Progressive Economics: Dealt from a Pack Thumbed by Kings, Despots and Tyrants

1934 or 2010?


Former Head of Treasury Makes Sharp Attack in Constitution Day Address Before Women.

NEW YORK, Sept. 17. — (UP) — The New Deal’s economic planning, though labeled progressive, actually is reversion to a system discarded in 1787 — “an old, old deal dealt from a pack thumbed by the fingers of countless kings, despots and tyrants” — Ogden Mills, former secretary of the treasury, said today.

In a Constitution Day address before the Women’s National Republican club, Mills said planned economy means the end of economic liberalism and calls for an authoritarian government, of which the dictatorships of Italy, Germany and Russia are the supreme expression.

The United States Constitution, Mills said, got its authority from the people themselves and set up certain limitations designed “to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and to our posterity.”

“During the last year and a half under the guise of emergency legislation, practically all of these limitations have been broken down or ignored,” Mills said.

“As a result, the federal government is no longer one of limited powers, but has almost unlimited authority over the life of the individual citizens. Today the federal government in effect tells the wage earner what he may earn and how long he may work; the farmer what and how much he may produce on his own farm; the merchant at what price he may sell his goods; the manufacturer what addition he may make to his plant and how much he may produce; the well owner how much oil he may flow.

“It controls the flow of capital and savings. It has entered into business in competition with its citizens.

“Nowhere in the constitution are these immense powers even suggested.”

New government codes have obliterated state lines and the states themselves have “abjectly surrendered their sovereignty,” Mills said. Congress has passed laws which did little more than express a pious wish “leaving it to the president to fill in the blank spaces as he sees fit,” he added.

“We are sacrificing our birthright without even getting the mess of pottage,” Mills declared. “Planned economy is not working in this country any more than it has worked anywhere.

“The clumsy hands of government — the right frequently not knowing what the left is doing — are halting the existing mechanism and throttling the normal forces that should be working for recovery.

“To move ahead, there must be a sense of direction. This country is being reformed in every direction. It isn’t moving in any. Nature has made a grim mockery of the agricultural policy. Industrial production is proceeding at a lower rate than a year ago, and not much above what it was in September, 1933. Instead of re-employment the number of those on the stupendous relief roll grows steadily day by day.”

The Vidette Messenger (Valparaiso, Indiana) Sep 1, 1934

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