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U.S. At War: New Bill of Rights

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For a part of his Message to Congress on the State of the Union, Dr. Win-the-War had apparently called into consultation one Dr. Win-New-Rights. The physicians emerged with a diagnosis and a prescription.

Diagnosis: the inalienable political rights of this Republic have protected Life and Liberty all right, but “have proved inadequate to assure equality in the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Prescription: to accept, “so to speak,” a second Bill of Rights, “economic truths [that] have become accepted as self-evident.” The prescription:

¶ Everybody’s right to a useful and remunerative job.

¶ The farmer’s right to have the same.

¶ The businessman’s right to be protected from monopoly and unfair competition.

¶ Every family’s right to a decent home.

¶ Everybody’s right to good health.

¶ Everybody’s right to protection from fear of old age, sickness, unemployment.

¶ Everybody’s right to a good education.

One day later, a special message suggested that some of these rights might be achieved by building immediately after the war a mammoth 34,000-mile nationwide network of express and interconnecting highways, at an estimated annual cost of $750 million, to provide jobs for 2,000,000 citizens over a period of 10 to 20 years.

“All of these rights,” concluded the President, “spell security. . . . True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.” Some druggists on Capitol Hill thought the handwriting on the prescription seemed strangely familiar—identical, in fact, with that of the late Dr. New Deal. Perhaps, like the author of Sherlock Holmes, the old fellow’s creator might feel that popular demand required at least temporary resuscitation.

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