Nevada Appeal at 150: Sept. 4, 1966: President Johnson’s Labor Day statement

President Johnson’s Labor Day statement

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Johnson said in a Labor Day statement Saturday night that “every segment of American life — labor, government, business, the public at large — has a special stake in extending our prosperity to those it has eluded for too long.”

“By vigorous employment of a vast national wealth, energy and intelligence, I am confident, on this day, that we can shape our society so that a useful and productive life may be the birthright of every American,” Johnson said. “That is our lasting goal.”

Johnson said working men and women have been the dynamic force behind the most continuous, widely shared economic advance ever known to any people, anywhere in history.

“What was a dream in the early days of the New Deal — job security and Social Security, unemployment and compensation, Medicare, good wages — are realities of today,” Johnson said.

Achieving the “Great Society,” Johnson said, “is not the job of the president alone. It is not the sole responsibility of Congress. It is the duty, and should be the special goal, of every citizen.”

He said Labor Day is a time to focus on new ways to assure every citizen an equal share in the greatness of America. Johnson added, “to accomplish this we must establish a domestic good neighbor policy in every block in every city; provide greater economic balance to assure that every working American is freed from poverty and shielded from the threat of inflation; provide even more recreational facilities so that all may enjoy to the fullest their leisure time.”

“Social and economic justice is the basic goal of the Great Society,” Johnson said. “Working people and their organizations are leaders in the pursuit of this national goal. Once, the free trade union movement channeled its efforts toward giving individual workers strength in their struggle with the privileged few. Now, in the time of the privileged many, American labor works in behalf of the disadvantaged few — the poor, the victims of racial injustice, the elderly.”

This continues the Appeal’s review of news stories and headlines during its Sesquicentennial year.


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