Newspaper Page Text
California's Trinity Project . .
I Ike Admits Defeat In Attempt To Pull Another 'Hells Canyon' Giveaway By ROSCOE FLEMMING (Denver Post Columnist) Once in a while the people win even in these times. They have now won a victory almost unnoticed in the national press. This was Congress' decision that they may develop for their own direct benefit, the 220,000 kilowatts of power available at the big Trinity Dam of the giant Central Valley project in California. This was a stunning reversal of the national administration, which had fought hard to give the Trinity power to huge Gas and Electric Co., let it build the power plant, sell the power, and take the profits of an unnecessary middle man's role. The decision also reversed the Ad ministration campaign to end all fed eral public power development, as when it successfully turned over the great multi-purpose Hells Canyon site on the Snake River to Idaho Power Co., cancelling out billions of dollars of potential public benefit, in order to give away the rest. ADMITS DEFEAT The Administration fought long to do the same at Trinity, And it con ceded defeat grudgingly, in the Presi dent's veto of the $1.2 billion public works bills. He specifically asked Congress to provide funds, in any new bill, for federal construction of the Trinity powerhouse "since the dam is now being built and it is essential/ that power facilities be in place When the reservoir is full." Many of the President's own party in California renounced his giveaway stand as impossible to defend. Senator Thomas Küchel (R), stood side by side with Senator Clair Engle (D), in battling PGE as did most of California's congressmen of both par ties, much of its press, most state legislators, the new administration of Gov. Pat Brown, most organized labor, and the Grange. RATE AND TAXPAYERS PAID THE BILL But it was a long hard battle. Paci Farmers Are Pikers In Matter of Subsidies Representative Joseph E. Karth, of Minnesota, is a city congressman, being elected from St. Paul, and as such, on August 26 made the following statements to Congress regarding the so-called farm subsidies, "Knowing full well that our government was the most subsidizing in the world, I have been amazed to find that people are only concerned with and of—farm subsidy. Coming from a city district, it was unpopular for me to support high farm price levels. However, in so doing, I pointed out that business generally prospered from subsidies by vastly greater amounts than did the farmer. In fact, the farmer looks like a 'piker' in comparison. In furthering his point with regard to subsidies, Rep. Karth introduced into the Congressional Record the following article by Father James Viz zard, S.J., which appeared in the Aug. 21 issue of the Catholic Bulletin. Wrote Father Vizzard; " 'It's no fun to be sober when everyone else is drunk,' is the somewhat flippant reply recently given by a business executive who recently criticized subsidies to farmers. 'We're pouring billions of tax money down a rat hole,' he insisted, 'and what have we got to show for it?' "This business expert had his easy answer to the farm problem; 'Get government out of agriculture. Let the supply and demand of the market determine what farmers will grow and what they will get.' The prevalence of such views proves how bad have been agriculture's public relations. Of course, public misunderstanding and resentment are particularly difficult to overcome when the Secretary of Agriculture is him self one of the farmer's, and the farm program's, chief critics. aware • ' .. "So what answer do you give the businessman and the millions like him? Perhaps you don't have time to give him a patient and detailed explana tion of why the welfare of over four million farm families is important to the nation, of what problems they alone face of all our economy's primary producers. "But instead of being too apologetic, why not put the businessman on • 4 the defensive? Tell him that farmers pay taxes, too, and that they are tired of subsidizing him. He may say in surprised protest that he isn't getting a minority in big business. "Ask him, for instance, if his company has ever taken advantage of the fast tax write-off available to industries related to defense. That subsidy has already amounted to billions. So has the depletion allowance granted to oil and mining companies. "Find out if some of his products are among those purchased by the government for stockpiling, often only a polite name for buying to keep prices up. "And then, of course, there are the tariffs and import quotas. These care fully lobbied protection's against overseas competition take money out of the pocket of every consumer, particularly the farmer who has to buy price protected goods while he sells on the open market. "Perhaps some of these subsidies are a little less direct than some the farmer receives, but ask the businessman what shape big business would be in without them. "In other words, I think it's time for farmers to howl, too. They ought to raise the roof. They've been made the whipping boy for all kinds of critics who never turn the mirror to themselves. ' ' -FARMERS UNION HERALD. Pacific♦- - fic Gas and Electric Co,, giant private utility that Las long sought to domi nate California, staged an enormous, costly campaign (at the expense of its rate-payers and federal taxpayers) to break the unity of the Central Val ley project, and siphon off the Trinity power benefits before they could reach the people. This in spite of the fact that much Trinity power will go direct to more than a dozen massive federal defense and scientific projects nearby, which will require enormous amounts of cur rent. Thus federal development will directly save the government's own money. The rest will go to public "prefer ence" customers such as Sacramento's publicly-owned city system, an out standing success in supplying con sumers with low-cost power. The outcome of the Trinity battle thus was also a victory for the "preference principle" that was first adopted under President Theo dore Roosevelt in 1906—that when the public's money is spent in de veloping hydro-electricity, the pow er shall go first to such public users as Rural Electrification co-opera tives, public utility districts, cities with municipal nonprofit plants, etc. Had PGE won, the preference clause would have been cancelled out as to Trinity-provided power. For awhile PGE had much of the state's brass on its side, as well as that of the nationial administration, but the facts were against it. -— For example, Senator Engle pointed out that PGE is even now a big gainer from the Central Valley project. "It already gets most of the power but the 25 public agency customers cough up most of the money," he said. The 1958 Central Valley report shows that PGE paid three mills for left-over Central Valley power while the public agencies, including federal installations, paid 4.34 mills, or near ly one-and-one-half times as much. The original public works bill ve toed by the President contained $2, 415,000 to start work on a federally owned Trinity powerhouse. City System Cut Rates 19 Per Cent The McPherson, Kansas, city owned water and electric system is celebrating its 50th birthday— and is giving McPherson consumers a rate decrease as a birthday pres ent. Effective January 1, 1960, electric rates will be slashed $115, 000 a year. It will mean a savings of $31 a year for the average Mc Pherson family using the same amount of power they used in 1958, for a 19% rate cut. Commercial small power and rural customers will also share in the rate slash. New Migrant Labor Rules Touch 5% Of Nation's Farms WASHINGTON, D. C.—(CNS) — More than half the nation's farms don't hire any workers at all, and another two-fifths of them spent less than $2,000 for hired help in 1954. That leaves 5 % of the farms hiring nearly all the half-million migrant farm workers. These are the farms affected by new rules that Labor Sec retary James Mitchell is suggesting. Mitchell started hearing September 10 on the proposed rules. Under the rules he proposes, a farmer would have to give migrant workers the same wages, transpor tation, and housing that prevail for other farm workers in the area. If a farmer didn't so do, he couldn't get Federal Employment Service to recruit his hired help. Trade union spokesmen are ex pected to favor the new rules, and farm organization leaders are expect ed to oppose them. Agriculture Secretary Ezra Benson says he has "serious reservations" about them. Farm Bureau officials will tell Mitchell his proposed rules work a hardship on farmers. National Grange leaders say the rules aren't burdensome, but they question whether Mitchell should set a precedent for some later secretary to impose rules that would be burden some. National Farmers Union spokesmen said they would make their position known at the hearings. Why Doesn't He Tell His Boss? The Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, Arthur Flemming, says that America will have a shortage of at least 130,000 public school class rooms when schools reopen next month. Flemming says that by the most optimistic estimate, the U. S. has reduced the shortage by only 10,000 classrooms since the fall of 1958 when the shortage was figured at 140,500. At this rate, says the Secretary, it would take 13 years, or a whole school generation, to eliminate the accumulated shortage." He adds: "We just cannot afford to wait that long. • > ' ' Why Oil Companies Gush for Politics A story by Ronald May in the Madison (Wis.) CAPITAL TIMES illus trates perfectly why so many oil-rich individuals and firms spend so lavishly on election campaigns and otherwise ladle out oodles of cash and favors to their political friends: They pay little or NO taxes. May's report involves the huge tax loopholes for oil income, "Besides ordinary expense deductions, oil men get special depletion allowances, equip ment depreciation, and even a write-off for 'intangible' drilling and develop ment costs," he explains. "There are also ways of figuring up 'capital gain', subject to a low tax rate. With all those breaks, some may be surprised that oil companies pay any taxes at all. Well, some don't. An ordinary corporation, May points out, pays an income tax of 62 per cent on its net profits, but oil companies pay only a fraction of that rate, at the most, and some of them pay no income tax at all. Then May goes on to list dozens of U. S. oil corporations with their profits and taxes. He says this may be the first such list ever published. Some samples follow: "Kerr-McGee Oil Co, last year paid no taxes on net income of $5.4 mil lion, Atlantic Refining during the past two years not only paid no taxes on net income totaling $66.6 million, but received tax credits of $5.9 mil lion." The latter means this rich oil concern can reduce its future income taxes by $5.9 million, if it should still owe any taxes despite the loopholes. Continental Oil Co. last year paid taxes at the rate of 13.5 per cent (instead of the regular 52 per cent) on a net income of $54.9 million. Humble Oil & Refining (a subsidiary of Standard Oil of New Jersey) paid 10.5 per cent on a net of $152.5 million. Texas Pacific Coal & Oil paid raxes on a net of $6.2 million. "Superior Oil (Calif.) last year paid taxes at the rate of 1 per cent on a net income of $16.7 million, but that 1 per cent was paid to a foreign government. The United States government received nothing." _ COPE MEMO. ■ • .. no WATCH ON THE POTOMAC By ROBERT G. SPIVACK, Washington, D. C. THE SHAME OF THE SOUTH many years ago ti Lincoli( Steffens wrote a book entitled "The Shame of the Cities" in which he told how corrupt politicians, working with corrupt businessmen, stifled the growth and development of democ racy. It was a powerful volume and unfortunately for this country, which is rich in so many other ways, we have always suffered a poverty of journalists like Steffens. But information, long suppressed, obscured, or ignored, does have of coming out. Sometimes the way news gets to the people surprises even newspapermen. But, in time, the pub lic catches on to what takes place and when it does the average American usually demands action. Once, a way If government agencies won Pul itzer Prizes I would nominate the staff of the U. S. Commission Civil Rights for an exceptional job, well done, under trying and politi cally hazardous circumstances. I fer, of course, to its report on the deprivation of voting rights, de cent housing and educational oppor tunities for American Negroes. Some portions of the report were almost lyrical in their affirmation of basic American traditions. Its tion on voting begins in this way : " 'To secure these rights,' declared the great charter of American lib erty, 'governments are instituted among men, deriving their just pow ers from the consent of the governed.' on re sec The instrument by which consent is given or withheld is the ballot. "Few Americans would deny, at least in theory, the right of all quali fied citizens to vote. A significant number, however, differ as to which citizens are qualified. None in good conscience can state that the goal of universal adult suffrage has been achieved. The report then goes on to tell in some detail how allegedly clever local election officials prevent Negroes from voting by asking them questions that would tax the memory of the most eminent scholars. These so-called "intelligence tests' are often admin istered by men who could not get past the fifth grade in elementary school. » • tyitneU It is better to have insurance and not need it, than to need it and not have it See Our Agent In Your Community MONTANA FARMERS UNION MUTUAL FIRE INSURANCE Montana Farmer» Union Insurance Agency Great Falls, Mont. Box 2089 The purpose, of course, is to keep in office politicians of meager qual ification who throttle their opposi tion, white or black, with every trick they ever learned in the poli tical backrooms. THE SHAME OF THE NORTH What makes the Civil Rights report particularly valuable, though, is the commission's awareness of the un happy situation that exists in many metropolitan centers above the Mason Dixon line. These were some of the commis sion's discoveries when it examined housing conditions in Chicago (said to be one of the worst so far as breed ing racial tensions), New York and Pittsburgh as well as smaller urban communities. "First," the report asserts, "a con siderable number of Americans, by reason of their color or race, are be ing denied equal opportunity in hous ing. A large portion of colored Amer icans are living in overcrowded slums or blighted areas in restricted sections of our cities, with little or no access to new housing or to suburban areas , . , Housing thus seems to be the one commodity in the American market that is not freely available on equal terms to everyone who can afford to pay ... A nation dedicated to respect for the human dignity of every indi vidual should not permit such condi tions to continue. "Second, the housing disabilities of colored Americans are part of a na tional housing crisis involving a gen eral shortage of low-cost housing . . . From these facts it is evident that for decent homes in good neighborhoods to be available for all Americans, two things must happen; the housing shortage for all lower income Ameri cans must be relieved, and equality of opportunity to good housing must be secured for colored Americans. ' p To men like Faubus, Eastland, Russell, Talmadge (and some of the Northern bosses who secretly work with the Dixiecrats) this is danger ous talk from the staff of a govern ment agency. To other Americans ,it may sound like common sense and offers a good argument for contin uing the life of the Civil Rights Commission.