Newstalgia Reference Room with a Fireside Chat from President Roosevelt on November 14, 1937 - the subject was Unemployment Insurance and a plan to create a census of unemployed workers.
April 14, 2011

FDR - assessing the great national problem.

In what was billed as a "fireside chat style address" on November 14, 1937, President Roosevelt delivered a radio talk about the state of unemployment in the country. Using a census approach, FDR proposed sending questionnaires out asking who was unemployed and how long were they unemployed as a way of gauging what was needed as far as unemployment benefits was concerned.

Pres. Roosevelt: “When we have ascertained the full facts of unemployment, we can extend the voluntary and neighborly character of this effort to the task of finding the solution to the perplexing problem. Its importance justifies a national approach. Free from prejudice or partisanship and warrants the cooperative endeavors of business, of labor, of agriculture and of government. I am confident that this nation of ours has the genius to reorder its affairs and possesses the physical resources of make it possible for everyone, young or old, to enjoy the opportunity to work and earn.”

I haven't filled one of those out in . . . .forever. Of course, I always wondered just what happened to all the people who ran out of unemployment benefits and who are still unemployed. They seem to drop suspiciously from the roll books. Like most things deemed unpleasant in our culture, they just vanish.

I suspect no one would even remotely think about doing one of those now as the true number of unemployed in this country would be horrifying. Just sayin'.

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