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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, April 21, 1938, Image 11

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Filling Place
Federal Funds for Loans
Held Unacceptable
as Substitute.
SINCE the Government now is
willing to lend money to busi
ness, the question might well be
asked, "Why should business
borrow ?" Especially when it is going
to cost, under present conditions,
about 33 per cent a year for the use
of the money.
"Thirty-three per cent!" it will be
exclaimed. "Why, the Government
Isn't going to charge anything like
that for the priv- _______
uege or borrowing
m o n e y.” But—
and here are the
exart figures
worked out by ac
For every $10.
000 loan a busi
ness man has to
earn exactly $13.
382.27 under our
present tax laws
before he actually
has a net income
of $10,000. This
is because the
Federal taxes eat
David Lawrence.
up exactly that amount. So the true
cost of borrowing is really in excess of
33 per cent, for the borrower has to
pay interest and also as a rule a State
Income tax of around 2 to 3 per cent.
Even under the proposed Senate tax
bill, which eliminates the undistrib
uted surplus levy, the flat tax of 18
per cent must be paid, so on every
$10,000 borrowed there must be an ad
ditional sum earned sufficient to pay
an 18 per cent tax before there is a
net income of $10,000. Using the 18
per cent tax figure, and adding 5 per
cent for interest to the bank and 3
t>er cent for State income taxes, the
amount that would have to be earned
would be about $12,600, which is very
much better than the present law
which requires an earning of about
$14,182 if you include 5 per cent for
the banker and 3 per cent for State
income taxes.
Why should businesses attempt to
borrow money under such prohibitive
rates? The least of the expense, it
w-ill be seen, is the charge made by
the banks. The taxes are the most
disturbing part of the picture.
For Plant or Equipment.
Naturally where there is a borrow
ing for a plant or equipment, there is
an opportunity to get some tax relief
by the deductions allowed annually for
depreciation or obsolescence, but for
working capital the borrower faces a
very difficult situation.
The truth of the matter is that
businesses needing working capital
ought not to be borrowing it on notes
or securities nowadays, but on the sale
of common stock or what is usually
called “equity money." The ad
ministration's attitude, however, to
ward equity money has been so dis
tressing that most people have been
afraid to buy new common stock issues.
Indeed, common stock offerings have
rarely been floated to the people since
the New Deal came into power.
Take the utilities, for example. The
Government, through the R. F. C.,
now proposes to lend money to the
utilities on the assumption that they
are unable to float their loans to the
public. But there's a limit to the
proportion of the securities which any
utility company should be allowed to
have in the form of bonds. Bonds
could easily be sold to cover future
expansion of utilities provided there
was some certainty as to the ability
of utilities to earn their interest
charges at least once and provide also
a margin for the existing stockholders
who hold preferred or common stocks.
Why should anybody put “equity
money" in utilities when the Govern
ment threatens competition with them
May Not Meet the Needs.
So while the R. F. C. will find some
utilities which can borrow on bond
issues, it is doubtful whether this will
meet the needs of the electric light
and power companies who want to
expand their facilities. For it will be
noted that Chairman Jesse H. Jones of
the R. F. C. in a speech this week
said: "We will not buy the stock of
any private business. Usually when
there is a demand for investment
capital that promises a fair return,
it is forthcoming, and no doubt this
will be true again as business im
TT_U_11_ 1.
unnappuy, nowever, there is no
promise of a fair return on the utility
investments so long as Government
competition is threatened. And what
Investor wants to take a chance on
common stocks when so much of the
net nowadays is eaten up by taxes,
Federal and State, as well as interest
charge®, before there is anything left
on which to declare a dividend for the
common stockholder. Since the owner
of an equity in a business does not
have his principal redeemed on a
fixed maturity and does not receive a
specified interest return as is the case
with a note or a bond he has hitherto
been regarded as deserving of a high
Likewise if a business gets into the
red, the bondholder or noteholder
can usually take the business and
property over very much as a mort
gage on any piece of real estate is
foreclosed. The business man who
borrows, therefore, rung the risk of
losing his business if he cannot meet
the payments on interest and principal
when due, whereas if he gets his
working capital through the sale of
common stock, he may pass a divi
dend in a bad year or two and not
run the risk of losing his property,
in which he himself will have in
vested time and money.
There are nevertheless some capital
loans which can be made through
the R. F. C. and these will be helpful
in bringing about re-employment
The real relief, however, will not
come through lending. The borrowed
money has to be earned to be paid
back. Says Mr. Jones of the R. F. C.
cn this point:
"While our purpose will be to make
business and industrial loans that
will maintain or create work, we will
not feel authoriaed to make such loans
unless in our opinion the borrower
will be able to pay the money back."
And will borrowers be able to pay
the money back under present con
ditions without paying a terribly high
price for their money in the form
of Federal and State taxes? Try bor
rowing money at a cost of 33 per
cent and see whether you will not
think there 1s something in the notion
of business men that tax relief, elimi
nation of Government waste, and re
moval of Government schemes that
eat up the taxes are all essential to
and Indeed prerequisites of business
(Copyright, 193S.)
* 1
The Capital Parade
Clause in New Glass-R. F. C. Law Arouses Specula
tion Over Stock-Underwriting Projects.
IN AN exceedingly Influential circle of left-wing New Dealer?, there Is
tremendous excitement at the moment about a brief sentence In the
new Glass R. F. C. law. The left-wingers a*e delightedly convinced
that the R. P. C.’s conservative chairman, Jesse H. Jones, and Virginia’s
even more conservative Senator, tough old Carter Glass, have unconscious
ly authorized the Government to go into the stock-underwriting business.
A plan for Federal underwriting of industrial stock issues has
been prepared by Chairman William O. Douglas of the Securities and
Exchange Commission. It has been received with hearty detestation
by Mr. Jones, and would no doubt give Senator Glass apoplexy if it
were urged upon him. Yet the left-wingers maintain that Senator
Glass and Mr. Jones have already procured congressional authoriza
tion for what amounts to the Douglas plan.
The clause In question authorizes the R. F. C. to purchase securities
"of such sound value • * • as reasonably to assure retirement or repayment.”
Mr. Jones answer to the left-wing
interpretation is that he wrote the
measure extending his agency's
powers, that he ought to know
what it means if any one does, and
that the clause doesn’t mean what
the left-wingers think. He has
remarked privately:
“In the first place, there is no
authorization to buy common stock
in the bill, and. in the second place,
the bill concerns the R. P. C., and.
If there is an authorization to buy common stock, the R. F. C. won t do it
Mr. Jones' explanation of the clause is quite as interesting, however, as
the meaning which the left-wingers, perhaps rather hopefully, attribute to
it. According to persons close to Mr. Jones, the clause in the bill was phrased
so broadly because the R. F. C. plans io start a program of loans to utilities
operating companies. This idea, long agitated as a part of a utilities truce,
is warmly favored by many who hope for business stimulation from utilities
construction work. Hitherto, no effort has been made to put it into efTect,
but now Mr. Jones is preparing to do so.
* * * *
The truce between the administration and the public utilities depends
largely on the negotiations between the Tennessee Valley Authority ajid the
Commonwealth & Southern company. If some utilitarian modus vivendl
can be reached in the Tennessee Valley, utilities men all over the country .
will perk up and breathe more easily.
And now the chances of a settlement in the Tennessee Valley
have improved at least 100 per rent. The negotiations between the
T. V. A. and the Commonwealth & Southern concern the purchase by
the T. V. A. of Commonwealth <fc Southern's Valley properties.
Through David E. Lilienthal, the T. V. A. offered, when the negoti
ations began a month ago to buy the properties piece-meal. On behalf
of the Commonwealth & Southern, Wendell L. Willkie made a coun
ter suggestion that the T. V. A. purchase the common stock of the
most important properties.
Negotiations were then temporarily halted while independent auditors
valued the properties. The T. V. A. people went home to ponder the
Willikie suggestion. They soon decided that the idea of purchasing common
stock was extremely repulsive to them. Moreover, they interpreted the
Willkie suggestion as a demand.
* * * *
Recently, a Philadelphia' investment banker, personally interested in
the utilities problem, saw a friend of Mr. Lilienthal's. He said that a utili
ties truce meant much to him, and that a settlement in the Tennessee
Valley would usher in the truce. He asked what the obstacle to settlement
was. After inquiring of Mr. Lilienthal. the friend reported that the obstacle
was Mr. Willikie's ''demand'' that the T. V. A. purchase the common stock
of his valley properties.
The investment banker hurried to New York, called on Mr. Will
kie and asked why he was insisting particularly on the purchase of
his properties’ common stock. Mr. Willkie replied that, while the
T. V. A. people and the public might believe his original suggestion
was a demand, they were completely wrong. He explained that he
thought a transfer of common stock was the simplest solution to the
problem, but that he was perfectly willing to accept a fair price for
the Tennessee Valley properties, however it was offered.
The auditors have not yet finished their task of valuation. But when
Mr. Lilienthal and Mr. Willkie foregather again, three weeks from now. a
chief point of disagreement may be eliminated from their agenda. And with
it gone, a deal should be easier.
» » » T
A small and friendly clique of economists, in the Federal Reserve
Board, Labor and Agriculture Departments, W. P. A. and one or two other
ca^ \
PC'? !
agencies, provide most oi tne tac
tual information for the White
House. They draw the graphs, dig
up the figures, and lay out the blue
prints. Just at the moment, they
are gnashing their teeth and wail
ing over the President's failure to
include provision for a bureau of
industrial economics in his recent
recovery program.
Industrial statistics are now
collected by the Commerce Depart
ment, but the department's facilities are so lamentably limited, and Secre
tary Dan Roper manages his facilities so badly, that the statistics are
! completely inadequate. So far, in fact, the Nation has been attempting to
deal with depressions and booms without really knowing anything about
them. -t
This situation dmes economists all over the country to the brink of
madness. Therefore, the White House fact men drew up their scheme for
a bureau of Industrial economics to collect inventory figures, measure con
sumer buying power, and do all the other things for industry that the
Bureau of Agricultural Economics does for agriculture. Unfortunately,
after a show of interest, the President discarded it.
(Copyrlaht, 1P3S, by the North American Newspaper Alliance, Inc.)
Lecture on Totem Poles.
Dr. Marius Barbeau, Dominion eth
nologist of Canada, will give an il
lustrated lecture on "How Totem Poles
Originated" at the meeting of the
Washington Academy of Sciences to
night at 8:15 o'clock in the National
Talk on Agroecology.
Dr. Basil Bensin, internationally
known agroecologist, will give an il
lustrated free lecture on "Agroeoology
as a Basic Science of Agriculture" at
the auditorium, south building, De
partment of Agriculture, tomorrow at
4:45 p.m.
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CTHE 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.
s Congress and Spending
Lawmakers Can Specify Projects and Get Prestige
for Selves, Observer Says.
WHEN a man has achieved a
reputation for subtlety, sub
tlety Is sometimes attrib
uted to him when only
matter of fact Innocence exists. Presi
dent Roosevelt, opening a press con
ference this week, said he had no
news. He added, „
as li to save us
from complete
that during the
next lu days or
so the newspaper
men would see a
procession pass
ing through his
office. The pro
cession, he said,
would consist of
officials having to
do with spending
—Works Progress
Admin istrator
Harry L. Hop
Mark Sullivan.
kins, officials of the Public works Ad
ministration, the National Youth Ad
ministration and so on.
That may have been merely an off
hand remark. Yet it is likely to have
certain psychological effects. It serves
notice on Congress that Mr. Roose
velt expects them to pass his pump
priming appropriations. It tells the
public that spending is afoot, and
suggests to them that they come early
and avoid the rush. By creating this
psychology, it tells the public also
to get busy and put pressure on their
Congressmen and Senators to pass
the appropriations. It has the effect
of creating a forward-looking psy
chology and a spending psychology,
a kind of recovery ballyhoo, similar
to that with which N. R. A. and the
Blue Eagle were launched in the now
sad-to-remember recovery push of
As to Congress, there are two ques
tions: The first is whether Congress
will enact the appropriations. Most
of the signs say that Congress will
enact most of the appropriations. Yet
a majority of Congress has doubt
about the whole pump-priming theory
—they are disillusioned by the pre
vious experience with it. This disillu
sionment is shared by much of the
public. The public's faith in magic
phrases such as "pump-priming," and
magic devices, has suffered a good
many blows during the past 30 years.
List of Slogans.
A brief list of the slogans and
white rabbits that have entranced
much of the public includes not only
the New Deal ones, the first pump
priming and N. R. A., but also the
Townsend plan—$200 a month for
everybody over 60, and if they were
required by law to spend the whole
$200 in the month in which they re
ceived it, untold prosperity would re
sult. Before the New Deal there was
a brief entrancement with a word,
"technocracy." Before that there
was, in 1931, "Prosperity is just around
the corner." While the boom of the
20s was still on. there was “Two cars
in every garage” and "New economic
era" or "New economic plateau.”
meaning a new level of prices from
which, a distinguished professor of
economics assured us, we would
never descend—there was going to
be perpetual economic sunshine,
"tain't goln' to rain no mo'.” Before
that there was Coolidge's "They hired
the money, didn't they?"—meaning
that the European governments would,
of course, repay the money they had
borrowed from us. There was Hard
ing's "Back to normalcy"—Lord, shall
we ever see that again!—there was
Wilson's "War to end all wars" and
"War to make the world safe for
One reflects that what America
needs—among many other thing.v-is
a wholesome skepticism about slogans,
sturdy sales-resistance against eco
nomic white rabbits.
But probably there Is still enough
faith to believe that spending will,
of itself, bring sound prosperity. In
addition, many communities wish for
the projects which pump-priming will
bring. Many of these communities,
in due course, will suffer an additional
and special kind of disillusionment.
Without doubt a large number of the
Public Works projects are needed and
useful—but a lot of others will turn
out to be white elephants to the com
munities in which they are set up.
A new school building or a new city
hall may look like a gift. After it
has been up a year the community
may find it is merely something that
requires additional local taxation to
maintain. Experts who follow such
matters know that a considerable num
ber of towns and cities, and perhaps
a State or two, are headed toward
Assuming that Congress will enact
the appropriations, a second question
arises. In what form shall Congress
give the money? Shall Congress give
the money in such a way as to take
itself farther toward that subordina
tion of the legislative branch which
means the beginning of authoritarian
government? During the Roosevelt
administration Congress has made its
appropriations for relief in "lump
sum" form. That is. Congress turns
over a billion or two billions or five
to the President, and the President
or his subordinates determines what
the money shall be used for, and
what communities shall receive the
projects the money pays for. That
method exalts the Executive, reduces
Congress. To the President, not to
Congress, goes the gratitude of the
community that receives a project.
An individual Congressman who wants
a project lor his district must ask
the Executive to please let him have
Congress Can Take Power.
There is another way, a way by
which Congress can preserve its pres
tige and hold on to the "power of the
purse.” Congress can Itself name the
cities and communities which shall
receive the projects.
At this moment P. W. A has a list
of 2,727 projects which it proposes
to embark upon as soon as Congress
enacts the necessary appropriation.
Congress can send for that list. Con
gress can add to the list or subtract
from it. When Congress has arrived
at a list of its own, it can enact an
Itemized measure, naming each project
and the amount of money to be spent
on it.
Congress has done this before. In
1932, when Mr. Hoover was Presi
dent, the House was controlled by the
Democrats, with Mr. Gamer as
Speaker. Mr. Gamer, with other
Democratic leaders, mede out a list
of post office buildings and other proj
ects to be erected throughout the
country. If that was a good way
then, it is a good way now. If it was
a good way for a Democratic Congress
to prevent a Republican President
from getting prestige, it is likewise
a good way for any Congress to check
a President who, Congress itself thinks,
reaches out for too much power.
(Copyrisht, 1939.)
About 20 young Indians from the
Bacone Indian School in Oklahoma
will furnish the musical entertain
ment at the first annual banquet of
, the Interior Department Recreation
Association in the cafeteria of the
new Interior Department Building at
6:30 o'clock tonight.
Presentation of silver trophies to the
championship teams in basket ball,
indoor baseball and men's and wom
en's bowling, and a brief talk by Sec
retary Ickes also are on the program.
We, the People
Roosevelt Might Have Done a Better Job Selling
Citizens on Human Program.
SHORTLY after Mr. Roosevelt had completed his fireside speech on the
new *5,000,000,000 spending program, a rather Important thing hap
pened. A friend of mine called me by long distance from New Yolk,
his voice tense with angry disappointment. He and a group of
leading writers, playwrights, editors and artists—not radicals but men of
liberal culture who have achieved Nation-wide prominence in the fiercely
competitive field of professional achievement—had assembled to listen
to the President.
They had intended, on their own initiative, to mobilize the cultural
leaders of publishing, stage and
screen in Nation-wide support of
Mr. Roosevelt. They were deeply
chagrined by his speech, which
they said sounded like streamlined
Hooverlsm, and felt that their
friend in the White House had
let them down.
As well as I could, I tried to
explain the fierce inside struggle at
the White House over the whole
spending program and how only by
a narrow margin had a policy of action been forced down the throats of the
standpatters. Opposed to anything forthright, as I understood It, were the
Secretary qf Agriculture, Henry Wallace, who didn't want to disturb "busi
ness” (he is not a businessman and was brought into the cabinet as an
expert on farming); the Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, Jr.,
who feared lest the program might ruinously depress the price of Govern
ment bonds (he is not a banker and the price of Government bonds went
up at the news of the message), and Mr. Roosevelt's White House assistant,
Mr. James Roosevelt, who felt that the political situation called for keeping
everything nice and peaceful, according to White House pressroom gossip.
* * * *
In spite of this formidable opposition, the liberals won and helped
write both the message and the speech on spending. My general under
standing is that the group which backed the two Henry's and the one and
only Jimmy R. against the ropes Included: Harry Hopkins Rnd Harold
Ickes ifor once in harmony). Leon Henderson, the famous Works Progress
Administration economic consultant; David Cushman Coyle, the liberal
economist and author; Tom eorcoran and Ben Cohen. Elliott L. Thurston,
special assistant to Gov. Eccles of the Federal Reserve System, and Adolf
Berle, Jr., the aboriginal brain-truster who is now Assistant Secretary of
State, occupying Ray Moley's old office and doing much thp same informal
White House liaison job as Mr. Molev, but without having yet incurred tha
WTath of Cffrdell Hull, his departmental superior.
Inevitably, this "5-to-4" decision by President Roosevelt's entourage
caused the resulting message and speech to concentrate more on detailed
means then on broad national ends. That is my chief criticism, and that
is why, I feel sure, my New York friends were disappointed.
* * * *
If the President had concentrated on ‘‘selling the country” on the
human causes for and purposes of his program, the financial means would
have become purely incidental, just as when you are waging a war all the
necessary actions for the prosecution of that war—including the financial,
of course—fall right into place. And I still think that the most important
thing the President can do for the country Is to show the people and Con
gress the real facts of our situation and not be confused by the bureau
cratic bookkeepers who have taken Secretary Morgenthau into camp or fall
for the parrot-cries of "confidence” from politically ambitious amateurs
and bamboozled businessmen.
However the mam thing is the
fact that the big decision has been
taken at long last and the present
‘'do-nothing" Congress must make
its final and most momentous de
cision on whether to fight human
misery by feeding the starving and
using the powers and funds of the
National Government to increase
production and employment.
The other course is for Congress
to cave in completely to the Tories
and let the people "eat cake" In the hope that, by some mysterious mumbc
jumbo, a Wall Street oligarchy whose greatest hero used to be Richard
Whitney can start everything booming and restore "confidence" overnight.
The issue is up to Congress on whether it will let the people dowm.
lOopyright. 3P3R, Register and Tribune Syndicate.)
Husband Rigs Up Contraption to
Give Mother Chance to
Clean House.
By the Associated Pres*.
ROCHESTER, N. Y.. April 21.—
Neighbors haven't complained yet
about noise from the radio-equipped
bicycle that keeps Mrs. James Diste
phano's children busy while she does
the housework.
But Mrs. Distephano isn’t resting
easily—she expects her first complaint
any day now.
Mrs. Distephano's husband rigged
up the contraption to keep the chil
dren out from under their mother's
feet during spring housecleaning.
It consists of a regular child's bi
cycle, with sidecar attached. In the
sidecar is a storage battery and an
automobile radio.
And Distephano guarantees it will
placate childlren "whose crying and
j yelling bothers mothers so much they
I can't get their work done."
Judge James Presses Campaign
for G, 0. P. Gubernatorial
Choice in Pennsylvania.
Br the Associated Preen.
MERCER, Pa , April 21.—Superior
Court Judge Arthur H. James carried
his campaign for the Republican
nomination for Governor into Mercer
and Clarion counties today.
The judge outlined a six-point pro
gram in his talks last night at In
diana. home town of former Gov.
John S. Fisher, in which he attacked
the Democratic administration and
“What we need in our politics as
in our daily living is a good old
fashioned dose of common sense.
With just a little of its application
you will hear the factory whistle
calling men to happy employment in
stead of the honking of the horn of
the W. P. A. truck calling you to
drudgery and despair.”
An American
You Should
Golden W. Bell Looms
Large in Inner Legal
BELLS the Government has by
the dozen—but only one
Golden. Very properly he
hails from the West, where
the gold comes from. Mr. Golden
Woolfolk Bell Is assistant solicitor
Golden W. BeU.
general of the
United States.
He looms large
in inner legal
councils both
physically and
mentally. H i s
Government du
ties involve pre
paring all opin
ions, which the
Attorney Gen
eral renders to
the President
and heads of all
| executive depart
ments. He passes
on all offers of
compromise lor the Justice Depart
ment tax claims, lands, criminal, etc.
He is in "loco parentis" when Solicitor
General Robert Jackson Is away.
Mr. Bell has argued live important
cases this year. In the "Mountain
Producers case" the Supreme Court
decided that the lessee of State land
is subject to income tax. This Is a
feather in Mr. Bell's legal cap. He
argued the Mellon tax case a few
weeks ago. On the calendar now is
a case involving the power of the
Federal Government to collect Income
taxes from employes of the New York
Port Authority.
Mr. B^ll has a persuasive personal
ity. "They say" (that ephemeral
consensus of opinion! that he puts
forward the best possible defense of
Government cases.
The "powers that be" dislodged him
from the West four years ago. On the
national scene he started off in charge
of litigation and investigation of
anti-trust legislation under Judge
Harold Stephens, then Assistant At
torney General and first head of the
anti-trust division. Mr. Bell was a
member of the Federal Alcohol Ad
ministration, 1934; acting general
counsel for six months of the Mari
time Commission. He divided his time
then, concentrates it now.
Mr. Bell has long hours. He keeps
fit by walking, golfing, fishing, when
time permits. He appears a rugged
individual (not "individualist" in view'
of recent interpretations!. He admits
smilingly to a taste for poetry, a "pas
sion for anonymity.” Fishing and
anonymity combined may prove sig
nificant qualifications for a presiden
tial adviser. This is pure speculation.
Mr. Bell, the son of a miner, was
born in Pinos Altos, N. Mex, in 1886,
when gold was a magnet for Western
migrations. Pinos Altos was a com
munity of 300 people. Education
started off in the proverbial little red
schoolhouse, where there was a "little
room and a big room," Mr. Bell says.
His education continued at Beloit Col
lege, University of California. Harvard
Law, a graduate 1910. Mr. Bell prac
ticed law 33 years in San Francisco.
He specialized in admiralty law, left
the West in 1919 to be maritime ad
visor for relief in Belgium, returned to
his practice until his appointment in
-» ■ —
Mai Hallett to Appear.
Mai Hallett and his swing orches
tra will appear at the Raleigh Hotel
April 28 from 9 p.m. to 1 am. under
the sponsorship of the Central Busi
ness Association.
thorough work is bound to hold m
any stress of nea'her Let prac
tical roofers serve you; feel safe
Call us up!
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oldest breweries bring extra enjoyment—the skill of generations has been added
to the original genius of Peter Ballantine. In every glass, Purity, Body,
Flavor— it pays to say, “MAKE MINE BALLANTINE’S!* On draught... in
bottles (12 oz. and hill quart)... in copper-colored cans (12 oz. and full
©*«-. NA r. UbaaftM ft Sea* NmLK *

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