June 15

Happy Juneteenth!

Today would have been Morris K. Udall’s 92nd birthday. Mo was an Arizona Congressman for 30 years. Perhaps the last great “liberal” from the desert state. To his credit- World War 2 vet, lawyer, professional basketball player (in the hall of fame), Presidential candidate, co-founder of the Bank of Tucson…

Mo succeeded his elder brother Stewart in Congress. Both Udall’s were a voice for the amazing wild American west that was embodied in the Arizona wilderness in the 1960’s and 70’s.

In 1961 Mo delivered an address in Congress entitled “The Balanced Budget- Everyone Talks About It, but No One Does Anything”! Here follows some excerpts that may have been written last week.

At the outset let me make this clear: I am proud to be a Democrat in the Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy tradition. Democratic legislation of the recent decades has not led us down the road to socialism. On the contrary it has strengthened the free enterprise system of this country so that we are the world’s great bulwark against socialism and communism….

Those of us who support programs which stimulate free enterprise and encourage social progress ought to be the leaders in insisting on a solution to the recurrent problem of the unbalanced budget. We ought to face the fact that pay-as-you-go Federal financing is important to our long-range security and prosperity and is the single best weapon against inflation…

The failure of our elected representatives to devise and put in effect a businesslike budget system in my judgment does more than any other one thing to discredit our National Government and the kind of programs which our people need and want…

The speech in its entirety is available in the University of Arizona and Congressional archives (linked above) and it behooves any student of American political systems to read it- Problems we face today are not too dissimilar to those faced by the rebuilding decades after WWII and Korea. Maybe next year Congress will give Mo Udall a birthday present he’d be happy to accept!


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