The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK—The Memorial Day holiday must have been a godsend for the stock exchange firms, which had a chance to catch up on their records of transactions. But the real significance of the day was perhaps somewhat obliterated for them.

Memorial Day, however, is a day which I think young and old should observe, however briefly. It reminds us of the human costs in the wars of the past. It also shows us that for generations men have been willing to die to preserve their country.

This is no unusual virtue. Men who have done this have come from every part of the nation, from every walk of life and from every racial strain. So far as serving their country is concerned, there has never been any distinction except that here and there the more menial tasks were assigned to those who had had less adequate educational facilities for one reason or another. Little by little this has changed in our armed services generally, but no matter what the duties performed by any man (or woman), he is remembered on Memorial Day for his service to his country.

It is always good to remember the past and to pay tribute to those who have loved and sacrificed not only for their country but for its people. The important thing, however, is the future, and we should remember that in each war the possibility of destruction has increased to such an extent that today the loss would be as great among civilian populations as among the soldiers.

This leaves us, I think, with the sober reflection that our best efforts should be put into the prevention of any future war. On every Memorial Day we should be looking at our citizens and asking what are we doing in the myriad ways that are open to us to prevent wars in the future.

I have just read a very interesting article by Walter Lippman dealing with the financial situation of our country which I think should be read by people everywhere. It points out what I think very few people realize—that our nation has two budgets.

One is an administrative budget, to which the President must pay a good deal of attention since it lists the outlay of expenses for administration purposes.

The other—the real budget of the country—is the one as it appears in the Department of Commerce and which shows the income of the country.

Mr. Lippmann points out that we are following much the same pattern as during the past administration, and that this does not lead to any final solution of our problems since what we really need is stimulation by government to increase production. The government, in its fear of inflation, apparently has not been giving this stimulation in the many possible ways available to it. We are at the moment, for instance, producing in the steel industry only 60 percent of capacity.

Yet, this is our situation when the needs of the world are growing, especially with the development of the Common Market of Europe and with the emerging nations on the continents of Asia and Africa—all of which as they develop their national resources will also be developing as markets for producing nations.

The time has come for us to tie our foreign aid program into our domestic needs, since as we manufacture more we need to buy more from the nations whose natural resources we are helping to develop. Therefore, the two programs should be thought of as complementing each other. As we help these nations develop their natural resources their demands for things they have never been able to have will constantly increase.

The labor unions' demand for a shorter work week is understandable from their point of view only as a stop-gap to prevent the rise of unemployment. Any increase in unemployment naturally frightens them because it would weaken the labor movement and put a greater strain on their resources. It should cause us concern as a nation, too, because it may mean we are falling behind the more productive nations of the world, and we would have the burden of unemployment when they would not.

This trend toward unemployment can be met basically only by increased production in all of our big industries. We should make this clear to our people as a whole and tell them the basic truth that perhaps we should be stimulating production through government incentives rather than holding off, hoping that private incentive will do a job that perhaps only government can do.


(Copyright, 1962, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 1, 1962

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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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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.