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Sam Adams

Post-War Full Employment —
FDR’s Plan vs. Workers Party Plan

(February 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 7, 12 February 1945, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The budget message delivered two weeks ago by President Roosevelt is the kind of report made to Congress which most people pay little attention to, in the belief that it is one aspect of government which does not really interest or affect them much. But the contrary is true.

The budget message sets out the moneys the government plans to spend in the following year, outlines the different categories for which expenditures are necessary, and reveals in general some of the important aims of the Administration.

The budget message, like others delivered by Roosevelt, is a war message, for its main preoccupation is with financing the war. Many people know that the cost runs into hundreds of billions of dollars. Few know exactly how much it costs to run the war each year, and what effect it has upon depressing the living standards of the people.

There are several important aspects to the message. Since the U.S. entered in the war in 1941, $288,800,000,000 has been spent on the war alone, resulting in the highest taxes ever paid by the American worker, and a declining standard of living in the midst of a period when everyone is working.

This means the U.S. has spent $72,200,000,000 a year. This is more than $515 for every man, woman and child in the country.

It has spent this money for means of destruction at the rate of more than $199,013,000 per day. or more than $8,292,000 per hour.

Despite these huge sums, and a rising government debt of over $200 billions, for which the future generation will pay by sweat and toil, big business, the corporative interests of the country, haven’t been squawking very much.

This is interesting because it wasn’t very long ago that the business interests raised a terrible howl about government expenditures for relief and WFA projects which Roosevelt demanded in fear of the terrible consequences that would ensue if half the population were allowed to starve.

Big business, the monopolists of the country, the reactionary senators and representatives and the yellow press screamed away at relief and WPA projects because they would eat away at their wealth at a time when industry was at a standstill. or shut down altogether. Our graph shows how pitiful a figure was used for relief in contrast to the war billions – only $14,591,159,000!

The reason why big business says little or nothing about the giant war expenditures is because many of these expenditures go in to make up the greatest profits in the history of American business. Despite all their moaning, they know this to be the fact.

In addition to presenting the budget for the war, Roosevelt also projected a plan for 60,000,000 Jobs, which everyone wants and attached to which is a proposal to provide the sum of $279,000,000 for the year 1946. One and a half billion goes for a federal public works program, and another billion dollars is for federal aid to highways. The total budget for such a thing is $3 billion. This meager sum (again in contrast to war expenditures) is to provide additional employment for those whom private industry, or “free enterprise,” cannot absorb.

Post-War Planning

No serious plans are prepared by the capitalist ruling class and its political administration in Washington to provide for the overwhelming majority bf the people. Instead we get a lot of pap about “free enterprise,” lower taxes for corporations, rebates to the monopolists and Roosevelt’s honeyed plans for keeping employed sixty million workers!

The Roosevelt budget message reveals the mentality of the capitalist politician. It shows that he, like the rest of his class, plans with profits in mind at all times. The total sum of $3 billions for public works, road building, etc., would hardly pay for ten days of the cost of the war. His program is a capitalist program. Hundreds of billions of dollars for war and destruction! Pennies for security and human lives!

In sharp contrast to this capitalist program of starvation, the Workers Party and Labor Action present a program which calls for: A $250 billions five-year federal public works program to provide jobs and relief to the unemployed.

This is a modest sum. It is only $50 billions a year; far less than the war budget.

Every government expert admits that housing for millions is sub-standard. Other millions of people actually face a shortage of shelters. Many parts of the country are without electricity or means of power. Roads and communications are sadly in need of repair and extension. And these are only a few of the things that can be done.

There is the matter of improving the health and physical condition of millions of people. The draft demonstrated the sad physical condition of so large a number of American youth.

Most of the people in the country suffer from inadequate medical care. A real program would provide for such necessary care.

Most Americans do not complete their education. Our program would provide for that, too!

These are only a few of the many things that can and should be done.

The President’s plan is no plan at all. It merely emphasizes that for him, as for the rest of his class, the ideal is:

Everything for war! As little as possible for peace!

The Workers Party program is a modest step on the road to securing sixty million job! and plenty by all.

To secure such ah adequate program of public works, an independent Labor Party is necessary. One of its first planks would deal with adequate public works.

Roosevelt has shown his hand. His contemptuously meager “plan” is doomed in advance.

Labor must break with Roosevelt and form its own party to secure —


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