The Political Burden of Relief
THE fundamental political problem facing the United States to-day, as it has been for six years, is unemployment. Out of it has grown a secondary problem which seems to be absorbing the resources and energies of the Federal Government and the state and municipal governments, and which, in a very broad sense, may force us to alter our economic if not our political institutions. That secondary problem is relief.
Relief is an outgrowth of unemployment. The spectacle of millions of human beings without subsistence in a land of plenty horrified the nation. Mr. Hoover sought to meet the problem first with private charity, and then with contributions by the states, towns, and counties. Mr. Roosevelt at first utilized state relief agencies and then supplanted them with a vast plan of federal relief.
In spite of indisputable evidence of increasing employment and improving economic conditions, relief has continued to demand an increasing toll of national revenue. In spite of obvious reëmployment in industry, both political parties cite figures which seem to indicate that the number of unemployed in the United States is exactly as large to-day as it was when Mr. Hoover retired from the White House.
We have here a vicious circle which requires a non-political appraisal. If there are as many unemployed in the United States to-day as there were when Mr. Roosevelt took office, then apparently his relief expenditures have not served to increase purchasing power by a redistribution of liquid wealth, which can be their only economic justification. We must ask, ‘What has become of the billions of dollars spent on relief, if they have not been consumed in the sale of goods?’ Whether the slum dweller purchased food or the farmer a new automobile, government relief checks went into the use of goods. This is obvious from the constant rise in national income. Increased consumption of goods could only mean increased production of goods, increased employment, and increased services.
Both problems, relief and unemployment, have been discussed irrationally and emotionally, because it is impossible to obtain accurate and official data with regard to how many employable persons are out of work in the United States. The estimates of unemployed generally quoted are guesses which have not been checked and cannot be proved. Until the New York Sun commenced to publish irrefutable evidence of reëmployment, the basic figure used not only by private individuals but even by government officials was that of the American Federation of Labor, which clung to the rough total of about 10,000,000 men and women, sometimes more, sometimes less. This figure is not based upon scientifically gathered data: it represents a guess.
Here we have the amazing spectacle of a government spending billions of dollars to solve a problem and not spending a dollar to determine how acute the problem is. We have counted sheep and trees, we have employed men and women on queer intellectual tasks to keep them occupied, but we have never dared to spend a dollar on a census of employment so that we might know how many are unemployed. The government maintains a Census Bureau which is adequately equipped to do this chore; tens of thousands of WPA workers can be assigned to it to do the actual census taking. It is not more difficult to take a census of employment than it is to take a census of the nation. Why has nothing been done about it?
Can the answer be that a census of employment might prove that the size of the expenditures on relief is not justified? Accurate data on unemployment might raise the political question of the inaccurate basis for relief activity. In short, perhaps the assumption of enormous unemployment has been, during the past two years, a political necessity.
At the very moment, July 1936, when the government speaks of 11,000,000 unemployed, a survey of manufacturing industries shows that, in 1929, 8,600,000 men and women were employed in manufacturing industries, and to-day 7,000,000 are so employed. The deficit, then, is 1,600,000. These figures do not account for construction, mining, and transportation workers, among whom unemployment is undoubtedly much higher. The general emphasis has been upon ‘industry,’ and I have taken the principal section of industry and have shown what a payroll analysis will produce.
The New York Sun analyzes the unemployed figures after a survey of employers’ payroll data. It estimates that the net unemployment in mechanical and manufacturing industries (including clerical workers), in trade (including clerical workers), extraction of minerals, and transportation and communication (including clerical workers), shows 3,643,000 unemployed in 1936 out of a total employable population of 29,223,000.
These figures do not have the validity of a scientific census, but the method of gathering the data, plus similar estimates based upon payroll data, plus the failure of either the government or the American Federation of Labor successfully to impeach these figures, gives them an authority which no other compilation on this subject enjoys. I personally do not accept the Sun’s figures, as I do not accept any figures compiled by learned doctors of philosophy. No figures are acceptable until there has been a census of employment. The reason I prefer the Sun’s guess to the many guesses of professional statisticians is that the Sun uses payroll data, which are more credible than relief or compensation data, which the statisticians seem to like. After all, a payroll deals with actual employment of employable people.
It must be noted, however, that these figures do not include farmers, professional persons, or the services. Undoubtedly the bulk of unemployment is in these latter fields. With regard to them there is’no authentic information from any source, governmental or private. If we provide relief, we do it blindly, not knowing whether relief is required or not.
It is probable that an accurate census would show that more than half of all those on relief are agricultural persons, and that of these many have substituted the word ‘unemployment’ for the seasonal characteristics of their vocation. That is, in the old days the farmer took the winter off, except for watering and servicing his cattle, for indoor chores of various sorts. Now he calls that unemployment.
It should be apparent, from the inadequacy of reliable data, that after six years we are still guessing about the source of our national troubles. Even if every figure used in this article is an accurate estimate, there are still blind alleys where not even an estimate is possible. This is particularly true in rural communities where even young men go on relief in preference to working on farms.
Clearly, this question cannot longer remain in the dark if we are to solve the problem of relief. We may be relieving the destitute unemployed, but we may also be relieving the habituated unemployable. We may be helping men and women over a bad time, but we may also be breeding a population that will not work for a living. The country needs scientifically gathered facts — facts that are indisputably accurate.
Certain facts regarding this problem are by no means as doubtful as the actual number of unemployed. The cost of relief to the government and the losses to business, due to shrinkage of values as well as actual expenditures, are available in detail.
The Cleveland Trust Company Business Bulletin of March 15, 1936, which is prepared under the direction of Leonard Ayres, provides a comparison between what business has spent for recovery and what the government has spent. The use of the word ‘recovery’ is unfortunate, but it is a loose common denominator to make such a comparison possible.
Up to the time of the compilation of these figures, business, between 1930 and 1934, had spent $26,600,000,000, while the government had spent $12,500,000,000(payments in excess of receipts). This vast sum that the depression cost business must not be regarded as additional to government expenditures, but as a protection for the continuity of plant and personnel. Yet, unavoidably this $26,600,000,000 must be included in the cost to the nation of unemployment and relief.
These costs may be evaluated in many ways. In 1929, when the problem of unemployment and relief did not concern us, government expenditures — federal, state, and local, but not including debt redemption and tax refunds— amounted to $11,709,000,000; by 1934this figure had risen to $14,449,000,000. But the later figure becomes more emphatic when it is pointed out that the federal expenditure was $3,046,000,000in 1929and had risen to $6,784,000,000by 1934, or more than double — and this during a period of receding national income. The figures for 1935will show an increase for federal expenditures, the total for that year, corrected to conform with the already quoted figures, showing an expenditure of $6,844,400,000.
In 1934and 1935, the expenditures for relief purposes of the Federal Government amounted to $7,658,000,000. It is interesting to note that the ordinary expenditures of the government during those two years amounted to $5,888,000,000, or approximately $2,000,000,000 less. Part of this relief money was paid out directly by the Federal Government and part of it was distributed to the states. If sums were wasted in the first category, that may be put down to the necessity for speed in solving a human problem. It is the second category that must give us pause, for here the evidence is indisputable that agricultural states were given preference over industrial states, that Democratic states were shown a preference over Republican states. The remainder of this article will be devoted to the actual operations of relief agencies in both categories.
In his message to Congress on March 18, 1936, President Roosevelt estimated that there were 5,300,000 relief cases in the country. If it were possible to assume that only heads of families are applying, then this would mean that approximately 20,000,000 persons, or a sixth of the population, are on relief. Again we are faced with the paucity of official data. The government steadily refuses to furnish accurate and analytical relief information, and it has fought off Congressional investigations of relief agencies. The result is that we do not know whether the indicated figure represents breadwinners in the sense of family heads, whether there are duplications involving husband and wife relief, whether many members of a family receive relief, so that the family figure is cumulative, and whether those receiving relief are, under the circumstances prevailing before 1930, employables. For instance, in theatrical relief projects we do not know whether those receiving government charity were ever in their lives employed in the theatre. We do not know what percentage of farm relief involves refusal to work as farm hands. Casual evidence on these subjects is plentiful, but there is no official, provable evidence. The government, the only agency that can provide such information, withholds it.
There are thirteen federal agencies handling relief. These are: —
Public Works Administration
Works Progress Administration
Civil Works Administration
Federal Emergency Relief Administration
Federal Surplus Relief Administration
Emergency Conservation Work
Administration for Industrial Recovery
Agricultural Adjustment Administration and Farm Credit Administration
Reconstruction Finance Corporation
Federal Land Banks
Department of Agriculture Relief
Federal Savings and Loan Associations
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
In effect, these agencies divide themselves into four major groups — the Ickes group, the Hopkins group, the Tugwell group, and the Agricultural group.
In 1934, the Ickes group seemed to dominate the situation. Mr. Ickes favors a programme of utilizing the labor paid for by relief in enterprises of permanent value, some of which are self-liquidating. He has the reputation of being an honest and careful administrator, whose insistence upon visible results impedes his ability to spend money rapidly.
The Hopkins enterprises are operated on the basis that pouring money into the market will help solve the problem of unemployment. Mr. Hopkins’s administration has been characterized by profligacy in the use of public funds and by that curious category of relief known as boondoggling, which means useless and meaningless activity. As his object is to move money rapidly to prospective consumers, his administration will hand out checks on the slightest provocation. From May 22, 1933 to December 31, 1935, the FERA expended $2,859,605,085; the CWA disposed of $833,965,000 during the same period. This policy is generally referred to as ‘priming the pump,’ the theory being that if money is put into circulation in this manner purchasing power will be increased and the depression alleviated.
The Tugwell group is now engaged in resettlement efforts, and thus far has little to show for its activities, to which reference is made elsewhere in this article.
I have omitted a discussion of agricultural relief, as this refers principally to the AAA, which is not germane to this article and really involves problems apart from unemployment and relief.
In addition to these four groups, reference must be made to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), which by the act of July 21, 1932 was authorized to lend $300,000,000 to states and their political subdivisions for relief purposes. These loans were secured by bonds issued by the borrowers. The RFC engages in no direct relief; it passes that responsibility on to the states and cities and other federal agencies. In this respect it differs from the PWA, the WPA, and other agencies.
The FERA also left responsibility for actual relief work with local subdivisions, but it went out of existence when the WPA was created by executive order on April 30, 1935. The WPA engages in direct federal relief, the individual acceptor of government charity being on a federal payroll.
Mr. Harry Hopkins, who has been the Administrator of both FERA and WPA, has adopted the policy of paying an increasing amount to the relief recipient, which has resulted in an unfortunate competition between private employers of labor and the relief agencies for personnel. In a word, when relief is high enough, it does not pay a worker to work for private employers. No better example of the effects of Mr. Hopkins’s policy has appeared than that cited by Senator Vandenberg in his speech on the subject, of May 12: —
I am speaking, Mr. President, about what happened in Fulton, New York. In 1928, private employment took care of 3464 workers and private charity took care of 136 cases at a cost of $17,500. In 1936, private employment takes care of 4327 workers and government charity takes care of 858 cases at a cost of $350,000.
Not only does the number of workers in private industry increase heavily, but the private payrolls increase from a pre-depression high of $2,753,000 to a 1936 altitude of $4,404,027. But at the same time, in this same city which ‘the depression missed,’ the relief cases have multiplied 600 per cent and the cost of the relief load has multiplied 2000 per cent.
There never has been any uniformity in policy or regulation of either FERA or WPA expenditures. Different calculations have been applied to different areas. For instance, 60 per cent of all funds used in Delaware came from the state and municipalities between 1933 and 1935, inclusive, whereas in South Carolina 1.9 per cent came from the state. During that period thirteen states furnished less than 10 per cent of relief funds expended within their borders. Only three states paid more than 50 per cent.
Such states as Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, Montana, and New Mexico seem to have been treated remarkably well by the government agencies, whereas Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Indiana were, comparatively speaking, left out in the cold.
The cost of emergency relief during 1935 runs from a cost per relief case (including the overhead charges and materials used) of $196 for Kentucky to more than $800 for Nevada. New York averaged about $600 per case. It is very difficult to understand these differences. We find that the cost per person on relief in Nevada was $346.61 in 1935, whereas it was only $172.20 in New York. Yet, the cost of living and overhead expenses in New York are higher than in Nevada.
The WPA, which succeeded the FERA, has never defined what constitutes a person entitled to relief. No act of Congress defined that for three years. No differentiation was made between employables and unemployables, between citizens and aliens, between those for whom private employment may be found and those who prefer, as a matter of personal choice, either to remain on relief rolls or to do some ‘made’ work for the WPA. Mr. Hopkins decided that all persons who got jobs on the WPA should have been on the relief rolls during November 1935. Why? Why not October or December 1935, or January 1936? It is a bit hard to understand the reasons for such arbitrary decisions.
Again, vast variations were evident in the cost of administration of the Hopkins agencies.
On the average, the FERA spent 10.7 per cent of all its funds expended on administration. Mr. Hoover once told me, if I recall his remarks correctly, that it cost about 2 per cent to administer relief agencies under his control during and after the war. Under the FERA, administrative expenses varied from a high of 18.3 per cent for South Carolina to a low of 5.4 per cent in Vermont. It is interesting to note that generally expenses in the Southern states were high and the New England states low; yet salary costs are higher in New England than in the South. It is not easy to understand these differences in overhead costs.
For instance, the WPA spends an average of $972 to employ one man for a year. This sum is computed as follows: $600 is the worker’s wages, while $372 goes for material and supervision. The amount of pay that the man receives is supposed to be based upon local living costs. The monthly rate may vary: for instance, Connecticut, $64.33; Rhode Island, $56.93; Massachusetts, $59.38. Yet, the cost of living in these three states is the same. In New York City, the monthly rate of wages averages $72.23. It is difficult from these figures to discover Mr. Hopkins’s method of computing the variations in living costs in these different areas.
The United States undoubtedly faces a problem of marginal people. It is impossible and unnecessary here to enter upon an analysis of the history or sociology of the groups that have not adjusted themselves or been adjusted to the times. Few Eastern or Southern states are without large numbers of such maladjusted people. In addition, the depression has undoubtedly had the effect of distorting the lives of a great many Americans.
The problems raised by this situation are not to be dealt with lightly. They require thorough study and analysis. Dr. Tugwell has himself stated his problem in an article which appears in the Congressional Record of May 15: —
The new frontiers opened to Americans by the Resettlement Administration take into account many people who have literally been misplaced or forgotten in the hit-ormiss methods of our national development. There are, for example, the young married farm couples just starting out in life. Had they lived three generations ago, they would have moved westward with the tide of migration. Had they been born one generation earlier, they would have moved to the cities with the tide of industrial expansion. Now they find themselves out of time — stranded couples. They have no alternative except to start as hired servants or farm tenants, and in many cases even these opportunities are closed to them.
Then there are the stranded people — families whose breadwinners have been employed in forestry or in coal, lead, zinc, iron, and other mines which have been fully exploited and are now practically exhausted. With the resources gone, they have no way to turn. Part-time work combined with small-scale farming can save them.
Finally, there are good farmers in the farm-tenant class who have been caught in the meshes of an economic arrangement from which they cannot extricate themselves without assistance.
Families from all these classes, in addition to those who have been living on submarginal land which has been purchased by the Federal Government, furnish the candidates for resettlement. It is only right and fair that the new frontiers be opened to these people.
To Dr. Tugwell has been assigned the task of caring for this unhappy clan. His title is Administrator of the Resettlement Administration, and, with the passage of the Emergency Relief Act of 1935, he was given authority and $278,000,000 as a starter.
His administration has been subject to severe criticism, as seems to have been inevitable. Nevertheless, certain facts stand out from the routine. The varieties of activity undertaken are thus described by Dr. Tugwell: —
The Federal Government, aware of the situation, has embarked on a nation-wide programme of land use designed to conserve our natural resources, leading to a proper readjustment between the people and the land.
To carry out a major portion of this programme, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, on April 30, 1935, established the Resettlement Administration.
The Resettlement Administration has been charged with a number of duties all designed to benefit large numbers of our people who are in need of help — to initiate projects on behalf of rural families and industrial workers in our cities, to alleviate the distress of farmers in our rural areas, and to carry on specific work useful to the nation as a whole.
The work which the Resettlement Administration is doing may be summed up as follows: —
1. Initiating and administering projects to check the misuse of our land.
2. Making loans to farmers and reëstablishing their credit, so as to ‘put them on their feet again.’
3. Initiating projects involving the resettlement of distressed people in rural areas.
4. Fostering town planning and demonstrating both the need and the feasibility of adequate housing for city families with modest incomes.
The various phases of this work in adjusting the people of the nation to the land on which they live are interrelated. They are all parts of a coördinated effort to achieve a more stable national economy. It is just as important for the city laborer, the craftsman, the clerk, the merchant, and the banker that this work be done as it is for the farmer, the share-cropper, and the rural resident. The problems that face us are not new. They were implicit in the careless way our continent was settled.
More than $44,000,000 is reported to have been designed for the purchase of submarginal lands, consisting of 9,700,000 acres, comprising 18,000 farms of which some are now under actual cultivation. But is not this relief measure in direct conflict with the reduction of farm acreage under the agricultural relief policy of the AAA ?
Again, why should so much land be purchased under this programme in Montana and so little in the Eastern states? Montana is receiving $5,000,000 under this particular dispensation.
Four suburbs in as many states are to be developed at the cost of $31,000,000. These projects are situated at Boundbrook, New Jersey; Cincinnati, Ohio; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Berwyn, Maryland. The idea is to establish model homes, surrounded by green country in which the people will be self-supporting, thanks to a combination of agriculture and industry.
The New Jersey experiment at Hightstown is an amazing venture. The plan is to remove a number of garment workers from New York City, settle them in this model town, and make them self-supporting by setting them up in the garment business, in which they already have experience. The Baron de Hirsch Fund has been expended in the same region for decades on a much larger and more practical scale, but without a brilliant success.
It is planned to place two hundred Jewish families in the new colony. Each family is to deposit $500, and the entire project is to cost $1,800,000 — that is, if the government is not to lose money in the manufacture of clothing. The Workers Aim Coöperative Association is in charge of this venture; but so far evidence is lacking that an isolated garment enterprise near Hightstown can compete in the astonishingly complicated garment market in New York. The preparation has run into thirty-one months.
The government enterprise enters into direct competition with highly unionized labor, in an industry where the margin of profit is so small as to imperil a living wage and where there is a large turnover of employees annually because of the precarious changes in taste and fashion. No matter how the experiment may develop, is there not a danger that its mere presence may dislocate all efforts to stabilize prices and, therefore, wages in the garment trade?
It has been increasingly obvious in large cities like New York, and to a lesser degree in smaller places, that WPA workers can be organized into permanent bodies for the perpetuation of relief. In New York, an organization exists which puts signs in shops bearing slogans such as these: —
WE VALUE WPA WORKERS’ PATRONAGE
WE FAVOR WPA EXPANSION
These organizations have conducted WPA strikes in many cities; in New York and elsewhere they have picketed WPA headquarters. They refuse to recognize the fact that relief is charity, but take the stand that the government owes them a living, which obligation it is fulfilling inadequately. The League of the Physically Handicapped, after picketing the New York WPA headquarters, marched on Washington, where they besieged Mr. Hopkins’s offices. At Trenton, New Jersey, and at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, WPA workers besieged the legislature. In Madison, Wisconsin, the Assembly was taken over for a period.
These manifestations are indicative of an attitude among relief recipients which might conceivably be threatening to the nation. For, whereas the national conception is that relief is a temporary expedient designed to help people in distress, the relief workers are adopting the attitude that they are a permanent class of dispossessed human beings who have a lien upon the state and who by mass pressure can dictate its policies as regards themselves.
In New York (and undoubtedly the same condition obtains in other portions of the country), the Communist Party has used relief as a means for subsidizing its members and supporting its programme. Allen Raymond, in the New York Herald Tribune, provided names, dates, and places to prove this alliance between relief and the Communists. He showed the organization of the Unemployed Councils by the Communist Party with about fifty locals, charging members ten cents a month, which in the aggregate amounts to a tidy sum used for Communist propaganda. These organizations have favored a programme not only of expanding the WPA, but of making it permanent in character, so that those who devote themselves to the destruction of the state may be financed by the state.
And when Victor Kidder, the New York Administrator, opposed these organizations, he was vetoed by the Administration in Washington, which formally recognized them for purposes of collective bargaining.
This pressure may become an effective menace to orderly government during the period of a presidential election. If one can envisage the danger of having 3,000,000, or even more, men and women, many of them voters, organized as a body dependent upon the national treasury for their subsistence, then the picture presents itself in all its menacing realities. May there not be a temptation to those in control of government to utilize this vast force to perpetuate themselves in office?
The peril to democracy is that this body of men and women may succeed in imposing their will upon those in control of government so that the government will not be able to free itself of the incubus of supporting an increasingly large body of nonproductive citizens. No democracy can withstand the corrosive effects of such an acid. It will eat into the vitals of government finance. It will destroy free capital by exorbitant taxation. It places a premium upon idleness and vagrancy. It makes a fool of the orderly, productive citizen.
The State of New Jersey was the first in the Union to become free of general relief programmes. The state lacked funds to continue contributing its share to this type of relief. It thereupon threw back upon the local government — that is, the cities, villages, and counties — the necessity of providing relief. The state went back to its Poor Law, and the Overseers of the Poor took charge of the 270,000 persons who had been on relief rolls.
Relief was immediately pared down to subsistence necessities; the reduction in numbers on relief was immediately evident. On March 31, 7982 were on relief in Atlantic City; on May 29, the city reported about 3000. In Trenton, relief during the second half of April was 79 per cent less costly than during the first half; in Camden, a 40 per cent decrease in costs was reported. Hoboken slashed its relief roll from 2000 to 90 in a few weeks.
Miss Helen R. McCormack, City Welfare Supervisor of Trenton, discussing these reductions, said: —
For example, we had many cases where the father was out of work, but a boy had a job, and under ERA the family was getting supplementary relief. Our investigators would explain the situation to such a family and say from now on they’ll just have to get along on Johnny’s wages. Almost invariably the wife would turn to the husband then and say something like this: ‘Now you’ve got to go out and get a job. I told you there would n’t be any more relief.’ . . .
Business and employment conditions are much better than a year ago. Men who had got used to being on relief and had stopped looking for work have been surprised to find when they were actually cut off relief that they could get jobs. There have been many such cases. And the men themselves are much more happy to be able to get work again. My experience has been that most of the men on relief would rather be able to work.
The New Jersey evidence is not conclusive for the entire country. It may be that special conditions prevail in that state. But this is conclusive, that the Federal Government has steadily resisted and rejected any investigation of its relief agencies. At a time when some agency of the government is investigating nearly everything and everyone in the country, the Administration views an investigation of Harry Hopkins or Dr. Tugwell with horror. Arthur Krock, in his column on the editorial page of the New York Times on April 29, begins his article on such an investigation with the following paragraph : —
WPA is so costly and so wasteful, PWA is so slow, and the Administration is so definitely opposed to a reversion to the direct dole in advance of an election, that persons honestly seeking a solution of the problem of relief are calling more insistently for an efficient reëxamination of the whole subject. There is no evidence that this call will be heeded at the White House. Yet, to respond would solve several perplexities for the President.
No Commission to make such an investigation has been appointed. No Senate, no House inquisition has been arranged. On the floor of the Senate, it has been stated that federal relief agencies were destroying their files; nothing has been done about that. Senator Vandenberg has offered a substitute to keep relief clean; nothing has been done about that, either.
The Administration is clearly afraid of an investigation of relief because it is political dynamite. It is impossible, in the United States, to spend money on the scale that these agencies have without tar sticking to the clothes of the spenders. It is generally recognized and conceded that Mr. Ickes has administered the PWA honestly and effectively. But neither by life experience nor by point of view are Mr. Hopkins and Dr. Tugwell prepared for the expenditure of billions of dollars and the administration of nation-wide agencies, and that can be said without even slightly questioning the honor or integrity of the men. One is a social worker of limited scope, the other a Columbia University professor. Neither has had any preparation to cope with the wiles of politicians or the trickeries of vicious human nature. Granting their essential honesty and their lofty humanitarian concepts, neither of the men is suited for a job which requires its own liquidation.
Either the relief agencies are designed to be emergency organizations, to be liquidated as soon as possible, or they become part of a permanent bureaucracy. As temporary organizations they can do little harm, even though all the money assigned to them be wasted. As permanent organizations they must make their recipients permanent beggars. I use this strong and ugly word because none other wall serve. There can be no other explanation for the continued size of relief rolls when there is obvious increase in employment throughout the country. The investigations of the New York Sun, if they amount to nothing more, challenge the Administration on this score.
And whereas, in an emergency, it is possible to forgive inefficiency, incompetence, profligacy, and even graft, if these relief organizations of the government are to become permanent, it is not possible to forgive anything. It is then necessary to audit every item of expenditure, to probe every policy, and to expose every error.
More than that, relief, as an emergency, may be expensive and stupidly handled, but, since it will pass when the emergency is over, it need not be related to national policy. If, however, relief is to become permanent, it must be made to fit into a scheme of American principles. It must become constitutional. It must not interfere with democratic government. It must not become a wedge for collectivism.