Freedom Budget for all Americans and Economic Equality



Abstract. The Freedom Budget for All Americans, written under the supervision of Bayard Rustin and released in 1966 by the A. Philip Randolph Institute, was a well developed policy program to secure full economic citizenship for all Americans thanks to an unprecedented government investment. The program challenged the classic definition of civil rights and linked increased government spending to economic justice.  It never earned traction and remained at the margins of historical memory by the end of the Johnson Presidency. The recent literature on the Freedom Budget focuses on its ideological milieu and political implications and identifies the strategic errors in coalition building as the main cause of the Freedom Budget defeat. This paper concentrates on a specific element of the plan, the notion of economic equality, and states that the disagreement between radicals and liberals on such a notion ultimately caused the undoing of the coalition.

Keywords. Freedom Budget, Philip Randolph, Johnson Administration, economic equality.

JEL. B29, B31, B59.


Freedom budget, Philip Randolph; Johnson administration; Economic equality.

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