Newspaper Articles

Charleston Gazette
January 26, 1960

Immoral, Wicked, Evil

Humphrey Hits State Poverty

By George Lawless
Staff Writer

Poverty in the midst of the the [sic] most prosperous country on earth is "a national scandal," Presidential hopeful Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey declared here Monday.

"There are 50 million people living in rich America today - in the middle of the 20th Century - who are almost living in poverty, or if not that at least in low income brackets.It's's is is evil!."

Speaking before the 100-member House of Delegates and packed galleries at the Statehouse, the Minnesota Democrat said there are "too many pockets of depression and despair" in the United States for any American "to feel complacent about our national strength.

"The fact that the West Virginia Legislature is grappling with questions of supplying food for the hungry and other welfare measures points up the bitter fact that the prosperity we hear so much about is certainly not a general prosperity," he added.

Humphrey, surrounded by beaming Democrats, smiled and sprinkled his prepared talk with many "my good friends." But he tolled off figures on economic conditions, his voice became harsh, clipped - a little like an undertaker who is happy over the fee but afraid to offend his client with too much cheerfulness.

Noting that the State of Minnesota suffers a similar economic slump, and that in the northeastern section of his state up to 25 per cent unemployment has existed for the past three years, he termed the mixed economy an "incredible situation."

He said "we have in fact a huge unfinished job in the United States. A job that we are well on the way with but a job yet that needs to be completed - the job of providing economic opportunity and economic security for all of our people."

The portly, polished lawmaker referred to his marathon session with Russia's Premier Nikita Khrushchev a year ago, warned that the Soviet Union has now changed its tactics for world conquest from military to economic power.

".Anybody in this country who thinks that we can tolerate the luxury - or better put, the waste of unemployment, is one who is literally frittering away the strength of America in this terrible competition in which we now find ourselves." Solutions to the problems of economic stagnation in these areas will not be easy, Humphrey admitted, but he urged immediate congressional action on the following:

--A measure that would provide hospitalization and nursing care for the elderly, plus medical research aimed at conquering such diseases as cancer.

"How many people are denied adequate hospitalization and nursing home care because of inadequate income?" he asked.

--A minimum wage of at least $1.25 an hour with extended coverage.

He also called for intensified government and private research into ways of making greater use of raw materials and natural resources. Humphrey urged that the government place an export subsidy on coal "where foreign competition and cutrate prices injure American producers and shippers." He further suggested that efforts be made to find greater uses for coal in the U. S. foreign aid programs "particularly to the underdeveloped countries, the fuel deficit countries that are beginning their industrialized programs."

"Our primary goal must be decent wages or private income for every American family or individual," he said. "It saddens me to find America failing to do all that it should and all that it could."

Declaring that last year over five million Americans received some form of surplus foods, he added:

"Corn meal, dried milk and flour, they are all wonderful commodities.but should any American child be expected to live on these along? In this the richest land in the world? How evil can we be to permit suffering and hunger in America where garbage cans of this nation are overflowing with the waste of restaurants and taverns and hotels to an abundance that is appalling.

"And yet in America, so help me, there are families without adequate food as our government stands like a stunned ox.unwilling and unable apparently to understand what is going on."

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