Goverments and Postwar Employment Policy
Coming Conflict on “Full Employement Act of 1945”
Hearings on the “Full Employment Act of 1945,” held July 30 and 31 for sponsors of the measure, are to be resumed before the Senate Banking and Currency Committee soon after Congress returns from its summer recess. The heads of numerous federal departments and agencies have endorsed the objectives of the proposed legislation. Approximately 100 members of the House of Representatives have been organized into a steering committee, under the chairmanship of Rep. Outland (D., Cal.), to mobilize public sentiment in support of the measure. Strong opposition to the bill is anticipated from financial and business interests and from orthodox economists. The autumn hearings will provide a forum for airing a conflict of views which may rival in intensity the conflict which divided adherents and opponents of the Roosevelt New Deal.
The Murray full-employment bill has been advanced as a means of implementing the first point in the “economic bill of rights” proclaimed by President Roosevelt. Its purpose is to assure the opportunity for “a useful and remunerative job” to everyone able and anxious to work. While the objective of the bill is full employment rather than any specific number of job opportunities, it is the answer of its sponsors to the 1944 campaign promise of 60 million postwar jobs. President Truman has made no commitment on the measure. However, as a member of the War Contracts subcommittee of the Senate Military Affairs Committee, he signed the report, Dec, 18, 1944, in which the original version of the full-employment bill was submitted for public discussion.
Evolution of the Demand for Economic Security
The Murray bill represents the ultimate in the demands of those who advocate that the government assume responsibility for the economic security of individuals. On Mar, 6, 1933, President Roosevelt told a conference of state governors at the White House that “the federal government, of course, does have to prevent anybody from starving.” The President was then concerned with provision of minimum relief to the unemployed. From that basic premise, the conception of government responsibility for the welfare of individuals has evolved to the proposal that the federal government shall undertake to see to it that everyone who can work and who wants to work shall have the opportunity to work.