July 27, 1935 - Editorial - Two Billionaires, by George Lorimer

The New Dealers seem determined to uproot the twin posts of constitution government and the property rights of the individual. And if they are leveled, the crossbar of democracy, those other rights of the individual, will fall to the ground and we shall find ourselves members of a collectivist society.

That brings us to a consideration of our two billionaires: President Roosevelt and Henry Ford - President Roosevelt because he is the only man in the world who has billions to spend as he sees fit, and Henry Ford, a newspaper-reputed billionaire, though his actual fortune is probably less than half a billion.

Henry Ford started life as a humble mechanic, without any special social or educational advantages, but as he progressed step by step, his education progressed along sound, if not academic, lines, and he acquired an intimate knowledge of social problems by personal contacts with both the higher and lower strata of society. No college, no professor and no theorist formed his philosophy of life. No banker, no trust, no financial skullduggery helped to found and increase his fortune. He built it step by step with his hands and his brains, and in building it he was a member of many classes of society, and gained an insight into their needs. His matured belief is that to give work with good pay and an opportunity to rise according to ability is the first and soundest thing that can be done for any man. In carrying out that idea he has been on firm ground.

President Roosevelt is not, of course, a billionaire in his own right, but he is by decree of Congress. Born to inherited wealth, he was educated in select schools, at Harvard and by travel. In his youth his was the environment of the rich, and the rich with social position. He tried business; practiced law; and went into politics and graduated to the position of Secretary of the Navy and a vice-presidential candidate on the badly defeated Cox and Roosevelt ticket. It was due to the persuasion of Al Smith that he ran for governor of New York, was elected and, under the tutelage of Lewis Howe and his Tammany friend, Jim Farley, became a presidential candidate.

President Roosevelt is wise politically, but not economically. His real experience is largely political. (pg. 22)

Comments: FDR, as we shall see, proclaimed himself to the "poor man's friend." This helped to further enhance his image with the people. As Lorimer said, he was wise politically. He knew how to look good to the masses of people. Being born into greater wealth than most of the wealthy of his day, he had no experience at being poor, or, for that matter, no experience with the plight of common working people; but he sure did make a lot of people think that he was their friend.

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