Chattanooga, Tennessee (JFK+50) Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts, speaking here in Chattanooga sixty-one years ago today, December 10, 1953, attacked Federal subsidies and tax loopholes granted to Southern industry as a threat to the "stability and integrity of our entire national economy."
The Senator acknowledged that it was a fact that industry was expanding in the South while abandoning New England. He said this was due to...
The influence of Federal programs which receives a 'disproportionate share of government contracts, tax amortization certificates, and federal construction projects and grants' and the cost differential resulting from unfair practices permitted by Federal law.
JFK was particularly bothered by Federal incentives provided for new industries in the South. He said...
"Your tax-free plant and site program (is) an example of what I deem to be unfair competition."
The Senator gave examples in cities such as Elizabethton, Lawrenceburg, Pulaski and Maryville, Tennessee where New England industries were attempting to take advantage of these incentives. Mr. Kennedy said that Tennessee was just one of six other Southern states which benefited from this "Federal loophole."
The Senator said...
"Tax subsidies are no foundation on which to build stable industries."
JFK also cited the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act that allowed the South to bid on Federal contracts while paying lower wages than those in the North and the Labor Relations Act which permitted employers to oppose unionization of their industries.
Senator Kennedy, who was elected for his first term to the United States Senate in 1952, proposed a bill in May 1953 to correct these abuses and "to aid the expansion and diversification of industry" and to "prevent the use of substandard wages, anti-union policies and inadequate social benefits as lures to industrial immigration."
Senator Kennedy closed his speech with these words...
"It is a common goal--the expansion and prosperity of every section, not the ephemeral aggrandizement of one at the expense of another through the exploitation of...self-destroying values."
January 1, 2012
Photo by Thomsonmg2000
John F. Kennedy began his speech in Chattanooga with some kind words about our state. He said...
"I can assure you that (Senators Estes Kefauver and Albert Gore, Sr.) have wasted no opportunity to tell me about the advantages and assets of the Volunteer State.
I am also a long admirer of your Andrew Jackson and have framed on my Senate office wall a letter of President Jackson in 1836 warning against "attempts to build up political power irresponsible to the will...of the majority."
John F. Kennedy Speeches, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston, www.jfklibrary.org