Newspaper Articles


Charleston Gazette-Mail
March 22, 1959

Presidential Battle in State Opened by Sen. Humphrey

By Thomas F. Stafford

Sen. Hubert Humphrey opened his West Virginia campaign for the Presidency here Saturday night by coming out flatly for government subsidization of coal exports from distressed producing areas.

The Minnesota liberal blasted the Eisenhower administration for its “golf links” economic policies, charging that it has consistently turned a deaf ear on pleas for help from chronically depressed areas such as exist in the West Virginia coal fields.

Humphrey’s appearance was the featured event of a Democratic woman’s conference at the Daniel Boone Hotel. While he made no mention of his Presidential aspirations, it was obvious that he was making a pitch for the labor vote in this heavily industrialized state.

He buttressed his subsidy plan with proposals that the government find greater used for coal in the foreign aid program and government-financed research on programs directed at larger markets for coal and other natural resources in distressed areas.

“Administration leaders are trying to gauge the economic health of the nation,” he declared, “by watching the stock market, corporate profits, and by golf link discussions with representatives of the great corporations and financial institutions.”

What President Eisenhower and his advisors should do, Humphrey suggested is “get around the country” and talk with people who are trying to “hold on without jobs, without hope, and often even without adequate food.”

Regarded as a major contender for the Democratic Presidential nomination next year, Humphrey slanted his remarks toward the recession that has persisted in West Virginia in spite of improving conditions nationally.

Any administration that ignores the problems of chronically depressed areas, he said is “courting national disaster.” They are a “cancer on the economic and social life,” he continued, and drain away the “strength and vitality of the nation.”

The trouble with the Eisenhower administration, he said bitterly, is that it “puts dollars before people, puts balancing the budget before balancing the nation’s economy, and puts fat corporate profits before full employment.”

It is a “care-nothing, do-nothing, backward-looking, budget-preoccupied government” that is causing the nation to “slide into a secondary position in world power” with its policies.

Humphrey predicted that Congress will pass legislation, “over the President’s veto if necessary,” to expand temporary unemployment benefits again and permit them to encompass nearly 2,000,000 jobless workers not eligible under the present law.

Also, he said, Congress will pass area redevelopment legislation vetoed last year by Mr. Eisenhower “as a sound and constructive attempt to focus on the long-range needs of the economically distressed areas.”

He then proposed that the government undertake five additional programs for the restoration of basic health to recessed areas. They were:

- Authorized public works programs designed to lay the base for greatly expanded future productivity in the form of better transportation facilities, cheaper power sources, better school buildings and laboratories, and improved timber management.

- Expanded research into ways to make better use of raw materials and natural resources in depressed areas.

- Immediate consideration by the government of an export subsidy on coal where foreign competition and cut-rate pricing has pushed it out of the market.

- Greater effort to emphasize the usage of coal in the foreign aid program, particularly in under-developed countries.

- Government assistance to farm families in areas with a low potential of natural resources, to aid them in moving to other areas where they’ll have better employment opportunities.

“The seeds of recession and unemployment,” he declared, “were planted on the date the Eisenhower administration started its hard money, tight credit, high interest policy.”

Responsibility for the slowdown in the American economy, he charged, as well as the continuation of unemployment and the rising cost of living, “rests squarely with the Republican administration.”


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