Nixon's Economic Policy Toward Minorities
MAURICE H. STANS
Prior to 1969, the federal government had no identified continuing program to help members of the ethnic minorities to start a business or to stay in business. Help was possible for an applicant only if he or she qualified for assistance within one of the statutory activities of the Small Business Administration; this was not an easy process for a member of a minority, who would be in direct competition with the usually more qualified members of the white majority.
A few previous election-year moves to draw voting favor from minorities, especially from blacks, under the guise of helping them with loans that actually were mere tokens, had ended in disaster or insignificance. One notable example was a short-lived plan in 1964 for the Small Business Administration to lend $6,000 to each applicant for six years under generous qualification standards. Another obvious political effort was started a few months before the election in 1968 to generate quick SBA business loans. Such moves were untailored and ineffective, and produced nothing of permanence toward resolving the long- standing inequity that resulted because a large segment of the population had little access to opportunity in the American economy.
In April 1968, candidate Richard M. Nixon made two radio talks under the heading "Bridges to Human Dignity."
Among the bridges he described to move the black minority from welfare to dignity were these two economic bridges:
The bridge of black success--a bridge that can only be achieved by those [blacks] who themselves have overcome, and who by their help or their example can show the way to the American Dream.