President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was well-known for cracking wise about the members of the American business community: stock brokers, "speculators", company functionaries and the leading corporate executives during the Great Depression - believing that there actually could be an economy worth saving if they didn't exist. Throughout the Thirties the New Deal launched numerous tax laws and assorted other pieces of legislative that served only to stymy competition, raise prices and slow all economic growth. The editors of COLLIER'S MAGAZINE published this spirited and rational defense of corporate America in 1938 and it is attached herein:
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"American business, whatever its limitations, has produced a better living for more people than any other system of production... The American big-business system has fed people better and more generously. It has provided more convenient and more wholesome shelter. It has distributed vastly more of the mechanical aids to civilized living."
"Let the [government] bureaucrats stop badgering business and [the] relieved businessmen will, on their part, be only too willing to co-operate. Out of such a rationale, prosperity will return with amazing rapidity".
Although the Roosevelt administration believed that integrating the armed forces was far too risky a proposition during wartime, it did take one important step to insure that fair hiring practices were followed by all businesses that held defense contracts with the Federal government; during the summer of 1941, while American industry was still playing its roll as "the arsenal of democracy", a law was passed making such discrimination a crime, and the attached editorial from COLLIER"S MAGAZINE applauded the President for doing the right thing:
"For our money, the President's finest single act in the national emergency to date is his loud-voiced demand for an end to all racial discrimination in hiring workers for the defense industries."
"Any loyal inhabitant of this country, says the President, is entitled to a chance at any of these jobs, whether he be of German, Italian, colored, Jewish or any other descent. We don't know of anything more timely that could be said just now."
This is a 1943 editorial that was penned by Republican Senator Robert Taft (1889 – 1953) who explained in the most clinical terms that President Roosevelt's loyal opposition on Capitol Hill can be relied upon to support him in all matters involving his roll as Commander-in-Chief. However, Taft implied, any further efforts to go gallivanting about the Capitol creating any more of those agencies with the New Deal trademark names like FSA, WPA, NYA, REA, TVA etc. etc. etc will be met with the stiffest opposition from his Republicans, who were well outnumbered, anyway.
Taft's column was answered by his opposite number in the Democratic Party: New York Senator Robert F. Wagner (1877 – 1953); his column can also be read here.
The historian Henry Steele Commager chose to rank FDR at number 19 insofar as his impact on the American mind was concerned - click here to understand his reasoning...
A printable paragraph from the 1936 pages of ART DIGEST explaining the aesthetic tastes of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his art collection.