Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, Members of the House and Senate, my fellow Americans:
If we fail, if we fritter and fumble away our opportunity in needless, senseless quarrels between Democrats and Republicans, or between the House and the Senate, or between the South and North, or between the Congress and the administration, then history will rightfully judge us harshly. But if we succeed, if we can achieve these goals by forging in this country a greater sense of union, then, and only then, can we take full satisfaction in the State of the Union.. .
This budget, and this year’s legislative program, are designed to help each and every American citizen fulfill his basic hopes — his hopes for a fair chance to make good; his hopes for fair play from the law; his hopes for a full-time job on full-time pay; his hopes for a decent home for his family in a decent community; his hopes for a good school for his children with good teachers; and his hopes for security when faced with sickness or unemployment or old age.
Unfortunately, many Americans live on the outskirts of hope — some because of their poverty, and some because of their color, and all too many because of both. Our task is to help replace their despair with opportunity.
This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America. I urge this Congress and all Americans to join with me in that effort. . .
– We will launch a special effort in the chronically distressed areas of Appalachia.
– We must expand our small but our successful area redevelopment program.
– We must enact youth employment legislation to put jobless, aimless, hopeless youngsters to work on useful projects.
– We must distribute more food to the needy through a broader food stamp program.
– We must create a National Service Corps to help the economically handicapped of our own country as the Peace Corps now helps those abroad.
– We must modernize our unemployment insurance and establish a high-level commission on automation. If we have the brain power to invent these machines, we have the brain power to make certain that they are a boon and not a bane to humanity.
– We must extend the coverage of our minimum wage laws to more than 2 million workers now lacking this basic protection of purchasing power.
– We must . .. improve the quality of teaching, training, and counseling in our hardest hit areas.
– We must build more libraries in every area and more hospitals and nursing homes . . and train more nurses to staff them.
– We must provide hospital insurance for our older citizens financed by every worker and his employer under Social Security, . .to protect him in his old age in a dignified manner without cost to the Treasury, against the devastating hardship of prolonged or repeated illness.
– We must … provide more housing for our poor and our elderly, and seek as our ultimate goal in our free enterprise system a decent home for every American family.
– We must help obtain more modern mass transit within our communities as well as low-cost transportation between them.
– Above all, we must release $11 billion of tax reduction into the private spending stream to create new jobs and new markets in every area of this land.
These programs are obviously not for the poor or the underprivileged alone. Every American will benefit by the extension of social security to cover the hospital costs of their aged parents. Every American community will benefit from the construction or modernization of schools, libraries, hospitals, and nursing homes, from the training of more nurses and from the improvement of urban renewal in public transit. And every individual American taxpayer and every corporate taxpayer will benefit from the earliest possible passage of the pending tax bill from both the new investment it will bring and the new jobs that it will create.. .
Let me make one principle of this administration abundantly clear: All of these increased opportunities — in employment, in education, in housing, and in every field-must be open to Americans of every color.. . . Today, Americans of all races stand side by side in Berlin and in Viet Nam. They died side by side in Korea. Surely they can work and eat and travel side by side in their own country.
We must also lift by legislation the bars of discrimination against those who seek entry into our country, particularly those who have much needed skills and those joining their families.
In establishing preferences, a nation that was built by the immigrants of all lands can ask those who now seek admission: “What can you do for our country?” But we should not be asking: “In what country were you born?”
For our ultimate goal is a world without war, a world made safe for diversity, in which all men, goods, and ideas can freely move across every border and every boundary.