Date: January 5, 1931
Location: Northampton, MA
Another proposal to be made in the name of relieving unemployment will undoubtedly be an extension of government ownership. Healthy and normal employment consists of serving another for his personal satisfaction or profit. As the government is not personal, its proper business employment would be for those serving for its profit. Public works are on a different footing and need not be considered.
For the wage earners to benefit in time of general depression it would be necessary to assume that government ownership would prevent fluctuations in the business in which it engages. Our largest government business is the postoffice, in which the receipts rise and fall extensively.
If it is assumed that payment of wages will go on without work, that is not employment, but relief. Then no one should work.
The government has never shown much aptitude for real business. The Congress will not permit it to be conducted by a competent executive, but constantly intervenes. The most free, progressive and satisfactory method ever devised for the equitable distribution of property is to permit the people to care for themselves by conducting their own business. They have more wisdom than any government.
Citation: Calvin Coolidge Says: Dispatches Written by Former-President Coolidge and Syndicated to Newspapers in 1930-1931 (Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation)
The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of J Mitchell Rushing who prepared this document for digital publication.