Election 1944: Must unshackle business, Bricker tells Legion (9-18-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (September 18, 1944)


Must unshackle business, Bricker tells Legion

Chicago, Illinois (UP) –
American business and industry must be “unshackled” in the post-war era to guarantee and provide jobs for returning war veterans to prevent a repetition of the manner in which the job was done after the last war, Ohio Governor John W. Bricker today told veterans of 1918.

Speaking before the American Legion convention, the Republican vice-presidential nominee said failure now to plan for the reabsorption of about 12 million veterans in the nation’s economic life will mean that they fought only for a “battlefield illusion.”

Job guarantee cited

Mr. Bricker said:

But we shall not succeed if we rely only upon good intentions, government doles and public works. Government must help. Government will help. The G.I. Bill of Rights is a good beginning. We must make it work. But that will not solve the problem; and that, I know, is not all our men and women in the armed services want.

Mr. Bricker, an Army chaplain in the last war, pointed out that when soldiers were drafted or enlisted, they were guaranteed, under the Selective Service Act, their old jobs upon their return.

Now, he said, “certain sources” are saying that it will be a mistake to get jobs for veterans by taking them away from someone else – “that seniority rights are property rights and are more sacred than job priorities for our soldiers.”

He declared:

I do not share that view. To accept it is to break our covenant with those who now fight and die for us. All veterans are entitled to have their jobs back and no individual, group or organization dare deny that right.

Bids for support

In a strong bid for Legion support, Mr. Bricker said veterans of World War I felt the “real blow of ingratitude” when under the “guise of economy – when there was no economy in government” – their pensions were cut and benefits vetoed, and the President told them that the simple fact of a man wearing a uniform did not place him “in a special class.”

Reiterating a program outlined in his Parkersburg, West Virginia, speech Friday, Mr. Bricker said a “climate of opportunity” must be created through full production after the war, rationing and price-fixing must be terminated as quickly as possible, taxes reduced and small business encouraged.

Mr. Bricker said:

Our economic society is not tottering in old age. It is simply paralyzed by the restraints and shackles that are fastened on it. Unshackle it, and we shall find it strong and full of promise for the future.