July 3, 2011

Government Run Everything.

This is an article from the Saturday Evening Post, October 3, 1936.  Read it in context of the issues of debt facing us today. 

October 17, 1936 - Article - Government Run Everything, by John Raymond McCarl

Why was economy the outstanding issue in the 1932 campaign, and who made it dominant in that contest? Because , in an effort to ease artificially the damaging effects of the financial upheaval, the Republican Administration had made use of the Federal Treasury; it had made large expenditures in an effort to assist agriculture, to aid business and avoid further unemployment, to help care for the needy, and to save institutions with far-flung obligations to the people, the collapse of which would have brought further disaster. It was costing money - consuming our income and substantially increasing the public debt. The Democrats challenged this spending and public-debt building. Its 1932 platform condemned it bitterly and pledged its immediate end. The only way out, it urged, was to economize, discontinue wasteful Government bureaus, cut Government costs and make every dollar count. "Quit borrowing and spending" was their battle cry.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, as its nominee for the presidency, led the fight - and with such vigor as to show utter sincerity and equally sincere alarm. Such spending and debt building would wreck us. It must be stopped. He could and would stop it. He would immediately reduce Government costs by at least 25%, and would fire any Cabinet officer who failed to save as much. The voters approved with such unanimity that it was a landslide for "economy in Government." President Roosevelt and an overwhelming Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress were commissioned by the people to stop Government spending, to rid us of useless agencies and to cut the cost of Government.

In view of these things, had anyone the slightest notion on March 9, 1933, when the economy Congress was convened in special session to carry out this program, that within three short months it was not only to ignore its promise but was to be given a series of legislative contortions new in the history of representative government? That is was to appropriate all the income the heavy taxes would raise, but additional billions of dollars raised by borrowing, and through surrendering its right and ignoring its duty to direct and safeguard the uses of such fabulous sums, to subject the country to the tender mercies of the great experimenters, the New Dealers, and their wild spending and fantastic schemes?

The members of that Congress knew what they were doing. They were not fooled. The knew that under our Constitution the people had reserved to themselves the right, acting through their representatives constituting the Congress, to say what governmental activities there should be, and just how activities should function. This through control of the purse strings. Such control is essential to self-government, but it contemplates that the representatives of the people will be faithful to their promises. (pg. 8)

Comments: The first page of this article had a picture of job listings that were advertized outside a Chicago employment agency. The article pointed out that "takers are scarce" for these jobs. For example, a factory polish buffer could make 60¢ - 90¢ per hour. A carpenter could make 50¢ - 70¢ per hour. A dishwasher job was advertized at $10 per week. I'd bet that people didn't walk past pennies that they saw lying in the parking lot back in those days without picking them up.

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