Letter to Pres. and Mrs. Roosevelt (Full Text)
Head Note: This is another letter sent to the White House. This writer voices her thoughts about how Social Security should work. [Please note that we have changed some of the punctuation and spelling in the letter so it will be easier to read.]
Ypsilante Mich Jan 24-36
Hon Pres and Mrs Roosevelt -- Washington D.C.
Dear friends -- A few words from one whom you represent. When Pres. Roosevelt gave his promise to drive the "The Money Changers from the Temple" listeners had great hope that at last the common people of the nation would have a hearing but so far he seems zealously to be watching over the interests of financiers and capitalists and the common people are allowed to view a mirage with wonderful promises which disappear on approach -- They are however not deceived which you would fully realize if you visited their quarters in almose any large city. Pres. R. security program is ridiculed and to all of us it is a great disappointment. Common people have maintained the morale of this nation + not the visitors to Reno or those sitting in cocktail hotels--Uncle Sam had millions to spend to destroy food and cotton but a paltry $50.00 @ mo for 3-1/2 million working men to maintain a home and family in decency and health.and 49-1/2 cents a day for the aged to keep up the old home but coal--food + clothing after all of these have been steadily flowing into Wall St from all the corners of this nation and it is by the Federal Gov't alone which has access to all these treasuries that Old Age Pensions should be paid. It is Wall St. that has made corners and pools in stock markets. Created Holding Co.s-Sam'l Insull's and Henry L Dohertys with money for sky scrapers and Every conceivable luxury but not money to pay interest to honest people who paid their $100 per share with the promise to get this interest monthly as old age pension -- There is as much wealth as ever, but where is it? --In the hands of a comparitively few and most of them in Wall St. Why cannot Pres R. understand the people know this and are demanding a a re-distribution of wealth instead of a program of debt-debt-debts- unborn generations to pay. Why is he not taxing the fountain heads of this wealth if he means business. --Not borrow $4,800,000,000. to pay to workers at starvation wages and have most of it go to political overlords. Closes banks with receivers who know nothing about banking yet get $4000 @ yr ormore because they are Dem. politicians + eating up assets of depositors who are in want The Townsend Plan while it looked like a fairy tale or the Milinium at first yet as we think of it + examine its details we believe it is workable if really tried--It does not put all the wealth in one hand to distribute as he sees fit as a Hitler or Mussilene giveing him all power (and why ask it) but it distributes it to all the corners of the nation from which it was filched by means our Gov't should have outlawed before birth. Not even a large amount to any one person at any given time--but honest people who have lost as heavily as the 60- or 65 yr olds have--can much more be depended upon to spend the $200.00 @ mo justly than any youthful politican I know, together with whatever income the recipient already has--to be paid by local banks on a percent basis will help the banks as well as the workers of every industry and this pension should be given to every industrious citizen of U.S. for pas 10 or more yrs.
Pauper pensions tend to break down self respect. We know many who have lost practically every thing thru no fualt of their own would rather die than have to declare themselves penniless. Also--This plan also does not place great debt on the nation for another generation to pay but can be paid by a general transaction tax on funds in the hands of this generation.
It is stated on good authority that one bank alone in New York City has annual clearings amounting into billions.--2% tax would not impoverish them yet do an enormous amount of good + considering the many banks of the nation beside many many other sources of such a tax. There is not a doubt but the necessary sum could readily be raised (especially if it was to be used for armament or to protect the wealthy in nation).
Of course the wealthy and insurance companies are the chief objectors. However the 8 million or more dispensers of $200.00 or more @ mo would put new life into all industries + help the whole nation by supplying work and its reaction would be a benefit even to the wealth. For low wages by Gov't make large profits possible by Capitalists. + does not redistribute wealth which must be done if we ever secure prosperity.
Mass production requires mass selling. + mas selling requires mass buying + mass buying requires purchasing power in the hands of the masses and it is the failure to provide this purchasing power that has wrecked our economic machine Townsend Plan places this power in the hands of the masses--It is useless to raise prices and then give masses no purchasing power.--It simply makes living more impossible. A man's inteligence is judged by the rapidity by which he can adjust himself to a new situation + a nations inteligence is judged by the rapidity its leaders can adjust themselves to a new order.--We are in new era or order Machines replacing human hands by the million-Hours of labor per day and also years of labor must be decreased but how shall the enormous profits of past yrs be distributed to those whose earning days are past + their years of industry all for naught--because of unscrupulus racketeers. This U.S. could be a paradise instead the habitation of misery + want if leaders but let go of selfish interests.
Mrs O. M.
Source: Excerpt from a letter written by a married woman to Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. January 24, 1936. Ypsilante Michigan.