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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, May 10, 1938, Image 13

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. Overtime Pay
Weakness
in Bill
Blow Will Fall Hard
on Little Man When
Pressure Comes.
By DAVID LAWRENCE.
ALTHOUGH the principle of a
minimum wage law has long
been advocated, experience
with State legislation has been
limited due to the fact that State
regulation has usually extended to a
few occupations in which women
David Lawrence.
workers alone
have been af
fected.
To put into
effect now a Fed
! eral law govern
| ing men and
: women workers
I alike is not only
a marked de
parture from any
thing which has
hitherto been re
garded as consti
tutional. but it
involves economic
effects of far
reaching conse- I
quence.
President Roc»evelt has said that
State minimum wage laws were not
enough and that it was unfair to allow
one State to attract factories and
plants from other States which im
posed minimum wage laws and that
there was no other way to prevent this
except by a Federal law.
Mr. Roosevelt's purpose, namely to
achieve uniformity, is correct from
the angle of stopping discrimination
as between States, but uniformity
'from an economic standpoint is some
thing else again. Thus living costs
in one region differ from those in
another region. Also the type of work
done by colored labor in the South
differs from the type done by white
workers in other sections of the
country, and living standards differ.
Constltntkmality in Doubt.
Yet a Federal law would have to be
applied uniformly, and even though
there is talk of a differential in the
law granting one section of the country
lower rates than another, it is difficult
to see how this would be upheld in
* the Federal courts. Certainly Northern
manufacturers would carry to the
Supreme Court the contention that the
Constitution of the United States does
not permit discrimination in favor of
any one section as against another
and that all citizens are entitled to the
equal protection of the law.
One of the fundamental considera
tions which prompted the original
adherence to the union of the thirteen
colonies was that there would be no
* tariffs as between the States. The
imposition of minimum wage laws
upon the South is virtually the in
creasing of its cost of production, and
this constitutes a protective tariff for
Northern industries as surely as if
they were given a tariff benefit as
against external 'commerce. This,
indeed, accounts for the fact that
many Republican members of Congress
who have been anti-New Deal on most
everything else, particularly some
New England Republicans, are behind
the proposed minimum wage and hour
Jiill of the administration.
The fate of the proposed measure
lies in the hands of the Senate, where
a filibuster by Southern Senators can
block passage. What will develop in
the next few days as to this opposi
tion is hard to say, because the South
erners have not yet developed their
strategy.
Unfortunately the proposed legisla
tion is attracting Nation-wide atten
tion only on the minimum wage fee
' ture, when, as a matter of fact, the
most Important step to be taken is
that which relates to maximum hours.
Rate for Overtime Work.
Many manufacturers are indiffer
ent to the proposed bill because they
are paying the requisite minimum
wage or else they are operating on
a schedule of hours close to the one
about to be written into law. What
they overlook is that, if either the
^House or Senate bill passes, the Fed
eral Government will determine the
rate of pay for overtime throughout
the United States. Heretofore this
has been a matter of negotiations
with unions, or it has not been cov
ered at all, being left to the indi
vidual situation as it arose.
When the Congress begins, how
ever, to take jurisdiction of overtime
pay, political pressure from various
groups can arise in the future to in
crease the rate for overtime pay or
to shorten the work week, which, in
most instances, is but another way
to increase labor expense.
In an industry, for example, where
it is proposed that there shall be a
44-hour week and where 48 hours has
been the rule the employer will have
to pay overtime at the rate of time
and a half for the extra four hours
or hire a new shift at regular rates
of pay. In the first instance his
expense goes up by 150 per cent for
the extra four hours of work, or else
it goes up 100 per cent on the second
instance If he can get workers for
a short shift. But in both cases his
employes do four hours' less work
and get the same pay, which is Just
another way of increasing wages with
out increasing production.
Small Business Man Hit j
The blow will fall hardest on the
so-called marginal producers—the
small business men—and will fall
easiest on big business, which knows
that its ample reserves can see it
through the present depression. What
will the small business man do? He
will comply with the minimum wage
and maximum hour regulation, of
course, but his increased expenses
* will either put him deeper In the
red and ultimately force him out, in
which case big business will gobble
up his trade, or else he will make
other economies, such as through
labor-saving devices, or else he will
withhold for a long time to come any
Increases in pay for the group which
is above the minimum required by
law. Thus will labor troubles be in
creased and lots of marginal producers
, Injured.
But the administration feels, Just
as it did with respect to the undis
tributed surplus tax, that the country
will digest the legislation over a
period of time, and that reforms have
to be Jammed through whether or
not there’s a recession in business
actually going on.
(Copyright, lfl.'IS.)
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The Capital Parade
Administration Embarrassed by Spanish Embargo.
Lifting Ban Would Involve Reversal of Policy.
By JOSEPH ALSOP and ROBERT KINTNER.
IF YOU can forget the dead and wounded children in the streets of
Barcelona, the embargo on arms exports to Spain is worth studying as
a case history of American foreign policy.
The resistance to foreign entanglements, the high moral purposes,
the influence of special groups, the division 6f power between Senate and
President—all the factors which curse the foreign policy of the United
States with confusion, pointlessness and lmpracticallty are beautifully
illustrated in the Spanish embargo’s story.
Recently, it has been reported that the administration will back a
repealer of the embargo. In the interests of democracy, it is said, the
New Deal no longer wishes to keep war supplies from the Loyalists. If the
reports are true. America is about to act—but act too late, after Franco's
foreign mercenaries have marched to the sea, after German bombs have
made shambles of a great civilized
city, after democracy’s cause is all
but lost. Thus, in foreign affairs,
the United States has always
acted—too late.
One wonders why. The an
swer. of course, lies in the inex
orable Interplay of the factors al
ready mentioned.
* * * *
The story of the Spanish em
bargo begins in the agitation for
the Neutrality Act. By a curious blend of quotations from George Wash
ington and evidence on bankers' and industrialists’ profits in the last war,
a tremendous pressure was got up for the Neutrality Act's passage. The
President, who does not love mandatory legislation, fought hard against
the measure. But even he could not resist the pressure. The act became
law.
Just at the height of the excitment, hostilities broke out in Spain.
It was soon apparent that the Spanish civil war involved a conflict
between other European powers Immediately the leaders of the
Neutrality Act agitation, such men as Senator Nye of North Dakota
and Senator Clark of Missouri, cried out that arms exports to either
Spanish side would be quite as bad as arms exports to more formal
belligerents. Accordingly a special codicil was added to the Neutrality
Act, specifically subjecting the Spanish conflict to the Neutrality Act's
provisions.
The White House, still far from fond of mandatory legislation, did
not greatly love the new embargo. But. once again, public pressure was
too strong. The White House bowed before it, and the embargo was
duly enforced.
* * * *
Thus the embargo became a part of the foreign policy of this country.
For a time, there was no great interest in it. Washington liberals, all then
strongly pacifist, approved it. Even the most pro-Loyalist publicists hesi
tated to attack it, for fear of attacking the Neutrality Act.
But, in the meantime. Fascist aggression all over the world was
slowly sapping the pacifist sentiment in America. Those who had
once been most aggressive in their isolationism began to wonder
whether the United States might not strike at least a peaceful blow
for freedom and. liberty. Meanwhile, also, the Spanish Loyalists, the
fighters for freedom and liberty, were having difficulty getting arms,
whereas the Francistas were amply equipped with bombs, machine
guns and mercenaries by the Fascist powers.
Thus, just as It did In the
World War, the first faint outcry
began against isolationism. It
came from different groups, not
from the rich and conservative,
but from the poor and radical, yet,
functionally, it was the same out*
cry that was heard in this country
in 1915 and 1916.
As time went on, as the case
of freedom and decency in Spain
grew the more desperate, the outcry
WUL, lUTUWUMUTir/
against the embargo grew louder. Now it has reached such proportions
that Senator Nye himself would like the embargo repealed. Senator Norris,
hero of pacifism in the World War, favors repeal also, and there is strong
sentiment for it among all congressional liberals.
Moreover, the chances are that the President agrees with Senator
Norris and Senator Nye. whether or not he will actively back a repealer.
He is strongly partisan in the quarrel between Fascism and democracy, as
well he might be. He cares little for the orthodox forms of foreign
policy. A desire to help the Loyalists would be natural in him.
The trouble is that the embargo is now part of American
foreign policy, and its lifting will be an open Indorsement of the
Loyalist cause, with all that implies in world affairs.
The Roman Catholic Church, which has its way of making itself felt
here, will oppose lifting the embargo with all its might. Even so. the
embargo may be lifted. Then the wheel will have come full circle, from
isolationism 'round to high moral purpose. And, as usual, it will have been
too long revolving to do the remotest good.
(Copyright, 193*. by North American Newspaper Alliance, Inc.)
CTHE opinions of the writers on this page are their own, not
x 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.
Business and the Election
Columnist Thinks Republican Shift Would Loose Vast
Wave of Pent-up Industrial Activity.
Mark Sullivan.
By MARK SULLIVAN.
WHEN President Roc-evelt, on
April 14, announced a pro
gram of large Government
spending there arose a new
wave of talk about inflation. People
watched for higher prices. (As the
word "inflation” is used here it means
high prices from
causes having to;
do with govern-;
ment, with cur
rency and cred
it.) But the high
prices have not;
come. On the
contrary, the ;
price of wheat
has gone down
strikingly. The
prices of other j
farm crops have
gone down slight- j
ly. Various other ■
commodities have
gone down slight
ly. The prices of stocks on the ex
changes have gone down materially.
If one yielded to the temptation to
strive for an epigram, one might de
scribe what is happening in a short
sentence. It is a conflict between
common sense and misgovernment—
with common sense apparently win
ning. The common sense is the aggre
gate common sense of the people.
Where the misgovernment lies hardly
needs to be stated. If "misgovern
ment’’ is too harsh a term, call it lack
of perfect wisdom in government. By
any name, over a period of five years
the administration has taken step
after step likely to bring inflation.
But inflation does not come.
Why does inflation not come? Or
dinarily inflation does not take place
unless there is present the necessary
"psychological factor.” The psycho
logical factor is a rush on the part
of the public to buy. But this rush
does not take place. The actual
psychological factor. Instead of being
a contribution to inflation. Is a com
mon sense which averts inflation.
A Storm About Cabbages.
If the administration keeps working
hard enough, possibly it may over
come common sense. By a score of
devices tne administration tries to
bring about higher prices than would
be the result of natural forces. The
other day. in North Carolina « as I read
in a newspaper from that State), the
price of cabbage was $8 a ton in the
field. The cabbage raisers thought
that was not high enough. Most per
sons who have something to sell
think at all times that the price is
not high enough. In North Carolina
local leaders telegraphed their Con
gressmen to call on the Agricultural
Adjustment Administration and see if
A. A. A. wouldn't make the price of
cabbage higher. A. A. A. said it
would. A. A. A. bought several car
loads of cabbage at $9 a ton.
The Agricultural Adjustment Ad
ministration is doing that sort of thing
all the time. They have a branch
through which they carry it on. With
in recent months they have bought
eggs and canned fruit and dairy prod
ucts. One time or another they have
made purchases of about every farm
crop.
Buying surplus farm crops Is only
one of the administration's devices
for making prices higher than they
would otherwise be. All over the
lot, they are setting up Jacks, or
building stilts, or pumping in air,
below all sorts of prices. Just lately
they are bullying the banks to loan
more money, so that more people can
buy things. The banks are eager
enough to loan, for that is the prin
cipal way the banks have to make
money for themselves. But business
men do not want to borrow, for the
reason that they are afraid to expand
or to go into new businesses. The
reason for this fear on the part of
business is the heart of the whole
national difficulty. The subject is
too complex to go into here.
Most Indirea Are on Decline.
Since April 14, when the President’s
so-called "pump-priming” program
was announced, most of the indexes of
volume of business have actually de
clined. This would seem to answer
the question whether "pump-priming"
alone will bring recovery. The fact is,
business activity is now back to where
it was in 1933, soon after the Roose
velt administration came in.
This business apathy, almost paraly
sis, cannot last forever. Indeed it can
hardly last long. Something is bound
to happen. It may be any one of
several things, and it may take any of
several directions. One of the possi
bilities is worth considering.
During the coming summer, public
opinion and surmise will begin to look
forward to the congressional elections,
which take place in November. By
about September, there will be a
certain degree of Judgment about
the probable outcome. One Judgment
might be that the Republicans would
win 50 or 60 seats. Among politicians
that Is a fairly common judgment at
the present time. A gain of 50 or 60
seats would be large from the Repub
lican point of view, for they have at
present only 90. But the gain of 50
or 60 seats would leave them with far
less than a majority, for the total
is 435.
But a gain of 50 or 60 for the
Republicans might change the national
psychology. It might lead the country
to believe that the tide has turned,
that the New Deal is on the way out.
Expectation of that might be the
spark for business recovery which the
New Deal now tries in vain to start.
If business starts to recover at all it
should recover with great rapidity and
volume, for it would have the stimulus
of the great quantity of credit that
the New Deal has created.
But there is no certainty that the
Republicans will win 50 or 60 seats,
or that the possibility here suggested
will eventuate. There are other possi
bilities, and some of them are less
cheerful than this.
(Copyright, J P3S.)
We, the People
Natural Course of Events Seen Purging American
Press of Misrepresentation.
By JAT FRANKLIN.
I KNOW Senator Sherman Minton of Indiana. I have heard him speak
in the Senate. I have been on the air with him in my weekly radio
broadcasts from Washington. He ha* a good voice, a fine appearance
and an ingratiating willingness to fight any and all enemies of the
New Deal. I like Senator Minton, but I think he pulled a boner in his
proposed bill to punish the willful publication of false news.
This is the question he has put to the country: Does the "freedom
of the press” include the right of a newspaper proprietor deliberately and
with malice aforethought to publish falsehoods in the realm of public
affairs? (I skip the matter of de
ciding what is true and what false,
to get at Mr. Minton’s only con
ceivable issue.) The answer is
“Yes!" The "freedom of the press”
does include the freedom to lie. to
distort, to misrepresent, to suppress,
to propagandize, to confuse issues
and befuddle readers. If a man is
free only to utter the truth, the
whole truth and nothing but the
truth, his place is in the witness
JSac
stand and not In a publisher’s easy chair. Falsehood is an essential vitamin
in the mass of factual information and opinion which goes to make up
public opinion, and deliberate lying has long been a recognized weapon of
political opposition, restrained only by the law of libel.
This sounds cynical, but it is the opposite. Truth is mighty, etc.,
and newspapers lie at their peril. They told us for three years of the
catastrophic Mr. Hoover that prosperity was Just around the corner, and
they reaped the New Deal whirlwind. Eighty-five per cent of the papers
supported Mr. Landon in 1936; 65 per cent of the voters elected Mr. Roose
velt. Ninety-five per cent of the press is today against the New Deal
and has worked on middle-class hysteria and congressional bewilderment
until the American Government has stalled in the midst of a crisis. There
will assuredly be a reckoning, but not one of censorship. Mr. Minton's little
bill to fine publishers for fibbing is not needed; the natural course of events
will "purge" the press in so far as it is deliberately falsifying the record.
On the other hand, I think that editors and publishers should stop
assuming that “freedom of the press" is an all-sufficient formula and
should begin to take stock of their future. There is a widespread distrust
of the integrity of the newspapers among large groups of our population.
If Dr. Gallup were to conduct a fairly worded poll on the question of
whether publishers who deliberately lie about public issues should be subject
to prosecution. I think a dangerously large proportion of American voters
would agree with Senator Minton. It is certain that there is a great and
growing resentment among many Senators and Representatives against what
they consider the calculated lying of an unpatriotic press. The New Deal
administration has long made no secret of its belief that the American
journalistic game is played with
loaded dice.
As one who makes his living
by honestly recording his views on
public affairs in a daily newspaper
column, I am disturbed by this
trend. As I see it, the press (in
cluding magazines, radio, news
reels and general publications* is
part of the government of this
country. Under democracy we be
lieve that government can function
most effectively by farming the press out to private enterprise under an
absolute guarantee of freedom of expression. Responsible statesmanship
has nothing to fear from irresponsible journalism, so long as there is a
balance of newspaper responsibility or the yardstick of the radio. The
danger lies ir> the chance that the newspapers as a whole—acting in the
interest of private financial and commerial controls—may surrender their
freedom to comment, interpret and publish objectively, and may thus
become identified in the public mind with a purely partisan political op
position to the principle of popular democracy. When more than nine
tenths of the newspapers oppose a government which still commands the |
support of great popular majorities this is a real danger to the press !
itself and to democracy.
(Copyright, 3 83K, Register and Tribune Syndicate.)
CHINESE CHURCH DINNER
Dr. E. W. Luceock, pastor of the
American Community Church in
Shanghai, China, will speak at the
third annual dinner of the Chinese
Community Church at 6:30 p.m. to
morrow at the Calvary Baptist Church,
Eighth and H streets N.W.
Dr. Luccock. who has been pastor
of the Shanghai church eight years,
is in the Unitedd States on leave of
absence.
RECITAL IS TONIGHT
More than 100 children will take
part in the spring recital being held
by the Burroughs, Petworth and
Roosevelt Community Center dancing
classes at 8 o'clock tonight at Roose
velt High School. The presentation
will cover the work of the classes dur
ing the winter months.
Mis* Grace Vitality will furnish the
voice accompaniment, while Mrs. M.
H. Towne will assist at the piano.
An American
You Should
Know
Tapp Spends Millions
Buying Surplus Farm
Commodities.
By DELIA PYNCHOX.
FIVE million bushels of apples
may seem a lot of apples, but
that was Just one Item In the
operation of the Federal Sur
plus Commodities Corp. last year.
This corporation, set up under the
Department of Agriculture to help the
farmers out, has proved a benefit not
Mr. Tapp.
only to the agri
culturists, but
also to the un
employed and
destitute. For on
the receiving end
of these surplus
commodities, pur
chased from the
farmers, were 1,
750,000 families
in 1937.
At the head of
this beneficent
corpora 11 o n is
Jesse W, Tapp,
once just a farm
boy in Kentucky,
but more recently recognized as an
agricultural economist of the first
water. Mr. Tapp taps glutted markets.
It is an operation, according to Mr.
Tapp, which pleases both the farmers
and the ultimate consumers.
Not only did Mr. Tapp's organization
buy all those apples last year, but it
bought four million bushels of potatoes,
48 million pounds of dried beans, 60
million pounds of rice, 1J4 million
boxes of oranges and a lot of other
commodities. He makes it a rule not
be buy unless prices are low and de
moralized The farmers, he finds,
much prefer to sell f.o.b. to the Gov
ernment than to be billed for freight
by the carriers, if their commodities
are not sold in glutted markets.
A graduate of the University of
Kentucky in 1920, Mr. Tapp went into
the Bureau of Farm Management and
Agricultural Economics of the Depart
ment of Agriculture. He cut his eye
i teeth with those other experts, H. R.
Tolley, now head of the Agricultural
Adjustment Administration, and Mor
decai Ezekiel, economic adviser to Sec
retary Wallace. With them he served
under Dr. H. C. Taylor, chief agricul
tural expert under Henry C. Wallace,
father of the present Secretary, and
himself Secretary of Agriculture in the
Harding and Coolidge administrations.
The experts scattered in 1928. Mr.
Tapp became economic adviser to New
York banks. It was "old home week"
in 1933 when they all returned as the
Triple A got under way.
Mr. Tapp is young, broad-shoul
dered, takes his job seriously and has
little time for hobbies. He has a
good smile, which helps him over the
rough places. He expects the corpora
tion to spend $28,000,000 this year—
about double the sum spent last year.
He realizes that this is a temporary
expedient, trying to bridge thi gap
between people with no buying power
and farmers who have too much to
sell.
Democracy can be made efficier*
only by the education of the individu i
i citizen in civic virtues.

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