The Charlotte News
Monday, May 23, 1955
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Government scientists and representatives of the five manufacturing firms which produced the Salk polio vaccine had assembled this date in Washington to study evidence which could lead to early clearance of existing supplies of the vaccine or additional delay in the release of available supplies pending further testing, in the wake of 79 breakthrough cases, two having been added on Saturday, reported by patients who had been vaccinated and thereafter had been diagnosed with polio, of whom a total of five had been fatal, out of nearly six million children thus far vaccinated. There had been 682 cases of polio diagnosed since April 10 among all age groups, the vaccine having been initially licensed for distribution on April 12. The meeting group would advise Surgeon General Leonard Scheele, who would render the final decisions as soon as possible. The latter had said that the meeting was called to review the findings of the Public Health Service inspectors during their plant-by-plant study of testing and manufacturing procedures among the companies producing the vaccine. Dr. Jonas Salk, developer of the vaccine, who had been present at the previous discussions, had sent word that he could not attend this date's meeting. The Public Health Service had recommended a halt in the vaccination program 15 days earlier, but had since cleared the vaccine previously distributed by two of the manufacturers, Parke-Davis and Eli Lilly, much of that vaccine, however, having already been used.
The Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee had, meanwhile, arranged to meet in closed session this date to consider various proposals for Federal control over manufacture and distribution of the vaccine. The Administration, through HEW Secretary Oveta Culp Hobby, had said that there was no need for such controls, but Democratic leaders had forecast that the Committee would approve a bill providing for standby controls. Senator Lister Hill of Alabama, chairman of the Committee, said during the weekend that he hoped the Committee could, within a few days, complete its work regarding a bill to provide the President with authority to control the distribution of the vaccine in the event black markets or other unforeseen circumstances developed. The House Commerce Committee, chaired by Congressman Percy Priest of Tennessee, announced plans to begin hearings the following Wednesday on the President's request for 28 million dollars to assure vaccine shots for indigent children.
Dick Young of The News indicates that Charlotte's inoculation teams were ready to go into action overnight after receipt of certified vaccine to resume the inoculation program of the first and second-grade schoolchildren. The program had been scheduled to resume this date but because of the delay at the Federal level, would not take place. The City-County public health officer said that there was no certified vaccine available locally in any event. Slightly more than 10,000 children within the City and County schools had received the vaccinations locally, having received their first shots under the national program paid for by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, with their second shots now due.
The President stated this date in Washington, in an address to his Committee on Employment of the Physically Handicapped, that a free society had to extend opportunity to the physically handicapped to make use of their talents just as it used those of other citizens. He presented a trophy to Judge Sam Cathey of Asheville, N.C., chosen by the Committee as "The Handicapped Man of the Year". The blind judge was board chairman of the State Commission for the Blind and had been on the city bench in Asheville for 24 years. He had been blinded in a construction accident when he was 19, and, after five years at the State School for the Blind in Raleigh, had graduated in three years from UNC in 1923 as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and then passed the bar examination after an additional year in law school, then started practicing law in Asheville. He had also founded the North Carolina State Association for the Blind.
In Raleigh, the General Assembly entered its final week of the 1955 biennial session, which had begun on January 5, and would equal the longest session in modern history if it adjourned as scheduled at the conclusion of the legislative day on Wednesday, the record-setting 1931 session having convened on January 7 and adjourned on May 27. This night, the State Senate would begin the formality of three readings of the revenue bill to raise 9.768 million in additional taxes to balance the budget, with the second reading to occur the following day and the third on Wednesday, as no two readings could occur on the same day. The Senate was expected to provide final approval this night to a House-passed bill which would authorize six State-supported colleges to issue revenue bonds for the erection of new dormitories costing a total of 8 million dollars, with the bonds to be paid off with money received from room rents and from increases in room rents at existing dormitories.
Also in Raleigh, the UNC Board of Trustees this date prepared to draft a statement of policy regarding the admission of black students, the Board having been informed that the University was threatened with legal action by black applicants seeking admission to undergraduate programs, with a late bulletin indicating that the Board had adopted a formal policy statement that black applicants were not to be admitted to undergraduate programs at schools of the Consolidated University's three branches. Presently, the University admitted black applicants only to graduate programs which were not taught at State-supported black institutions. The University had thus far not admitted any black applicants to undergraduate programs, though neither the State Constitution, the University bylaws, nor the minutes of the Board specifically prohibited the admission of black applicants as undergraduates. UNC president Gordon Gray had read to the Board a letter from C. O. Pearson of Durham, chairman of the legal redress committee of the North Carolina branch of the NAACP, indicating an intention to sue on the basis of the rejection of applications of three black students to the Chapel Hill campus, indicating also that there had been two other applications of black students to the University and one to a summer session of Woman's College in Greensboro, one of the other two branches, along with N.C. State in Raleigh.
In Asheville, W. W. Kale of Charlotte, president of Kale-Lawing Co., an office supply and equipment retailer, had been elected this date president of the North Carolina Merchants Association, at the opening session of the Association's 53rd annual convention.
Also in Asheville, all except one of seven prisoners who had escaped on Friday from a Yancey County road gang had been captured, two prisoners, one from Charlotte, serving a 10 to 15 year sentence for breaking and entering as well as larceny, and the other, from Salisbury, serving 5 to 10 years for larceny, having been captured in Charlotte the previous night after being held in jail there. The prisoner who remained at large, also from Charlotte, was serving 10 to 15 years for robbery. An escapee of Elon College had been captured late the previous day after he allegedly forced two South Carolina women at gunpoint to drive him 15 miles along the Blue Ridge Parkway until he stole and wrecked their car. He had been serving 5 to 7 years for larceny, not at Elon College, but at the Yancey County prison camp. Three of the prisoners had been caught the prior Friday night.
In Charlotte, a weekend rainstorm brought an end to a spring drought, delivering 3.58 inches of rain, starting Saturday morning and continuing through the previous night, bringing the monthly total to 5.17 inches. The heavy rains had raised the level of creeks in the county and high winds had added to the fury of the storm, with some trees having been blown down and limbs and branches scattered across the streets and roads. Lightning strikes had caused some fires and knocked out power lines and transformers, with one house having been damaged when a two-alarm fire started in its attic the previous evening. The steeple of the First Presbyterian Church had been struck, but no damage had been reported.
In Dearborn, Mich., a ten-year old boy who was Dearborn's pogo stick jumping champion, was retiring without defending his title, having bobbed up and down 1,013 times in setting the local pogo stick jumping record. After he set his record, he found that his stomach continued to go up and down, so that for two days he could not eat anything but ice cream.
On the editorial page, "A Plea for Legislative Fair Play" indicates that while it could not comment on the situation of Asheville-Biltmore College or Wilmington College, regarding their efforts to obtain State funding, it could assert that there was a great need for State support of higher education in Charlotte.
The State House and the Mecklenburg delegation thereto had agreed with that assessment, as the House had passed, almost unanimously, a measure providing Charlotte, Asheville-Biltmore and Wilmington Colleges $25,000 each and Carver College of Charlotte, an all-black institution, $10,000 annually. But the bill had failed to obtain a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee the previous Friday, with the next meeting the following day, at which point it would be virtually dead for the session were it again to fail to obtain a hearing.
It urges that there was no reason why the Senate should fail to concur with the sincere desires of each of those communities to obtain State support for their community colleges, and hopes that the bill would be heard by the Committee the following day so that it could reach the Senate floor for a vote before adjournment. It indicates that there was no question that the $85,000 per year necessary for that support could be found and likewise that the need was great for the State-supported institutions in areas with insufficient facilities for higher education. It concludes that an 11th hour attempt to bottle up the proposed legislation would be most unbecoming to the Legislature.
"Where Was Charlie and His Ruler?" indicates that there was more than the title of the musical comedy, "Where's Charley?", suggested by the latest information foul-up at the Pentagon, after Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson had ruled the previous month that only "constructive" military information should be released by the Pentagon. A terse announcement the prior week had stated that the Russians were making formation flights with intercontinental bombers, with the Pentagon providing no clarification as to the meaning of the announcement. Senator Walter George of Georgia said that the announcement was an attempt to influence Senate consideration of the Administration's defense budget, while Hanson Baldwin, the military expert for the New York Times, agreed with that assessment, saying that the information was a year old. But Brig. General Woodbury Burgess, deputy chief of staff of intelligence in the Continental Air Defense Command, had said "the Russian air force is currently at least as good as ours, possibly better." Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri, former Secretary of the Air Force under President Truman, then called for an investigation of Air Force strength. Air Force chief of staff Nathan Twining said that General Burgess had not told the truth, and Air Force Secretary Harold Talbott convinced at least three Senators that American strength in the air was unsurpassed. Then the President, at his weekly press conference, added nothing concrete to the Pentagon's announcement, although brushing aside Senator Symington's suggested probe.
As a result, the report remained obscure and the piece wants to know where Secretary Wilson had been with his "constructive" yardstick when the release came out of the Pentagon. It cannot see anything constructive in the report, suggests that it might have been constructive had reporters been given the right to question and evaluate it, rather than suspecting it as propaganda. It urges that Mr. Wilson ought re-study the dictionary and his secrecy policy.
"To Be or Not To Be; That
Is...." declares that "waiting for candidates to announce
their candidacy is like waiting to see if there will be elephants in
the circus parade", that first would come "the bands, the
colored wagons, the clowns, the steam calliopes and then, just as the
suspense becomes unbearable, old Jumbo finally lumbers into view—head
thrown back, trunk waving, trumpeting magnificently. And the crowd
goes wild." At least, it finds, that was the fanciful spectacle
which American politicians liked to conjure in the smoke-filled
rooms, even though it never actually occurred that way, with everybody
except the elephants seeming to know that there were going to be
elephants. (Whether it was motivated to construct its simile by the
front page photograph of poor old Queenie who keeled over and died on
the Central Expressway near Dallas following a traffic accident
It examines the question of whether Governor Luther Hodges would run in 1956 in the gubernatorial election, eligible because he had succeeded the late Governor William B. Umstead at his death the prior November, with North Carolina Governors at the time normally not able to succeed themselves. It suggests that most North Carolinians believed that Governor Hodges would run, but he had hedged on disclosing that intent at his news conference recently when asked his intentions, saying that he had not made up his mind, that it was premature for him to make an announcement at the present time. Nevertheless, the impression was very clear that he did want to continue as Governor.
It indicates that there once had been a time when those in politics plainly stated their intentions, as when General William T. Sherman had stated that if elected, he would not serve, and when President Calvin Coolidge had stated in 1928 that he did not choose to run again. By contrast, President Truman had said in 1947 that he wanted to keep his job the following year. But forthrightness in such matters was the exception rather than the rule.
It says that it liked the approach taken by Will Rogers when he had said: "I not only 'don't choose to run' but I don't even want to leave a loophole in case I am drafted, so I won't 'choose'. I will say 'won't run' no matter how bad the country will need a comedian by that time."
A piece of from the Shelby Daily Star, titled "Guilsyth in 2005", tells of J. E. Gibson, retiring president of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, having predicted that within 50 years the three cities of Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem would combine to form one single city.
It indicates that the three cities presently comprised a triangle, the greatest distance between any two of the cities being 28 miles, that between Winston-Salem and Greensboro, and that the urban populations of Guilford and Forsyth Counties presently exceeded 225,000.
It suggests that if Mr. Gibson's prophecy were to come to pass, and if medical science were to enable those presently living to continue to live and be active in community affairs despite chronological aging limitations, certain predictions could be made about the year 2005: That the community would be known as "Guilsyth", with a population of 1.5 million persons, not including mechanical men; Holt McPherson, presently of the Star, would control the McPherson News as sole proprietor, and, pointing to the progress made by Guilsyth, would, in an editorial in his newspaper, proclaim:
"When co-Presidents Richard
Nixon and Adlai Stevenson arrive by stratoplane at the Norfleet-Cone
Airdrome today, they will be witnessing a half-century of
advancement. The co-Presidents will speak in unison tonight at the
High Rock Lake Park Hotel, introduced by Marshall Kurfees, [Mayor of Winston-Salem in 1955], now serving his 20th term as mayor
"Prior to the banquet, a parade was conducted 40 miles along a rolling sidewalk, the floats and exhibits featuring products of the community, one of which is typical: a Bur-Mil-Hanes-Reynolds smoking jacket that can be worn, smoked, eaten or used for decorative purposes.
"'The next task remaining before this city,' editorialized McPherson, 'is the annexation of Charlotte to the Guilsyth city limits.'
"Guilsyth has attempted to annex Charlotte before but court action has prevented the reasonable merger, and the matter is now before the U.S. Supreme Court, presided over by Chief Justice Pete McKnight."
Mr. McKnight, of course, had been editor of The News before departing the prior summer for his job with the Education Reporting Service in Nashville, keeping newspapers and other press affiliates aware of developments in the desegregation of public schools in the South in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education, initially having taken only a leave of absence from his position at the News, but eventually deciding not to return, about to take a job in July as editor of the competing Charlotte Observer. Mr. McPherson had not explained, of course, how that translated into an appointment along the way to the Supreme Court, or when, during that interim, he had obtained his law degree. But we should not quibble with the historical record thus established in unerring prophecy.
We do know, of course, that it is quite preposterous to have suggested that Messrs. Nixon and Stevenson would become "co-Presidents".
It would be the case, however, that
Mr. Nixon would run in 1956 instead of President Eisenhower, who
would retire to his farm in Gettysburg, Mr. Nixon beating Senator
John F. Kennedy
The weak attempt at humor at the end
of the nationally televised address had fallen flat and the personal
dig at Mr. Nixon had badly backfired, as the latter had exhibited,
throughout the campaign, only magnanimity and brotherly affection
toward Senator Kennedy, referring repeatedly to him as "the
young and diligent Senator Kennedy from Massachusetts, whom we all
love and adore, but who needs additional seasoning before becoming
President, and, in that event, one day, I sincerely hope and expect
to be his faithful adviser as a former President, and would be
honored and happy to make my knowledge and experience available to
him in that capacity, but cannot, in good conscience, at the present
time, recommend him, summoning all of the objectivity at my command gleaned from my
years of Congressional and executive branch service, for the role as
your next President, as there are just too many important issues at
work on the world stage to entrust to someone who has less than four
years experience in the Senate, such as Senator Kennedy, and without the foreign policy
expertise of someone such as myself, which I have been fortunate enough to accumulate in my nearly
four years as your Vice-President working closely with President Eisenhower on every major decision of the Administration, meeting with world leaders on a regular basis,
especially during my Good Neighbor trips to our friends in Latin America,
who, I believe, love me and respect me with the full devotion perhaps offered to no one else in the history of the executive branch of this great country
of ours. I say that not out of hubris, of course, but with the greatest
level of humble respect for our Latin American friends
That speech, repeated throughout the campaign in different forms and in different time zones, had been given for the last time in Alaska at 3:00 a.m. EST, before a group of only 20 Eskimos huddled around a fire built inside a communal igloo, just prior to the 1956 election, but, nevertheless, was widely covered by the press and, indeed, received a delayed television broadcast worldwide later that day over all of the major networks, and was greeted, astoundingly, by the American people, and those of many foreign lands, with such unprecedented approbation, possibly not so uniformly provided to any man of politics since one of the orations of the great Caesars of old, that it is considered by most presidential historians as the primary reason that the polls suddenly flipped heavily in favor of Mr. Nixon on just the eve of the election, similar to the impact of President Truman's late whistle-stop campaign across the country during the closing weeks of the 1948 campaign, such that Mr. Nixon wound up winning 49 states, all save Massachusetts, and won the popular vote by a margin of 60.7 percent to 37.5 percent over Senator Kennedy, the worst defeat in a presidential race since FDR had beaten Governor Alf Landon of Kansas in 1936.
In the wake of that election, there were rumblings on the part of the embittered Democrats in both the House and the Senate, that they would insist on an investigation, to be headed in the Senate by Senator Sam J. Ervin of North Carolina, into alleged corrupt practices on the part of the Nixon campaign, which, according to Democrats, had the private slogan, "Elect the Veep, not the Creep", while publicly campaigning under the seemingly milquetoast but quite humorous expression: "We know you, Silent Majority, and have your back, while the Honorable Mr. Kennedy, a laudable man, but without the necessary experience to lead you, will do fine, henceforth, in the U.S. Senate serving the good and honorable people of Massachusetts."
It was rumored that the Vice-President's campaign had bugged the Democratic National Committee headquarters during the summer prior to the election and had obtained thereby crucial information which enabled the campaign to anticipate every move by the Kennedy campaign and present Mr. Nixon as someone on par with Nostradamus in his ability to predict the future, playing well among a certain segment of the electorate. But the allegations were never proven, and because Republicans had recaptured both houses in the 1956 elections, the efforts by the desperate Democrats to promote an investigation fizzled prior to liftoff, Senator Ervin, because of his leadership role in promoting the need for the investigation, having been defeated in the 1962 Democratic Senate primary by former Governor I. Beverly Lake, who, on the strength of his prophetically brilliant oral argument before the Supreme Court re the Brown implementing decision in 1955—which had finally said that the states which presently had segregated schools could take until 1975 if they could show a "genuine need" for that time to accomplish desegregation, dropping a footnote that it had been Mr. Lake's profundity which caused the Court to realize the need for deference to the states in implementation of the 1954 ruling to avoid the prospect of riots in the streets from too speedy implementation, absent "all conscientious deliberation in this gradual rebirth of a nation"—, had gone on to win the 1956 gubernatorial race after defeating Governor Luther Hodges in the Democratic primary.
As a postscript, as everybody knows, both men, it so happened, died peacefully in their sleep on the very same day, just hours apart, Mr. Nixon, at rest in San Clemente, Calif., and Mr. Kennedy, at rest, in his family's compound at Hyannis Port on Cape Cod, Mass., on July 4, 2026, exactly 200 years after Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on the same day, 500 miles apart, the one in Charlottesville, Va., and the other in Quincy, Mass. It was rumored that Mr. Kennedy's last words, emblematic of his long, but obscure, service to the country, were: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country, and what together we can do for the freedom of man." Amazingly, the words attributed at the last to Mr. Nixon ran, similarly, but with a differently nuanced implication: "In our own lives, let each of us ask—not just what will government do for me, but what can I do for myself, not just how government can help, but how can I help."
Both men, according to most political historians, made remarkable contributions to belles-lettres, with Senator Kennedy having won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 2007 with his Profiles in Courage, a memorable last chapter of which had lionized President Nixon and his courageous return, after his triumphant Presidency, to the Senate in 1971, serving alongside Senator Kennedy until both simultaneously retired in January, 2007, Mr. Nixon having shown exceptional political courage, according to Mr. Kennedy in the book, by his willingness to admit publicly in 1970 that he had made a bad mistake early in his Congressional career in 1948 by "going after" Alger Hiss, to whom President Nixon had extended a pardon during his final days in office in 1964, saying in the pardon that he then realized that Mr. Hiss had never been involved in espionage for any foreign power and thus had not committed perjury in 1948, but rather that Whittaker Chambers had, in fact, been the "lying little Commie [expletive deleted] all along, never reformed, any more than you could reform a little cur dog."
Likewise, Mr. Nixon had contributed 13 Crises, his six-volume Presidential memoir, which was a runaway nonfiction bestseller in 1974, winning the National Book Award for that year and named the Best Book of the Year by both the New York Times and the Washington Post, earning kudos from both publications for having brought back to mind "one of the cleanest eras in American politics in the country's history, during the Nixon Administration, known simply by his adoring masses as 'Richard's Wonder Years'", especially noted for its memorable and touching chapter on Senator Kennedy, in which he lauded the Senator for being a good sport following the crushing 1956 defeat, after which the Senator had reportedly asked his fellow Democrats, privately, not to pursue the investigation of the Nixon campaign as it could "tear the country apart for decades to come", with Mr. Nixon revealing in the memoir that in 1969, he had become aware, for the first time, through a deathbed confession of an informant whose name discretion, he said, prevented him from revealing, that rampant hanky-panky had been engaged in by some of his campaign operatives during the 1956 campaign and again in 1960, in the campaign against Senator Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic nominee that year, and that he had made sure, through the RNC leadership, that those individuals were no longer ever working in political campaigns thereafter, and that, henceforth, his Senate campaigns had been and would continue to be "as clean as a hound's tooth", having learned his "profound political and moral lessons from those earlier surreptitiously dirty and amoral campaigns"—an assessment with which most historians fully agree to this day.
And the rest, as they say…
We note, parenthetically, that it
was by an amazing stroke of serendipitous fortuity that President
Nixon, while stopping in Guilsyth during the 1960 campaign, had
befall him a fate which may have saved his life. A child of seven was
viewing the President from afar and the President, for unknown
reasons, locked eyes suddenly with the child, then momentarily
stumbled as he was re-entering his jet-powered limousine, causing him
to injure his knee against the car door, which made it necessary for
him to miss the ensuing two weeks of the campaign. But it was during
that period that the alert work of the FBI uncovered a plot within
the CIA to assassinate President Nixon on September 14, 1960, finding
that the operatives involved, strangely enough, had met in Guilsyth
two weeks earlier during the President's visit there when he injured
his knee, though none of them were from that area. Had the President
not been knocked off the campaign trail during those two weeks,
things might have been very different, in ways which no one could now
say. So the nameless seven-year old, it might be said, saved
President Nixon's life that day in Guilsyth, so that he could serve
the country, not only for another term as President, but, moreover,
for that additional time, not retiring to a life of ease as an
ex-President, filled with the further, fervently dedicated service to
his country during 36 productive and glorious subsequent years in the United
States Senate. Thus it is to the nameless one of Guilsyth...
Drew Pearson again discusses Representative Graham Barden of North Carolina, chairman of the House Labor and Education Committee, indicating that by virtue of his chairmanship, was able to block the construction of new school facilities needed by several million young students, as well as the bill to increase the minimum wage for several million underpaid workers. He had developed a system of holding hearings on school construction in a way that only delayed the Committee's recommendations. He did not like the ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of the previous year, appearing to be the reason why he was seeking to delay the Federal aid to the schools. He also opposed a higher minimum wage because low minimum wages brought more factories from the North to the South and because he was from a farm area with constituents who did not care for high wages. Republicans were helping him in his efforts and Mr. Barden was placing the blame, in return, on Democrats, possibly alienating part of the labor support which previously went to Democrats. The Republicans could swing two votes to the Democrats to out-vote Mr. Barden on the Committee, thus obtaining action on both bills, but would not do it because of their secret agreement with the chairman.
Recently, the Republicans on the Committee had caucused secretly and had voted, under the leadership of Congressman Sam McNeil of Philadelphia, to stall for an additional two weeks, during which time there would be more hearings on the school measure. Meanwhile, labor leaders were becoming angrier at the Democratic leaders, having been to see DNC chairman Paul Butler and Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson, as well as House Speaker Sam Rayburn, the latter having been glum and uncommunicative on the matter because either he could not overrule Mr. Barden or did not want to do so.
Doris Fleeson tells of a group of influential Democrats who had been at a Georgetown garden party when word had arrived that Adlai Stevenson had come home from Africa without making up his mind whether he would run for the presidency in 1956, causing all of them to lament the fact and say that they could not live through that again, referring to his reluctance to run in 1952, finally being drafted by the convention.
Regardless of what they thought, she indicates, a majority of Democrats believed that they could do no better with anyone else than with Mr. Stevenson heading the ticket, and until that situation changed, he would be courted on the notion that it was his duty to run, in the same manner as Republicans were courting the President. A group of friends of Mr. Stevenson were planning to develop some kind of a committee to form the basis for his candidacy.
She suggests that perhaps Mr. Stevenson was instinctively wiser than his critics within the party, as it had been the case through recent history that candidates who would strive too hard for the presidency would ultimately be rejected by the people. Examples were the late Senator Robert Taft, former Governor Thomas Dewey, the late Wendell Willkie, during his second try for the presidency in 1944 after having been the compromise nominee in 1940, perennial candidate Harold Stassen, and Senator Estes Kefauver, the latter having actively sought the nomination in 1952. Some politicians believed that the country became contemptuous of those who showed a particular desire to become president.
She next regards the Philadelphia mayoral race, with Democrat Richardson Dilworth, the present District Attorney, running against Republican Thacher Longstreth, who had worked for the Citizens for Eisenhower in 1952, both of whom were progressives, not part of the old Philadelphia machine, and, she suggests, whoever won the race would serve the people well. Mr. Longstreth, according to Republicans off the record, would provide new life to the tired Pennsylvania organization and, they believed and asserted, would give them the governorship in 1956.
Congressional Quarterly discusses the bill before Congress to tax cooperatives, with the National Tax Equality Association being a long-time champion of the legislation and now making a concerted effort to curtail the exemption presently enjoyed by the co-ops. Against the legislation was a politically potent bloc of cooperatives.
Part of the pressure was being directed at the Treasury Department, where officials were working on a schedule of revisions in the 1954 tax law, with the NTEA's main objective being to have the Treasury recommend higher taxes for co-ops and mutual associations, while the other phase of the lobbying effort was directed at Congress, where several bills on the subject were pending, some of which it details.
Under existing law, co-ops did not pay Federal taxes on patronage refunds which were distributed to members. Farm cooperatives were exempted from taxes on dividends paid on outstanding capital stock, but co-ops otherwise paid the same taxes as corporations.
NTEA and its business and banking allies claimed that that tax status was "privileged" and represented a "cloak to cover competitive business operations", with large businesses escaping corporate income tax paid by competing enterprises by masquerading as co-ops. They wanted cooperatives' savings taxed as dividends, just as those of regular corporations were taxed. Estimates on how much additional revenue could be raised by that taxation ranged as high as a billion dollars.
But the co-op officials replied that earnings from co-op activity were not profits as they did not belong to the cooperatives, that corporations could receive the same tax treatment if they were to provide their profits back to their customers instead of distributing them to stockholders. They argued that co-ops were subject to legal restrictions which did not apply to other businesses and could not engage in unlimited competition for patronage and still retain their tax exemptions. They stated that to impose the same tax burden on them as corporations would put many co-ops out of business.
A film, "Citizen Dave Douglas", had been issued by the supporters of the tax and was being shown on television and at business meetings across the country.
The Cooperative League of the U.S., the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and other leading co-op groups opposed the measure, and their spokesmen argued that imposition of the additional taxes would subject their members to monopolistic practices from which the cooperatives protected them. In a letter to Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey on May 11, the League's officers requested a hearing prior to recommendations on the taxes of co-ops being transmitted to Congress, contending that they were not being accorded the same attention by Treasury that the NTEA and its allies were receiving. They were claiming that the effort was intended to destroy cooperatives and that a well-informed, active membership of the co-ops represented their best weapon against those efforts.
Robert C. Ruark, still in Palamos, Spain, tells of having been out of UNC for 20 years, and now reading that college graduates were earning between $250 and $360 per month to start, provided they had special skills, quite a raise, he finds, from his graduation days in 1935 during the depression years, when about the only thing around in terms of a job was with the Works Progress Administration at a salary of $28 per week, provided one knew a Congressman, otherwise having to work at whatever one could find. He had taken a job for three months on New York Avenue, after learning how to operate an adding machine, earning the equivalent of $1,440 per year, until they found out he was not an accountant, at which point he became a hitchhiker without a salary and then an ordinary seaman at $10 per week with no overtime. Eventually he wound up at the Washington Post with a salary of $14 per week for a seven-day, 12-hour per day job, then went to the Evening Star, which paid $12 per week for only six days of work, and then the Daily News, which paid $15 per week for a six-day week. At the latter, he had an irascible boss who sought to teach him to be a copyboy, and after despairing of that, tried to make him a copyreader. The news editor had been demoted to sports editor because of a difference of opinion with the late Ernie Pyle, who was managing editor, and the demoted sports editor got Mr. Ruark from his original boss, after Mr. Ruark began writing sports.
At that point, he was about four years out of college and was making $50 per week, which was considered big money at the time. He also was able to earn $15 per week for writing six 15-minute scripts for a sports radio program, which helped to pay for his home. When the war began, he was making $70 per week, having worked his way up to morning city editor, afternoon feature writer and finally working for a news service. But at that point, he wound up in the Navy, earning $250 per month, despite having a family and a home and a dog. He earned nothing during his first three months of training, and also had to purchase his own sailor suits.
He indicates that he did not intend to worry his readers with the travails of yesteryear, but suggests that 20 years was a long time and, in some ways, he was glad that no one had offered him $360 per month to start as he "would have missed one massive amount of fun."
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of
aviator Charles Lindbergh, in her 1955 book, Gift from the Sea,
rambles on about this
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