Ode to the Welfare State

The following was nationally distributed in the United States by the Associated Press and appeared in the New York Daily News on Friday, November 4, 1949. The measures being referenced are those in the Fair Deal, the cradle-to-grave welfare state proposal of President Harry S Truman to follow up on Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal of the 1930s. Fortunately at the time, most of these measures were not adopted but with bi-partisan support, most have since become federal law.


Mr. Truman’s St. Paul, Minn., pie-for-everybody speech last night reminded us that, at the tail-end of the recent session of Congress, Republican Clarence J. Brown (R-Ohio) jammed into the Congressional Record the following poem, describing its author only as a “prominent Democrat of the State of Georgia”:

Democratic Dialog

Father, must I go to work?
No, my lucky son.
We’re living now on Easy Street
On dough from Washington.

We’ve left it up to Uncle Sam,
So don’t get exercised.
Nobody has to give a damn—
We’ve all been subsidized.

But if Sam treats us all so well
And feeds us milk and honey,
Please, daddy, tell me what the hell
He’s going to use for money.

Don’t worry, bub, there’s not a hitch
In this here noble plan—
He simply soaks the filthy rich
And helps the common man.

But, father, won’t there come a time
When they run out of cash
And we have left them not a dime
When things will go to smash?

My faith in you is shrinking, son,
You nosy little brat;
You do too damn much thinking, son,
To be a Democrat.

With a fiscal train wreck looming ahead for Americans, will Republicans, Democrats and Independents today seek ways to dismantle the welfare state?

For all those seeking real change, please see the following for insights and superb holiday gifts:

Financing Failure: A Century of Bailouts, by Vern McKinley

Beyond Politics: The Roots of Government Failure, by Randy T. Simmons, foreword by Gordon Tullock

Against Leviathan: Government Power and a Free Society, by Robert Higgs

The Voluntary City: Choice, Community, and Civil Society, edited by David T. Beito, Peter Gordon, and Alexander T. Tabarrok; foreword by Paul Johnson

Out of Work: Unemployment and Government in Twentieth-Century America, by Richard K. Vedder and Lowell E. Gallaway; foreword by Martin Bronfenbrenner

Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government, by Robert Higgs; foreword by Arthur A. Ekirch, Jr.

HT: Gary Theroux

David J. Theroux is Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Institute and Publisher of the quarterly journal, The Independent Review.
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