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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, December 02, 1937, Image 13

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Home Finance
Plan Holds
New Hope
10 Per Cent Down to
Spur Building and
Free Other Funds.
OF ALL the various plans and
proposals of the Roosevelt
administration to help re
covery, none offers as much
promise or is based on a better prin
ciple of private capitalism than the
suggestion for the financing of new
■mall houses with
ft 10 per cent Mjt
down payment.
This feature— |R:
the 10 per cent Ml
down payment— 3ft
Is criticized, in
some quarters as
risky, but ex- pH
penence of the
Government |||9
shows that the ||||
chances of loss to f|||
the insuring au- mm
thority—the Fed- ||§§
erai Mousing aq- _ .. ,
relatively small.
One of the reasons why the public
looks askance perhaps at the idea of
a prospective home owner borrowing
90 per cent and putting up only 10
per cent of the. cost of house and lot
combined is that for generations the
customary lending has been on about
50 per cent of the valuation, and then
a second trust usually had to be pro
vided for about 25 per cent and a
property owner had to supply the
remaining 25 per cent as cash.
But it is overlooked by many now
adays that the old 50 per cent value
mortgage was renewed for three-year
intervals as a rule and some of them
were never paid off or curtailed in
any way. Tlxlay the Government pro
poses to stand back of the banks by
insuring loans made on properties
that are to be paid off in monthly
installments spread over 20 years.
What does this mean as compared to
the old system?
$6,000 Property Illustration.
First of all. in the case of a $6,000
property, the monthly installments
on the $5,400 loan are such that at
the end of five years the margin of
equity owned is 28 per cent, so the
loan is 72 per cent of the value of the
property. Also the property owner at
the end of the first five years is in the
same position as he was in the old days
when he had a first mortgage of $3,000
and a second mortgage balance of
$1,680. But the payments cm that
second mortgage were usually heavy
and a default in them might cost the
owner his property and a complete loss
of his $1,680 equity.
The second mortgage situation in
America for many years has been
notoriously bad. Heavy commissions
and extortionate charges often have
deterred those who have wanted to
build their own homes. It is true
that the second mortgage lenders felt
they were undergoing a great risk
because the first mortgage holder
could foreclose the property and wipe
out the second mortgage lender un
less the latter wanted to buy in the
house at a foreclosure sale and hold
It for some future disposition.
If the property was properly valued
tn the first place and if there hap
pened to be a market in which the
house could be readily sold, the sec
ond mortgage lender could come out
all right, but too often as neighbor
hoods changed their character or as
cities lost large pa$ rolls due to vari
ous causes, the value of real estate
would go down.
Wars on System.
The Federal Government under
President Roosevelt’s leadership
stepped into the breach and deter
mined to wipe out the second mort
gage idea altogether by making a sim
ple first mortgage and requiring
monthly installments from the very _
beginning. In addition to the interest,
a slight insurance fee is charged 1
which is really a reserve to take care 1
of the instances in which property 1
owners have defaulted on their pay- *
ments and forced the lenders to sell r
the property. 1
Thus every man who borrows money *
to build a home and meets his pay- *
ments punctually pays a slight fee to 0
take care of those cases where the *
payments are unfortunately not met.
The low rate of insurance for hoiu- n
Ing loans now in vogue—and it is to b
be slightly reduced by the Federal n
Housing Administration’s new plan— j,
is based on the experience of the .
American people with installment
financing which, on durable articles
that can be repossessed and readily
sold, reveaU a relatively small loss to
the lenders.
It should be clearly understood that
the 90 pe- cent loan or 10 per cent
down payment applies to houses of
$6,000 or under which are to be occu
pied by teh owners themselves—that
Is, by the persons who borrow the
Free* Funds for Baying.
What the small down-payment plan
really does Is to make it possible for a
family to use part of its savings to
furnish and equip the house and this
In turn means business for the furni
ture dealers and those who sell equip
ment of various kinds for the small
homes, A couple with $1,000 saved
;p can put $600 In the down payment
ceded tor the $6,000 home and have
400 to put into new furniture and
quipment. Incidentally, the interest
ate is 6 per cent whether above or
elow the $6,000 class, but the insur
nce rate is one-fourth of 1 per cent
l the case of the $6,000 houses and
ne-half of 1 per cent In those above
The Federal Government Itself does
ot, of course, lend the money. The
anks do it. But the Federal Govern
ment stands ready to guarantee the
*ns if made according to the rules
laid down by the Federal Housing
Administration. This means that the
banks run practically no risk. This
affords an opportunity for the great
sums of idle money in the banks to be
put to work. Incidentally, about
$750,000,000 worth of construction has
been made possible under the F. H. A.
since the first legislation was passed.
The question of whether the plan
will work out with small loas or no
loss is related to the appraisals of the
property. If the appraisals made by
the banks and the Government are too
high, then obviously in ease of default
on payments the true worth of the
property at a foreclosure sale will cause
a loas to the lenders and ultimately to
the Government. But the whole hous
ing plan depends on efficient adminis
tration anyway and appraisals must
be conservative to make the plan
effective. It isn’t the down payment,
but the correctness of the appraisal
that counts most. The project for
mobilising private credit to stimulate
housing Is one of the best things if not
the best President Roosevelt has spon
sored in his entire administration.
(Copyright, 1937.)
The Capital Parade
Chase Bank Head Warns Stock Market May Take An
other Shellacking—From Foreigners This Time.
WINTHROP W. ALDRICH, chairman of the board of the Chase
National Bank, is warning friends in Wall Street that the stock
market may take another shellacking, this time from foreign
selling. Foreign Investors have hung on to their American securi
ties thus far, but Mr. Aldrich fears that they may grow nervous and dump
Mr. Aldrich’s fears are based on soundings of foreign opinion taken
during a recent trip abroad. As one of the moat powerful figures in the
American financial community, he was able to ask straight questions of such
bigwigs as the managers of the big British investment trusts.
According to those who have talked to him, he now reports that thee*
men are showing the first signs of Jitters in regard to their American hold
mgs. nimerto, urmsn ana other
foreign business men have always
considered American business men
hysterically alarmist in their esti
mates of the future. But now, ap
parently, the British are beginning
to change their minds, and are
playing with the thought of pulling
out of the American market. If
they do, it will be pretty serious,
since the holdings of the British
trusts alone, as of today, amount
to nearly $500,000,000.
It must be added that the Securities and Exchange Commission, the
Treasury and the Department of Commerce here all flatly disagree with
Mr. Aldrich. They maintain very forcibly that for the present, at least,
the threat of foreign selling is a meaningless bogeyman.
* * * *
At the S. E. C. and the Treasury, where the doings of foreign
investors are minutely watched, the experts report that, since Sep
tember, foreign buying has slightly exceeded foreign selling. And they
see no reasons for a change in the trend.
* * * a
Representatives of the British investment trusts were here recently to
find out how new American taxes would affect them. The Treasury worked
hard to get their plans in regard to their American holdings, and came out
pretty well convinced there would be no dumping.
' * * * *
An interesting sign of the times is the denunciation of securities
dealers to which the President has recently treated more than one business
visitor. One of the great business minds who came to Washington to talk
depression at the White House was surprised when the President launched
into a full 20 minutes of angry eloquence against the system by which new
securities are sold in this country.
* * * *
It was the President’s thesis that, if the securities dealers had
an atom of sense, new securities could easily be floated, even in the
present bad times. The incident gave an interesting measure of the
degree to which the administration tends to regard the stock market
not as a business barometer, but as a business depressant.
* * a *
A Belgian adventure in American utilities finance which has rather
the flavor of an E. Phillips Oppenheim novel is being watched with some
puzzlement by the S. E. C. officials responsible.
The Belgian company concerned is the Societe Financiers de Trans
ports et d’Entreprises Industrielles, "Sofina” for short. Soflna is the largest
utilities holding company in Europe, with utilities properties in Belgium,
France, Portugal, Germany, Turkey, the Argentine, Spain and Mexico.
It also owns industrial companies, glass companies, coal mines and fertilizer
* * * *
Its managing director, D. Heineman, is a suave, quiet Belgian
whose extreme shrewdness has given him the reputation of being the
cleverest bargain hunter among European financiers. Something of
his method of doing business may be gathered from the fact that his
properties in Barcelona are incorporated in Canada as the Barcelona
Traction, Light A Power Co., while another inconspicuous Canadian
concern, the Mexican Light and Power Co., is the repository of his
Mexican holdings.
* * * A
While American utilities executives are twittering with fear for the
future, the shrewd Mr. Heineman seems to have concluded that the business
has hit bottom in this country.
About a year ago, Soflna quietly
acquired a 3.4 per cent interest in
the Middle West Corp., a Chicago
utilities holding company which
ranks with the largest. Oddly
enough, the stock was picked up
at a bargain rate from the
Reconstruction Finance Corp.
That was Soflna s and M.
/J]} Heineman'a first investment in the
.. _. , -^sllm United States. As a consequence of
it, Charles K. Wilmers, a previously unknown ■ngiishman, went on Middle
West's Board of Directors as Sofina's representative.
It had been expected that the matter would end there, but M. Heine
man suddenly appeared in this country late last summer, and began nego
tiations with New York and Chicago banks for more Middle West stock.
Just before the stock market crash, arrangements for the transfer of work
ing control of Middle West to Soflna had been completed. The crash, which
knocked the bottom out of the Middle West stock price, upset the arrange
* * * *
Now it it understood that Heineman and Soflna will return to
the charge, this time with the intention of investing in a number of
American utilities companies.
* * * *
Probably they will avoid acquiring more than 10 per cent of any one
enterprise, for fear of coming within the purview of the Holding Company
Act, but they are expected to buy enough of each to have what is called
"an important voice” in policy.
(Copyrlsbt. 1037, by the North American Newspaper Alliance. Inc.)
T***on tfli* P°9e are their own, not
The 1^tnt>»aJhnriTtle^uta^fi -i$uch opinions are presented in
w0 0*?e sides of questions of interest to its
themseives^nnAHt^Ii opinions may be contradictory among
themselves and directly opposed to The Star’s.
Will of the Majority?
Potato Referendum Shows Relatively Small Number
Imposed Control.
dj rasniv BULUVAN.
UNDER the farm control bill
before ihe Senate, quotas will
be imposed on farmers dictat
ing the quantity of wheat they
can raise, or corn, or cotton, or rice,
or tobacco. (Under another law al
ready existing, the so-called “soil
conservation’* act, quotas can be im
posed on other crops.) Once a quota
is imposed on a farmer, he can raise
inH fin mors
than the quota Hi
fixes. If he raises H
and attempts to H
sell more, he Is I
subject to a pen- B
alty enforceable fl
In the Federal B
courts. I
In order to hold j ■
him to the quota,
he is required to | ’
keep minute f
records. He Is £.
required to keep 'jm
ords that may „ . .
be—I quote from *“rk 8,m™'
the bill—"prescribed by regulations of
the Secretary.” He is required to keep
and furnish to the Department of
Agriculture—I quote: "Records, mark
eting cards, reports, storage under
seal.” He is required to furnish—
again I quote from the bill—“proof
of acreage, yield, storage and market
ing.” If he fails to supply such
records—once more I quote from the
bill—“any farmer failing to furnish
such proofs in the manner and within
the time provided, shall be guilty of
a misdemeanor and upon conviction be
subject to a fine of not more than
This is onerous. It does not seem
that farmers would willingly submit
themselves to it. But it is argued, in
behalf of the bill, that farmers as a
group have an opportunity to reject
the quota system. It is argued that
the system of crop control, of which
the quota device is a detail, will not
be imposed on raisers of any given
crop until after a referendum of them
is taken, and if one-third of the
farmers vote to reject the system in
any one year, the quota device will
not take effect.
Potato Quota Wins.
Now let us look into this matter erf
referendum. Under an already exist
ing law, referendums were held early
in October on the question of
imposing quotas on potato raisers.
After the referendums were held the
Agricultural Adjustment Administra
tion announced that 82 per cent of
the farmers voting had voted in favor
of the quota system. Thereupon the
system was put In effect on potatoes.
With the coming planting season,
quotas will be imposed on potato
raisers. •
How was this referendum carried?
How did it happen that 82 per cent
of the farmers voting voted in favor of
it? First &t all, there was an induce
ment. Potato raisers were promised
that if two-thirds of them would vote
yes” in the referendum, all farmers
required to submit to the quota would
be given a bonus, the bonus to con
sist of 4 cents a bushel on early po
tatoes and 6 cents a bushel on late
But was this promise of a bonus
lufflelent to persuade the potato rais
srs to vote in favor of the quota
system? It does not seem so. A. A. A.
•oys—I quote an announcement given
out October 11: "Eighty-two per cent
of the 30.618 votes were in favor of
ihe potato program."
Thousands Didn’t Vote.
■ That sounds Impressive. But the
innouncement omits something. It
omits to state how many farmers did
not vote at all. On this point Inquiry
reveals that the total number of potato
raisers in the country is upward of
800,000, sad that the total number of
so-called "commercial growers”—that
Is, growers who grow potatoes In large
quantities for the market—is upward
of 250,000.
So what have we here? By the vote
of less than 30,000 farmers, a quota
system was Imposed which affects the
entire potato growing Industry com
prising more than 800,000 farmers.
The “potato referendum” calls for
Inquiry. Information sent me from
Dauphin County, Pa., says that the
number of farmers who grow potatoes
In that county is many hundreds—
but that In the referendum "just three
farmers participated.” The three
voted unanimously for adoption of the
quota system. A recent issue of the
Pennsylvania Farm News says that
the total number of fa marts raising
potatoes In Pennsylvania Is 144,104.
But the total number who voted In the
referendum was 1,810, of whom 1,272
voted “yes” and 534 voted “no.”
These so-called "majorities” voting
In favor of a quota System are gro
tesquely small. And charges are made
that even this small number of votes
in favor of the quota system is pro
cured by persuasion and pressure. In
the Senate debate last Tuesday, Sen
ator Vandenberg of Michigan said
that the so-called referendums are
really “called by the Secretary of
Agriculture, whipped up, unquestion
ably, by the paid committee members
of the structure which the Secretary
has created all over the country In
respect to his operations, and mani
festly made to order for secretarial
control of the result. • • • When an
election respecting compulsion is
called, there Is in existence a great
existing machinery which is sympa
thetic to the general Idea of compul
sion, and there Is not in existence any
comparable machinery on the other
Manipulation Hinted.
Senator Vandenberg’s charge
amounts to asserting that these ref
erendums, and the results of them,
are manipulated by the paid agents
of the Department of Agriculture, of
whom there are tens of thousands
throughout the country. In support
of Senator Vandenberg's charge, there
Is some evidence in an A. A. A. an
nouncement put out on August 17,
about a then forthcoming referendum.
I quote from the announcement:
“Referenda will be conducted among
the growers * * • hearings will be open
to any one wishing to attend. Exten
sion service specialists [these are a
part of Mr. Wallace's army] will
conduct educational meetings for
growers. • • •”
Did these “extension service spe
cialists ’ act as impartial lmparters
of information? Or did they act as
Senator Vandenberg charges, as
propagandists for Secretary Wallace's
dream of control of all crops from
Washington? I do not know. But it
would seem as If Senator Vanden
berg's charge, if sustained, would ex
plain a mystery. It would explain
why, out of the hundreds of farmers
in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania,
only three went to an A. A. A. ref
erendum—and all three voted In favor
of the quota system.
(Coprrlsht. 1837.)
Ireland to Become “Eire.”
GENEVA, Dec. 2 OPh—The Irish
Free State last night Informed the
League of Nations that, beginning
December 29, its name will be “Eire,”
(pronounced “Airy”) m the Irish
tongue and “Ireland” In the English
by virtue of the new Irish constitu
We, the People
Philosophy of Scarcity Still Controlling Motive of
Groups Represented in Congress.
A FEW days ago, one of the leading Government economist* expressed
the opinion that by next July Industrial production and employ
ment will be below the worst levels of 1832-33. This was a snap
Judgment and the man who made it was not speaking for publica
tion, but It is important as reflecting the deep gloom which prevails in the
Inside New Deal circles about the business situation.
As they see it, Mr. Roosevelt made the mistake of saving not only the
essential American business system but also the power and control of the
very men who steered it into the Hoover nanio at 1920 -Tier. v...
been no "purge” of the general
W, tvumi • •*** °* Wg business—a few men
£ • i . I I __ like Wiggln, Inaull and Mitchell
r, . . 7 ['■’• ,| w*r* thrown to the wolves and a
I ''S'-7fin Ml few others> lik* the late Andrew
iVIdM Mellon and John D. Rockefeller, sr.,
’"v kave been gathered to their fathers,
A V ' ~ but on the whole the country is
still being run by the Fords, Hearsts,
V~JjT— Mellons, Morgans, Rockefellers and
****** Du Ponta. The men of the pre-war
.... . . .. , generation are still in command in
politics, law, banking, utilities and industry.
Since old dogs do not take kindly to New Deals, this meant
that there has been irrational resistance to the very simple chances
proposed by Mr. Roosevelt, that old guard ideas still prevail in tha
decisions of price and business policy, and that the philosophy of
scarcity is still the controlling motive of all the important groups
which are represented in Congress.
This i*-true of agriculture and labor, as well as of big business. The
sacrifice of abundance to profits and of production to prices has become
an economic epidemic. It is as if we sought to strangle ourselves by holding
our breath.
When labor seeks to create a closed-shop monopoly for union mem
bers, and to give as few man-hours as possible for the highest possible
wages, we are quick to brand the idea as insane. Carried to its logical
conclusion, we say that it would strangle industry. Because labor has been
so general^ abused and exploited, too little attention has been paid to the
potential labor-monopolies which are building up in America, monopolies
whose motives are little different from those of the management of the
Chase National Bank or of Republic Steel. It is worth recalling that the
American labor movement is still largely under the control of the labor
leaders of a generation ago.
ihC m°Tent' lher* U anxiety about the new farm bill. The com
mercial farms of America—that is to say the land owners, including banks
and prance companies—are moving strongly in the direction of a legally
farm«ed *°°u SCarClty' whlch ahaU aacriflce agricultural abundance to the
Ia ™ * cash mcome- Unsympathetic to organized labor and to Wall Street
alike, the organized farmers propose to imitate them and to establish an
Sf b^bi«ine«°n°my rigid “ any monopoly of union membership or
of big business profit seeking. It is well to remember that farmers are tra
ditionally the most conservative-minded group in society
* * * *
it'c ure turning our oacKs on our own capacity to
produce. Big-scale industry, through the technological advances of
the last Jew years and its own installed plant capacity, is eouipped
to produce goods tn abundance for the entire Western Hemisphere if
not the whole world. Despite erosion by wind and rain, despite the
wastage of cash-crop farming, our lands possess sufficient fertility
and our farm-machinery enough power to clothe and feed our people
lavishly. And southward lies the treasure-house of the tropics,
over-flowing with Nature’s careless abundance, from sugar to cattle,
fruits and vegetables.
Then there is the greatest waste of our civilization—the unused man
^ °.Ur ^,UgC 1?bor reserve- recruited from the unemployed, the aging
and those luckless children wh° come of working age year after remorselesf
Vwtheirlai** had hcen ful*y employed since 1929, we could have
rebuilt the entire United States, we could have rehoused every American
co.uld haye created public lnstitutions-libraries, schools, hos
pitals, swimming pools, auditoriums
and athletic stadiums sufficient to
breed a new and nobler race on the
face of this continent.
We shrink from the more
abundant life, as from death itself.
Big business cuts down production
and lays off workers rather than
produce needed goods at lower
prices. Agriculture seeks to put a
ball and chain on every independ
ent farmer rather than deal with
plentiful crops. Labor has no plan and will welcome no plan for putting
monei? wMi(h to rf 0rk' we caught in a whirlpool of dead ideas about
money^wealth and prosperity which is spinning us dizzily toward the depths.
President and a few far-sighted business men are tiding to
reverse this downward spiral, the great mass of our aging economic leaders
hSt?™ *£.“ grWdyJand “ ever and, under the spur of fear, seem
nowSveTh^fh?0*. rUCtl°n- ThU “ why New Dwd econom
wh t thi* t me An“rlc* P>>ng to shoot the works, not be
cause we do not know any better, but because we do not know how to stop
(Copyright, 1937.)
Dr. William Preston Pew, now serv
ing his twenty-eighth year as presi
dent of Duke University, will be prin
cipal speaker at the annual Duke
University Day dinner dance to be
held by the Washington alumni to
night at the Lafayette Hotel at 7:30
Annual election of officers will be
held as a feature of the dinner dance
An American
You Should
Undersecretary of Agri
culture Has Wide
Vision of Future.
FOR 30 years Undersecretary of
Agriculture Mllbum Lincoln
Wilson has run a straight fur
row in the service of agricul
ture from coast to coast. His friends
affectionately call him "M. L.”
l/>ng ago he made his mark Indelibly
upon the good earth of America. He
captures the Imagination with his
r—"«*»'» -***s sincerity, bound
i less enthusiasm
■no wiae vision
of future needs
in terms of pres
ent accomplish
His life co
relate* the his
tory of United
State* industrial
and agricultural
dev elopment.
Even his hobby
is tvnli>a.iiv
WEmmk mKm A m e r i can. Ha
Mr. Witoen. 1143 a J*rge col
lection of books
and lithograph* on Lincoln.
Farm-born In Iowa in 1885, "M. L."
early in life was encouraged to make
farming both his vocation and hi*
avocation. His father believed with
William Penn that “farming is the
noblest profession of them all.” A
graduate of the Iowa State College
at Ames, Mr. Wilson went to farming
in Nebraska, homesteading in Mon
tana. He raised wheat, flax, cattle.
He has always believed that people
are happier living in the country sur
rounded by growing things. The old
subsistence homesteads that he di
rected for a time had the answer, he
thinks, if time and tide had not
swept them beyond their depth De
centralisation of industry and the
ultimate establishment of rural com
munities must come in the next 50
yearfc if we are to take up the slack
of farm unemployment, Wilson be
“M. L." traces agricultural history
with deft verbal strokes. He was a
part of the last wave of Western
migration and homesteading. In the
quietude of his Montana homestead
that country that “Teddy" Roosevelt
ranched, Mr. Wilson became a liberal
in politics, a “Bull Mooser.”
His convictions led him to become
a leading spirit in all forward
moving farm legislation. He became
Montana's first county ' agent, cam
paigned for the oft-defeated McNary
Haugen farm relief bill, had charge of
wheat production in 1933 under the
triple A's.
The ever normal granary is now
on- the congressional doormat. “M.
L.” does not use the terms “crop
control" in speaking of farm legisla
tion. He calls it a “balance between
the things that the farmers have to
trade for the things that the city
makes.” It is apparent that Wilson
hopes that the new farm relief bill
will possess the latest gadgets that
years of experience indicates. It is
always a balance between producers
and consumers. Nature, it appears,
will umpire the granary score, calling
her lean and fat years with sublime
disregard to planned econqjny.
At Special Prices
for Christmas
I Regulation MA
I Size Table *v
I . Other Tablet
■ $12. $16 anJ $17.60
■ Tabl« Tennis is one of Washinr
■ ton’s most popslar indoor sports.
■ Wo hare a larre display of res
■ niatlon sise tables, both statioa
■ ary and foldinr types. Sturdily
H be lit tables with plywood tops.
9 See them on display at onr office
■ or phene as. Free delircry to
9 roar home.
If E LLY.no
BE 2121 Go. Are. NO. 1341
ii i
i 1 % A
en route to
Score* of giant skyscraper* could he built with the material*
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which it is craating. is already assuming the proportions
cf a vast inland saa. Vital to the Southwest's prosperity,
Bouldar Dam is a spectacular and magnificent triumph
cf engineering of which all America should b* proud..
which all Americans should saa!
of a trip to Southorn California
It is only a short, inexpensive side-trip to Bouldar Dam and
Lake Maad on tha North Western—Union Pacific rout* to
Southsrn California. The side-trip starts from the romantic,
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$4.65. Include Bouldar Dam in your California trip!
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FECT Diamonds in a vast assortment Ml
PM from which to choose, guaranteed by the
U store that has earned the reputation of PM
friendly service since 1888.

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