My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Thursday—I received a letter yesterday in which there is one paragraph that I think expresses the feelings of a great many people in this country today. It reads, "Our government must have more money to pay for the war effort, and must raise taxes before we get further in the red. That is understandable, but each one should pay in proportion to their income. While Europe is working on essential war materials, her people are being employed, and their countries are getting back to a more substantial level. We also will have more employment in our efforts for preparedness, but if the prices keep rising, the average person won't have anything left from his earnings after paying for the essential needs, and a feeling of unrest will still be there. How about the white collar person and the aged people who have only a limited income, they will still have to pay higher prices and taxes?"

My own concern is not only for this group of people but everyone in the country. No matter what their income may be it is, inevitably affected by rising prices. This situation should receive sympathetic consideration for each one of us will have to cut down somewhere. The people who will suffer most are the aged who have to live on limited pensions or on their savings. They have no way of earning more to meet greater demands. The white collar worker and professional workers do not appear to receive the same wage increases that the skilled union workers have demanded to meet the increased cost of living. However, even the skilled worker receiving higher pay will find that wage inadequate to keep up with actual needs if costs keep going up. His agreement with his employer remains over a period of years, while his costs have no ceiling to keep them in line.

Everyone must wish that the need and priority claim on our money for defense preparations did not exist. When we analyze the situation, we feel very strongly that if the Soviet Union were willing to come to an agreement under which the United Nations was free to inspect every nation, was given control of war material and could actually prevent aggression, then we, and the other democracies of the world, would not be obliged to increase our military defense.

Every day we read of the difficulties in providing adequate assistance quickly enough to the Southern Koreans, who were not prepared to go to war, so that they can defend themselves against the aggression of the North Koreans who were prepared to go to war and, who are being assisted by Communist nations who have never ceased preparing not only for defense but, for aggression. Therefore the democracies of the world have no alternative but to catch up with those Communist nations.

The Communist nations probably analyze the situation quite differently. They infer that we are forcing them to demand sacrifices from the people because we wish to swallow the world. History gives the lie to this tale, however.

Nevertheless, how are we going to make the Soviets realize that if they stay within their own confines there will be no threat against them? If they would once accept real force in the United Nations and a guarantee against aggression, life for all of us throughout the world would be far better.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, September 8, 1950

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.