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No. 65 "Breathing Spells" Speech of Jouett Shouse, September 16, 1935. American Liberty League. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images Digital Library Services, University of Kentucky Libraries Lexington, Kentucky Am_Lib_Leag_65 These pages may freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. No. 65 "Breathing Spells" Speech of Jouett Shouse, September 16, 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 and other League literature may be obtained upon application to the League's national headquarters: Statement of Principles and Purposes American Liberty League Its Platform An Analysis of the President's Budget Message Economic Security Inflation The Thirty Hour Week The Pending Banking Bill The Holding Company Bill Price Control The Labor Relations Bill The Bituminous Coal Bill Extension of the NRA The Farmers' Home Bill The TVA Amendments The New Deal, Its Unsound Theories and Irreconcilable Policies Speech by Ralph M. Shaw How to Meet the Issue Speech by William E. Borah The Supreme Court and the New Deal The Duty of the Church to the Social Order Speech by S. Wells Utley An Open Letter to the President By Dr. Neil Carothers The Revised AAA Amendments The President's Tax Program The American Bar The Trustee of American Institutions Speech by Albert C. Ritchie Two Amazing Years Speech by Nicholas Roosevelt Fabian Socialism in the New Deal Speech by Demarest Lloyd The People's Money Speech by Dr. Walter E. Spahr The Principles of Constitntional Democracy and the New Deal Speech by R. E. Desvernine Which Road to Take?^SpeecA by J. Howard Pew The Blessings of Stability Speech by James W. Wadsworth Legislation By Coercion or Constitution Speech by Jouett Shouse Recovery by Statute Speech by Dr. Neil Carothers Expanding Bureaucracy The Impediment of Democracy Speech by Fitzgerald Hall Lawmaking by Executive Order The Test of Citizenship Speech by Dean Carl W. Ackerman Today's Lessons for Tomorrow Speech by Captain William H. Stayton New Deal Laws in Federal Courts Potato Control AMERICAN LIBERTY LEAGUE NATIONAL PRESS BUILDING WASHINGTON, D. C. "Breathing Spells" Speech of jouErr shouse President of the American Liberty League over the Columbia Broadcasting System September 16, 1935 AMERICAN LIBERTY LEAGUE National Headquarters NATIONAL PRESS BUILDING WASHINGTON, D. C. Document No. 65 " Breathing Spells " TP HERE have been varied comments on the recent interchange of letters between Mr. Roosevelt and his chief newspaper defender, Mr. Howard. Heywood Broun, an employee of Mr. Howard, calls it a "daisy chain." On all sides it is accepted as an arranged publicity stunt from which both parties hoped to glean benefits Mr. Howard some valuable advertising of his papers, Mr. Roosevelt a strengthening of his badly weakened position with the business world. To what extent the result was accomplished may be open to question, but there can lie no doubt of the close team work. For example, Mr. Howard in his letter, after setting forth some of the fears of business, suggested that the country was entitled to a "breathing spell." This phrase was seized by Mr. Roosevelt who declared that the "breathing spell" is here. Now just what is a "breathing spell"? As commonly understood it is a momentary pause between strenuous exertions. It implies the necessity for brief rest before work is resumed. It is wholly temporary in character and of short duration. When a man says, "I am taking a breathing spell," there is the implication, "I am going faster when I start again." What, therefore, may be expected from Mr. Roosevelt's use of the term "breathing spell"? When Mr. Roosevelt became President in March of 1933, the whole country was praying for recovery. An overwhelming majority of the people had voted for a change in the hope of assisting toward recovery. The platform of the Democratic party, upon which Mr. Roosevelt was elected, had outlined sound principles for recovery which Mr. Roosevelt repeatedly pledged himself to carry out. His campaign speeches emphasized the necessity of employing the good old American precepts of economy and thrift in our national life. The Hoover administration was roundly condemned for extrava-3 gance, for the creation of a huge bureaucracy and for governmental deficits. A complete reform was promised by Candidate Roosevelt in what he termed his solemn compact with the American people. He even went so far as to declare that no person would be appointed to Iiis Cabinet who did not pledge loyalty to every plank of the Democratic platform and particularly its economy declarations. No suggestion here of spending our way back to prosperity. No thought of emphasizing reform and forgetting recovery. No notion of a planned economy for industry or agriculture. No mention of a death sentence for holding companies. No intimation of deserting the gold standard and defaulting on the contract given to those who bought our bonds. No advocacy of the socialistic experiment in the Tennessee Valley. Neither these nor various other acts which form the very keystone of the New Deal arch were suggested by Mr. Roosevelt during his campaign. If they had been put frankly before the American people Mr. Roosevelt would not have been elected President. But from the beginning of his administration Mr. Roosevelt started in to force through a subservient Congress one measure after another that not only did not help toward recovery but actually retarded it. Business was harassed by continuous interference and no man could foresee what might be attempted at Washington from day to day. Two of the most solemn and oft repeated promises of Mr. Roosevelt as a candidate had been to balance the budget and to curb expenditures of every nature to conform to revenues. But despite a magnificent beginning in the Economy Act in the first sixty days he not only later allowed every former extravagance to be restored but entered upon a spending spree such as was never before witnessed in any country of the world. With his condemnation of the Hoover deficits still ringing in their ears, the American people saw Mr. Roosevelt pile up in two years deficits of seven and a half billion dollars, while the four years of Hoover totalled only seven billions. Not only that. From George Washington to Woodrow Wilson, a period of a hundred and twenty-four years, the expenditures of our Federal Government amounted to $24,521,845,000. Mr. Roosevelt's expenditures actual for 1934 and estimated by him for 1935 and 1936, with the fiscal year 1937 not taken into account total more than $24,000,000,000. Under his orders a complacent Congress appropriated this year $10,250,000,000. Forty-eight hundred and eighty millions of this was turned over to the President, on his demand, to spend practically in any way he might see fit for so-caUed Work Relief. When he requested the money last January he claimed to have definite plans to take three and a half million men off the dole and put them to work immediately on public projects of permanent value. Apparently not even a practical scheme of administration has been developed, and the country was treated last week to the spectacle of a public brawl between the two officials supposed to provide and supervise the work. One of the suggested undertakings which met with general approval was a proposal to eliminate aU grade crossings. Up to date, with $4,880,000,000 to spend, the administration has managed by dint of superhuman effort to get rid of one little grade crossing in Alabama. But boon-doggling Oh, Boy how it has thrived! Thus business has been beset not only with every kind of regulatory legislation but with the fiscal uncertainties that have resulted from going off the gold standard, devaluing the dollar, increasing deficits as a result of unprecedented extravagance and waste, and an unbalanced budget. Every sane person has realized that this mad orgy would have to be paid for through a crushing burden of taxation not merely soaking the rich, but extending to every man who earns his bread in the sweat of his face. No picture that Mr. Howard might have drawn could have cxag- gerated the concern of business, both large and small, and in response to the suggestion of his newspaper advocate, Mr. Roosevelt promises a "breathing spell." The "daisy chain" letters are quite as important for what they omit as for what they say. In neither of them is there mention of a balanced budget. In neither is there any suggestion of an attempt at governmental economy. In neither is there a word about deficits. What may business expect in this regard? It is quite the most important factor in the whole situation. Mr. Roosevelt has done all he can to bedevil business. His so-called "must" program of legislation forced through Congress this year has embraced one measure after another that was unnecessary, unwise and probably unconstitutional, the effect of which has been to regulate, to regulate and to further regulate. A "breathing spell" prior to this astounding program would have been welcome indeed. But at that time it was not even suggested. Now that the damage is done, Mr. Roosevelt graciously waves the wand for a temporary suspension of his war of extermination. How long a "breathing spell"? Will aggression begin anew when Congress reassembles in January with an attempt to revive the discredited NRA, or will Mr. Roosevelt, again a candidate for election to the Presidency, wait until after the people have voted in November of next year? If he is re-elected, what may business expect? IN MR. ROOSEVELT'S letter to Mr. Howard there are two very extraordinary sentences which I quote: He said, "This administration j came into power pledged to a very considerable legislative program," and later he said, "Our actions were in conformity with the basic economic purposes set forth three years ago." The only "legislative program" to which the Roosevelt administration was pledged was embodied in the Democratic platform of 1932. He emphasized before the Convention that nominated him and in subsequent speeches his absolute adherence to every plank of that platform. He has not merely ignored these pledges he has contemptuously flouted them. His actions have not been "in conformity with the basic economic purposes set forth three years ago." The legislative program which he has choked down the throat of Congress had no relation to the Democratic platform pledges or his campaign speeches. On the other hand, as so ably pointed out by James P. Warburg in his current book, that program has fulfilled to the letter the promises of the platform and candidates of the Socialist party. And mind you, in the election of 1932, the Socialist platform was endorsed by only 900,000 voters, while the Democratic platform was endorsed by twenty-three millions. In view of this record what may the people expect if Mr. Roosevelt is re-elected ? What may business expect? How long will the "breathing spell" last? These are pertinent questions which each must answer for himself on the basis of what has happened to the promises upon which Mr. Roosevelt was elected in 1932. And then there is another consideration of overwhelming importance. Following the decision which held the N.R.A. unconstitutional Mr. Roosevelt made a bitter attack on the Supreme Court. It was not an impetuous outburst. It was carefully staged. For more than an hour he talked to the Washington newspaper correspondents but did not permit them to quote him directly. The reaction of the country to this astounding incident was apparently quite contrary to what Mr. Roosevelt expected. South and North, West and East alike, he was criticized. He did not, therefore, endorse immediately amendments to the Constitution to limit the power of the Supreme Court and to extend the authority of the Federal Government under the Commerce Clause, as had been forecast by the correspondents to whom he addressed his discussion on May 31st. He had no further word to say personally hut some of his Cabinet spokesmen and others apparently reflecting his attitude have continued to cry aloud for constitutional change. The last address delivered by Mr. Roosevelt was to the convention of Young Democrats at Milwaukee on August 24th. While there is no frank mention of the subject the conclusion is inescapable that the thought behind that address is to endeavor to change the Constitution. There can be no proper objection from any quarter to an orderly attempt at constitutional amendment in the manner duly provided by the terms of that wise instrument. But aside from the Bill of Rights embracing the first ten Amendments and, in reality, a part of the original document, there have been only eleven changes made in the one hundred and fifty years of its existence. The Constitution can and will be altered when there is overwhelming sentiment for such a course, but it must not be destroyed through iUegal acts of any administrative official or the attempt by Congress to arrogate to itself power that has never been delegated. The Constitution is no distant, abstract document. It is a vital factor in the daily life of every man and woman who listens to me tonight. It is the protector of your liberties, the guardian of your opportunities. Despite the attempts to discredit it these latter days, it stands, as the great Englishman, Gladstone, so well said, "the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man." It WAS because of insidious and persistent and alarming attempts to undermine the Constitution that the American Liberty League was formed a year ago. We have endeavored to make our organization a useful instrumentality to all the people. We have been accused of concern only for the protection of property. Our motives have been maligned and our purposes misrepresented. But in that we have shared the fate of all who have criticized any act of the present administration. Our work will go forward on an enlarged scale because there is real need for the work. Recently, we created a National Lawyers Committee of the American Liberty League composed of fifty-eight leaders of the Bar from all sections of the country and members of both political parties. Under the chairmanship of B. E. Desvernine that Committee is engaged in a study of important legislative enactments of the past thirty months. Its investigations relate solely to constitutional questions. The first of its reports dealing with the National Labor Relations Act will be made public the latter part of this week. The Roosevelt press has referred to this group of eminent lawyers as attorneys employed by the Liberty League. As a matter of fact, there is no one of them who is receiving directly or indirectly one cent of pay for the important work being done. These men have volunteered for a patriotic service of real value. That spirit is a little difficult for some people to understand. It WOULD be wholly improper to attempt to anticipate decisions of the Supreme Court. In due course all the legislation of the New Deal must come before that tribunal for review. I, for one, voice the earnest hope that there may be definite decisions on the various constitutional questions at the earliest possible date, that there may not be the studied attempt by administration attorneys to postpone adjudication. And if, as a result of the decisions, Mr. Roosevelt concludes to attempt to limit the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, as has been intimated, so that Congressional enactments cannot be upset, the American Liberty League stands ready, with every resource at its command, to do aU it can to defend the power of the Judicial branch of our government. For be well aware, my friends, that if unhappily the division of authority between the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary is destroyed, the safeguard of your liberties and your opportunities will no longer exist. If you share our views we invite you to join us in the important work ahead. Simply address the American Liberty League, National Press Building, Washington, D. C, indicate your desire to become a member and your name will be recorded. In conclusion let me suggest the time is coming soon when the people will be called upon to vote again and if I am any judge of public sentiment I think that this time there will be an insistence that, as stated in the Democratic platform of 1932, "a party platform is a covenant with the people to be faithfully kept by the party when entrusted with power, and that the people are entitled to know in plain words the terms of the contract to which they are asked to subscribe." 10