Remarks, Introducing Bill for Industrial Investment in Urban Poverty Areas, U.S. Senate

July 12, 1967


Washington, D.C.

To rely exclusively, even primarily, on government efforts is not only to ignore the shaping traditions of American life and politics, but to ignore the potential contribution of private enterprise is to fight the war on poverty with a single platoon, while great armies are left to stand aside. For private enterprise is not just another part of America; in a significant sense, private enterprise is the very sinew and strength of America. Our productive assets, our machines and money and plants are owned by private enterprise. The entire intricate chain of the economy—the means by which we join with our fellows to produce goods and roads, to bring food to our tables and clothes to our backs—all this is organized by private enterprise. Private enterprise has built our cities, and industries; it has created jobs for over 60 million Americans now at work. And in my judgment, the lack of private enterprise participation is the principal cause for our failure to solve the problem of employment in urban poverty areas.