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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, September 30, 1937, Image 15

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Business Situation Held
Cause of Fiscal
EVIDENCE begins to accumulate
that, while President Roose
velt is traveling in the West,
the principal officers of the
Government here are growing more
and more concerned about the gen
eral business situation.
Whatever is the outward appear
»m r ui uiii uiucu
calm, there Is a
certain trend
toward the con- i
■ervative side of i
things which is
Unmistakable. Ev
ery time business
goes a bit sour,
the budgetary sit
uation is brought
up and there is a
hurried as well as
■tudied effort to
give the country
come degree of
reassurance about
the budget.
Mr. Roosevelt nimseu ucuoycu mo
Inner concern about the fiscal situa
tion when he interpolated a remark
about it at Cheyenne and then again
In his Bonneville Dam speech. He said
only a few words on each occasion,
but he reiterated his pledge to balance
the budget, and got the necessary
headlines on the subject.
And therein lies the nubbin of the
Whole problem of business readjust
ment. Government expenditures in
certain lines are slowing down and the
process is very painful, indeed, be
cause the business world is not in a
position to take up the slack caused
by withdrawal of Government opiates,
otherwise known as pump-priming.
Arbitrary Factors Imposed.
The reason why business cannot ab
lorb the idle workers or why the
masses do not increase their purchas
ing power is that the New Deal has
Imposed several arbitrary factors that
raise havoc with the whole economic
•ystem. One of these—the undistrib
uted surplus tax—is the most defla
tionary and destructive piece of legis
lation in 50 years.
There seems no doubt that consumer
resistance has started in earnest in
many lines of trade. The poor people
whose pay envelopes have not been
and probably will not be increased
under the New Deal are being asked
to buy products made by persons
whose pay roll has been materially in
creased. The number benefited in
Increased wages is small, relatively
speaking, but the monkey wrench
thrown into the price structure is big
enough to produce a considerable
diminution in purchasing power on
the part of the unorganized workers.
The secret of business improvement
always is in the increase in volume of
goods sold at reasonable prices. As
prices rise unduly volume drops off.
The fixed income groups and unor
ganized workers constitute the bulk of
the Nation’s working population and
they cannot exchange their present
earnings for the higher-priced goods
produced at the new labor costs.
Act* u Vicious Circle.
The only alternative is to find a way
to Increase the total earnings of the
unorganised group. This will not
happen unless there is an increase
in production. This in turn is im
peded because trade barriers inside
the United States to the exchange of
goods between groups of purchasers
are steadily created by the acts of the
Roosevelt administration itself.
In dozens of different lines the
Government is killing the goose that
lays the golden eggs of employment.
One of the principal offenders is the
National Labor Relations Board and
its examiners, who are harassing em
ployers to such an extent that they
eannot do any planning. Collective
bargaining is being construed as giving
a right of collective bludgeoning. Indi
vidual manufacturers are being com
pelled by Government - encouraged
unions to shorten hours and increase
pay rolls beyond the point that man
ufacturers can expect to sell their
goods to the public at a profit.
The collusion of governmental power
and economic leverage on the part of
a minority of the Nation’s workers has
grown to destructive proportions in
recent months, so that wholesalers are
afraid to stock up because they think
consumers will not buy and producers
are afraid to refuse to grant labor’s
demands because of threatened strikes
ani bulldozing by the labor board.
The result is that the producers are
trying to pass the labor costs on to the
public and the public is resisting.
Seasonal Pick-Up Fails.
The trend began to be noticeable
several weeks ago, but was deemed to
be part of the seasonal slump of Sum
mertime. Now that the Autumn sea
son is here the expected pick-up has
failed to materialize and the trend of
Business continues steadily downward.
Labor leaders know that, when
strikes occur, the Government relief
rolls will be used to assist them. Man
agement knows that, if it attempts to
employ idle workmen who want to
Work in place of those who ask unrea
sonable pay increases, intimidation
will be brought to bear. Either gov
ernmental power will be used to pre
vent strike breakers from being em
ployed or else local authorities con
trolled by labor unions will overlook
outright tactics of coercion and vio
lence in picketing. There is no check
In labor’s demands, so labor unions
are, In many Instances, asking the
Impossible in wage increases.
Stimulated by Mr. Roosevelt's cry
of hate for all producers as “economic
royalists,” the demands of labor are
growing even as the business situa
tion has grown steadily worse. Small
business men as well as large busi
nesses now find themselves pinched.
Take the undistributed surplus tax.
Xt was gleefully asserted by the ad
ministration experimentalists that this
would bring in billions of revenue. All
argument about the dangers of the
tax was brushed aside as blind re
actionary nonsense.
Relatively Little Revenue.
Today the effects of the tax are to
be noted far and wide. Relatively
little revenue has been collected. Big
business has had to distribute its
earnings, so it cannot husband re
sources for expansion of facilities. Xf
attempts are made to float capital
loans, there is the awkward and for
bidding situation created by the Gov
ernment’s own restrictions on capital
markets. The unbalanced budget has
brought to the financial markets much
uneasiness. Few issues of securities
have been floated this year.
The companies which need money
. for expansion do not want to borrow
at the banks. The latter are not sup
posed to make capital loans. But even
though some banks are disposed to
do so, the companies that borrow can
not lay aside annually enough money
to pay off such capital loans. This is
because, if they retain reserves to do
so, they pay an enormous penalty in
taxes. The undistributed surplus tax
is the reverse of all ideas of thrift and
prudence. It says, in effect, “don’t
save your money, go ahead and incur
debt.’’ Up to recently business men
felt that they were proceeding soundly
by laying aside enough out of earnings
to improve their plant facilities. The
cost of building reserves now becomes
prohibitive, and borrowing in the cap
ital market, of course, is next to im
possible for reasons set forth above.
The administration's left hud
doesn’t know' what its right hand is
doing. Tax receipts are essential to a
balanced budget, yet the sources of
taxation are rapidly being exhausted.
Today the Federal budget expenses
are at the highest point in the peace
time history. The tax receipts are also
approaching the highest point ever
attained. If this condition exists in a
year ilke 1937, what will the Govern
ment do about a balanced budget
when unemployment starts again as a
consequence of curtailed consumption,
which always means curtailed.output
and more idleness and less tax money
from business?
The New Deal can meet the crisis
temporarily by more inflation, but for
a permanent cure the Roosevelt ad
ministration will have to perform a
surgical operation on its own policies
and get some tax revision legislation
passed soon enough to prevent a major
depression from developing out of the
recession that Is now going on.
(Copyrifht. 1937.)
David Lawrence.
What’s Back of It All
Market Drop Minimized as Barometer, But Econo
mists Won’t Predict Immediate Upturn.
r‘|“>HE mysterious stock market debacle last week now seems to Justify
I the caution signal raised privately by Government economists and
I displayed in this column's midmonth survey of the business scene.
However, there is no disposition among the experts here to
consider the market drop as a real barometer of business conditions. Those
who advise the administration's money men declare, and Federal Reserve
statements confirm, that general conditions withstood with remarkable
fortitude the loss of values registered by the stock exchange. However,
they are tight-lipped when it comes __
to predicting an immediate upward ^ a
trend in business. ,L» ^
But these experts point out one / 7^
factor which they hope will con
tribute toward general confidence,
it. is the obvious effort of the Presi
dent to paint the word “economy”
in big letters across the Washing
ton fiscal horizon.
He is talking it on his West
ern trip, and, evidently by pre
-arrangement, Secretary Morgenthau is amplifying the policy from the
Treasury doorstep.
While there is a high premium on long-range predictions of any
kind, this is the way cautious observers in Washington privately interpret
what they see.
• * • • ,
A period while business "digs in" for the Winter; consolidates
what gains it has in the hope of a Spring drive for a further recovery
on a wider front.
Chances for success for this drive, about even. Obstacles—Afore
wars or rumors of war, inability of the administration to dispel fear
of further Government "interference” and Congress.
• • • »
Government economists are frank in refusing to minimize the im
portance of what happened on Wall Street, but point to the other side
of the picture as they see it. Car loadings, perhaps a better index of
prosperity than the ticker tape, last week reached their highest level since
1930. Retail and wholesale trade has been expanding since Labor day.
Increased farm income is measured by bountiful harvests of wheat, cotton
and corn at remunerative prices.
At this point the psychological economist offers a word.
He says that it is time to remind the public of the President’s remarks
in 1933, when he said that what this country had most to fear was fear.
This “fear psychology” is suggested as part of the explanation of the pres
ent financial situation.
Secretary Morgenthau, perhaps with this in mind, was quick to call
attention to the bond market, which didn’t get frightened and which, he
said, was “behaving beautifully” despite the crash in stocks.
• • • •
Other reasons behind the steady bond market were perhaps the
excess reserves of member banks of the Federal reserve system, which
increased in the five-week period ending September 22 from S800,
000,000 to SI.000,000.000 as the result of a release of gold by the
Treasury from its inactive account. The bulk of the increase in ex
cess reserves went to New York City banks, and. on September 22,
these banks had excess reserves of *350,000,000, Chicago banks had
*50,000,000, and banks elsewhere *50,000,000.
• • • •
Getting down to brass tacks. Government statistics show:
1. Despite the seasonal lull, a slight advance last month, over the two
months, in industrial activity.
2. Early in September, a de
cline in the steel output, but an in
creased volume of new orders. This
gain, however, measured against a
relatively low August level.
3. The seasonal drop in auto
mobile production, predicted to
mark the year’s low.
4. Construction contracts
5. Little improvement in fac
tory employment.
6. Slight decline in factory pay rolls.
In the following chart each index figure is based on 1923-25 averages
as 100, except prices, which are based on the 1926 level. Mast of the figures
are adjusted for seasonal variations and are official, except those of Sep
tember, which are privately estimated:
1 32 2? E 23 m U P
- ft 2? " 5| h
"n 5- Sg s
§a I 8 «" 2
1929 average. 119 105.0 109.0 107 111 117 95.3
1936 average . 105 92.0 82.0 75 88 55 80.6
1937 January . 114 98.8 90.6 80 92 64 85.9
February. 116 99.7 95.8 80 95 62 86.3
March . 118 100.9 101.1 83 93 56 87 8
April . 118 101.7 104.8 82 93 56 88 0
May... 118 102.2 105.2 80 93 56 87 4
June . 114 101.4 102.9 78 93 61 87.2
' July . 114 103.0 100.4 80 94 68 87.9
August. 117 102.3 103.7 79 91 65 87.5
September (eet.)... 113 101.0 103.0 82 93 63 87.3
(Copyright. 1937. by North American Newapaper Alliance. Inc )
A m
J'HE opinions of the writers on this page are their own, not
necessarily The Star’s. Such opinions are presented in
The Star’s effort to give all sides of questions of interest to its
readers, although such opinions may be contradictory among
themselves and directly opposed to The Star’s.
The Court Issue Rather Than Traditional Groups
Should Be Rallying Ground.
EVERY newspaper reader knows
there Is ferment about ques
tions having to do with line-up,
party organization, party prin
ciples. The ferment exists in both par
ties. In both the Republican and Demo
cratic parties are great groups who
are dissatisfied, who are rmzzled and
anxious. The fer
ment raises the
whole broad ques
tion whether our
long-existing me
chanism of two
party govern
ment Is adequate
for present and
Immediately fu
ture conditions.
Every newspaper
reader know’s this
ferment exists; a
person who re
ceives as many
letters and has
the contacts of
the writer of this article knows It
even more.
The question cannot be answered,
indeed cannot be fully stated, in so
short a space as the present dispatch.
But one aspect of it can be illustrated
by pointing to a condition existing in
Indiana. I write without recent knowl
edge of events in that State: I use
Indiana merely for purposes of illustra
tion. The same situation, in slightly
different forms, exists in many other
States. The situation in Indiana is a
miniature of the situation in the
In Indiana is a Democratic Senator,
Frederick Van Nuys. He comes up for
renomination next year. He is one of
the Democratic Senators who opposed
President Roosevelt's court measure.
Because he opposed Mr. Roosevelt's
court measure, the Democratic organi
zation, in Indiana and at Washington,
is going to try to prevent his renomi
nation. Sentence of party death for
him has been handed down practically
officially. On- the day the President's
court measure was defeated, the Dem
ocratic Governor of Indiana called on
the President, and on leaving the
White House said, in effect, that Mr.
Van Nuys must not be renominated.
The sentence of doom has been re
peated on other occasions.
Might Bring New Group.
The Democratic organization's de
termination to prevent renomination
of Mr. Van Nuys will probably succeed.
It can succeed in Indiana, even though
similar attempts in other States—to
prevent renomination of other Demo
cratic Senators who opposed the court
proposal—may not succeed. The rea
son the attempt is likely to succeed in
Indiana is that Indiana, almost alone
among the States now, preserves the
old convention system of making party
nominations. Under the convention
system it is much easier for the party
organization to do what it wishes.
Assume, then, that Senator Van
Nuys is deprived of renomination by
the Democrats in Indiana. Assume
the Democratic organization in In
diana nominates in place of Mr. Van
Nuys some one pledged to support
President Roosevelt's court plan,
pledged to support all other measures
of Mr. Roosevelt, pledged to be a
rubber stamp for Mr. Roosevelt.
With that kind of man nominated
by the Democratic organization of
Indiana, with Senator Van Nuys
defeated because he opposed the
President's court measure—in that
situation, what would be done by the
other Democrats? What would be
done by those Democrats who approve
Mr. Van Nuys. those Democrats who
oppose Mr, Roosevelt s court measure,
and those who, on broader grounds,
oppose Mr. Roosevelt's course gen
erally? These Democrats, it is tenable
to assume, would not accept the defeat
of Mr. Van Nuys lying down. I speak
only from surmise, but it seems likely
that they would organize a separate
movement, a new, Independent or
Jeffersonian Democratic organization,
and would nominate Mr. Van Nuys for
the Senate.
Alignment Changed.
If that happens, what will the In
diana Republicans do? One course
they can take is to say, in effect;
"Hooray! The Democrats are split in
two; we can now elect a Republican.”
The Republicans can say that and
do that. It is the conventional course,
the familiar course, the course that
under old conditions has been polit
ically astute. Under old conditions,
yes. But if the Republicans do that,
will their line of thought be correct
for the present conditions?
The premise underlying that kind of
Republican strategy is that tRe country
is divided between Republicans and
Democrats. But is that premise cor
rect? Maybe. To say whether that
premise is correct is to answer the
whole question involved in the current
ferment. And to give an offhand
answer to that would be, as Josh
Billings used to say, "2 mutch."
Let us, for argument’s sake, consider
another possibility. Let us assume the
true line-up today is not the old one
between Republicans and Democrats;
let us assume that, temporarily or for
a long period, the old terms, “Demo
crat” and "Republican,” are inade
quate and misleading.
How, then, shall we express what the
new line-up is? Probably the public
would express it offhand as New Deal
ers and anti-New Dealers. But those
terms are unsatisfactory because some
of the New Deal is accepted as good by
nearly everybody. We might describe
the new line-up as "left” versus
"right”— that would be more accurate
than New Dealers versus anti-New
Court Not Party Issue.
But if we narrow it down to the
issue that is actually present and
paramount, we would use still another
pair of terms. If the issue is the
President's court measure, then the
accurate terms for the division would
be court measure supporters against
court measure opponents. Those terms
are too clumsy for popular use. But
they express the situation accurately.
Assuming these to be the correct
terms for the new line-up, turn back to
Indiana. If in that State there are
three nominations for Senator, they
would be distributed as follows: The
regular Democratic nominee would be
for the President’s court measure. The
independent Democratic nominee, Mr.
Van Nuys, would be against the Presi
dent's court measure. The Republican
nominee would be against the Presi
dent's court measure.
In this situation the shoe is on the
other foot. In this situation, looking
at the line-up in terms of the court
measure, there will be one candidate
in favor of the court measure, two
candidates against. It is not the
Democrats who are split, it is the
opponents of the court measure who
are split.
And that is the thing which,
throughout the whole country, must
be prevented if there is to be, next
j year, an Intelligent line-up of voters
looking to a clean-cut decision on the
I court measure. To have in each State
! a clear and simple opportunity for
' every voter to take a stand against
the court measure or for it is the
fundamental need to be kept in mind
by all persons giving thought to party
policy in both the Republican and
Democratic parties.
(Copyriaht, 1937.) »
Eiffel Tower Held Best.
The best building in the Interna
tional Exhibition in Paris is the oldest,
declares the Architectural Review of
Paris in a review of the exposition.
It is the 50-year-old Eiffel Tower.
"Far and away the best thing in the
exposition.” says the publication, "is
the old Eiffel Tower; younger in
years, more beautiful, vigorous and
real today than any of the structures,
French or foreign, round it.”
Mark Sullivan.
We, the People
The Nightshirt That Failed, or the Charge of the
Ku Klux Klan Shouters.
The attempt to wave the bloody nightshirt of the Ku Klux Klan has 1
failed to stampede the New Deal liberals.
The motives which prompted this sudden attack upon Supreme Court
Justice Hugo L. Black can only be guessed. It looked like legitimate Journal
istic enterprise. It looked like a good chance to embarrass the President
and put the judiciary reform bill In camphor. It looked like a hot issue
to divert moral Indignation from the wholesale denial of civil liberties to
industrial workers by focusing attention on the famous postwar reaction of
the old South to the economic and
political struggle for race equality.
To a handful—men who argue like
Mark Sullivitn with the zeal of the
Inquisition that a public official
should be Impeached for his past
private beliefs—it offered a hope
that Mr. Black could be taken off
the Supreme Court before he had
a chance to pass on the public
utility holding company act and
other liberal measures up for Ju
dicial review. To G. O. P. politicians it offered a good talking point and a
belief that the liberals could be weaned away from the Rooseveltian pap.
* * * *
Judging by liberal comments, the plan seems to have been a
failure. Even Senator O’Mahoney of Wyoming, a Catholic and an
opponent of judicial reform, is quoted as saying that he knew of Mr.
Black’s Klan background but voted for his confirmation because he
“thought Black had grown up’’ and “because I had never seen him
show any signs of prejudice."
Senator Norris of Nebraska has also spoken powerfully in behalf
of Mr. Black and other Progressives have added their opinion that his real
offense was his record of militant liberalism in economic and social issues.
The rank and file are rallying behind this mature and level-headed
appraisal of the Tory resurrection of a dead-and-buried issue. The New
Republic and the Nation—both traditionally outspoken advocates of
justice to the Negroes—have joined in support of Mr. Black's liberalism.
In one of its loin-grinding editorials, the New York Times—leader in
dignifying this attempt to revive sectional bigotry—gives the show away.
"The New Liberalism"—complains this wealthy organ—concentrates its
fervor on the economic issues from which arise racial and religious intol
erance. Like many other individuals and institutions, this paper finds it
easy to quiver with rage at events a thousand miles away and years ago.
* * * *
“What do memories of such things matter," it asks sarcastically,
"memories of the night riders and the lash and the tar barrel and
the smoking flesh of some Negro spitted on the stake, in the light of
the present struggle over economic issues and the present attack on
‘vested rights’’ Of what importance are old records of bigotry and
religious persecution, compared with a Senator’s vote on some new
bill to curb industry and tax the rich?"
* * * *
This casts a new light on the anti-Black "crusade.” The pass)onate
reluctance of the embattled millionaire to part with that which is due,
under the law, to the Internal Revenue Bureau, has long been known. It
is natural, if undignified. In fact, recent news stofies tell triumphantly
how, rather than pay the tax on undivided surplus, corporations are pay
ing out bonuses to their employes and stockholders (which was exactly
what the tax was intended to do.
In the meantime, the liberal lines have held remarkably firm and
the liberals themselves seem to be discarding the most dangerous and self
defeating element in their political
tradition—the notion that a public
servant must be judged, not by
what he does, but by what certain
liberals believe he ought to think.
The old parable of the bad tree
putting forth good fruit has, until
now. never been understood by
American liberals, and as a result
their leaders have been discredited '
and isolated by those who had the
means to demonstrate that all
popular idols have feet of clay.
On the whole, I think that the Nation Is to be congratulated on its
steadiness in the face of this imposing red herring of Mr. Black's alleged
membership in the Ku Klux Klan. It wull take something stronger than
the tarnished symbols of yesteryear's liberalism to defeat economic justice
in the third decade of twentieth century America.
(Copyright. 1937.)
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An American
You Should
New S. E. C. Chairman
to Ignite Safe and
Sane Fireworks.
It looks as though the Securities
Exchange Commission may soon ignite
a few fireworks of the safe and sane
variety. William Orville Dotiglas,
8. E C.’s newly elected chairman, who
hurried to Washington from an in
terrupted vacation on Cape Cod,
stated at a press conference that the
“Commission faces a period of ex
pansion." He was specific about the
how and why.
Mr. Douglas does not put himself
in the "crack down” class. He merely
calls himself the "investor's advocate.”
Within the framework of the three
statutes that S.
E. C. administers
Douglas is on
record to protect
the lnve sting
public. This is
bound to insure
protests from the
"big boys” of
Wall Street. ..
Slim, sandy
h aired’ "Bill*
Douglas is aimply
qualified to fight
for principles of
simple honesty.
He has fought
for them all his
me. oorn in Maine, Minn., in leas,
the son of a missionary, he grew
up in Yakima, and Walla Walla,
Wash. He worked as a newsboy,
farm-hand, junk dealer, to pay his
way through school and college. De
termined to study law, he jumped a
freight train, landed in New York
with 6 cents in hi pocket. He ended
up in one of New York’s richest law
firms ; became fed-up with Wail
Street; gave it up to teach at Yale
University; conducted studies in co
operation with the Department of
Commerce in bankruptcy proceeding?:
came to Washington in 1934 to con
duct S. E. C.’s study of protective and
reorganization committees; was elect
ed commissioner a year later.
Douglas inspires confidence. He has
a strong jaw. He has twinkling blue
eyes that have a way of glinting dis
concertingly. His boyish grin is
equally surprising from tight-locked
lips. His personality is intense Brrd
dynamic. It makes you feel almost
burned out. It is well known that he
works 16 hours a day. is the author of
8 books, 18 law review articles on cor
poration and financial law.
Full armed, as Minerva from Jove-?
brow, your columnist greedily snatched
a slice of Douglas’ taxi-to-station time
to ask a few questions. “In admin
istering the securities act of 1933 do
the prospectuses hide the facts?”
“There is a certain immortality about
fraud, a skill in telling the truth in
oblique ways," Douglas said. ‘‘This
must be corrected.” .
W. O. Dourlu.
Thomas S. Snelling, Jr.
I •
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satisfaction than with any other flour
you have ever used, or your dealer will
refund the purchase price. |
r\ • .1 c
Buy it with this guarantee
Plain Self-Rising
Washington Flour Washington Flour
—it Hie all-purpote Fleur —specially for biscuits,
that bakes everything at waffles, shortcakes, etc.,
ONLY Washington Flour with which NO BAKING
WASHINGTON FLOUR ore for sale by ALL grocers,
delicatessens, markets, chain stares, etc. When
buying Flour, specify WASHINGTON FLOUR.
Wilkins-Rogers Milling Co., w",Dhic”°'''
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