The other day while researching something I happened to come across President Harry Truman’s State of the Union speech in 1949.
I’d always been taught that Truman was one of those “good” Democrats, an old-school freedom loving red-blooded patriot, not like the slimy politicians we have now. I was excited for a chance to see the Democrat party the way it used to be.
What I found was a big-government campaign speech President Obama could copy verbatim today without anyone noticing.
Observe the common-sense wisdom of one of those good Democrats (emphasis mine):
In this society, we are conservative about the values and principles which we cherish; but we are forward-looking in protecting those values and principles and in extending their benefits. We have rejected the discredited theory that the fortunes of the Nation should be in the hands of a privileged few. We have abandoned the “trickledown” concept of national prosperity. Instead, we believe that our economic system should rest on a democratic foundation and that wealth should be created for the benefit of all.
The recent election shows that the people of the United States are in favor of this kind of society and want to go on improving it.
The American people have decided that poverty is just as wasteful and just as unnecessary as preventable disease. We have pledged our common resources to help one another in the hazards and struggles of individual life. We believe that no unfair prejudice or artificial distinction should bar any citizen of the United States of America from an education, or from good health, or from a job that he is capable of performing.
The attainment of this kind of society demands the best efforts of every citizen in every walk of life, and it imposes increasing responsibilities on the Government.
The Government must work with industry, labor, and the farmers in keeping our economy running at full speed. The Government must see that every American has a chance to obtain his fair share of our increasing abundance. These responsibilities go hand in hand.
We cannot maintain prosperity unless we have a fair distribution of opportunity and a widespread consumption of the products of our factories and farms.
Our Government has undertaken to meet these responsibilities.
Read the whole thing. He goes on to talk about expensive healthcare, teachers getting paid too little, banks being tight with credit, speculators driving up commodity prices, and…wait for it…. reducing the deficit by raising taxes on the rich. Also some stuff about workers being persecuted because they’re losing collective bargaining powers.
This is the brilliant Harry Truman I’ve been told about my whole life? I wonder why I never saw this in a public school textbook.