The Charlotte News

Friday, April 15, 1938


Site Ed. Note: Not mentioned in the editorials of this date was, in the year of the 75th anniversary of Gettysburg, the passing of the 73rd anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's death, his shooting on Good Friday having been the night before he died just after dawn on what would be a black-draped Saturday.

Good Friday

This is Good Friday, according to the ecclesiastical tradition the day of the Crucifixion and the Entombment.

"And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.

"And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? Which is being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?...

"And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.

"And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom...

"And Joseph of Arithmathea... came, and went boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.

"And Pilate marveled if he were already dead...

"And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.

"And he bought fine linen, and took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen, and laid Him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.

"And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus beheld where he was laid."

It is a day of mourning and fasting and penitence. On it, in Catholic practice, the Mass is not said and Communion is not given. And the high point of its observance is the Three Hours--a protracted period of meditation on the Seven Last Words of Jesus.

Reason For A Draft

Jim Farley and New York State Democratic leaders are reported to have agreed that it is necessary to "draft" Senator Bob Wagner as the party's candidate for Governor. And for a reason that seems to us somehow a little quaint.

Senator Bob, as everyone knows, is a Great Social Champion and an apostle of High Ideals and Clean Government--one of the very loudest and most assiduous proclaimers of the More Abundant Life. Nor is there any reason, so far as we can say, why anybody should doubt that he is actually such. From this distance, the good man's ideas sometimes look a little impatient of costs, but about his bona fides there doesn't seem to be much reasonable doubt.

On the other hand, Tammany Hall, as everyone knows also, is the very citadel of Low Ideals and Crooked Government. Its philosophy sums up to the doctrine exactly contrary to Senator Bob's: that government and the people at large exist solely to serve the purposes of a gang of grafting politicians and their prehensile playmates.

Yet--the reason advanced for the decision of Big Jim & Co. that it is necessary to "draft" Senator Bob is: that he belongs to Tammany Hall and is acceptable to that organization! This leaves us taken-aback and sorely puzzled.

Dictator's Definitions

In our desk as we write lies a curious document. In it President Trujillo Molina of the Dominican Republic announces to his people and the world that he is going to retire from his office, and explains himself at length.

This, you comprehend, is Dictator Trujillo, who for twelve years has ruled the little island country in the Caribbean with ruthless force, who has had his enemies murdered in the streets of Ciudad Trujillo at will, and who has enormously enriched himself out of the public treasury. But you'd never suspect it by reading him here. For the document is full of panegyrics of justice and liberty--no less.

That is, you wouldn't suspect it unless you looked very closely. Of definitions of justice, Dictator Trujillo discreetly does not deliver himself. But concerning liberty he is cloudily explicit, thus: "True liberty, which is a productive source of social benefit--as opposed to impure and disintegrating sources without noble purpose, and which result in licentiousness--is nothing but the beneficial resolve produced by the earnest desire for education which tends to refine the spiritual power of man."

We can't for the life of us say precisely what that may mean. But still, there's a familiar ring about that "true liberty... as opposed... to... licentiousness..." Somewhere, sometime, we think, we have heard that one before.

Any Old Port

It was good to hear the President's voice again and to detect in its tones, if we mistook not, the blending of humility and earnestness which was there once before. And as to the importance of tone, it is not to be underestimated. As the President said in his message to Congress, "It should be noted in fairness that since January 1, 1937, the President has recommended to Congress only four measures of major importance to business;" and of these, only two might have been considered in any way inimical to business, neither of which has been enacted. Whence ariseth, then, the conception that the President is constantly hammer-and-tonging business? Why, from the tone of his speeches--that and from the unfriendly designs that business chooses to attribute to him.

As to his diagnosis of the depression and his proposed cure, they could be, with equal reason, upheld or denounced. It is apparent that inflationary spending through five long years has failed to turn the trick, that business has only capitalized on that spending on a day-by-day basis, that the far greater force of private capital spending--i.e., investment--has never reached even a trickle stage, that the semblance of stability, much less prosperity, has eluded us. It is apparent that the Government, for all its beneficence, is a retarding force which is maintaining itself only by the profligate exhaustion of its fiscal resources.

It is apparent, in sum, that the Government has become an incubus which will have to be subdued before the country may enjoy anything more than an "upsurge."

On the other hand, there is the immediate present to consider, and the immediate present calls for action. The President has recommended that it take the form of accelerated spending for relief and public works and the provision of further bank credit, where plenty of credit already is, in the hope that some intrepid souls will utilize it. It would be futile to attempt to pass judgment in advance on the wisdom of this policy. If it works, well and good. If it does not work, we are in for trouble.

But in any case, the interim trauma should be put to advantage by the President and Congress. Emphasis should be shifted from the redistribution of wealth to the greater creation of wealth. Labor laws should be clarified and equalized. Governmental competition with private industry should be clearly limited. Monopoly should be defined and dissolved. The Government itself should be modernized and by all means purified.

Any old port will do in a storm, and the port of greater spending is soonest reached in this storm. But when we sail ahead again, it must be in the assurance that our vessel is in ship-shape and that its destination is agreeable not only to the captain but to the passengers and the crew.

It Becomes a Habit

In the foregoing article, we have conceded that the President is justified by highly adverse circumstances in undertaking additional spending. But it should be taken into account at the same time that the spending momentum which was built up in the first attack on depression, beginning five years ago, has never diminished a great deal, much less ceased. The latest Treasury report, for example, shows that on April 12 the Government--

Took In.................................. $9,004,532.40

Paid Out................................. 18,836,134.40

This might be any day, and it is the sum of such days that accounts for the deficit of a billion dollars incurred so far this fiscal year. The trouble about spending to cure depressions, you see, is that once started the boys can't stop. Each new higher level becomes the style in which the Government is accustomed to be supported. If you don't believe it, get out your table of Federal expenditures from 1789 to 1938 (estimated).


Framed Edition
[Return to Links-Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News--Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.