|135. Rear Platform Remarks at Cumberland, Maryland|
May 16, 1950 |
THANK YOU very much, Governor. Cumberland is noted for its hospitality, as is all Maryland. Cumberland, as you know, has always been a customary stop with the Truman family when they travel back and forth to Washington. So we are familiar with the city, familiar with the people, and we like it.
I certainly do appreciate this wonderful reception. I am highly complimented that Governor Lane should come out to Cumberland to introduce me, and I appreciate that most highly.
And while I am about it, I might as well say that Maryland has two able and distinguished Democratic Senators. I served 10 years in the Senate with the senior Senator from Maryland--Senator Tydings. He is now chairman of one of the most important committees in the Senate--the Committee on National Defense, and he has handled it very ably. The Senator is also a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, and does an able job on that committee.
Senator O'Conor works for the welfare of the United States and for the great State of Maryland, just as your Governor does.
I am on my way back to Washington after a trip to the Pacific Northwest. I have been in about a third of the States in the country, and I have made 56 speeches--this is number 57. I have been making a report to the people on our problems at home and abroad.
I have learned a lot, and I hope the people who heard me also learned something about how the country is getting along.
I am very much aware of the fact that here in Cumberland you are not sharing the prosperity that exists in most parts of the country. It is a tragic thing that thousands of people should be out of work, through no fault of their own, and with very little chance of finding a job soon.
There are several cities--like Cumberland--which are suffering from unemployment, even though the country as a whole is very prosperous.
The Federal Government is going to keep on doing everything it can to remedy local situations like this one in Cumberland, and to prevent such situations from arising again in the future. That is the objective.
I have asked the Congress to provide assistance to small business. All over the country, business firms are growing rapidly. The greatest growth, however, is in big business. Small companies find it hard to raise the money they need to expand, and the individual businessman who wants to set up a new company has a tough time borrowing the capital to get started.
Under the plans I recommended to the Congress, it would be much easier for small businesses to obtain funds to get started, or to enlarge. I understand that your local officials here in Cumberland are working very hard to get the new industries into this area. I hope the Congress will soon enact a bill to help the growth of more new businesses, because that would help cities like Cumberland.
The Federal Government has already done a number of things that will help in a number of other ways. When the Savage River Dam is finished next year, the water supply will be increased enough so that one of the companies here should be able to expand and to hire several hundred more people. The Savage River Dam is a good example of how a public project helps a local community to grow.
The Cumberland-Ridgely flood control project will also be a long-term benefit to Cumberland, because more companies will be willing to come here, once the threat of floods has been removed.
The public housing project which will be built here in Cumberland will provide a number of jobs, and it will improve living conditions for a number of families.
Of course, these long-range measures may seem far away when you are faced with unemployment right now. We are trying to help meet that problem, too, by turning over surplus food for the use of needy families, and by helping to feed children through the regular school lunch program.
Unemployment insurance has helped a great deal, too. It tides families over for a while, and it keeps business from falling off too fast. Local merchants would certainly have felt the pinch a lot sooner, and a lot worse, if it were not for unemployment insurance. I have been urging the Congress to improve the unemployment insurance system by enlarging it to cover more people, and to pay higher benefits over a longer period of time. Of course, unemployment insurance is no substitute for jobs.
I want every American to have the opportunity to work at a good job, and earn enough to support his family on his own time. I am working for that goal all the time.
I think we can build permanent prosperity here in the United States if we all work together, but it will take the hardest kind of work, and complete cooperation by the Federal Government, and by the State and city governments and businessmen throughout the country.
On this trip around--all over the United States, I have been talking the conservation of resources, and unemployment insurance. Last night in Chicago I set out piece by piece just exactly what the Democratic Party stands for, and what the Democratic Party is trying to do. And I challenged the Republicans to come up with something better. And I also invited forward-looking people who have the welfare of the United States at heart to come in and join the Democratic Party. That is the best way to keep this country going in the right direction.
I can't tell you how very much I appreciate this wonderful turnout in Cumberland this morning. You have welcomed me at the end of what I think has been a most successful tour to make a report to the people of the United States as President of the United States.
Thank you very much.
NOTE: The President spoke at 12:20 p.m. In his opening words he referred to Governor William P. Lane, Jr., of Maryland. Later he referred to Senators Millard E. Tydings and Herbert R. O'Conor, both of Maryland
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project. John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.