Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-56f9d74cfd-rbfsf Total loading time: 0.348 Render date: 2022-06-26T03:15:55.777Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

“The Old Economic Rules No Longer Apply”: The National Planning Idea and the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act, 1974–1978

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 November 2018

Patrick Andelic*
Northumbria University


The campaign to pass the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act has been misunderstood by many historians. Rather than a failed attempt to resuscitate New Deal Keynesianism by an exhausted Democratic Party, it represented a radical effort to reconfigure the political economy of the United States by embracing national planning ideas that were enjoying a revival in response to the economic crisis of the 1970s. The fact that this bill proved politically viable challenges historians’ assumptions that this decade saw the American people turn away from “big government” and toward pro-market solutions for social and economic problems. This episode also forces us to reassess our understanding of the Democratic Party in this decade. It suggests that historians have erred in drawing a sharp distinction between the party’s “New Deal” and “New Politics” factions and that the policy goals of those factions dovetailed more often than has been appreciated.

Copyright © Donald Critchlow and Cambridge University Press 2018 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


This article was written with the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford. I would like to thank Gareth Davies, Malcolm Craig, Louisa Hotson, Mark McLay, Daniel Rowe, and the journal’s anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments on earlier drafts of this article. Papers based on this article were presented at the Policy History Conference and the annual conference of Historians of the Twentieth Century United States (HOTCUS), and I am grateful for the audience comments in those venues. I would also like to thank the staff and archivists at the Library of Congress (where I spent six months as a British Council Research Fellow at the John W. Kluge Center), the Minnesota Historical Society, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Colorado Boulder, and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library.


1. The third ovation went to the president of the National Urban League, Vernon Jordan. He joked from the platform that he had been compelled to “do a little constructive Tomming” to raise $9,000 for an advertisement in the New York Times to publicize the substance of a recent Black Economic Summit Conference. Austin Scott, “Aid to Poor Pushed at Hill Session,” Washington Post, 28 September 1974.

2. Carl Solberg devotes only one paragraph to the act in his 1984 biography of Humphrey, while Hawkins has yet to receive the biographer he deserves. Solberg, Carl, Hubert Humphrey: A Life (New York, 1984), 451.Google Scholar

3. Carl Biven, W., Jimmy Carter’s Economy: Policy in an Age of Limits (Chapel Hill, 2002), 33.Google Scholar

4. Domitrovic, Brian, “Gross as a Mountain,” Journal of Policy History 23, no. 3 (2011): 439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

5. Sandbrook, Dominic, Mad As Hell: The Crisis of the 1970s and the Rise of the Populist Right (New York, 2011), 45.Google Scholar

6. Collins, Robert, More: The Politics of Economic Growth in Postwar America (New York, 2000), 132–65;Google Scholar Kalman, Laura, Right Star Rising: A New Politics, 1974–1980 (New York, 2010), 227–48;Google Scholar Rodgers, Daniel T., Age of Fracture (Cambridge, Mass., 2011), 4176.Google Scholar

7. Thurber, Timothy N., The Politics of Equality: Hubert H. Humphrey and the African American Freedom Struggle (New York, 1999), 9;Google Scholar Stein, Judith, Pivotal Decade: How the United States Traded Factories for Finance in the Seventies (New Haven, 2010);Google Scholar Cowie, Jefferson, Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class (New York, 2010), 261.Google Scholar

8. Ronald Radosh, Divided They Fell: The Demise of the Democratic Party, 1964–1996 (New York, 1996), xi. One of the best-known formulations of this argument has come from Thomas Frank, who has argued that liberal elite preoccupations have enabled Republicans to hoodwink working-class cultural conservatives into supporting an agenda that runs counter to their economic interest. Thomas Frank, What’s The Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America (New York, 2004).

9. Bloodworth, Jeffrey, Losing the Center: The Decline of American Liberalism, 1968–1992 (Lexington, Ky., 2013), 119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

10. Liberal hopes for a robust full employment bill ended in bitter disappointment with the passage of the anemic Employment Act in 1946. Humphrey-Hawkins was originally introduced as an amendment to the 1946 Act. Samuel I. Rosenman, The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt: 1944–1945, Victory and the Threshold of Peace (New York, 1950), 40–41.

11. McGovern, George: “Jobs Are the Cornerstone of My Policy,” Washington Post-Times Herald, 30 August 1972.Google Scholar

12. Susan M. Hartmann, “Liberal Feminism and the Shaping of the New Deal Order,” in Making Sense of American Liberalism, ed. Jonathan Bell and Timothy Stanley (Urbana, 2012), 203.

13. Thurber, The Politics of Equality, 233–55.

14. Beginning with the National Recovery Administration (NRA)—a body that promoted government-regulated cartelization through industry codes, wage and price scales, and the prohibition of unfair practices, among other means—the planning impulse was frequently indulged by New Deal policymakers. Graham notes, however, that the NRA was “a sloppy, poorly coordinated effort” at planning. Graham, Otis L. Jr., Toward a Planned Society: From Roosevelt to Nixon (New York, 1976), 16–20, 28–31. See also Patrick Reagan, Designing A New America: The Origins of New Deal Planning, 1890–1943 (Amherst, Mass., 1999).Google Scholar

15. For more on FDR’s eventual embrace of Keynesian nostrums, see Eric Rauchway, The Money Makers: How Roosevelt and Keynes Ended the Depression, Defeated Fascism, and Secured a Prosperous Peace (New York, 2015).

16. Brinkley, Alan, “World War II and American Liberalism,” in The War in American Culture: Society and Consciousness During World War II, ed. Erenberg, Lewis A. and Hirsch, Susan E. (Chicago, 1996), 319–20.Google Scholar

17. Hansen was a Harvard professor who had become a fixture on government commissions during the Roosevelt years. He wrote in, among other outlets, The Nation in 1944 of the need for “a compensatory and developmental fiscal program designed to maintain full employment.” This would not be “an easy task,” he wrote, but it was a necessary one if Americans were to “master these terrifying depressions.” Alvin H. Hansen, “Planning Full Employment,” The Nation, 21 October 1944.

18. Tuck, Stephen, We Ain’t What We Ought to Be: The Black Freedom Struggle from Emancipation to Obama (Cambridge, Mass., 2010), 207, 211–12.Google Scholar See also Kruse, Kevin M. and Tuck, Stephen, eds., Fog of War: The Second World War and the Civil Rights Movement (New York, 2012).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

19. For more on Randolph and the March on Washington movement, see Cornelius L. Bynum, A. Philip Randolph and the Struggle for Civil Rights (Urbana, 2010), 157–84.

20. “Job Fear Hurled at Negroes,” Pittsburgh Courier, 15 April 1944. The economist Robert C. Weaver devoted an entire chapter to full employment in his 1946 book, Negro Labor. A former policy adviser in FDR’s Interior Department, Weaver would later go on to serve as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Lyndon B. Johnson, becoming the first African American to hold a cabinet-level position. Robert C. Weaver, Negro Labor: A National Problem (New York, 1946).

21. Brinkley, Alan, The End of Reform (New York, 1995), 260–63;Google Scholar Hamby, Alonzo L., Beyond the New Deal: Harry S. Truman and American Liberalism (New York, 1973), 6364.Google Scholar

22. Patterson, James T., Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945–1974 (New York, 1996), 59–61, 6566.Google Scholar

23. Murray Weidenbaum, “The Employment Act of 1946: A Half Century of Presidential Policymaking,” Presidential Studies Quarterly 26, no. 3 (Summer 1996): 880–86; Jason Scott Smith, “The Fair Deal,” in A Companion to Harry S. Truman, ed. Daniel S. Margolies (Malden, Mass., 2012), 213.

24. As Jonathan Bell has argued, policymakers’ enthusiasm for planning largely died in the early years of the Truman administration, stifled by conservative reaction and anticommunist liberalism. Jonathan Bell, The Liberal State on Trial: The Cold War and American Politics in the Truman Years (New York, 2004).

25. Berkowitz, Edward D., Something Happened: A Political and Cultural Overview of the Seventies (New York, 2006), 53–56, 6166; Collins, More, 154–65.Google Scholar

26. Wassily Leontief, “For a National Economic Planning Board,” New York Times, 14 March 1974.

27. Ibid. These ideas had currency even among those who were wary of planning. Sociologist Daniel Bell wrote of his conviction that “we in America are moving away from a society based on a private-enterprise market system toward one in which the most important economic decisions will be made at the political level, in terms of consciously defined “goals” and ‘priorities.’” Daniel Bell, The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting (special anniversary ed.; New York, 1999 [orig. 1973]), 297–98.

28. “Diverse Group Advocates Economic Planning for U.S.,” New York Times, 28 February 1975.

29. The act would not only have created the infrastructure for economic planning, but would also have required the president to submit a biennial “balanced economic growth plan” to Congress and established a process for federal agencies, state and local governments, and citizens to be involved in scrutinizing and amending the plan. Eileen Shanahan, “Planned Economy Urged in Senate,” New York Times, 13 May 1975.

30. Gannon, James P., “Humphrey’s Passing Marks the Passing of a Political Era,” Wall Street Journal, 16 January 1978.Google Scholar

31. When the thesis was published in 1970, Humphrey wrote in a new preface that he retained “much affection” for the work and that there were “some sound lessons for today in President Roosevelt’s activist political judgements.” Hubert Humphrey, The Political Philosophy of the New Deal (Baton Rouge, 1970), ix–x, 6, 99, 108.

32. Humphrey was a longtime champion of civil rights. He had started his career in national politics with a barnstorming speech to the 1948 party convention urging his fellow Democrats to “get out of the shadow of state’s rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights.” One of his proudest achievements in the Senate was acting as floor manager for the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Solberg, Hubert Humphrey, 174. Humphrey’s early career is more fully detailed in Jennifer Delton, Making Minnesota Liberal: Civil Rights and the Transformation of the Democratic Party (Minneapolis, 2002). For a full account of the floor fight over the 1964 Civil Rights Act, see Robert Mann, The Walls of Jericho: Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Richard Russell, and the Struggle for Civil Rights (San Diego, 1996).

33. Erik van den Berg, “Supersalesman for the Great Society: Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, 1965–1969,” American Studies International 36, no. 3 (October 1998): 59–72.

34. For a detailed account of Humphrey’s benighted 1968 campaign, see Lewis Chester, Godfrey Hodgson, and Carl Page, An American Melodrama: The Presidential Campaign of 1968 (New York, 1969), and Michael A. Cohen, American Maelstrom: The 1968 Election and the Politics of Division (New York, 2016).

35. Hubert H. Humphrey, Announcement Statement, 14 June 1970, Papers of Hubert H. Humphrey (HHH), Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS), St. Paul, Box 150.J.19.3B.

36. Iwan W. Morgan, “Hubert Humphrey’s Last Hurrah: The 1977 Senate Leadership Election and the Decline of the New Deal Tradition,” Mid-America: An Historical Review 79, no. 3 (Fall 1997): 295.

37. Solberg, Hubert Humphrey, 424.

38. James R. Gaines and Bernice Buresh, “Hubert Gets A Leg Up,” Newsweek, 18 August 1975; Clayton Fritchey, “Humphrey’s New Hurrah,” Washington Post, 10 March 1973.

39. Hubert H. Humphrey, “National Economic Planning: Pro and Con,’ New York Times, 21 December 1975.

40. As early as 1965, the musical satirist Tom Lehrer had joked of Vice President Humphrey’s loss of status and influence in song: “Once a fiery liberal spirit / Ah, but now when he speaks he must clear it / Second fiddle’s a hard part, I know / When they don’t even give you a bow.” Tom Lehrer, “Whatever Became of Hubert,” That Was The Year That Was [CD] (Warner Bros. Records Inc. & Rhino Entertainment Company, 2000 [1965]).

41. Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 (London, [1973] 2005), 129, 199.

42. Humphrey quoted in “The Hubert Humphrey Record,” U.S. News and World Report, 1 July 1968.

43. Leontief, “For a National Economic Planning Board.”

44. Flamming, Douglas, Bound for Freedom: Black Los Angeles in Jim Crow America (Oakland, 2004), 4849.Google Scholar

45. Ibid., 168–87.

46. In 1974, when he first introduced his full employment bill with Humphrey, Hawkins’s district was 54 percent African American (76 percent nonwhite including Hispanic and Japanese-American residents) with a median income of $7,060. Eighteen percent of families lived on incomes below $3,000. Michael Barone, Grant Ujifusa, and Douglas Matthews, The Almanac of American Politics, 1974 (London, 1974), 102; Ehrenhalt, Alan, ed., Politics in America: Members of Congress in Washington and at Home 1984 (Washington, D.C., 1983), 175–77.Google Scholar

47. Ehrenhalt, ed., Politics in America, 175–77; Michael Barone and Grant Ujifusa, The Almanac of American Politics 1982 (Washington, D.C., 1981), 133–34.

48. George Lardner Jr., “CORE Leaders Assails Black Caucus,” Washington Post, 11 February 1972; “Fifty CORE Members Seek Antibusing Voice,” Washington Post, 12 February 1972.

49. Cowie, Stayin’ Alive, 269; Josh Sides, L.A. City Limits: African American Los Angeles from the Great Depression to the Present (Berkeley, 2003), 154, 157, 177; Ward Sinclair, “Augustus F.: The Other, Unknown Half of Humphrey Hawkins,” Washington Post, 1 February 1978.

50. Thurber, The Politics of Equality, 4–5.

51. Hawkins added that the situation may be even worse, given the notorious difficulties the Department of Labor faced in amassing statistics from black communities. Augustus Hawkins, “The Economic Status of Blacks,” New York Amsterdam News, 28 December 1974.

52. Thurber, The Politics of Equality, 236.

53. “Ford Sees Congressional Black Caucus,” Sun Reporter, 31 August 1974.

54. As Helen Lachs Ginsburg has noted, this included “persons not in the labor force as it is traditionally measured. So all meant just that: women, older and younger people, physically and mentally handicapped people, members of racial, ethnic, national or religious minorities, veterans, ex-drug addicts, and former prisoners” [emphasis in original]. Helen Lachs Ginsburg, “Historical Amnesia: The Humphrey-Hawkins Act, Full Employment and Employment as a Right,” Revolutionary Black Political Economy 39 (2012): 130.

55. Editorial, “A Job for Everyone,” The New Republic, 27 March 1976.

56. As Judith Stein notes, when, for example, a plant had to lay off workers, management had to decide whether to observe the union-backed seniority principle (last hired, first fired) and thus obliterate gains in diversifying the workforce since the 1960s. Such cases brought the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund into public conflict with otherwise progressive unions, such as the United Steelworkers. Stein, Pivotal Decade, 140–41.

57. Jefferson Cowie suggests Humphrey and Hawkins were pursuing the “seventies alchemy” of “turning the leaden and divisive policies of race into the golden unity of class.” Cowie, Stayin’ Alive, 269; Stein, Pivotal Decade, 141–42.

58. “1974 Elections: A Major Sweep for the Democrats,” Congressional Quarterly Almanac, vol. 30 (1974): 39–40.

59. Caucus minutes, 2 December 1974, Papers of the House Democratic Caucus, Manuscript Reading Room, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., Box 4.

60. Augustus F. Hawkins, Highlights of address at Full Employment Conference, Urban Center, Columbia University, 2 March 1974, Papers of Augustus F. Hawkins (AFH), Special Collections, University of California, Los Angeles, Box 84.

61. David S. Broder, “Jobs and the Government,” Washington Post, 1 September 1975.

62. HHH, Testimony before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, 15 August 1974, HHH papers, MNHS, Box 150.G.1.3B. In late 1975, Humphrey was invited by Oxford University Press to review Otis Graham’s book Toward a Planned Society, a history of the national planning idea from FDR to Nixon.63 Humphrey was so impressed that he had the review inserted into the Congressional Record, commending Graham for so “vividly” showing “that national planning should not be a partisan issue.” He faulted Graham only for his portrayal of the Congress as “a demonic force that has interfered with the creation of a planning capacity in the Federal Government.” In fact, he said, many members “exhibit an increasing awareness of the need to set goals, to have a view that stretches beyond the reelection cycle, to foresee problems that will be upon us before we sometimes care to think, and to establish ways to design and coordinate Federal policies and activities in a more rational coherent way.” HHH, “National Policy Planning: Roosevelt to Nixon,” Congressional Record 122, no. 27 (1 March 1976), offprint in HHH papers, MNHS, Box 150.G.1.3B.

63. James W. Compton, executive director of the Chicago Urban League, cited these statistics in his testimony to the JEC. “Jobs and Prices in Chicago,” Hearing before the Joint Economic Committee, 94th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Serial Set, 20 October 1975, 25.

64. “Jobs and Prices in Chicago,” Hearing before the Joint Economic Committee, 94th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Serial Set, 20 October 1975, 30–32, 24–30, 76–80, 85–88, 103–14.

65. Editorial, “A Job for Everyone,” The New Republic, 27 March 1976.

66. Report of the Joint Economic Committee on the January 1976 Economic Report of the President, 94th Cong., 2nd sess., S.Rpt. 690, Congressional Serial Set, March 10, 1976, 5–9.

67. Although he was careful not to endorse the Humphrey-Hawkins Bill, sitting vice president Nelson Rockefeller, who had a long-established interest in national economic planning, delivered some opening remarks for the conference, saying that there was “no better time than this bicentennial year to review the objectives of the Employment Act of 1946.” Hobart Rowen, “With a Helping Hand from Rockefeller: Two-Day Conference on Full-Employment Legislation Launched,” Washington Post, 19 March 1976.

68. The U.S. News and World Report figures were based on those respondents who opted to make such a prediction. Approximately one-quarter declined. Of the DNC members surveyed, a clear plurality (41 percent) expected Georgia’s little-known ex-governor Jimmy Carter to be the vice presidential nominee. “Poll of Democratic Leaders—‘It Looks Like Humphrey,’” U.S. News and World Report, 17 November 1975.

69. In February 1976, Ford told reporters that “I have said repeatedly, and I see no reason to change, that my good friend Hubert Humphrey will probably be the nominee.” U.S. Office of the Federal Register, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Gerald R. Ford, 1976–77: Book I—January 1 to April 9, 1976 (Washington, D.C., 1979), 478.

70. In 1976, argues Judith Stein, Humphrey was “the lone candidate who stood for a clear alternative to Ford economics.” Stein, Pivotal Decade, 130, 137.

71. Leonard Silk, “Carter”s Economics,” New York Times, 14 July 1976; Biven, Jimmy Carter’s Economy, 33–34.

72. Conservative economist Murray Weidenbaum complained that opposing Humphrey-Hawkins “has become the economic equivalent of attacking the flag and apple pie.” Melville J. Ulmer, “Taking A Dim View of Humphrey-Hawkins,” The New Republic, 12 June 1976; Murray L. Weidenbaum, “The Case Against the Humphrey-Hawkins Bill,” Challenge 19, no. 4 (September–October, 1976): 21.

73. Carter offered Americans not so much a political program as himself—modest, trustworthy, and morally upstanding. He also represented the promise that he could be the Democratic candidate who could hold its traditional Southern base without retreating on the party’s commitment to civil rights. Finally, in a split field, his campaign recognized that recent reforms to the primary process meant that the sequence of the primaries created opportunities for candidates with few resources and no name recognition. Sanford J. Ungar, “How Jimmy Carter Does It,” Atlantic Monthly, July 1976; Jules Witcover, Marathon: The Pursuit of the Presidency (New York, 1977), 107–9.

74. Thurber, The Politics of Equality, 241.

75. Christopher Lydon, “Carter Issues an Apology on “Ethnic Purity” Phrase,” New York Times, 9 April 1976.

76. Edward J. Walsh, “Ford Assails Hill’s Plans on Economy,” Washington Post, 27 April 1976.

77. “Jobs and Prices in Chicago,” 47; “Fed Cuts Money-Growth Target Slightly,” New York Times, 4 May 1976.

78. Godfrey Sperling Jr, “With Humphrey Out of Race, Carter Campaign Surges,” Christian Science Monitor, 30 April 1976; Morgan, “Hubert Humphrey’s Last Hurrah,” 287.

79. Christopher Lyon, “Humphrey to Undergo Surgery; Still Seeks Majority Leadership,” New York Times, 2 October 1976; Joseph Lelyveld, “Liberals, Despite Humphrey Ties, Are Expected to Elect Byrd Today,” New York Times, 4 January 1977.

80. Lelyveld, “Liberals, Despite Humphrey Ties, Are Expected to Elect Byrd Today.”

81. Time/Yankelovich, Skelly, August 1976; Time/Yankelovich, Skelly, March 1977; ORC Public Opinion Index, November 1980. Polls retrieved from the iPOLL Databank: (accessed 4 October 2018).

82. Memo, Valerie Pinson to Frank Moore, 28 March 1977, “House Memoranda, 2/24/77–11/10/80” folder, Office of the Congressional Liaison, Frank Moore Subject Files, Jimmy Carter Presidential Library (JCL), Atlanta, Box 32.

83. Memo, Stuart Eizenstat to Bert Carp, 11 April 1977, “Humphrey-Hawkins [Bill][O/A 6345][2]” folder, Domestic Policy Staff (DPS), Stuart E. Eizenstat Subject Files, JCL, Box 221.

84. Letter, Humphrey and Hawkins to Carter, 10 June 1977, “Humphrey-Hawkins [Bill][O/A 6345][2]” folder, DPS, Eizenstat Subject Files, JCL, Box 221.

85. Warren Brown, “President Is Taken to Task,” Washington Post, 25 July 1977.

86. J. Zamga Browne, “Jordan Endorses Humphrey-Hawkins Bill,” New York Amsterdam News, 26 November 1977.

87. “We Need Jobs!—NAACP to Carter,” New York Amsterdam News, 8 October 1977.

88. Donald P. Baker, “On The Road,” Washington Post, 8 May 1978.

89. In one memo to Carter, Eizenstat and Schultze related that the bill’s sponsors were “anxious” to arrive at an agreement on the explicit numerical goal. “They claim that agreement on all other sections would mean little to their constituents if we cannot agree on a timetable for reaching a 4 percent unemployment rate.” Memo, Eizenstat, Schultze to Carter, 6 October 1977, “Humphrey-Hawkins [Bill] [O/A 6345][2]” folder, DPS, Eizenstat Subject Files, JCL, Box 221.

90. Memo, Bert Lance to Carter, 31 May 1977, “Humphrey-Hawkins Jobs Bill, 6/6/77–10/27/78 [O/A 6748])” folder, OCL, Moore Subject Files, JCL, Box 32.

91. Memo, Schultze to Eizenstat, 7 September 1977, “Humphrey–Hawkins [Bill] [O/A 6342][1]” folder, DPS, Eizenstat Subject Files, JCL, Box 221.

92. Memo, Eizenstat to Carter, Bert Lance, 4 June 1977, “Humphrey-Hawkins Jobs Bill, 6/6/77–10/27/78 [O/A 6748])” folder, OCL, Moore Subject Files, JCL, Box 32.

93. Memo, Eizenstat, Schultze to Carter, 19 October 1977, “Humphrey-Hawkins Jobs Bill, 6/6/77–10/27/78 [O/A 6748]” folder, OCL, Moore Subject Files, JCL, Box 32.

94. Steven V. Roberts, “Democrats: An Aye for Business,” New York Time, 1 March 1981. Lily Geismer, in her study of politically conscious residents of Boston’s Route 128 suburbs, has shown how crucial highly educated white-collar suburbanites in high-tech jobs have become to the Democratic Party since the 1970s, with their priorities and their prejudices reflected in the national party’s agenda. Lily Geismer, Don’t Blame Us: Suburban Liberals and the Transformation of the Democratic Party (Princeton, 2015).

95. Hart was compelled to apologize to Humphrey, explaining that he had merely been trying to suggest that the incoming legislators would be an independent-minded cohort, “that all ‘liberals’ do not necessarily vote alike.” Letter, Gary Hart to Hubert Humphrey, 5 December 1974, Papers of Gary Hart (GH), Special Collections and Archives, University of Colorado Boulder (UCB), Box 53. He elaborated on this remark in a letter to a supporter: “I believe the New Deal philosophy of a dominant federal government did much good for tens of millions of people. But that does not mean we need must worship it forever.” Letter, Hart to William McCormick Blair, 3 January 1974, GH papers, UCB, Box 53.

96. Benjamin Waterhouse, “The Conservative Mobilization Against Liberal Reform: Big Business Day, 1980,” in What’s Good for Business: Business and American Politics Since World War II, ed. Kim Phillips-Fein and Julian Zelizer (New York, 2012), 237. See also Kim Phillips-Fein, ‘“If Business and the Country Will Be Run Right’: The Business Challenge to the Liberal Consensus, 1945–1964,” International Labor and Working-Class History 72 (Fall 2007): 192–215.

97. James H. Evans, ‘. . . And What Congress Proposes,’ New York Times, 23 January 1977.

98. Waterhouse, Benjamin C., Lobbying America: The Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA (Princeton, 2014), 130–32.Google Scholar

99. Memo, Eizenstat to Carter, 6 October 6, 1977, “Humphrey-Hawkins [Bill][O/A 6345][2]” folder, Domestic Policy Staff, Eizenstat Subject Files, JCL, Box 221.

100. Thurber, The Politics of Equality, 246; Cowie, Stayin’ Alive, 275.

101. Art Pine, “Advice Not Taken: Charles Schultze Finds Role Tough,” Washington Post, 27 November 1977; Pine, “Pass Jobs Bill, Administration Asks Congress,” Washington Post, 8 February 1978.

102. Before the Vietnam War blasted a hole in the side of Cold War liberalism, Keyserling had advocated a “guns as butter” strategy, in which increased defense spending would be the engine of a full-employment economy. Edmund F. Wehrle, “Guns, Butter, Leon Keyserling, the AFL-CIO, and the Fate of Full Employment Economics,” The Historian 66, no. 4 (2004): 730–48.

103. Pickens, Donald K., Leon H. Keyserling: A Progressive Economist (Lanham, Md.), 198.Google Scholar

104. A. H. Raskin, “Jobless Benefits: Demand Strains Supply,” New York Times, 26 January 1975.

105. Susan Hartmann has shown that many liberal feminists placed material security at the heart of their campaigning: “Rather than deviating from the New Deal policy order, liberal feminists sought to include women within its benefits and to expand its regulatory and social provision powers to accommodate women’s dual roles as workers and mothers.” Hartmann, “Liberal Feminism and the Shaping of the New Deal Order,” 203.

106. Carmody, Deirdre, “Feminists Shifting Emphasis from Persons to Politics,” New York Times, 21 August 1972.Google Scholar

107. Soma Golden, “Betty Friedan Suggests Women Must Develop Economic Allies,” New York Times, 3 November 1975.

108. Thomas P. Ronan, “Women Stress Feminist Issues in Rally Opposite the Garden,” New York Times, 11 July 1976.

109. NOW was unsuccessful in persuading the bill’s drafters to specify that the full employment target rate should be applied to “each worker group” rather than just to the labor force in general. Robert O. Self, All in the Family: The Realignment of American Democracy Since the 1960s (New York, 2012), 325–27.

110. Cowie, Stayin’ Alive, 272.

111. The AFL-CIO dismissed the right to sue as unworkable and unnecessary, though the more liberal United Auto Workers (UAW) argued that the right to a job would be meaningless. Helen Lachs Ginsburg, an academic economist and “participant observer” in the Humphrey-Hawkins negotiations, was at a loss to explain the AFL-CIO’s opposition: “Speculation about other possible reasons heard by the author at the time included a fear of flooding the labor market with job seekers; not having a high priority because unemployment didn’t affect union members directly; and the racism of some unions, particularly in the building trades, where minorities were pushing for affirmative action.” Ginsburg, “Historical Amnesia,” 131.

112. Press release, “Humphrey, Hawkins Pleased with Agreement on Full Employment Bill; Predict Favorable Action Early Next Year,” 14 November 1977, AFH papers, UCLA, Box 84.

113. Memo, John Carr to FEAC board, local coalitions, other interested persons, 29 November 1977, AFH papers, UCLA, Box 84.

114. Ray Marshall, Statement before the Employment Opportunities Subcommittee, House of Representatives, 7 February 1978, AFH papers, UCLA, Box 84.

115. Hatch voted against the bill anyway. Tracy Roof, American Labor, Congress, and the Welfare State, 1935–2010 (Baltimore, 2011), 164.

116. Jimmy Carter, “Full Employment and Comprehensive Employment and Training Act Bills Remarks on Signing H.R. 50 and S. 2570 Into Law,” 27 October 1978. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project, (accessed 22 June 2017); Edward Walsh, “Humphrey-Hawkins Measure Is Signed by the President,” Washington Post, 28 October 1978.

117. Roof, American Labor, Congress, and the Welfare State, 165.

118. Humphrey had some sympathy with this position. In June 1975, he wrote to JEC economist Jerry Jasinowski that he tended “to agree with some of these ‘young turks’ in the reaction to government control, government regulation, and of course the ever bloated bureaucracy. People do resent this meddling in their lives and activities by government.” However, he continued, in “a highly organized corporate society” such as the United States, only “big government” could stand against the destructive force of unregulated capitalism. Memo, HHH to Jerry Jasinowski, 16 June 1975, HHH papers, MNHS, Box 148.A.12.4F.

119. Memo, Eizenstat to Carter, 6 October 1977, “Humphrey-Hawkins [Bill][O/A 6345][2]” folder, Domestic Policy Staff, Eizenstat Subject Files, JCL, Box 221.

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

“The Old Economic Rules No Longer Apply”: The National Planning Idea and the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act, 1974–1978
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

“The Old Economic Rules No Longer Apply”: The National Planning Idea and the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act, 1974–1978
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

“The Old Economic Rules No Longer Apply”: The National Planning Idea and the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act, 1974–1978
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *