Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965

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Author: Lyndon B. Johnson  | Date: May 11, 1965

243
Remarks to the National Association of Home Builders.
May 11, 1965

Mr. Willits, ladies and gentlemen:

I thank you very much for your courtesy and your very nice reception.

I appreciate Bernie Boutin’s invitation to come over here and see the men that he had rather work with than me. Back last November, Bernie was in my office almost every day, always telling me about these poor little fellows who needed him so badly to help them out. Well, judging by appearances here tonight, Bernie must have done you a lot of good. And I saw Bernie at the elevator and you have not done so badly by Bernie, either.

I wanted to come by for a brief visit tonight, live and in person, for at least two reasons. First, I did not want anybody to complain that I had interrupted the Red Skelton hour on television, so we won’t miss a single commercial. And, secondly, and far more importantly, I wanted to say a very few words about you and your great industry and this country that you have helped to build.

You have come to your Capital in a very important month. This month of May 1965 is the 50th month of uninterrupted economic expansion in our country. That is the longest and that is the strongest peacetime prosperity in American history. That is a very proud record, and each of you can be proud of your share in establishing it.

In these first 4 years of our expansion, you built about 6 million new housing units. You, and others in the construction industry, helped to create more than a half million new jobs. And you and your associates have helped to hold down business costs and building costs.

Today disposable incomes are rising for all of our families, and they are putting more into the homes they buy. In February 1961 the typical new home had a value of $16,000. Now that sales price is up to $20,400. But building costs over the past year have gone up only 2 1/2 percent.

This expansion, which is benefiting all sections and all segments, must continue, and it will continue if all elements show restraint and show responsibility, as your organization does.

Yes, tonight we can say that these are good times in America. But, far more, these are very exciting times. All throughout this land, Americans young and old are taking new pride in doing what has too long gone undone—in our classrooms, in our cities, across our countryside.

My wife left a little after daylight this morning, in two big Trailways buses with one hundred people, touring the State of Virginia, pointing out the beautiful places. We are going to expect each of you to go back to your homes and your States and carry a message that we not only want a peaceful America, we not only want a prosperous America, we want a beautiful America.

I don’t believe that the abundance thatwe are enjoying is softening America, either. We are sharpening our attack upon our problems. We are raising our standards and our sights. We are moving ahead to meet the promise and to fulfill the potential of our age.

Like the old Biblical parable, we are, I believe, making wise use of the talents given to us, and I have faith that this will bring blessings upon our children, and our children’s children, for generations to come.

We hope that in the very next few days we can have one of the best housing bills to ever come out of the committee be reported to the House for action. We solicit your interest and your support.

Along the broad front we are strong, and we are stable, and we are successful and, above all, we are steady on our course. But for us, as for all who have gone before us in this century, our real test lies in how we meet our responsibilities in this big world in which we live.

Be they friend or be they foe, let none anywhere entertain either the needless fear or the futile hope that this Nation will ever falter in meeting all of its responsibilities.

Yes, we have responsibilities to freedom and we shall meet them. We have responsibilities to peace and we shall honor them. We seek accord among all nations and understanding among all peoples.

Our first purpose—America’s only purpose-is to work with others for the good of all mankind, but let this be clear: If a choice must be made, we would rather that men quarrel with our actions to preserve peace than to curse us through eternity for inaction that might lose both our peace and our freedom.
Thank you and good night.

NOTE: The President spoke at 9:05 p.m. at the Washington Hilton Hotel. Early in his remarks he referred to Perry Willits, President of the National Association of Home Builders, and Bernard L. Boutin, Executive Vice President of the Association and former Administrator of the General Services Administration.

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Chicago: Lyndon B. Johnson, "243 Remarks to the National Association of Home Builders.," Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1168 518. Original Sources, accessed September 22, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DM2B2W9CAND8LSB.

MLA: Johnson, Lyndon B. "243 Remarks to the National Association of Home Builders." Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1168, page 518. Original Sources. 22 Sep. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DM2B2W9CAND8LSB.

Harvard: Johnson, LB, '243 Remarks to the National Association of Home Builders.' in Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1168, pp.518. Original Sources, retrieved 22 September 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DM2B2W9CAND8LSB.