Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., House of Representatives, March 2, 2011
Mr. Speaker, I believe that the answer to long-term unemployment is actually in the Constitution of the United States. Well, let me say that a little differently.
It’s not in the Constitution of the United States. It should be in the Constitution of the United States, and one of these days we’re going to get there. . . .
He [Franklin Roosevelt; Jackson is drawing on a speech from January 11, 1944] says we need to add to the Constitution the right to a family to have a decent home. What would that do for home construction in this nation? What would that do for millions of unemployed people?
He says we need to add to the Constitution the right to medical care. How many doctors would such a right create?
He says we need to add to the Constitution of the United States the right to a decent education for every American. How many schools would such a right build from Maine to California? How many people would be put to work building roofs and designing classrooms and providing every student with an iPod and a laptop?
How many ghettoes and barrios will actually be touched by such an amendment? In fact, very little that we pass in the Congress of the United States even touches the long-term unemployed. Only thing that touches them that this Congress has access to that can actually change their station in life is the Constitution of the United States. . . .
Mr. Speaker, there’s an even greater America that’s in front of us. It’s the America that adds to our founding document these basic rights.
Length: 1 minute, 28 seconds
[Congressman Jackson’s complete 30-minute speech can be viewed and heard here.]