1965: reforms saw few barriers

1965 was certainly creative on history’s record.

Agreement on basic facts like schools not keeping up and hospitals not able to provide affordable prices for the elderly were spotlighted in the 89th Congress. America was ready for needed reforms. Movements of social and economic reform moved upward toward higher levels.

A number of “firsts” were created by surmounting old legislative barriers:

  • The elderly in America were provided with hospital and nursing care under the Social Security system.
  • Federal funds to church schools was set aside.
  • More federal funding was provided to public schools in low-income areas.
  • Federal scholarships were provided to low-income talented who were poor students for college.
  • Limited federal housing rent subsidies were provided for qualifying families.
  • A new Department of Housing and Urban Development was established with Cabinet rank.
  • Federal registrars made good that the right to vote was not to be denied or abridged because of race or creed.
  • A law was passed for tobacco manufacturers to put on each package a warning that stated “Caution – Habitual Smoking Is Injurious to Health.”

Congress also made generous grants to higher education and provided $1.1 billion to Appalachia. $1.9 billion was used for the President’s “War on Poverty” program. It repealed the national immigration quota system and excise taxes.

President Lyndon B. Johnson

The election of 1964 gave the political advantage to the Democrats. The nation was prosperous and had the resources for new social programs. President Johnson’s legislative program and political craftsmanship made a phenomenal combination. The new programs went through both chambers of Congress as if their time had come.

The 89th Congress was compared to President Woodrow Wilson’s first term. Wilson saw the Federal Reserve Act become law with his signature as well as the establishment of the Federal Trade Commission.

Federal Trade Commission Building

President Johnson completed much of the unfinished business of the Franklin D. Roosevelt New Deal. Johnson’s economy was much much better than the economy FDR had to work with. Johnson’s programs were built to prevent crisis better it developed.

Government was at a point of consolidation. The consolidation mode would hang around. Just as America’s domestic policy was shoring up and taking shape, the foreign policy front was taking a turn for the worse. Europe needed direction, especially when it came to the Soviets. Vietnam had also been escalating. In August of 1963 the U.S. had 17,000 advisers in country. By the beginning of 1965 that number was at 60,000. By the end of the year American troops numbered 200,000. They were no longer advisers, but front line units in combat  with the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong. Supplies from the Soviet Union kept North Vietnam’s momentum moving slowly forward.

We could discuss the notion that government consolidation brought about inflation that came along eight years later. Spending increased in 1965 with the new and larger programs. Taxes were not increased and in some instances, lowered or eliminated. The government could just print more money. That seems to always catch up with an economy.

Our spending since then was increased  so that deficits are normal. And here we are.



Published by mikebertelsen

Global market, trade, and financial news. I keep up to date with what I assess is important.

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