The Charlotte News

Friday, July 28, 1939


Site Ed. Note: It is quite doubtful that Cash wrote "They Don't Know" or its companion, "Congressmen", in the July 25 edition, or "Water Subsidy", but we include them anyway for contrasting viewpoints on New Deal spending which often drew heavy editorial fire acorss the country, especially over government relief and subsidy projects. Cash, however, especially during this pre-war period, sometimes did clearly criticize the Administration over spending proposals, especially deficit spending, but usually confined his criticism to Administration support of pork barrel projects designed to curry favor to the New Deal generally among otherwise recalcitrant Congressmen, rather than beneficent relief and subsidy programs, suspected openly by others of hinting at America's version of socialism.

They Don't Know*

That Is The Only Excuse For 40 Spending Senators

The only plausible explanation we know for it is that most Senators don't read the papers. If they did, and in time reached the financial section, they would see there in the Treasury's daily report that already this fiscal year, which has been running less than four weeks, the Government had spent more than 450 millions in excess of its receipts.

With this bit of information and the further knowledge that the real high-wide-and-handsome spending for public works and re-armament and farm relief is yet to come, no sensible man, we submit, could vote as 40 Senators voted yesterday NOT to eliminate $500,000,000 from the Administration's newest spending-lending proposal.

Jolt For Japs

If They Are Puzzled They Are Quite Obtuse

The Japanese Government is described as "stunned" by Secretary Hull's unheralded denunciation of the trade treaty of 1911. Tokyo regards it as a deliberately unfriendly act, and means to retaliate.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office declares that ending of the treaty is "unthinkable," and goes on:

"Nobody can ignore the political significance of the action which was not preceded by any exchange of notes... We fail to understand America's real intention."

If so, then the Japanese have been deluding themselves with wish-thinking, and have failed wholly to understand the temper of Mr. Roosevelt, Mr. Hull, and the American people. The ending of the treaty is so "thinkable" that it has already been thought up and done. As for the fact that it "was not preceded by notes"-- it was preceded by dozens of notes on other things, which were consistently ignored or evaded. As for its being an unfriendly act, it was undoubtedly meant to be such--a warning that the United States is well aware that it holds the whip hand, is tired of being pushed around, and that if Japan wants to avoid an embargo she had best change her tactics.

Embargo means the collapse of Japan--unless she can break it by war. And the winning of such a war promises to be a good deal more troublesome than the utterance of big phrases about "crushing any nation" which interferes with her. Japan must import 90% of her oil. Of that she gets 64.3% from the United States. She must import 65% of her iron. Of that the United States furnishes 33%. She must import most of her cotton--gets 43.8% of it from the United States. And the United States furnishes a good part of her needs in copper, aluminum, zinc, phosphorus, lead, mercury, nickel, and asbestos--all essential war materials which she lacks.

As for retaliation, that is mainly mere talk. The United States gets only one important thing from Japan. That is silk. And she buys 88% of all that Japan produces. If absolutely necessary, we could get along without the stuff but the loss of the American market in itself would be nearly fatal for Japan.

That is not to say that an embargo would be any picnic for us. It would, in fact, greatly disrupt our economy, through the loss of our Japanese markets. But we could endure that a great deal better than Japan can endure the things that would happen to her under it.

Artful John

Knew What He Was Saying And Why He Said It

The outburst in Congress over Mr. Lewis's denunciation of Jack Garner is as intemperate as the CIO chieftain's own remarks. Talks of barring him from Capitol Hill, and blaming committee leaders for not shutting him up, are both nonsense. When a man becomes a candidate for the Presidency he throws himself open to criticism. And that John Garner is no friend of organized labor seems clear from the record. Mr. Lewis, therefore, was fully within his rights when he attacked that record--would have been, for that matter, even if the record were less plain.

What is contemptible in his attack is that he chose to direct primary attention to the Vice-President's personal habits or alleged personal habits, and to call him "an evil old man."

Lewis himself claims he spoke in the heat of sudden emotion, but ourselves we suspect that the thing was carefully planned and planted--that it represented not merely a lapse into bad taste but also a piece of demagogic histrionics designed to stir up the "moral" forces of the country to fanatic opposition to Garner.

Water Subsidy*

This Artificial Advantage Is Less Than Fair

The House yesterday passed a bill placing water carriers under the control of the Interstate Commerce Commission. The legislation, however, differs so widely from that adopted by the Senate on the same subject, that it seems doubtful that any final action will be taken at this session of Congress. Which is a pity.

Water transport is very useful to the nation, both in the actual carriage of freight and as a check on the railroads and other land-haul carriers. It ought not be crippled or hobbled. Carriers by water route are entitled to the full benefit of all real advantage that belongs to this ancient mode of transportation.

But they are not entitled to artificial advantage, and, as things stand, that is what they often enjoy. On perhaps the majority of water routes, the Federal Government pays all costs and dredging, deepening, and maintaining a channel--in many cases running into millions annually. But for this the carriers which use these routes pay nothing.

That is to say, the Government in effect subsidizes them so that they can quote rates exactly as low as they would quote if all the advantages of their routes were provided by nature. And that is obviously unfair to the railroads and other land-carriers which must compete for traffic.

Hobson's Choice

The Sicilian Landlords Are Given A Gentle Hint

Signor Mussolini is up to more things these days than such macabre little jokes as making his fat and puffing aides jump over kicking hosses and get their legs broken. As usual, he is out after more of what his German master calls lebensraum. But not by conquest abroad this time. The great man continues to make noises about the necessity of Italy having larger and larger hunks of the earth's surface, but it may be that Ethiopia has taught him that conquest is not too profitable. Anyhow, this time he has turned back to the methods he used in the Pontine marshes and is seeking to expand lebensraum at home.

Specifically, he has ordered the breaking up of the great estates in Sicily and the parceling out of the lands among the peasants who worked them. The great landlord system has admittedly been a bad one, and has made Sicily, one of the richest spots on the earth, also one of the poorest. Under the Signor's order, extensive irrigation will be undertaken, and the Signor hopes to double the population of the island and many times increase its wealth in short order.

And the landlords? They will not be expropriated, as were those of the Pontine--provided, says the Signor, they co-operate. And if they shouldn't co-operate? Let those people who tell you they prefer Fascism to this fellow Roosevelt consider his words:

"It is hardly necessary for me to add," signor Mussolini said grimly, "that if backward egotism or old-fashion mental reserves should lead to attempt at opposition, such attempts would be smashed."


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