Richard Nixon on Jobs

President of the U.S., 1968-1974


1946: Labor PACs are Communist; so no PAC support

Nixon had found his issue: Jerry Voorhis's backing by the giant Congress of Industrial Relations. Freed from wartime "no strike" pledges, the country's great labor unions, led by the CIO, were demanding catch-up wages. In Jan. 1946, the auto workers had struck. Next to go out were the mine workers, who forced Truman's hand. Dick Nixon would now charge Voorhis with being in the hip pocket of labor's political action committee, the CIO PAC.

There was only one problem with the charge: It was false. The CIO executive board in CA had voted on April 1 to endorse every Democratic congressman except Voorhis. Nixon found such details unimpressive.

Nixon's use of the "PAC" charge in 1946 came amid a sea change in voter attitudes. The CIO PAC had become a popular target of this concern. "There are no strings attached to me," Nixon said. "I have no support from any special-interest or pressure group. I welcome the opposition of the PAC with its Communist principles and its huge slush fund."

Source: Kennedy & Nixon, by Chris Matthews, p. 36-37 , Jun 3, 1996

Full employment budget: stimulus balances jobs & inflation

As we have moved from runaway inflation toward reasonable price stability, we have paid a price in increased unemployment. I will submit an expansionary budget this year--one that will help stimulate the economy and thereby open up new job opportunities for millions of Americans.

It will be a full employment budget, a budget designed to be in balance if the economy were operating at its peak potential. I ask the Congress to accept these expansionary policies--to accept the concept of a full employment budget. At the same time, I ask the Congress to cooperate in resisting expenditures that go beyond the limits of the full employment budget. For as we wage a campaign to bring about a widely shared prosperity, we must not reignite the fires of inflation and so undermine that prosperity.

With the stimulus and the discipline of a full employment budget, we shall gain the goal of a new prosperity: more jobs, more income, more profits, without inflation and without war.

Source: Pres. Nixon's 1971 State of the Union message to Congress , Jan 22, 1971

1959: Led secret meetings to resolve steel strike deadlock

Before the strike began, [the steel industry leader] had talked with Vice President Richard Nixon and asked him to use his good offices to induce the steel manufacturers to come to an agreement with the union. Watching the course of the strike, at my request, he began a series of secret meetings with officials on both sides of the disputes, meeting among other places at the Nixon home in Washington.

On Wednesday, December 30, 1959, the Vice President "laid the issue on the line," reminding them that if the strike resumed, "the country will have no place to go for a remedy but to the Congress, which as you know, the Democrats control. In an election year, management won't like the labor-management legislation such a Congress will produce."

That meeting broke the deadlock. The company negotiators agreed that they would voluntarily accept the settlement recommended by Nixon.

Source: Waging Peace, by Pres. Dwight Eisenhower, p.457-458 , Jan 1, 1965

New powers to deal with strikes, but not government seizure

Q: Some of your early campaign literature said you were making a study to see if new laws were needed to protect the public against excessive use of power by labor unions.

NIXON: I believe that in this area, the laws which should be passed, as far as the big national emergency strikes are concerned, are ones that will give the president more weapons with which to deal with those strikes. Now, I have a basic disagreement with Senator Kennedy on this point; he indicated that he would even favor compulsory arbitration, and that he felt that government seizure might be the best way to stop a strike which could not be settled by collective bargaining. I do not believe we should have either compulsory arbitration or seizure--that will end up as wage control & price control--all the things that we do not want.

KENNEDY: I never suggested compulsory arbitration. I have suggested that the president should be given other weapons. One of the additional powers that I would suggest would be seizure.

Source: The Third Kennedy-Nixon Presidential Debate , Oct 13, 1960

To combat unemployment, concentrate on depressed areas

Q: What measures would you advocate to combat unemployment?

NIXON: To combat unemployment we first must concentrate on the so-called depressed areas. The bill that the President had submitted would have provided more aid for those areas that really need it--areas like Scranton and Wilkes-Barre and the areas of West Virginia. As the highest priority we must get a bill for depressed areas through the next Congress. As we consider this problem of unemployment, we have to realize where it is. In analyzing the figures we will find that our unemployment exists among the older citizens; it exists also among those who are inadequately trained; that is, those who do not have an adequate opportunity for education. It also exists among minority groups. If we're going to combat unemployment, then, we have to do a better job in these areas. That's why I have a program for education, a program in the case of equal job opportunities, and one that would also deal with our older citizens.

Source: The Second Kennedy-Nixon Presidential Debate , Oct 7, 1960

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Barack Obama(D,2009-2017)
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George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
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Page last updated: Feb 22, 2022