, so that unlimited profits can be made on investments. We want the jobs which full production will bring us. We have to have those jobs because, unless the people have them, their standard of living will go down and they will not be able to buy the goods which full production will produce.
Small businesses have always provided a great many jobs, and it seems to me that both big businesses and the public should be interested in seeing small businesses get a break. It will take planning, of course, to see that these businesses are really profitable and really do the things that they do better than big business, but it will pay us in the long run.
The armed services continue, of course, as long as the war lasts, to be primarily interested in the production of war goods. They have to turn to such organizations as produce these goods most quickly and most efficiently. In planning for the future, however, we must not allow one group or a few groups of people to take the place which the armed services have occupied during the war period. That would not advance the people's interests though it might make the planning easier now.