MEMOS TO YOU FROM DICK AND JACK
During the past month, readers of the News were polled to determine what they believed to be the outstanding issues confronting the next President of the United States. Readers were asked to list the problems in what they considered the order of importance, and we promised to obtain the answers from Vice President Nixon and Senator Kennedy.
Today, as promised, we give you the answers on two of the issues selected: (1) As President of the United States, what would you do to check inflation and to maintain the buying power of the dollar, and (2) would you as President support a program to increase social security payments? If so, how much would you favor increasing the social security tax?
The candidates' replies to other major questions will be printed on this page tomorrow and Friday.
By Vice President Richard M. Nixon
Holding inflation in check and
maintaining an honest and sound dollar are essential if we are to continue
to have a strong economy. Such an economy is not only the source of better
jobs and a higher standard of living in America, but it is also the rock
upon which our national defense rests, and with it, that of the entire
A nefarious idea advocated by some people holds that our economy cannot grow fast enough if we remain committed to defense of the dollar by holding prices reasonably stable, - and thus keeping the dollar's purchasing power intact. Such softness on inflation is dangerous. Our economy cannot run a temperature to stay healthy.
Inflation is evil because it breeds the bust that leads to deflation - with its consequent unemployment, business failures, and human suffering. Inflation is the thief that steals from the weekly paycheck and clips purchasing power off pensions, social security, and savings. A government that can't keep a country's money straight is not fit to govern.
I count as one of the major achievements of this administration the fact that it has brought inflation under control and deflated inflationary psychology about the future. The President's Cabinet Committee on Price ability for Economic Growth, which I have been chairman of, has worked considerably on the defeat of inflationary psychology. Year-long studies by my committee have given me deep insight into the problems of inflation.
To keep up this successful fight we must advance on many fronts:
Practice rigorous economy and pay our way in public spending.Ours is the most productive and vital economic system in the world. If we continue to keep our money straight we will aid it enormously in meeting the challenges that lie ahead.
Thwart attempts, clearly forecast by the opposition, to undermine the independence of the Federal Reserve System in its key job of keeping our money stable.
Amend the Employment Act of 1946 to include reasonable price stability as a major purpose of Federal policy under the act.
Attack featherbedding, in all forms, whether governmental inefficiency and waste, make-work attitudes in labor, or business pricing policies not aimed at maximizing volume.
Discourage inflationary settlements in labor-management negotiations that involve overpaying ourselves for the work we do.
Foster an outward-looking foreign trade policy.
Coupled with the need to guard
the dollar's purchasing power is the whole field of social security. Obviously
a weakened dollar will defeat the objectives of social security, but it
is essential that the Government look beyond the goal of preserving purchasing
power and aim toward additional measures to bring about a truly sound program
of old-age and survivors and disability insurance.
There is still much to be done in providing an adequate floor of income for the aged, for the disabled and for widows and their children.
Here are some of the goals for Government action in years immediately ahead
A soundly financed plan should be developed to make benefits available - at least as large as the minimum payable under the social security system - for the 2.6 million persons 65 and over who are not now eligible for benefits under social security or one of the other public retirement systems. Most of these persons were simply in the unfortunate position of not working, or not hav husbands working, at a time when their employment was cover under the system. Their continued exclusion from benefits is indefensible, and the time has come to take effective action.
Benefits now being paid under social security should be subjected to a close and continuing study to determine whether or not they are achieving the objectives of the system. We must never allow this benefit structure to become frozen. We know, for example, that the benefits paid to many aged widows are inadequate. Whenever it is determined that benefits should be increased, we must of course hold to the sound policy that has been followed throughout the history of the system - that additional revenues must be provided to cover the cost of additional benefits.
The strict requirements in the law for determining eligibility for disability benefits should be modified for those over 60. Persons in the 60- to 65- age group who are prevented by disability from engaging in the kinds of work to which they are accustomed, and their dependents, should still be able to qualify for monthly benefits.
By Senator John F. Kennedy
Since 1952, the number of persons
without jobs has doubled and prices have jumped 12 percent. We have witnessed
the peculiar phenomenon of increasing prices accompanied by increasing
Where we paid $3 for medical bills in 1952, we pay $4 today. Water, gas, and electricity bills, which averaged $10 in 1952, come to $12 today. Home construction costs have jumped 15 percent and land costs have doubled. Interest on a 30-year $10,000 home mortgage now will cost $3,300 more than in 1952. For every $50 we paid for rent in 1952, we must pay $60 today. All along the line living costs have climbed to new highs.
To hold down the cost of living we must rely on a variety of constructive policies which will strike at inflation on all fronts. To do this, we should:
Stop policies which have artificially raised interest rates and tightened credit. Some Republican politicians say this would mean "cheap money." This is not true. I would end the tight money policy - not start a cheap money policy. Credit policies can help, but only as one weapon in our anti-inflation arsenal.We must not rely on any single policy to fight inflation as the Republicans have done. We should attack it on all fronts and maintain constant counterpressures against it.
Balance the budget. Only in times of high unemployment or national emergency are deficits justified. Wage a constant war on waste - eliminate inefficiencies in Government activities and cut back Federal expenditures in less-essential areas.
Increase our national production by policies to promote full employment and economic growth. When more goods are available, pressures on prices will be relieved.
Correct specific problems. For example, medical care has become more expensive partially because of the doctor shortage. A program of aid to medical education would increase the supply of doctors and nurses.
Protect the public interest in industrial wage disputes. Too often settlements are made at the expense of the consumer.
Enforce the antitrust laws and promote true competition. Monopolistic conditions keep prices high-competition will force them lower.
The Social Security Act of 1934
was the most important single advance in the welfare of our elder citizens
in our history. The original act began a war against poverty and degradation
which still continues. As President Franklin Roosevelt said when he signed
it 25 years ago: "This law represents a cornerstone in a structure which
is being built, but which is by no means complete."
Today, the program still needs improvement. More than 9½ million people over 65, three out of five, must survive on less than $1,000 a year. At today's prices, such an income cannot pay for even the basic requirements of a decent living.
The Democratic Party recognizes this challenge and accepts it as a responsibility. We are dedicated to making our citizens' later years productive, dignified, and satisfying. To this end we should:
Broaden and extend the current scale of social security benefits so that they keep pace with the rising cost of living.A sound and sufficient social security program is just one of the many, vital battles for human welfare now being waged. As the Democratic candidate for President, I pledge that we will meet these urgent responsibilities.
Raise the amount retired persons can earn and still be eligible for benefits. This will permit our older people to supplement their income with meaningful outside employment.
Improve employment opportunities for older workers and reduce discrimination in employment because of age.
Provide adequate housing for older people, which should be an integral part of the communities in which they live.
Do more for the widows and children surviving. Today the widow whose savings are gone - who is forced to live on an income even less than her husband's retirement benefits - is truly the "forgotten woman" of social security.
Provide a medical insurance program based on the proven social security system, which will emphasize dignity and selfreliance, not charity and humiliation.
[From the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, Nov. 3, 1960, p. 48]
MORE ANSWERS FROM JACK AND DICK
Last month, readers of the News
were asked to submit what the thought were the outstanding issues confronting
the next resident. We promised to obtain answers to their questions from
Vice President Nixon and Senator Kennedy.
Yesterday, the candidates discussed the first of the prollems-social security and inflation. Today they speak out on national defense and taxes.
The candidates' replies to the remaining questions you put to them through the News will be printed an this page tomorrow.
By Senator John F. Kennedy
The question of national defense
involves two separate judgments. They should be clearly distinguished.
If the United States should be attacked today, I believe that we are militarily prepared to withstand the attack and to retaliate effectively. But the issue in this campaign is whether we will be as well prepared 2 or 3 years from now.
Here are some of the hard truths. During the past 7½ years our military strength has been declining relative to that of the Communist bloc. The Soviet Union now leads us in number of intercontinental missiles, in many of the pioneer efforts in the space race and in modernized conventional forces. Unless we act promptly, we may find ourselves, by 1962 or 1963, in a most difficult position.
This is not just a campaign issue - it is a survival issue. We must take immediate steps to insure that we will have a deterrent nuclear power of such strength that it will convince the Communist leaders that an attack on the United States would be followed by their own destruction.
We must make sure we have balanced conventional forces capable of stamping out brush fire wars with speed and certainty. These forces must be kept at peak efficiency at all times through a continuous modernization program. Our needs are clear. To meet them, we must have vigorous leadership.
To meet these objectives we must:
Accelerate our Polaris, Minuteman, and other strategic missile programs.
Expand and modernize our conventional forces so as to give them the versatility and mobility they require.
Protect our retaliatory capacity through hardening and dispersal of bases, the use of an air alert, improvements in our air defense system and the development of space warning systems and an antimissile missile weapons system.
Provide more adequate capability in the area of antisubmarine warfare.
Reorganize and streamline our Defense Establishment to meet the needs of the nuclear space age.
In my judgment any decision regarding
tax reduction must be governed by the overriding requirements of national
security. We cannot afford to gamble with our national safety and our defense
forces must be second to none.
The biggest single factor in the tax burden Americans now bear is the slow growth of our economy and the ups and downs of recessions. When our economy is at a standstill or moving backward, as it is doing now, the Government collects less money because people are earning less. In 1959 the Government had a $12½ billion budget deficit, the largest in our peacetime history. That was the price we paid for the recession of 1958. In January of this year the Republican administration predicted a budget surplus of $4 billion for the current fiscal year. However, the business downturn has reduced the predicted surplus by $3 billion. Unless the business slump is reversed the predicted surplus may well end up as a deficit.
The lesson is clear: Given the requirements of our national security and the demands of our growing system, any relief from the present tax burden most Americans bear can come only from restoring vigor and growth to our economy. We must put an end to standstill and to recurrent recessions. This is the only way in which we can meet our revenue needs and still seek equitable adjustment of taxes.
By Vice President Richard M. Nixon
Today our defense forces are
prepared and able to withstand any enemy attack and to retaliate effectively.
They are second to none.
It is most important that the American people understand this fact, for there are those who, through ignorance or misinformation or selfish interests, would have us believe otherwise.
I want every American to understand that if I am elected President I would never allow the military might of the United States to slip. A strong defense takes priority over any other public purpose.
We must constantly review and evaluate our own strength and that of the Communist bloc. The United States is an open society. The Soviet Union is a closed society. Our intelligence activities must go on.
There are five important aspects in our national defense posture.
First, our armed might must continue to deter Soviet aggressions. It must not be merely a defense method of meeting aggression once an enemy has struck.
Second, our military might must continue to be built on what our defense planners call a "mix of forces." We cannot put all our eggs in one basket. We must continue to be ready and able to respond on land, sea, air, and underwater.
Third, America's military strength must continue to be founded on a "long pull" policy. We must plan far ahead, not merely react to the current temperature of the international struggle between the free world and communism.
Fourth, though we must always beware of making headlong transitions, we must be ready always to exploit technological breakthroughs. We cannot rely exclusively on existing weapons, as the Truman administration relied on the manned bomber, when new weapons such as ICBM's threaten constantly to make them obsolete.
Fifth, we must preserve and strengthen our small war capability. We cannot allow Communists to advance by the sword, whether the sword be atomic missiles or the modern automatic weapons of infantrymen.
Finally, America's national defense policy must be clearly understood and supported by all the American people, who, I know, will continue to make whatever sacrifices are necessary in order to keep our Military Establishment preeminent in the world.
Any other course would be an invitation to disaster.
Taxes are high in the United
States and will likely continue to be high as long as the Communist menace
requires us to conduct national security programs of the size and scope
I have said in this campaign that, if world conditions required it, I would not hesitate to ask for more taxes for the defense of our country and our way of life.
But since taxes already are so high and already pose a threat to the quickening of our economic growth, we must exercise great care not to load the budget with new expenditures of low national priority that could themselves require the raising of taxes.
That is the danger of the opposition's spendthrift platform - which adds up to more than $15 billion a year of new Federal spending.
If that doesn't mean new taxes, it can only mean new deficits, and that can only mean a new round of price increases and inflation.
Instead of going that dismal route, we should look toward reforming our tag system so that it acts to spur rather than hobble the economy's
growth. That is the way to more production, more resources for defense, more and better jobs, more schools, and more hospitals.
In this time when the American economy is being challenged as never before, we as a people must clear from our minds the costly notion that an important function of tax laws is to penalize and discourage success. Letting that purpose dominate tax legislation is going to hobble the economy's advance.
We should move toward some revision of personal and corporate income tax rates.
Revision of personal tax rates will enhance personal incentive at all levels by giving the individual a greater stake, a greater reward for his productivity and his enterprise, and this will encourage attainment of higher personal objectives in life.
Revision of corporate income tax will produce similar but even more significant benefits by speeding investment in new plants and equipment to make more jobs and stimulate productivity. Allied with this is the need for reform in depreciation allowances.
We should also place our Federal excise tax system on a broader base and at a rate well below those now in effect.
In the process of making these changes we must be careful to protect State and municipal revenues so that the vitality of our whole system of government is not weakened.
These and other equitable changes could materially improve the prospects of accelerating our economic program in the future.
[From the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, Nov. 4, 1980, p. 36]
YOU ASKED THEM; THEY'VE ANSWERED
For the past 2 days, Vice President Nixon and Senator Kennedy have discussed questions that News readers wanted answered before election day. Today they conclude their replies with statements on foreign policy and medical care for the aged. The News hopes the answers have helped you decide which candidate is best for the country.
By Vice President Richard M. Nixon
In my personal dealings with
Communist leaders, I have seen demonstrated the truth that Communists have
but one objective - a Communist world. Everything they do is designed to
advance that objective.
This means that the free world can never relax its guard. We must continue a policy of steadfast resistance to Communist aggression.
If I am elected President, I will do everything in my power to continue such a determined, clear-headed policy.
Any unilateral concession is foolish when dealing with the Communists. We should have learned this lesson long ago.
But apparently there are still some American political figures who do not understand this fact.
When concessions were made at Munich they did not make war less likely. They made war more likely. They simply whetted an aggressor's appetite.
When a U.S. Secretary of State did not make clear that we would defend Korea, he was issuing a plain invitation for the invasion of that country. This is exactly why Quemoy and Matsu are so important. To announce that we will not defend a part of the free world is an open invitation to the Communists to take that part.
A strong foreign policy must be accompanied by a strong defense posture. Communists understand power and respect it. As long as we remain the strongest military power in the world, we are assured that the Communists will not risk war.
Therefore, if I am elected, I will keep the United States where it is today - first.
A strong foreign policy must also seek to assist the developing nations of the world in attaining their legitimate desires to advance their economic development, conquer poverty and disease, and gain their place in the sun.
A strong foreign policy does not mean that we can never reach any agreements with the Communists.
Of course, I will continue to try to bring about meaningful and real disarmament. But any disarmament policy I am responsible for must and will have three basic ground rules: (1) There must be a workable inspection system, (2) all agreements must be self-enforcing, and (3) we must never take anything on faith.
We know the past history of the Soviet Union's broken promises and broken treaties. I will never allow a treaty that the Communists could turn their backs on if it served their purpose to do so.
I would also like to make it perfectly clear that I am opposed to extending diplomatic recognition to Red China. And I am equally opposed to admitting Red China into the United Nations.
To qualify for admission to the United Nations, according to the United Nations Charter, a nation must be "peace loving." Quite obviously, Red China is not.
The United States should not lend respectability to a pirate.
MEDICAL CARE FOR THE AGED
It will be incumbent on the next
President to lead forcefully in developing a system under which senior
citizens, no matter what their economic status may be, can be assured of
adequate medical care.
The aim should be to have such a program represent, to the maximum degree attainable, the American system of self-dependence and freedom to choose the kind and amount of protection desired.
Private groups have made substantial progress in providing such protection at reasonable rates. Yet it is clear that private programs will never be able to take up the whole burden.
Government must supplement private efforts. But in so doing government must not impose compulsory measures in connection with any health program.
The time has come for decisive action.
It is surely possible to develop a sound Federal-State voluntary insurance program that will greatly eliminate the fears of illness that now hang over the heads of so many senior citizens.
It is imperative that those who truly believe in the voluntary system set aside their differences and develop a program to attract maximum support. Unless an adequate voluntary program is developed, pressure stemming from the very real need for improved protection will become almost irresistible in the direction of a compulsory plan, and compulsion would be not only contrary to basic American tradition but also unwise economically and unfair to those preferring private plans.
Costs should be shared by the Federal and State governments. The Federal share should be financed out of general revenues.
Besides insurance, the Federal Government should take steps to allot more medical research funds to finding solutions to the special cumulative problems of the aged.
By Senator John F. Kennedy
There is, for the United States,
no real alternative to a policy of steadfast resistance to communism. Strength
is a language the Communists understand, so we must be firm in our resolve
and strong in our capacity to resist.
But strength is not merely tough talk. We have heard entirely too much tough talk, while at the same time our relative military strength declined. As the suppressed studies indicate, Russian accomplishments in space have impressed the world far more than partisan claims that our prestige has never been higher.
The question, therefore, is not whether we will stand firm. The question is only what we can do and must do to restore our leadership in the world and to get America moving again. I do not believe the answer is in doubt. I believe the American people are prepared for the effort and the sacrifices required by our national security.
The challenge involves more than military resistance to Soviet aggression. It calls for positive leadership within the free world. The next President of the United States must rebuild relations with the inter-American community to prevent a spread of the Communist menace that now stands 90 miles off our coast in Cuba. We must strengthen the Organization of American States and demonstrate our willingness to work with Latin America toward the economic and social progress on which resistance to communism depends.
The next President must recognize that the new nations of Asia and Africa have fundamentally altered the balance of world power and must be prepared to work with them in the creation of a peaceful, stable, and progressive world order.
There must be a reinvigoration of the North Atlantic alliance. There must be a full-scale attack, mustering the ablest men available, on the problem of disarmament. There must be new ideas and new vigor in seeking solutions to such long-stalemated problems as those of Berlin and the Middle East.
With a vigorous and positive leadership in foreign affairs and a military strength adequate to our responsibilities, I believe we can reverse the tide of recent years, turn back the Communist offensive and restore America to preeminence in the leadership of the free world.
MEDICAL CARE FOR THE AGED
If hospitalization costs keep
rising the way they have in recent years, a week in the hospital will soon
cost over $300. Our retired people cannot afford these heavy payments.
They have an equally difficult time paying health insurance premiums, which
have recently been raised in New York State by 33 percent.
Both Mr. Nixon and myself agree that the legislation passed in the last Congress is inadequate. It only helps people on welfare and relief.
I believe, with Governor Rockefeller, that people should be able to save for the medical care of their retirement years in the same way that they set aside money for other needs - through the social security system. My health plan would extend to our elder citizens a life policy of paid-up medical insurance. It would afford them hospital benefits, nursing-home benefits, and X-rays and laboratory tests on an outpatient basis.
This plan has no trace of socialized medicine. Everybody would have complete freedom of choice in the selection of hospitals, nursing homes and doctors.
I believe my health plan is superior to Mr. Nixon's in these respects:
There would be no additional Federal spending. My plan would pay for itself through an increase in the social security tax of one-quarter of 1 percent a year -approximately 3 cents a day per person. The Republican plan would take a bite of about $900 million from the budget.
It would not unbalance State budgets. The Republican plan calls for substantial contributions from every State every year. This means higher State taxes, at a time when the States are straining their tax system to the limit, and it would leave coverage to the will of each legislature every year.
It would not require our citizens to take a means test or require their sources of income to be investigated by the Government before they could receive benefits.
It would provide one uniform system throughout the country, instead of 50 separate systems. Everybody would know just what benefits they could expect and could build their private insurance protection around them.
It would allow people to provide for the costs of their retirement while they work - so that their needs could be met in later years without burdening their children.