Lyndon Johnson on Technology
It is the genius of our Constitution that under its shelter of enduring institutions and rooted principles there is ample room for the rich fertility of American political invention. We must change to master change. I propose to take steps to modernize and streamline the executive branch, to modernize the relations between city and State and Nation
A new Department of Transportation is needed to bring together our transportation activities. The present structure--35 Government agencies, spending $5 billion yearly--makes it almost impossible to serve either the growing demands of this great Nation or the needs of the industry, or the right of the taxpayer to full efficiency and real frugality.
[For 1957] I had asked for $144 million for the USIA--$31 million more than the year before. The appropriations subcommittee under the chairmanship of Sen. Lyndon Johnson was talking about slicing that to $91 million.
When the Senate subcommittee brought out its report, the USIA got about what Johnson had said: $90.2 million; it also got the acid advice that it "should concentrate on improving its personnel" and the recommendation that the Agency should return, as before 1953, to the State Department. Johnson left no doubt about his views: "There is not one scintilla of evidence in the more than 1200 pages of hearings which would justify the assertion by a judicious, prudent man that the $90 million we have recommended will be wisely spent." I was disappointed by this irresponsible diminution of an agency on the front line in the cold war.
Johnson argued, "There is no reason why the farmer should not have electricity at cheap prices now. He needs it to help him with his work, make his home a better and more comfortable place to live, and to give him the opportunity available to city folks."
One result of his fight for extension of electric service to rural homes was the establishment of his own district of the biggest rural electrification project in the world. In 1939 the Central Texas empire of public-owned electric utilities had become a reality with the execution of a contract for purchase by the Lower Colorado River Authority of properties owned by a private company in a 16-county area. Rates paid by farmers for electric power were slashed 25%. Their use of electricity zoomed and the resulting benefits were plain.
Johnson called for the permanent Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee. The Majority Leader early gave heavy emphasis to the importance of international cooperation in the use and exploration of space. He presented the American position on the subject in an appearance at the UN in NY. The New York Herald Tribune editorially congratulated Johnson for his "forceful affirmation" of US policy, saying his "eloquent performance undoubtedly made a deep impression on the uncommitted nations."
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George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)
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