From the Cradle to the Grave
EVEN AS THE President announced his administration's determination to "quit this business of relief," he disavowed any intention of abandoning the needy. The federal government, he pledged, would keep its hand in.
Jobs for the unemployed through a vast public works program was the immediate purpose of Roosevelt's January 4, 1935, message to Congress. But Roosevelt took this occasion to express concern for the so-called unemployables--those too old, too ill, or too disabled to work and women, usually widows, with dependent children. Unemployables made up a large group, almost one-third of the families and single persons then on relief. Responsibility for unemployables, wrote the President, belonged where it had been since time immemorial, with states, counties, cities, and private charities. Yet, however time-honored this responsibility, the administration did not plan a complete turning back. Calling attention to forthcoming proposals for economic security, Roosevelt expressed certainty that this new legislation would assist the states to carry out their duty to aid those needy who could not be expected to work.
Six months earlier, on June 8, 1934, the President had sent a message to Congress affirming his support for a federal-state program to provide for the security of the nation's men, women, and children "against the hazards