Thank you very much for the kind words, ladies and gentlemen. I've been thinking about what kind of contribution I should make to these very important discussions and papers that have been presented to you. Bob Finch was present at the creation of the Family Assistance Plan, as with the launching of other social programs, in the beginning of the Nixon Administration. John Ehrlichman was there during all the important years, in which domestic initiatives were being developed, and can give you insights into President Nixon's thinking on that subject. I would like to have it noted for the record, however, that I always viewed John Ehrlichman as my principal ally and confederate in the White House, contrary to what some people seem to have supposed must be an ideological divide between us. I would have to say--I don't know if this will destroy your reputation, John--but we saw in a very similar way the president's objectives, a role appropriate to the Republican party, and a national response to human needs.
So it seems to me that I could perhaps most usefully comment briefly on these matters, from a pragmatic point of view, which has turned out to be the approach I always have taken in every one of the government jobs, wherever I served. I should add, perhaps, that I had the significant advantage of coming to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in May or June of 1970, having served in the department for three years in the Eisenhower Administration. During an interval of two years as lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, I served as sort of a coordinator of all the state's human service programs. This was part of the deal, whereby I agreed to run in the first place. I got the Republican candidate for governor, John Volpe, to agree that if we were both elected, he would delegate to me this responsibility, so I was there at the state level during the course of the Great Society. The result was an approach to these problems, which, as I indicated in my opening remarks this morning, brought to bear the thinking of the president, who was by no means reluctant to involve government where a sufficient case could be made in doing so, but who also believed, and I think these beliefs were perfectly genuine, that the strength and quality of American society, certainly the principle of the Republican party, depended on maximal, feasible reliance on private actions of state and local government.
We had by 1969-70 a history of categorical legislation responding to human needs in a piecemeal kind of way. Health, Education, and Welfare was responsible for the administration of more than 300 categorical programs. Even welfare itself was subdivided into a series of programs dealing separately with the aging, the blind, the disabled, and families with dependent children. All of these welfare programs were separable, and totally distinct in philosophic approach in administration, from the social insurance programs administered by the Social Security Administration. Meanwhile, because the federal government of the United States