Over the past six months,the government runs much of the auto buisness and the banking system, they have appointed people to make “recommendations” about salaries in one industry, with eyes toward others. Our federal government is now trying to take over the medical care industry and control our energy supply.
It wasn’t always like that. There was a time when our leaders argued against an economy run by the government.
Fifty-years-ago today, July 24, 1959 Richard Nixon was in Moscow for the opening of the American National Exhibition, an entire house built to show Russians the “fruits” American capitalist labor. capitalism.
To celebrate the opening, Nixon took Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev on a tour of the exhibition. To the surprise of many the two leaders started a lively argument and debate about the relative merits of Communism and Capitalism. Nixon said that the exhibit reproduced the type of kitchen that almost any worker in America could afford in a $10,000 to $15,000 house. Khrushchev responded that Russian workers could afford the same kind of house, but that Soviet houses were built stronger for the long-term. Nixon stressed that Americans had abundant food and appliances to process and cook their food. The never-diplomatic Khrushchev satirically shot back, “Don’t you have a machine that puts food into the mouth and pushes it down? Many things you’ve shown us are interesting but they are not needed in life.”And so it went
The debate was recorded on color videotape (a video of the debate is below in B/W), a new technology pioneered in the U.S.; during the debate Nixon pointed this out as one of the many American technological advances. He also boasted achievements such as dishwashers, lawnmowers, supermarkets stocked full of groceries, Cadillac convertibles, makeup colors, lipstick, spike-heeled shoes, hi-fi sets, cake mixes, TV dinners, and Pepsi-Cola. It was Nixon’s emphasis on America’s household appliances, such as the dishwasher, that helped give the event its title, “The Kitchen Debate.”
At home this America was proud of its Vice-President’s strong support of the capitalist system (it also might have been the last time Time Magazine had someone other than Barack Obama on the cover).
This fiftieth anniversary comes right in the middle of the Obamacare debate so it is well worth watching and remembering when our government spoke out against a government controlled economy.
Below is the debate as it was reported by CBS News 50 years ago today.