Posts Tagged ‘New Deal’

Gridiron Club Pokes Fun at the “New Deal”

July 21, 2012

GRIDIRON CLUB POKES FUN AT THE “NEW DEAL”

WASHINGTON, April 14 — (AP) — The sharp but genial satire of the Gridiron club was turned tonight — at its annual spring dinner — upon the first year of the Roosevelt administration with this theme:

“In the new deal, everything is wild.”

President Roosevelt was among the many officials, diplomats and celebrities who laughed as the gridironers deftly caricatured personage after personage and parodied event after event.

There was one skit in which a “supreme quarterback” was portrayed as directing the maneuvers of a group of penguins. This must have reminded the chief executive that he once compared his efforts to bring recovery to the strategy of a football team’s field marshal.

Pres. Roosevelt spoke. But in its 50 years of existence the Gridiron club — composed of newspapermen — has made it a law that the words of a President at its gatherings are not reported.

Senator David A. Reed, Pennsylvania republican, who was presented as the hoary skipper of the old frigate, Constitution, also spoke.

Among the playlets was a revival sketch with secretary Frances Perkins presented as “Sister Perkins.” In it the man portraying Hugh S. Johnson told how she got “the new deal religion.”

Johnson, after joining lustily in singing “You Must be a Lover of the Codes” to the tune of “You Must be a Lover of the Lord,” called upon all to join Sister Perkins or have “the old devil crack down upon you.”

“Come up to the mourners’ bench you chiselers,” he shouted lustily. “Take your choice, you tories and witch doctors. Get the new deal religion, or get hell.”

The salvation laddies and lassies who accompanied “Sister Perkins” and the evangelist marched off singing about their love for NRA.

A pirate took the center of the stage before Senator Reed’s appearance to roar with buccaneer glee about the wreck of the good ship — “Constitution.”

Shortly afterwards the stage shook to a mighty storm. The scene that followed was Noah’s ark modernized with Noah as Everett Sanders, chairman of the Republican national committee.

He entered with Ogden Mills, one-time secretary of the treasury, who was still hopeful despite the deluge.

“Perhaps,” Mills said, “on this stout craft we’ll be able to keep afloat until this socialistic flood subsides.”

The passengers, carefully selected for “sound, conservative principles,” included Representative Hamilton Fish of New York, William Randolph Hearst, Emma Goldman and J.P. Morgan, and his little “friend, the midget.”

The voyage was a rough one but finally the clouds began to clear and Sanders hummed while Mount Ararat neared: “Franklin ain’t gonna reign no more.”

Andrew W. Mellon and John D. Rockefeller were shown as janitors for NRA; the directors of the United States Steel Corp. as members of the “workers council.”

John D., and Andrew decided that the redistribution of wealth had its advantages after all.

“Why, Andy, I feel like a boy out of school,” purred John D.

“What a relief it is,” agreed Mellon, “No directors’ meetings, no investments, no taxes, no responsibility.”

“Well, Andy, when did you first recognize your talent for janitor service?”

“To tell you the truth, John D., it was very early in the Hoover administration.”

The conversation ended abruptly with the appearance of “William Green, John Lewis, Eddie McGrady and all the rest of our new rulers.”

Along with the steel directors, they were members of the “council,” Myron C. Taylor, chairman of the Steel corporation’s board, was seen with overalls and grimy face. He said somewhat shamefacedly that he had been sifting ashes looking for “profits.”

He was firmly told that “profits are out” an in disgrace was ordered turned over to the workers’ country club.

Lima News (Lima, Ohio) Apr 15, 1934

Across the Path of Popular Impatience

March 19, 2012

Image from Mission to Learn

VANDENBERG ON CONSTITUTION
(Lansing State Journal)

If one will take a fairly complete history of the United States and therein trace the history of the United States supreme court, from the beginning to the present time, one will find that the decisions of the court, from first to last, have stirred a good deal of political impatience.

Numerous times there has arisen expression of impatience and vexation because the public might not all at once, on impulse, do what it thought it wanted to do. On these occasions, uniformly, there arose a hue and cry against the high court because it applied the agreed rules.

As one glimpses back over the occasions of impatience one will look in vain to find an instance in our history where the results of impatience would have been better than the results of less hurried and more thoughtful procedure. Wherein would we change our past, if we could?

Watch a documentary about Arthur H. Vandenberg at the GVSU website

The other night in Chicago, Senator Vandenberg of this state, was the chief speaker at the observances held the evening of Constitution Day. His chief thesis was that we should venerate the constitution not because it is old, not because it was made by the founding fathers, not because it has been much lauded, but because it is useful, highly useful to us now.

We think that exceedingly well put. It is little wonder that Senator Vandenberg looms large as a guiding figure in the affairs of the nation, these days. He puts leading contention so clearly, so forcefully. The constitution is not a relic of horse and buggy days, it is the guiding and saving principle among us now, was his way of expressing his thought.

The new dealers are of course saying many a time and often these days that they too are for the constitution. Yes, perhaps in the main, though Professor Tugwell does not appear to be for retention of any of it. But how about the vast impatience that arose a year or two back when the constitution prevented the public from rushing pell mell to a larger extension of federal powers over the nation? In those days the new dealers in congress uniformly always spoke of the supreme court as “those nine old men.” Measures were introduced to nullify their power. Even the president advised that a certain measure be passed even if it were not constitutional.

In those instances, the issue was not the whole constitution. Few wanted to discard it altogether. The issue, the point of impatience, was because the constitution prevented us from rushing all at once to a vast enlargement of federal power. We think the time will come, as it has always come in the past, when pretty much every sound American will be deeply glad that the constitution prevented us from rushing headlong to greater extension of federal power at this time.

The American people can have greater extension of power if they so desire. But if they follow the constitution and respect it the American people will achieve larger application of federal power through calm deliberation and understanding.

The constitution of the United States stands across the path of popular impatience, not of considered popular decision.

This is no long the horse and buggy age but the principle of the wheel on each four corners of a conveyance is still sound.

Ironwood Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan) Sep 23, 1936

Who is the Forgotten Man?

February 16, 2012

(Forgotten Man – emphasis mine)

The Burdens of “The Forgotten Man.”

NEW YORK, Feb, 2. — Professor William G. Sumner, of Yale college, delivered a lecture last night before the Brooklyn Revenue Reform club, at the Long Island Historical Society building. His subject was “The Forgotten Man.” Professor Sumner said that the forgotten man was the simple, honest man, who earned his living by good hard work, paid his debts, kept his contracts and educated his children. He was passed by and forgotten because he did his duty patiently and without complaint. On him rested all the burdens engendered by paupers, vagrants, spendthrifts, criminals and jobbers. All legislation which tended to relieve the weak, the vicious and the negligent to the consequences of their faults threw those consequences upon the forgotten man.

Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Feb 3, 1883

*****

*****

Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio) Oct 29, 1932

HE WHO PROVIDES IT ALL

William G. Sumner Gave Credit to the “Forgotten Man” for His Patient Industry.

Wealth comes only from production, and all that the wrangling grabbers, loafers and robbers get to deal with comes from somebody’s toil and sacrifice. Who, then, is he who provides it all? Go and find him, and you will have once more before you the Forgotten Man. You will find him hard at work because he has a great many to support. Nature has done a great deal for him in giving him a fertile soil and an excellent climate, and he wonders why it is that, after all, his scale of comfort is so moderate. He has to get out of the soil enough to pay all his taxes, and that means the cost of all the jobs and the fund for all the plunder. The Forgotten Man is delving away in patient industry, supporting his family, paying his taxes, casting his vote, supporting the church and school, reading his newspaper and cheering for the politicians of his admiration, but he is the only one for whom there is no provision in the great scramble and the big divide. Such is the Forgotten Man. He works, he votes, generally he prays — but he always pays — yes, above all, he pays.

Denton Journal (Denton, Maryland) Dec 23, 1922

Don’t Think – Just Vote the Straight Ticket!

Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio) Nov 6, 1932

“The Forgotten Man” is that individual who does an honest day’s work, pays his bills, brings up three or four children, indulges in a pipe or an occasional cigar, keeps up a small savings account, never asks for charity from anyone, never gets into trouble with the police, never makes a speech or writes a letter to the city editor — in short he’s the individual who keeps going on his own momentum, good times, bad times.
When the hat is passed around for the down-and-outers, or those lads who have lost $4.90 by some cruel, heartless flapper, the “Forgotten Man” chips in his mite.

The tax collector visits the “Forgotten Man” regularly, and collects toll for the upkeep of the police courts, jails, workhouses, and poor houses — none of which the “Forgotten Man” ever uses. He is self-supporting, self starting, self-sufficient, and being so he is counted in on nothing except the census. But in that document he cuts a big figure because he probably forms the vast majority.

— Harold the Imaginer.

Appleton Post Crescent (Appleton, Wisconsin) Feb 25, 1929

LONG-SUFFERING LANDLORDS

In commiserating the “forgotten man,” an observant citizen suggests why overlook the forgotten landlord? He, too, in this painful period, may well be an object of sympathy. Often, too, of admiration.

There is still too much remaining of the tradition which represents a landlord as a ruthless old skinflint, who probably got his property dishonestly and who rejoices in any pretext to gouge rent out of a poor tenant, or to turn a sick family out into the cold. There have been, and are, such landlords, but certainly in these days they are exceptional.

The owner of a house or a farm today is lucky if he is getting enough out of the property to pay the taxes and mortgage charges, without any income on his investment. In almost any town there may be found hundreds of rented homes where, because the tenants are out of work, the owner is carrying them along for half their usual rental or for nothing at all, because he has not the heart to turn them out. Many a family has skimped and saved and put its savings into a house or two for renting, to help safeguard its own future, is as badly off as the tenants who never saved in good times. All in all, honest inquiry will probably show that landlords as a class have been behaving pretty handsomely.

Daily Mail (Hagerstown, Maryland) Oct 11, 1932

But Ain’t We Got Beer?

THINKING OUT LOUD

Why is our prolific and prolix correspondent Jone Howlind, so incensed at the decidedly dubious prospects of the new deal? I presume she voted for the egregious F.D.R., and certainly has been an advocate of repeal. Her letter in Friday’s Post is inconsistent with former letters.

Surely, prices are rising over the moon and the average person is being ground between the upper and nether millstones. What does that matter? We’ve got beer, and “hard likker” is in sight.

The many will continue to be sacrificed for the few and the hungry and ragged are increasing. Never mind — we’ve got beer!
Beer puts some men to work. The wet papers sedulously refrain from reporting the men who lose their jobs in the candy and soft drink and allied industries.

The well known “Boobus Americanus” with his propensity for following and believing the demagogue, turned out of office a wise, far seeing statesman and elected a man whose own neighbors refused to vote for him.

Now the “forgotten man” is still forgotten; thy new deal is the same old deal; the specter of anarchy rides the minds; the Blue Eagle is only a plucked pigeon, but “sing you sinners, sing” — we got beer!

MRS. EVELYN FORTT
4130 Pera

El Paso Herald-Post (El Paso, Texas) Sep 13, 1933

Roosevelt and Wall St.

THINKING OUT LOUD:

The Herald-Post editorial on the Farley-Pecora move was splendid, although I must confess I thought parts of it a trifle naive in view of the fact that while Farley gets Pecora removed from conducting his investigations of the crooked operations of Wall Street bankers, two more Wall Street men take up office in Washington.

I refer to James Bruce, now financial advisor to the Board of the Home Loan Bank, erstwhile vice president of the Chase National bank under Mr. Wiggin, and George Lindsay, fiscal agent of the Home Loan Bank Board, lately vice president of the Blancamerica – Blair Corp.

I can, by stretching my imagination, credit a newspaper with being naive about such a situation, but I can’t stretch it far enough to include Mr. Roosevelt. Consequently, what seems “new” about the “New Deal” is that the Wall Street operators are now operating in Washington where in the old deal they operated in Wall Street.

I advise anyone who doubts this to go over the old newspaper files of the early summer showing the corporations through which the House of Morgan stretched its influence and the lists of Morgan beneficiaries and with these lists check Roosevelt’s appointments. count ’em yourselves. The information isn’t hidden. The strength of politicians lies in the short memories of the public.

I think the Herald-Post’s optimism in regard to Roosevelt’s ability to keep hold of the Progressives was more a case of the wish being father to the thought than anything else. The public may be ignorant as to the character and background of the men with whom Roosevelt has surrounded himself by choice, but it can hardly be thought that the leaders of the Progressives are not perfectly aware of the personnel of the entire set-up. Their stand, therefore, will not be a case of ignorance, but a test of their weakness or strength of character.

Will the “forgotten man” be not only forgotten, but deserted by all as well?

JONE HOWLIND.

El Paso Herald-Post (El Paso, Texas) Oct 10, 1933

“The Forgotten Man”

THINKING OUT LOUD

We have been watching the administration of the “New Deal,” and have seen how the “Forgotten Man” — the banker, manufacturer, jobber and retail merchant have been remembered. We wondered, naturally, if another class of citizens who seem to be having a hard time “carving” a name for themselves on the torso of humanity, would likewise be “remembered.”

I make special reference to the “25,000 doctors out of a job” which the press mentioned as a surplus of the profession a few months ago. We felt worried about the future of these poor souls, when realizing that they are slaves to “medical ethics” and can not advertise the skill with which they can do human carving or puncture you with a hypodermic needle.

But thanks to the faithful press for informing us that prospects for their relief is in sight, as soon as congress convenes. Rex Tugwell, assistant secretary of agriculture under the guise of protecting the innocent from poisonous, harmful and mislabeled patent medicines, and habit-forming drugs, proposes (in a bill he has prepared for consideration of congress) to place our precious lives wholly in the hands of the medical doctor.

It seems that the doctor has for several years felt himself slipping from his exalted position of holding a monopoly on the lives of mankind. In the first place his business is regularly called “practice,” and it seems he has followed it so diligently in the trimming of human “giblets” and bank rolls that the people are leaving him in a manner most alarming. This fact is set forth in an article in the Literary Digest of Sept. 22, 1923 [maybe 1933?], wherein a certain member of the A.M.A. set about to find out why they were their patients who had not died under treatment.

Several thousand citizens were accosted on the street, street cars, offices, etc., and asked two questions: “What would you do if you got sick, and why?”

He found that over 90 per cent would not call a doctor. In his paper read before the A.M.A. convention, he recommended that the doctor be not quite so ethical and treat his profession as a business and “get the money;” that a campaign be instituted through the press, for education of the gullible humans, and to admonish them to “see their doctor first.”

There are many people who sincerely believe that mutilation of the body by surgical operation is sinful.

Whenever you give an organization of people a monopoly over lives or rights of others, you have destroyed respect for the law that created such monopoly, and created contempt for those who enjoy such special privileges.

The number of people who die under medical and surgical treatment are several thousand fold greater than those who succumb from home remedies.

I am for a law that will take away the monopolistic powers already granted the doctor and give the individual a course of commonsense instruction in food, cleanliness, habits of living.

Over three billion dollars is the annual doctor bill, besides the loss of time from work. This becomes an economic problem besides the question of relief from suffering.

So, who is forgotten?

LOUIS BOND CHERRY.

El Paso Herald-Post (El Paso, Texas) Nov 3, 1933

Daily Inter Lake (Kalispell, Montana) Nov 8, 1932

The Forgotten Man

THINKING OUT LOUD:

We will let the gold and silver rust
And pledge our faith to the brain trust
If they will unfold a plan
To help the long forgotten man.

In honest sweat he toils for years
With fondest hopes and sadest fears
Now on the brink of dark despair
In nature’s bounty he cannot share.

Hungry, ragged, bare-foot and cold
He possesses not silver nor gold
Still believing “the Lord will provide”
But knowing mankind must divide.

Let us hope they will find a way
To bring to us a brighter day
Spreading happiness, spreading health,
Learn us that gold is not wealth!

M.M. OWENS,
Lordsburg, N.M.

El Paso Herald-Post (El Paso, Texas) Dec 20, 1933

El Paso Herald-Post (El Paso, Texas) Mar 17, 1933

Image from Cosmeo

REMEMBER FORGOTTEN MAN

New Dealers Give Him Bill to Pay, Coughlin Says.

PROVIDENCE, R.I., (AP). The Rev. Charles E. Coughlin declared that under the new deal “the forgotten man has been remembered” in time to pay the government’s bills. He spoke at an outdoor rally which he said was attended by 25,000 persons.

“With the new deal the forgotten man has been remembered,” he declared, “because every gallon of gas you buy, every pound of butter, every loaf of bread, all your groceries and drugs, have posted on them a mortgage to the United States in favor of international bankers.” He made his statement after saying “one day out of every three you work is taken out of your payroll for hidden taxes.”

NEW BEDFORD, (AP). The Rev. Charles E. Coughlin, discussing the administration of President Roosevelt, declared: “As I was instrumental in removing Herbert Hoover from the white house, so help me God, I will be instrumental in taking a communist from the chair once occupied by Washington.”

Evening State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Aug 3, 1936

I hear Spain’s nice this time of year.

ILL CHOSEN.

Ackley (Ia.) World-Journal: For a man who has talked about the “forgotten man” as much as Roosevelt, it comes with very poor grace to go on a cruise that costs the American people half a million dollars; it comes with even poorer grace to include his three sons, the “crown prince,” the “heir apparent” and another in waiting.

Evening State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Aug 11, 1936

NEW TAX COMING.

Jan. 1 will usher in the era of short pay checks. One percent will be deducted by order of the new deal. The forgotten man will be remembered by a new tax. The little fellow will pony up. One percent will be the deduction. It will affect the payrolls of thousands of industries and the well being of millions. Not content with the present tax rate, where it is figured that the average citizen gives one day’s pay out of every week for government, another one-hundredth of what the people earn is to be deducted from individual earnings for government use. It will be paid to the government and retained for the use of new deal administrators, and perhaps for the establishment of new bureaus to help to administer the funds that will be collected. The benevolent touch of a paternal government will be felt in a new effort with the beginning of 1937.

If at any time in the future the law should be repealed or declared unconstitutional that will not end the expense that has been incurred. Like the NRA and the FERA it will live on and on, the organization set up for its administration will continue and the government will pay the bill.

This is one of the new taxes made necessary by new deal management of public affairs. The tax may not be so obnoxious as the bureaucracy which it will help to enlarge and the complexity it will add to government.

Evening State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Oct 19, 1936

El Paso Herald-Post (El Paso, Texas) Jul 5, 1933

A BIT INCONSISTENT

Time marches on! And today we find the federal government doing the things for which it condemned private citizens only three or four years ago. Such as, for example, foreclosing mortgages on the homes of persons unable to meet their interest and principle payments. It’s a strange world.

It is only good business, we suppose, for the Home Owners Loan corporation (a federal agency) to get its money when due. But, as we witness the numerous foreclosures by the HOLC, we recall the bitter denunciations, a few years ago, of private individuals who did the same thing. State governments then passed moratorium laws, making it impossible for mortgage holders to foreclose. And the moratoriums undoubtedly gave temporary relief to many farm and home owners. We found no fault with them then; we find no fault now. But, it would seem that the federal government now would practice what it preached to private lenders back in 1934-1935. If it is wrong for a private to put a man out of his home, it also is wrong for the government.

In Lyon county, right now, a man and wife who have passed middle age are losing their home, upon which they gave a mortgage to HOLC several years ago. The mortgage is due — and  HOLC wants its money, or else. Or else the couple moves into the street. The HOLC, as we get the story, refuses to compromise. Although the couple is able to raise half of the amount now due, HOLC officials have declared they want “all or nothing”.

It is a bitter awakening for those trusting souls who have been led to believe that the Man in Washington will chastise the bade, bad money-lenders and see the the “forgotten man” does not lose his home. The Lyon county couple to whom we have referred, as well as the rest of us, are beginning to realize that the grim realities of life are still with us; that they must be faced in the same old way. We are returning to the point where we again face such cold, hard facts as money borrowed, whether from private citizen or government, must be paid back. Also, that assurances of security by politicians seeking office often are merely a means of getting votes. Sad, but true.

Boyden Reporter (Boyden, Iowa) Oct 21, 1937

Boyden Reporter (Boyden, Iowa) May 14, 1942

National Debt Worries Farmers
[excerpt – Simon E. Lantz]

“Mr. Roosevelt promised to place the cost of government upon the shoulders of those most able to pay. In 1930, the wealth of the nation was paying 69 per cent of governmental costs and the laborers, farmers and common people were paying 31 per cent. But last year we found that the wealth of the nation was paying only 39 per cent while the ordinary people were paying 61 per cent. That is how Mr. Roosevelt took care of the forgotten man and soaked the rich.

Daily Inter Lake (Kalispell, Montana) Oct 24, 1940


WHITE COLLAR WORKER IS ‘THE FORGOTTEN MAN’

ON A BIG munitions plant being built with government money at Wilmington, Ill., carpenters are paid $25 a day; men trundling wheelbarrows or working with pick or shovel are paid $16 and $17 a day.

In Chicago, 50 miles away, the clerical forces working in the offices of business and industry are being paid from $17 to $35 a week.
The carpenters and laborers in Wilmington may, and do, dress in coveralls; they change shirts possibly once a week; they wear coarse, unshined shoes; they enjoy the lower rentals of the rural districts.

The clerical worker in Chicago, if he is to hold his job, must have a clean shirt every day; he must wear a white collar; there must be a crease in his trousers; his shoes must be kept cleaned and shined; he must pay the much higher rentals of the city. His income will average about one-sixth of that of the carpenter at Wilmington.

To meet the ever-increasing demand of taxes and labor, and to continue to operate, business and industry have been forced to economize in every possible way. The white collar man has paid the bill. He is the “forgotten man” of today.

Boyden Reporter (Boyden, Iowa) Dec 25, 1941

Cumberland Evening Times (Cumberland, Maryland) Nov 14, 1960

X-Raying The Constitution

December 19, 2011

Image from Frugal Café Blog Zone

X-Raying The Constitution

The Constitution does not grant the Supreme Court specific power to declare legislation constitutional or unconstitutional. Nevertheless the court has declared many New Deal acts invalid. How has it gained this power? How has it exercised it through the years? Why have its decisions created a situation that has given rise to agitation for Constitutional change? In this last of his series on “Ex-Raying the Constitution,” John T. Flynn, NEA Service author-economist, reviews the history of the court’s domination over state and federal legislation.

_____

By JOHN T. FLYNN
(Copyright, 1936, NEA Service, Inc.)

A gentleman by the name of William Marbury, one day in the year 1800, filed a suit against James Madison, Secretary of State, to compel him to deliver a commission appointing him Justice of the Peace in Washington, D.C. Thomas Jefferson had just been elected President, sweeping the old Federalist party into the dust-bin. But the Federalists had several months left before inauguration to provide some jobs for “deserving” Federalists. Among others a law was rushed through setting up numerous judicial jobs. And on March 2, just two days before he was to go out of office, John Adams appointed William Marbury a Justice of the Peace under this law. He made many other appointments in this last hurry.

But the hurry was too much. Adams wanted to vacate the capital before Jefferson arrived. He wanted to snub Jefferson. And so in the haste of clearing out a terrible tragedy happened to poor Mr. William Marbury. His eleventh hour commission was not delivered to him. Many others failed to out. And when Jefferson came in he ordered them all cancelled. Marbury thereupon brought a mandamus action again James Madison, Jefferson’s Secretary of State, to force the delivery of the commission.

Jefferson resisted the suit, asserting that the Supreme Court had no power to interfere with the executive department. Thus the first great battle between President and Court was fought. And the case of Marbury vs. Madison became historic.

The tongues wagged, because it was felt John Marshall and his court would decide against Jefferson and that Jefferson would ignore the decision. But Marshall turned out to be too astute. He made one of the most cunning legal decisions in the history of the Court. Jefferson claimed the Court could not interfere with other departments of the government. But Marshall decided the case in favor of Jefferson and Madison. This is, he refused to order Marbury’s commission delivered. But he decided it on the ground that the congressional act under which Marbury was appointed was unconstitutional. Thus Marshall gave Jefferson the decision, but he did it by supporting the very principle which Jefferson so bitterly assailed. He asserted the right of the Court to declare an act of Congress unconstitutional.

That famous case — 136 years ago — settled that point and determined the whole course of our history. Because it is fair to assume that had Marshall held the Court could not declare laws unconstitutional, this would have been the end, as Senator Borsh had put it, of the inviolability of the written Constitution.

_____

And so it has been in the Supreme Court that all the great constitutional battles of the last 136 years have been fought.

As already pointed out, these battles have revolved around two great tendencies. One has been the effort of the central government to increase its power. The other has been the effort of the propertied groups to prevent the states and nation from exercising control over their affairs.

First let us look at the struggle of the central government to exercise wider power over national concerns, particularly in the economic field. It’s not a new fight. It didn’t begin with the New Deal. The federal government has sought to increase its field through the power of taxation, through the power to regulate commerce among the several states and with foreign nations and through its power over postoffices and post roads.

_____

One of the great weapons used by Congress to extend its power has been what is known as the commerce clause, under which Congress has power to deal with foreign and interstate commerce.

But in the last forty years countless battles have been fought over two points. What is commerce? What is interstate commerce? It was on this point the famous Schechter chicken NRA case was decided. The Court held that the poultry men in the case, while they handled chickens which were shipped in from other states, were not engaged in interstate commerce. When the poultry arrived at their plant, it was held there, handled there and the workers who did the work there were engaged in a business which was wholly within the state. Goods are in interstate commerce only when they are in “current” or “flow” not merely into the state, but into the state an on, with the manufacturer merely performing some function which is connected with this flow of the commodity in question.

Under this decision, a tremendous limitation was put upon the power of Congress to reach out and deal with various types of business on the ground that it is interstates.

Another weapon of Congress is taxes. Taxes were used in the AAA case. One of the first attempts to regulate industry through taxation was in the famous child labor cases.

The power to tax is the power to destroy. The courts have held that Congress can tax even to destruction. But the tax must be a legitimate tax — that is, for the purpose of raising revenue. Otherwise it would be invalid.

In the AAA cases, Congress attempted to tax processors to raise funds to pay benefits to farmers. This case also involved the power of Congress under the general welfare clause. This clause is frequently invoked to extend the power of Congress. In the famous AAA case, the Court held that Congress had no power to regulate agriculture, that under general welfare clause it could aid agriculture — that is give it benefits, but that if it attached conditions to the benefits, that could be regulating agriculture indirectly and that, therefore, the tax, imposed to aid this plan, was invalid. It was not a legitimate exercise of the taxing power.

_____

The other great series of battles about the Constitution have to do with the effort of organized business to prevent the states or Congress from interfering with it. These fights are made chiefly under the so-called “due process” clauses of the fifth and fourteenth amendments.

The first first on this subject came in 1875 in the famous Granger cases. States started regulating railroads rates. The roads held that fixing rates was equivalent to taking property from the roads and hence was depriving them of property without due process of law. The Supreme Court upheld the right of the States in this famous case — Munn V. Illinois, 113, U.S. This became then the charter for all our state regulatory commissions in the utility field.

But later the court began narrowing this view. It held that a New York statute prohibiting bakeries from employing men for more than 10 hours a day was a violation of the due process clause. It has held that commissions in fixing rates must allow utilities a fair return on investment or they will be depriving them of property without due process of law. It has held that laws fixing minimum wages for women and children are violations of the due process clause.

The Court has been holding that the federal government was encroaching on the rights of the states. These problems of regulation belonged to them — they were able to deal with them. One state — New York — tried to deal with one such problem — sweatshops and starvation wages for women in industry. It adopted a minimum wage law for women. Only a few weeks ago the Supreme Court held the law unconstitutional. It violated the due process clause. So the state, too, is as powerless as the federal government to deal with its economic problems.

_____

It is around these points — the commerce clause, the taxation power and the due process clause — that the New Deal measures have been argued. The court decided the “hot oil” case 8 to 1 against the New Deal; the railroad pension case, 5 to 4 against the New Deal; the AAA case 6 to 3 against the New Deal; the minimum wage law for women, 5 to 4 against the New Deal. It decided the rice millers’ case unanimously against the New Deal. The only cases won by the New Deal were the gold clause case and the TVA.

Two sets of reforms are being urged. One deals with the Court and is a plan to prevent the Court from declaring acts of Congress unconstitutional, save by a two-thirds decision.

The other plan suggests two amendments to the Constitution. The first would change the 5th and 14th amendments which prevents the government from passing regulatory laws because they tend to deprive men of property without due process of law. The other is to give the government outright jurisdiction of industry, corporations, power in all matters affecting the national economic welfare of the nation.

Around these measures, sooner or later, a great national struggle is certain to take place.

Anniston Star (Anniston, Alabama) Jul 12, 1936

A New Deal – In Silhouette

December 15, 2011

A NEW DEAL — IN SILHOUETTE

Of course you must have seen them. Either in your own house or in that of your grandparents or in the window of an antique shop or in books about the American Revolution. For a century and a half ago, silhouettes were as common as snapshots are today. Everybody, high and low, rich and poor, had himself silhouetted, and such mighty personages as George Washington and Marie Antoinette and Frederick the Great and Benjamin Franklin were silhouetted until they must have been as sick and tired of the own shadow-pictures as George Gershwin must be of his “Symphony in Blue.

The process was exceedingly simple. Everybody could make silhouettes. All he needed was a willing subject, a white screen, a candle, a piece of black paper and a pair of sharp scissors. The rest depended upon his native or acquired ability to catch the shadow of his victim and reduce it to the right proportions. for all I know, the craze for these fascinating shadow pictures may return tomorrow. For the stage is all set for a return of M. de Silhouette. No, he was not some sort of prehistoric photographer, a vague ancestor of that famous M. de Daguerre, who gave us the daguerreotype and modern photography. M. de Silhouette was a financier of great repute and the New Dealer of the reign of King Louis XV of France.

*     *     *

This is the way that amiable nobleman turned himself into one of the immortals. For when all is said and done, what a greater fame can a man achieve than to make his name part of the current vernacular?

It was during the middle of the Eighteenth Century, France, having been most thoroughly ruined by the dynastic wars of the Great King Louis (whose royal mansions in Versailles were so recently repaired by the generosity of our own Mr. Rockefeller), was about as bankrupt as any nation can be without ceasing to function altogether.

Even in Versailles, where nobody ever learned or forgot anything, a few of the brighter spirits discovered that 1,000,000,000 times zero still makes zero. Evidently, it was time that something be done and be done right away.

Looking around for a bright young man to swing on the dangerous trapeze of finance, the choice fell upon a certain Etienne de Silhouette, a native of Limoges, a former secretary of the Duke of Orleans and member of the royal commission that had settled the Franco-British difficulties in Acadia in 1749.

Young Etienne had been an industrious student of British financial affairs and had translated a good many English books on finance into French. In short, a sort of brain-trust all by himself.

In March, 1759, he was put at the head of the finances of France with unlimited power to do whatever he pleased, provided he go His Majesty’s kingdom out of its desperate difficulties. This appointment was made at the suggestion of the king’s mistress, Madame de Pompadour. The dear lady was not famous for her morals. But she had a good brain. If she and de Silhouette had been given free rein, they might, between them, have saved France from the Revolution.

*     *     *

But of course the poor New Dealer could accomplish absolutely nothing unless first of all he tackled the problem of the privileged classes. He did his best. He tried to reduce all pensions of all the hangers-on of the court. He proposed to tax the lands of the nobles. He suggested that everybody spend just about half of what he had done thus far, and that there be an end to the wasteful luxury of a court which benefitted nobody but the Versailles pastry-cooks, the Paris jewelers and the light ladies of both cities.

The idea struck the court as something so unusually funny that all of fashionable society began to do things “a la Silhouette,” which was a polite way for doing them “on the cheap.” Thus far, everybody had had his portrait painted by a regular painter. But now of course they could no longer afford to do so, and they had their pictures cut out of a piece of black paper. They had it done “on the cheap” or “a la Silhouette.”

And when the joke had lasted long enough, they booted poor Etienne de Silhouette out of his high office, and the good old times came back right away, and the New Deal went into discard, and Etienne de Silhouette died as the forgotten man, and Marie Antoinette and her boy and girl friends had a perfectly swell time laughing their pretty heads off over this pedantic bore with his everlasting howls about he coming disasters and calamities.

And then they all went to jail and made lovely little silhouettes of each other’s pretty little necks.

And then they had their pretty little necks cut off by the guillotine.

And that is the story of the New Deal of the year 1749 and of Monsieur Etienne de Silhouette.

Rochester Evening Journal (Rochester, New York) Dec 19, 1934

Meet the Commentator
Hendrik Willem
VAN LOON

Van Loon wrote The Story of Mankind, a wonderful history book geared toward children:

Read online or download a free copy at this google link.

America’s Self-Correcting Form of Government

December 14, 2011

Image from RKA History Resource Data Bank

A SELF-CORRECTING SYSTEM

AN UNVARYING symptom of economic recovery in the United States is a rebirth of confidence in our form of government.

In periods of major depressions pessimism recurs concerning our political and economic setups.

Hard times bring an overproduction of fallacious remedies and crackpot proposals.

The recent series of Supreme Court decisions have clarified the atmosphere.

Raymond Moley, in a recent symposium on various schemes for changing our form of government, made an effective plea for the Democratic idea, saying:

It (democracy) is essentially a self-correcting system of government. It does not contemplate the hardening of society into a single form. It is not subject to the capricious instincts of a single individual as in Fascism. It does not contemplate, as a major premise, the deadly uniformity that Socialism postulates in its proposed organization of economic life. It does not, as does Communism, contemplate the abolition of established institutions through a mere transference of autocratic power. In essence it is a system sufficiently flexible to conform to the requirements of human beings who have reached a stage of literacy and of organized intelligence.

The Gibraltar-like strength of the American system is in its flexible capacity for growth and progress.

A reading of history shows that in depressions we merely take one step backward before taking two steps forward.

Intelligent management of affairs involves a capacity to diagnose the true causes of depression and a determination not to be fooled by irrelevant attempts to raise extraneous issues.

The dissipation of the fog of silly reasoning by the lucid opinions rendered by the court creates the conditions suitable for a new era of accelerated progress and quickened economic recovery.

Rochester Evening Journal (Rochester, New York) Jun 18, 1935

RAYMOND MOLEY- from The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History:

In Jan. 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Moley to assemble advisors to develop programs for his presidential campaign; Moley selected mainly Columbia professors, who became the “Brain Trust.”

Moley wrote speeches and advised FDR in 1932-33. He resigned in Aug. 1933 over conflicts with Secretary of State Cordell Hull, but continued to advise and write speeches for FDR on a part-time, non-paid basis until 1936, when he grew disillusioned with New Deal hostility to business and FDR’s increasing involvement in foreign affairs. In 1933 Moley became editor of Today magazine, remaining after the 1937 merger with Newsweek, until 1967. In 1941 he began a nationally syndicated tri-weekly newspaper column. He wrote 19 books.

Moley was a senior advisor to Republican presidential aspirants Wendell Willkie, Barry Goldwater, and Richard Nixon. In 1970 he received the Medal of Freedom.

“Stand Out of My Sunshine!”

December 12, 2011

A COSTLY BLUNDER

MANY business advantages will accrue to the American people from the Supreme Court decision invalidating the NRA.

In spite of frenzied administration propaganda to the contrary, recent disinterested nonpartisan statistical surveys show how the meddlesome NRA RETARDED RECOVERY IN THE UNITED STATES.

The Brookings Institution and the National Bureau of Economic Research have published their conclusions that the NRA definitely interfered with the revival of production.

Furthermore Colonel Leonard P. Ayers, of Cleveland, has shown that in the two years of the NRA codes American industry has made almost THE WORST RECORD among the nations of the world so far as recovery is concerned.

Colonel Ayres has shown that only France had made a less satisfactory record.

Other principal countries in the same period showed INCREASES in industrial production RUNNING UP TO 41 PER CENT, while under the NRA the United States actually revealed A DECLINE OF 9 PER CENT.

The Cleveland economist makes the subjoined vigorous and true indictment of the futile and disturbing major new deal experiment, from which the country has at length been saved by the Supreme Court.

Image from FDR and the Supreme Court

“The first and safest conclusion is that conditions will probably improve after the necessary readjustments to the changed conditions of conducting business have been worked out. It seems quite improbable that the trend of industrial production in this country can continue to decline during the next two years at the rate at which it has declined during the past two years. The natural forces of recovery are operating vigorously in the rest of the world, and they are bound to have at least some effect here unless we erect too many new barriers that restrain them.”

What a blow to the prestige of self-inflated politicians!

Their record is largely one of hampering, rather than facilitating the revival of prosperity.

Perhaps new dealers need anew the advice which Bentham, the British economist, published more than a century ago.

“The request which agriculture, manufacturers, and commerce present to government,” wrote Bentham, “is modest and reasonable as that which Diogenes made to Alexander: ‘Stand out of my sunshine! We have no need of favor. We require only a secure and open path.”

Rochester Evening Journal (Rochester, New York) Jun 18, 1935

A National Game of Blind Man’s Buff

December 12, 2011

WINSOR M’CAY’S LAST PICTURE
By Arthur Brisbane

It Shows a National Game of “Blind Man’s Buff,” American Business Blindfolded

AS HE WORKED at his pictures, not in isolation but in a room with other artists, where young office boys might watch and study his methods, Winsor McCay would look up occasionally to ask with ingenuous sincerity, whoever might be near him: “There, do you think that is PLAIN enough?”

His desire above all was to make his meaning clear, plain. He succeeded in doing so in this as in so many other pictures.

*     *     *

A drawing by Winsor McCay calls for little comment, except that which takes form in the brain of him who studies the picture.

Winsor McCay has certainly made this picture “plain.” Business men will not miss its meaning.

*     *     *

Mr. McCay did not outline this picture in any spirit of criticism or final judgment. He endeavored to show the business intelligence and enterprise that have created this country’s industries, its commerce and prosperity, as they are NOW.

There are various opinions of what we call “American Big Business.” But there cannot be two opinions as to the work that Big Business has done. It has created the factories, the mills, the railroads, the new industrial ideas and methods and [the payrolls] of America. Selfishly, if you like, mistakenly, with unwise methods sometimes, but it has created them.

Business, like a man blindfolded, in the game of “Blind Man’s Buff,” with many little children around him, groping with hands spread out, wondering just where he is and in what direction he is going.

The gnome-like creatures that surround him are all the creation of the New Era, chief among them, little, busy NRA. These little creatures under the direction of college professors, some of whom, perhaps know less about business than those who CREATE the business, have made the rules of this new “Blind Man’s Buff” game that American Business must play, doing the best it can.

The little gnomes have not only written new rules for the game, they have also invented new taxes to pay the expenses of the game, and the big blindfolded individual must simultaneously play the game under the new rules and find the money to pay the new taxes.

It is not an easy game for him, as yet.

*     *     *

The object of the game, as in old-fashioned “Blind Man’s Buff,” is to seize and identify one of the players, giving that player’s name correctly, without removing the bandage on the eyes, or “cheating” by peeking.

American Business and Industry would have no difficulty in identifying the lady that they are seeking, if once she were firmly held, but at present the blinded giant is walking in the wrong direction, that which he seeks behind him.

Perhaps he will turn soon, seize and hold the handsome lady, and make us all happy, while the little gnomes and their professorial papas dance and sing in a ring.

But that hasn’t happened yet.

*     *     *

After sketching in pencil, the picture which Mr. Powers later finished in ink, in a style quite different from that of Mr. McCay, the latter commented, according to his custom, on the work in hand:

“You know how foolish a man feels when his eyes are blindfolded. Even when one of your children steps up, puts both hands over your eyes, and says: ‘Guess who?’ you feel that the world has suddenly changed. The world is what we see and, without sight, nothing is real.

“My business is making pictures, and I don’t pretend to judge the New Era, the professors or the new theories. But I do know that many business men feel as if they have been suddenly blindfolded, that they no longer can control their business direction or their own movements.

“Perhaps they were going too fast in the wrong direction, perhaps they need to be blindfolded for a while. I don’t know.

“But I do know as a maker of pictures that it would be difficult for me to get ahead in my line if somebody fastened a handkerchief around my eyes.

“And I know that some of the ablest business men in the United States today feel as I should feel if blindfolded.”

*     *     *

Many able Americans, trying to comply with all the orders of these little gnomes and at the same time to meet their payrolls, will say “Amen” to Mr. McCay’s words, and agree heartily with the thought expressed in this, his LAST PICTURE.

Hamilton Daily News Journal (Hamilton, Ohio) Aug 18, 1934

The New Deal and the Constitution

September 16, 2010

For Constitution Day – – –

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 — Today being Constitution day, it is natural that the articles and clauses of the historic charter by which America is governed should, in the light of recent events, undergo scrutiny by those who cherish its great usefulness to our social and economic life.

Unfortunately, the discussion has become partisan. Republican speakers have emphasized the acts of the New Deal as in violation of the constitution. This gives disinterested criticism an atmosphere of political combat, when, as a matter of fact, judicial questions should not become in any way involved in politics.

But the occasion for inquiry as to the origin of the powers being exercised by the President nowadays is not the less important because it has regrettably, tho inevitably, become a part of the political scene. Several queries project themselves today. Where, for example, is there a “breathing spell” clause in the constitution?

Just a few days ago, the chief executive announced to the country that his “legislative program” had reached “substantial completion.” Business men, glad of any promise of a let-up in the era of encroachment by government upon private rights, looked upon this assurance with mixed feelings. They welcomed the promise of a “breathing spell.”

But quite generally overlooked was the fact that so changed has become the exercise of executive and legislative power in the United States under the Roosevelt administration that, because the executive and legislative branches have become, for all practical purposes, consolidated into one, it is from the White House that the announcement of the “substantial completion” of a legislative program comes nowadays.

When Mr. Roosevelt speaks of “substantial completion,” he implies, of course, that he will not ask for further powers from congress. But, it will be asked, what further powers can the chief executive possibly need? Not many. The President, by abdication of the legislative body, called congress, already has the following powers today that have been delegated to him:

1. More than $4,800,000,000 has been appropriated for the use of the executive in his own discretion. Congress surrendered its privilege of specifying the uses to which the money should be put, as has been customary for more than 145 years.

2. The President has the power to order farmers to plant only those quantities of wheat, cotton, corn, potatoes and other crops that he sees fit, and to punish those who disobey his decrees.

3. The President can appoint the members of a board responsible only to him and such board is to regulate the hours of work, rates of wages, quantity of output and other conditions for the conduct of coal mining and distribution.

4. The President has the power to appoint a board, responsible to him, which shall determine employer and employe relations in all businesses and industries “affecting interstate commerce.”

5. The President, thru a federal communications commission, controls the radio and other forms of communication.

6. The President, thru the securities commission, controls the electric power and light and gas industries and may order his commissioners to eliminate or retain such corporations as he and his associates in their discretion thing are “necessary” or “economically integrated.”

7. The President, thru the federal reserve board, whose members he appoints, can control the flow of credit and its operations thruout the country.

8. The President may proclaim changes in the tariff within certain upper and lower schedules.

9. The President, thru a federal coordinator, controls the operations of the railroads of the United States.
10. The President, thru a commission of his own choosing, controls the uses of capital in industry. The commission approves or disapproves registration statements at will, and, without these licenses, new capital cannot be obtained by industry.

There are, of course, many other delegations of power. Some of those mentioned above are plainly unconstitutional in themselves; that is to say, even the congress does not possess the powers it has tried to delegate to another branch of the government. But nowhere in the constitution is there any clause permitting congress to delegate its lawful powers to the executive.

The supreme court has held that, where the congress turns over to an executive bureau or commission the task of administering a law, the instructions must be so explicitly worded that citizens may clearly know the limits. But where congress delegates to a bureau or executive commission the job of carrying into effect a legislative “objective,” this is too vague, according to the supreme court.

The making by bureaus of so-called “regulations” which have the effect and force of law is really a delegation of the legislative or law-making power itself, and is, therefore, a violation of the constitution.

The supreme court has upheld delegation of power for revision of a tariff, but has insisted that this is merely a matter of calculation of a rate within the limits of a formula mathematically set by congress itself. The court has recognized that administrative bodies must have certain discretion to enforce laws, but has nevertheless maintained that there is a difference between efficient administration and usurping the powers of legislation itself.

Thus, the code-making bodies of the NRA had such wide discretion that they issued rules the violation of which was a crime, just as if congress itself had passed a law to that effect.

It may be asked, what is the difference between government by commission today and the same thing as practiced under preceding administrations? The truth is encroachment on the power of the legislative by means of the governmental commission on a limited scale actually started under Republican administrations and now has reached its climax under the Democrats. Also, in the old days, congress was insistent that each commission should be bi-partisan; that is, it should represent opposite political beliefs.

But Mr. Roosevelt, by his appointments, gets around the basic purpose of the majority and minority viewpoint idea by finding persons previously affiliated with the opposite political party but sharing at the moment his economic and social philosophy.

Thus, practically every federal commission today is dominated by appointees of Mr. Roosevelt who are partisans of his own philosophy and trends toward state socialism or the centralization of power in the federal government. In this way, the congress, having abdicated its powers to the executive, has, in effect, turned over to a small group of men, directed and controlled by the President himself, vast and almost unlimited powers of expenditure of public funds and administration over the affairs of industry and agriculture from production to distribution.

On this Constitution day, even the New Dealers themselves might reflect on the Manner in which, some day, these same powers may be utilized for another purpose, perhaps not so beneficent, when the “wicked Republicans” or a President of dictatorial inclination belonging to another political party happens to get into the White House.

(Copyright, 1935)

Lima News (Lima, Ohio) Sep 17, 1935

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

September 16, 2010

1934 or 2010?

DEALT FROM OLD PACK OF KINGS, CLAIM

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