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No. 23 "Where Are We Going?" Speech of James W. Wadsworth, March 29, 1935. American Liberty League. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images Digital Library Services, University of Kentucky Libraries Lexington, Kentucky Am_Lib_Leag_23 These pages may freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. No. 23 "Where Are We Going?" Speech of James W. Wadsworth, March 29, 1935. American Liberty League. American Liberty League. Washington, D.C. 1935. This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. Pamphlets Available â˜… Copies of the following pamphlets may be obtained upon application to the League's national headquarters: Why, The American Liberty League? Statement of Principles and Purposes Progress vs. Change Speech by Jouett Shouse Recovery, Relief and the Constitution Speech by Jouett Shouse American Liberty League Its Platform An Analysis of the President's Budget N. R. A. Its Past, and Recommendations for the Future Analysis of the $4,880,000,000 Emergency Relief Appropriation Act Economic Security A Study of Proposed Legislation Democracy or Bureaucracy? Speech by Jouett Shouse The Bonus An Analysis of Legislative Proposals The Constitution StiU Stands Speech by Jouett Shouse Inflation Possibilities Involved in Existing and Proposed Legislation The Thirty Hour Week Dangers Inherent in Proposed Legislation The Pending Banking Bill A Proposal to Subject the Nation's Monetary Structure to the Exigencies of Politics The Legislative Situation "Speech by Jouett Shouse The Holding Company Bill An Analysis of Proposed Legislation. "What is the Constitution Between Friends?" Speech by James M. Beck â˜… Write to AMERICAN LIBERTY LEAGUE NATIONAL PRESS BUILDING WASHINGTON, D. C. â˜… â˜… Where Are We Going? â˜… The Constant Question â˜… â˜… â˜… Speech of JAMES W. WADSWORTH Representative and Former Senator from New York and Member of the National Executive Committee of the American Liberty League March 29, 1935 AMERICAN LIBERTY LEAGUE National Headquarters NATIONAL PRESS BUILDING WASHINGTON, D. C. Document No. 23 WHERE ARE WE GOING? HENEVER I leave Washington and go to my home in western New York, or visit some other community, I encounter many people who put this question to me, "Where are we going?" When they use the pronoun "we" they mean the government and the nation. They are deeply concerned as they attempt to estimate present day tendencies, and to cast their thoughts toward the future. They want to believe aU is well but they are puzzled and full of doubt. The answering of such inquiries involves what may be called a large order. I hesitate to attempt it, but I suppose I must. The broad issue which the country is facing today differs not at aU from the one which it faced a year ago. It is fundamental in character and, in the last analysis, involves our whole philosophy of government under the Constitution. Commencing in 1933 the Administration embarked upon a vast program designed to establish what the President was pleased to call a planned economy applied to all forms of business and agriculture. To carry this out tremendous powers were voted to the President and by him delegated to the bureaucracy. The organization built up here at Washington and spreading out over the country is really gigantic so much so that no one person can comprehend it all. It has stretched its arm out over the farms, down into the mines, through the factories, into the stores, and into nearly every place in which men and women seek to earn their living. Most of these measures have been enacted under the pressure of the emergency and some with the assurance that they were to be temporary. Some of us took occasion back in the summer of 1933 to point out that the Administration adhered to a school which teaches that the human race would be happier and more prosperous if it marched along the highway of life guided and controUed by superior wisdom lodged in government, and that these so-called temporary measures would turn out to be but the beginning of a vast program to be carried on through the years and to become permanent if the country should consent to such a thing. Among the more unique Prosperity and experimental meas- Througb. ures aimed at this general Scarcity objective is the agricul- tural adjustment act, generally known as triple A. It has been administered on the extraordinary theory that the people may be made prosperous by the deliberate and planned creation of a scarcity of food. As you aU know, farmers are receiving money from the government, amounting to scores of millions of dollars, for refraining, in part, from producing food. The money which they receive and most of them receive it with their tongues in their cheeks is raised by the imposition of taxes upon aU those persons and concerns engaged in the processing of the controlled crops. It is the consumer who pays the tax when he makes his purchases. This tax is imposed by the Secretary of Agriculture, not by the Congress of the United States, which, if we are faithful to the Constitution, we must regard as the only governmental agency authorized to levy taxes. In this case the Constitution is openly flouted, and to the extent of hundreds of millions of dollars we are being taxed without representation, the very thing against which our forefathers protested when they rebelled against the mother country back in 1776. It is a curious situation, but I suppose it may be accounted for by the fact that in 1933, and throughout 1934, the people were willing to try anything, to grasp at any straw, and, furthermore, were willing to forget, or did forget, the fundamental principles upon which our whole governmental structure has rested for a century and a half. The Administration is preparing to continue triple A, and actually to expand its powers over an indefinite number of years. At this very moment it is urging upon the Congress an amendment to the act of 1933 granting to the Secretary of Agriculture the ultimate power to put under license every person and firm engaged in dealing in, or handling, or processing agricultural products. The condition upon which a license may be issued is to be fixed by the Secretary. The Administration does The Farmer not dare to urge the Scheduled for licensing of farmers Regulation themselves, but it knows full well that if it can regulate, through a license system, every person engaged in buying or selling or processing farm products, the farmer himself will be regulated. That is the objective. There can be no question about it. I shall not spend much time in commenting upon the achievements of triple A up to date. When it reduced the cotton crop by paying the planters not to raise cotton, and followed this by pegging the price of cotton at twelve cents a pound through loans extended to the planter, it not only greatly increased the cost of cotton textiles but opened wide the door for foreign countries to start in planting cotton themselves and to under-sell American cotton in the great foreign markets. Remember that something like two-thirds of our cotton has been normally exported to other countries. Already our exports have decreased very materially and foreign production is increasing by leaps and bounds. Thus we are threatened with the loss of a tremendously important part of our export trade. I am wondering how long the South will continue to dig its own grave by supporting this scarcity of cotton program. The Secretary of State may work for years and years at his task of increasing our foreign trade, but he can never expand it sufficiently to make up for the staggering loss we shall suffer if our cotton no longer goes abroad. A curiously interesting announcement appeared in the papers day before yesterday. It comes from the headquarters of N. R. A. and it is directed to the cotton textile industry. The announcement is to the effect that, due to the inability of the mills to sell their fabrics to the consumer these same mills may reduce their production by twenty-five per cent, which means, of course, that they must reduce the working hours of their employees proportionately. N. R. A. explains that this discouraging state of affairs is due to the processing tax imposed upon all cotton textiles by triple A and by the program of the government in making cotton scarce and high in price. Thus we see one great New Deal arm of the New Deal tug- Versus ging and pulling against New Deal another great arm of the New Deal. Is it any wonder that people ask, "Where are we going?" Referring more specifically to N. R. A. we have a most extraordinary and unheard of situation. When the Congress passed that act in the spring of 1933 it turned over to the President the power to proclaim so-called codes of fair competition to be imposed upon any industries. When a code is finally prepared it is submitted to the President. He may change it if he pleases; he may reject it entirely, or he may write a new one himself and impose it upon the industry involved. Whichever way it happens the code, when once proclaimed by the President, assumes automatically the force of Federal law. Those who disobey its provisions may be prosecuted in Federal courts as under a criminal statute. In other words, the Congress, charged under the Constitution with the duty of making the laws for the nation, has presumed to turn this function over to the chief executive, and has actually authorized him to make law by proclamation. Would any one have guessed three years ago that such a state of affairs could exist in America? To be sure, N. R. A. expires by its own limitations on June 16th next, but it will be noted that the President is urging the Congress to continue it. Legislation to continue it in effect is now pending in the Congress, and if the Administration has its way it will go through, with the result that for another period of time we shall have a single law maker presiding over industry, unless, indeed, the courts hold, as some of them are beginning to hold, that the Congress has no right under the Constitution to delegate its law making power. I say this is an extraor-The Imperial dinary situation, but we Government must remember that this Objective Administration has an extraordinary objective in view, namely, the complete transforming of the government of the United States a transformation which will involve whittling away of the powers of the states, the building up of a gigantic imperial government clothed with power to regulate the life of the citizen as he attempts to earn his bread. This is "planned economy." To hasten the program we find the government going into the business of generating and distributing electricity in direct competition with its own citizens. We find the whole utilities industry under attack by the agents of the government, who have ready access to the press and the radio for their propaganda. No better example of this attack can be cited than the bill now pending before the Congress which declares specifically in its first section that it is the policy of the Congress to abolish all holding companies in the utilities field. Undoubtedly some holding companies have sinned, but many of them have achieved great things in the way of extending the use of electricity and steadily reducing the rates. To force them to dissolve, or even to put them under a sentence of death to be carried out later on, would strike a calamitous blow at a great industry in which a million people have invested their savings in perfectly good faith. Why not regulate instead of destroy? Are we traveling in the direction of the nationalization of utilities and the putting into a straitjacket all forms of business, and farming? The steps taken thus far and the steps we are being urged to take are logical steps in that direction. And when we turn to governmental finances we encounter a situation which should cause the gravest concern to every thoughtful person. Instead of balancing the ordinary budget of the government, the budget submitted to this Congress calls for an expenditure for the coming fiscal year one billion dollars in excess of the amount appropriated by the last Congress for the present fiscal year. This, mind you, is just for the ordinary running expenses of the government. The famous economy act of 1933 has not resulted in the balancing of the ordinary budget. And then when we come to the so-called extraordinary expenditures which are considered in a separate budget, we find billions of dollars being borrowed and spent and more billions called for. The famous bill putting into the hands of the President the gigantic sum of $4,800,000,000, containing the very mildest of restraints, is now on its way through the Congress. Every cent of it must be borrowed and added to the national debt, already mounting to unheard of figures. Scarce any plans for this vast expenditure have been made. It is claimed that 3,500,000 persons will be usefully employed on public works. I fear it is an idle dream. I doubt if any government on earth could invent enough public work to employ any such vast army of people. I have mentioned these things, and could mention others, which account for that almost universal inquiry, "Where are we going?" Can we borrow and spend Who Pays our way out of the de- What We pression? And how long Borrow? can government go on with these borrowings and these expenditures? Today it is seeking to extend its ability in this respect by taking firmer control of the credit facilities of the Federal Reserve system, in order to compel the assistance of the banks in financing its huge borrowings. Thus the whole credit structure may become subject to political control. Who is to pay for aU this? Not this generation. Such a thing is impossible. No, our children and our grandchildren wiU stagger under a burden of taxes which will make life hard and dreary for them. Is it not time to call a halt? Is it not time for the American people to stop, look and listen? If government is to serve us in these difficult times should it not save our money to the best of its ability? Should it not abandon these experiments, many of which fly directly in the face of the law of supply and demand a law which no government on earth has ever succeeded in repealing? Should we not encourage the thrifty rather than the spendthrift? Should we not implant confidence instead of doubt and fear? But, fundamentally and far more important to the generations yet to come, should we not see to it that those great principles of liberty set forth so simply and eloquently in the Constitution, are defended against all attacks, planned or unplanned?