My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK—Our New York City newspapers report that because of a sharp rise in unemployment insurance benefits this year New York State employers are facing an 85-million-dollar rise in unemployment insurance taxes starting January 1. And this condition probably holds in other states around the country.

Automation inevitably will increase unemployment, and for longer periods, because we are still lacking in careful planning to meet the new conditions. When automation cuts into the employment rolls, training periods should be made available immediately for those dismissed from their jobs, and industry should plan ahead of time for new services and new businesses where the slack of unemployment can be taken up after training.

In years gone by too-distant planning was not considered so important. When new labor-saving devices were introduced, new occupations would invariably spring up. But automation moves more swiftly and puts a far greater number of people out of work. And with changed conditions it will probably be essential to change the methods for handling these conditions.

If we do not attack the basic causes of unemployment we are sure to find that the cost will continue to grow, so I hope we will begin to realize that new conditions require new thinking.

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On September 19 a new session of the United Nations General Assembly will begin. And this promises to be a very important meeting when a great many vital issues will be brought up for discussion.

With this in mind the American Association for the United Nations has prepared nine papers, each one dealing with a major issue and providing extensive background on the questions to be discussed. These papers are published in a packet with a short introduction and can be bought by the public for 50 cents from the AAUN at 345 East 46th Street, New York 17, N.Y. I feel sure the general public will find this material of great help in understanding the discussions as they go on during the autumn months.

Here are the subjects of the nine papers:

  • 1. Reorganization of the Secretariat.

  • 2. Berlin

  • 3. The critical problem of United Nations expenses, particularly in the Congo.

  • 4. The situation in the Republic of the Congo.

  • 5. The problem of Chinese representation.

  • 6. Disarmament, including the cessation of nuclear tests.

  • 7. The economic and political security of the new states of Asia and Africa.

  • 8. The peaceful uses of outer space.

  • 9. Expanded technical assistance.

These are all subjects about which the average person has little background, and I think it would be much easier to form opinions and to bring really intelligent influence to bear if we studied these questions before following the discussion of them by the world leaders.

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The other evening in my touring around the city in New York's mayoralty campaign I suddenly found myself a guest with Adlai Stevenson at one stop. This was a rally to raise money for the reform club in the Yorkville section of the city. It happened that Mr. Stevenson, like myself, had a warm interest in young Harry Sedgwick who is running for one of the local district leader offices, and I surmise that our Ambassador to the U.N. was also brought into this local situation by some younger member of his family!

This happens to us all, but with his usual wit Adlai Stevenson told us how in every political situation he had been admonished not to get into local politics and now his inclination was to rise and say, "Gentlemen, I wish to say a few words to you on disarmament."

However, when it came his turn he explained his particular interest in the young candidate and his genuine interest in good government, and it was as usual a pleasure to listen to him. I think perhaps it gave him an amusing interlude from the more serious business of the special session of the U.N.