April 24, 2023–The assassination of President Kennedy in 1963 was an historic turning point for our nation. Through fits and starts, John F. Kennedy had begun to direct our nation toward the American System policies of Franklin Roosevelt, and potentially an era of peace and economic development globally. His death derailed that progress in ways that many of us don’t even realize.
This is the subject of a two-part class being offered over Zoom in May as part of the lifelong learning program sponsored by Long Island University. The instructor is Nancy Spannaus, author of Hamilton Versus Wall Street: The Core Principles of the American System of Economics. Entitled “What the United States Lost with the Assassination of John F. Kennedy,” this class will discuss Kennedy’s initiatives in economic and foreign policy, and the progress they both achieved and portended. Spannaus contends that we have a lot to learn from our last American System president. Substantial time will be available for discussion.
The classes will be held on Tuesdays May 2 and May 9, and run from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Access is by Zoom link, which will be provided once students register online at liu.edu/HuttonHouse/Courses, or call 516-299-2580. The fee for the two sessions is $60.
A Short Preview
Spannaus plans to divide Kennedy’s policies and accomplishments between the domestic and the foreign policy. By all rights, JFK’s foreign policy record ranks the most important, both in his estimation and strategically, as it was his handling of the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 which averted a looming nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union. Yet Kennedy’s policies for achieving world peace subsequent to that brush with annihilation may come as a surprise. Indeed, the fact that those policies were aborted may have a lot to do with the global crises we face today.
Spannaus considers Kennedy’s major accomplishment on the home front to be the fruit of the Apollo program, which, in fact, provided the last major boost of real productivity into the American economy. To achieve that progress, the President and Vice-President had a major fight on their hands against the small-minded budget hawks, but they prevailed, to the benefit of all Americans, and mankind itself.
“If you want to get into all the conflicting theories about who killed Kennedy,” Spannaus commented, “this is not the class for you. But if you are grappling with the question of how our nation got off track on economic and foreign policy, I hope you will join me in this exploration of the Kennedy era.”
 More articles on Kennedy’s policies are available on this blog, including on the promise of nuclear power and the potential for capital budgeting.