Will's Own Plan January 29, 2014
Will's Own Plan
By Will Rogers
Published August 2, 1936
Today is Plan day. I'm sort of going to give an inkling of the Rogers plan to agonize the world. But, you know the Townsend plan, and various others of a similar nature, went down in congress with a tremendous majority, so it looks like a bad day for plans. I think Townsend was a conscientious, well-meaning, humanitarian old gentleman.
I believe he'd have done better if he had lowered his sight and called for maybe 50 dollars instead of 200 a month, and took out the clause where they had to spend it. Old people are naturally kind of conservative and saving, and they would hate to spend money every week if they really didn't need to. Our government is the only people that just loves to spend without being compelled to. But the government is the only people that don't have to worry where it's coming from.
One bad thing about the Townsend plan was that it built up false hopes in the minds of all old and worthy people. They got 'em to expecting something that it didn't look like they'd be able to see. Now congress did pass a bill to give 15 dollars, and the state is to match that and that would make 30 dollars. I think they should raise that at least five or 10 more, and then the state, and that would give them 40 or 50 dollars. That's my idea. I don't know whether it will be carried out or not.
You know, we're the last of the civilized nations, if you can call it that, to do anything for old people. All we do is let 'em get older. We should give them enough so that it will get them out of poor farms, and let them live where they want to. Lots of wise guys can kid about this old fellow Townsend, and call him an nut, but he's got a lot to do with getting the old folks any pension at all.
He throwed such a scare into congress that they might have to pay 200 dollars, that they finally settled with him for 15. Well, maybe if he'd asked for 500, he would have got 50.
Well, anyhow, it's a bad time for plans.
You know, the national problem in this country today is not who shall be relieved and whose money shall relieve him, but who shall be the one that plays Santa Claus and actually hands out the presents.
Governor Talmadge, down in Georgia, had a plan. He hit a rut and knocked him right out of the breadline. But I'm not going to get discouraged. In fact, these failures give me confidence, hope that my plan will be a success.
My plan, to state it in a nutshell, in fact that's where all plans come from, is a plan to end all plans. This country has been planned to death the same as we were sloganed to death during the war. Had we never had a slogan, we would be at peace with the world today. But every time anybody thought of a new slogan, we dived deeper and deeper. There just wasn't anything we wasn't able to do with a slogan.
And we're performing the same miracle with plans. There ain't but one place that a plan is any good, and that it would really work, and that's on paper. But the minute you get it off the sheet of paper and get it out in the air it blows away.
Now, Mr. Roosevelt, he dragged more he-school marms out of the little red houses, and they had more plans than they had shirts. He could ask for a new plan and they could drag out a fresh one quicker than they could fetch a clean pair of socks.
Republican presidents, they never went in much for plans. They only had one plan. It said, now, boys, my head is turned, just get it while you can. Somebody came along and they used that. It was a plan to plough under part of the cotton. We did, and nations like Brazil found out where we ploughed it under, and they came along and dug it up, and now they've got more cotton than we have. Somebody had a plan to teach hogs birth control, and now it's a habit with them. You can go out and find a deer quicker than you can a hog.
So plans just don't work. If they're milk and honey for you, they are poison ivy to somebody else. NRA, that was a fine plan. It was based on the theory that everybody that had could help those that hadn't. But the minute we found out that while it might be helping other men, it certainly wasn't helping us, it blew up. If it wasn't helping us, why it wasn't so hot.
So if you hear a man expounding a plan over the radio, run, don't walk, to the nearest dial and tune him right into the ground. And the plan will go right back into the nut shell, where it belongs.
-- Copyright, 1936, McNaught Syndicate.