With the campaign season just warming up, I will be spotlighting historic campaign addresses from previous Presidential elections, featuring ALL parties, but starting t his series off with a bang.
FDR addresses a crowd estimated at over 60,000 in Pittsburgh on October 1, 1936 - the last full month of campaigning.
He talks about the accomplishments of his administration during the first four years, looks ahead to the next and talks about the current state of the economy, the state of employment and the state of poverty in America.
And in answer to his critics regarding a balanced budget, he offers this:
FDR: "To balance our budget in 1933 or 1934 or 1935 would have been a crime against the American people. To do so we should either have had to make a capital levy that would have been confiscatory, or we should have had to set our face against human suffering with callous indifference. When Americans suffered, we refused to pass by on the other side. Humanity came first.
No one lightly lays a burden on the income of a Nation. But this vicious tightening circle of our declining national income simply had to be broken. The bankers and the industrialists of the Nation cried aloud that private business was powerless to break it. They turned, as they had a right to turn, to the Government. We accepted the final responsibility of Government, after all else had failed, to spend money when no one else had money left to spend.
I adopted, therefore, the other alternative. I cast aside a do nothing or a wait-and-see policy.
As a first step in our program we had to stop the quick spiral of deflation and decline in the national income. Having stopped them, we went on to restore purchasing power, to raise values, to put people back to work, and to start the national income going up again.
In 1933 we reversed the policy of the previous Administration. For the first time since the depression you had a Congress and an Administration in Washington which had the courage to provide the necessary resources which private interests no longer had or no longer dared to risk.
This cost money. We knew, and you knew, in March, 1933, that it would cost money. We knew, and you knew, that it would cost money for several years to come. The people understood that in 1933. They understood it in 1934, when they gave the Administration a full endorsement of its policy. They knew in 1935, and they know in 1936, that the plan is working".
Strong words for dismal times. They sound eerily familiar.