Labor Day in 1967 was on the pessimistic side. Unrest all over the country. Poverty, cities in turmoil, unemployment, the Vietnam War sapping the country of resources – physical and monetary. The Summer of Love to some, but for everyone else, a time of great uncertainty.
And so for his annual Labor Day message, AF of L – CIO PresidentGeorge Meany delivered a cautious address in the midst of the pessimism. He spoke about the need for more programs to aid poverty and unemployment. He blasted Congress for its failure to act responsibly. In the 23 Programs introduced to Congress since the beginning of the session, not one had been enacted. Over 200,000 housing units, which Congress approved funding for, had not yet been built. The War on Poverty had stalemated in Congress, and it was this gloomy assessment that greeted most of America on this Labor Day in 1967.
Doesn’t sound that much different from Labor Day 2013. Good intentions and urgent appeals, stalemated by an ineffective Congress. America bogged down in a War it can’t afford and sapped of its strength by the forces of greed.
Some things just keep going around in circles.
Here is that Labor Day 1967 Address by George Meany.
Enjoy the day of rest – there’s a lot of work to do.
The debate over affordable Health Care has been groaning on for decades, it makes for great soundbites, and sometimes it gets votes. But the seemingly endless haggle over a National Health Plan never quite went anywhere.
In 1974 President Nixon offered a Health Plan. Actually, he offered one in 1972 and in 1973 – with each year being dubbed “The Year Of The Health Plan”, but nothing ever came of it.
So in response to this version of a health plan offered by Nixon, Senators Ted Kennedy and Wilbur Mills offered an alternative, one which would be funded via Social Security. Kennedy explained the details of his plan in a radio address on May 22, 1974. Granted, the timing wasn’t particularly terrific – with Impeachment hearings looming and most of America reeling from daily revelations. For once, the Health Care debate took a back-burner.
But, as history has shown, the Kennedy/Mills idea of a Health Plan didn’t fly either.
Since the subject of Healthcare has been front-and-center in the media and most conversation the past few days, it’s sobering to know it’s not a new argument. In fact, the subject of affordable healthcare has been argued since as far back as 1909.
So in the 1960’s, even with Medicare, which was signed into law in 1965, there was still a broken system and a system desperately in need of repair. You’d think after almost fifty years something would have happened to fix it. Americans priding themselves on the notion that, when things are broken, we are resourceful enough to get them fixed – but this is a deal breaker, it seems.
In 1968, as part of its Monthly radio documentary series Second Sunday, NBC Radio explored the subject of Medical Care in America and came up with a lot of very familiar situations. Further evidence some things don’t change, or refuse to.
Here is that Second Sunday episode, first broadcast on August 11, 1968.
Listen to it and feel eerie. They don’t call it Deja-vu for nothin’.