The Charlotte News

Thursday, June 9, 1938


Site Ed. Note: For the June 4 front-page story on which "Laws and Parents" is based, go here. Despite the ransom having been paid, the five-year old south Florida boy was killed by his kidnappers anyway.

"Up Go Taxes" plainly, since he never owned any real property, (his $10,000 life insurance payoff having ironically afforded his aging parents their last real property ownership), was not by Cash, (as perhaps many, if not most or all of the editorials herein complaining about taxes weren't), but we include it for educational purposes anyway. Of course the problem with complaining about this or that tax is that once you keep one down or reduce another, inevitably, you see a spike elsewhere. Federal tax rebates, credits, and reductions, whether to upper and middle income alike or just the former, inevitably cause state and local taxes to go up to compensate for consequent lost Federal revenue, if not immediately, certainly over time, whether by increased property or income or sales taxes. So, like death, if one disease doesn't get you, another probably will. The only way to avoid them is not to live at all. On the other hand, one could move to some remote South Sea island, probably.

"Parnell's Sore Throat" refers to the "Peculiarities of People" piece by F. Romer, (which, since the page was not very lively today, we will forego providing in toto): "The great Irish statesman [Parnell], whose brilliance brightens history's pages, had a strange belief. So convinced was he that the green carpet on his living room floor caused his sore throat that he sent a piece of it to his London doctor to be analyzed." More fiber evidence...

And this little thing from the letters to the editor column, with a note at the bottom from Cash:

On These Lines

By Maude Waddell

John Dickson is a noble lad.
A stream-lined modern Grant:
His poems are so very bad
He writes them though he can't.

[Note: The above touching lines represent the latest thrust in a feud of long standing between Miss Waddell, who is a poet of parts, and Mr. Dickson, who, in addition to his duties as City Editor of The News, is also official poet laureate of the office. We need not, we trust, tell the gentle little reader that they are only funning, or at least that they have no more malice against each other than is natural to poets.--Editors, The News.]

Faint Praise*

In that symposium of editorial opinion on Bob Reynolds' nomination published in The News yesterday, not a single note of elation was to be detected. Only six North Carolina papers were represented at all--not because we didn't search the others for two days running to see what they had to say about Bob's bruising victory. They simply didn't say anything.

And when a state which takes its politics as seriously as North Carolina lets a Democratic Senator be nominated without having anything fulsome to say about him--well, it is a sign of something or other. In this case, we think it is a sign that Bob is recognized pretty generally for what he is: a first-class vote-getter and a second-class Senator. That is our explanation, to be sure, and we frankly don't think much of Bob. But the best his hometown paper could find to say about his triumph was that "it must be accepted as a conspicuous tribute from the state." Such restraint indicates that even Asheville is on to him.

Site Ed. Note: The collection of editorial excerpts, titled "Sizing Up the Returns", on which the editorial comments re the Great Man and Playboy of the Western World is here.

Laws and Parents

The G-men seemed to have cracked the Cash kidnapping case wide open in record time. But the little boy, Skeegie, is dead. Perhaps he would have been dead, in any case, whatever. No one can say with any certainty. But the suspicion still will persist in many minds that he might have been saved had it not been for the Lindbergh law and similar laws passed by the states--laws imposing the death penalty for kidnaping--and the relentless determination of the G-men to enter the case regardless of the wishes of the parents. Certainly, when one remembers the Mattson case and the Levine case, it begins to look as though murder has got to be the usual accompaniment of kidnapping, and it used not to be so.

The question here is not one easy to decide. So far as the law goes, the G-men have been perhaps bound to enter these cases regardless of what the parents wanted, to attempt to close on the criminal even though it might mean death for the child. And certainly, a kidnaper would seem to deserve the death penalty if anybody ever did. More than that, it is possible to argue that the practice must somehow be broken up, and that in the long run ruthless methods are best--that for one life sacrificed many others will be saved. But it is a hard doctrine, truly, if you imagine the child as your own, and one which must afford small comfort to the Mattsons, the Levines, and the Cashes.

Parnell's Sore Throat

You'll probably smile when you read in the little feature in the bottom right hand corner of this page that Parnell, the great Irish champion, was so sure that a green carpet in his room caused him to be afflicted with a sore throat that he sent a piece of it to his London doctor for analysis. It sounds as though he had been charged with believing that a black cat across your path or blood on the moon augur ominous events, or that a rabbit's foot will keep off disaster, or that the bandabees come out of the Irish mounds and wail at passersby at midnight.

But perhaps Parnell died some forty-odd years too soon. If he had lived on to our time, he might very well have seen his belief vindicated and his complaint diagnosed as an allergy. An allergy, you probably know, is a peculiar sensitivity on the part of some individuals to certain irritation which manifests itself in all sorts of ways as hay fever, sore throat, skin eruptions, etc. And nowadays you can be inoculated against it. If goldenrod or dog fennel or your face powder or what have you cause you to have hay fever, why then they have only to discover the villain and inject its substance into your arm to make you at least much less susceptible to the irritation.

Maybe even the very green color of Parnell's carpet was significant. For it has been discovered that dyes are very often among the worst offenders against the allergic.

Make a Note of It*

The wage-and-hour bill, as it comes finally from the conferees, requires in all businesses of an interstate character a minimum wage, to begin with, of $11 for a 44-hour week, with time and a half for overtime. The year following, the pay envelopes will have to contain $12.60 for a 42-hour week, and after that, maximum hours drop automatically to 40 while minimum wages are to be increased to 40 cents as fast as boards for various industries may direct. The only caution upon them will be to make sure that employment is not substantially curtailed.

All of which means, messires, that we are off on another imponderable experiment. It may work out beautifully, especially in the South, which needs to have its wages brought up to parity with the rest of the country. Or it may work out horribly, especially in the South, which needs new industries and more industries on almost any terms it can get them. No man knows, no man can tell within a reasonable certainty, which it will be.

But this, messires, you may put down in your little red notebook--that the Federal Government, having undertaken to fix minimum wages, will in time undertake to fix all wages. It is as inevitable as death and taxes, as inevitable as that the cost of government will always increase, no matter which party is in power, as inevitable as the tendency constantly to extend the authority of the Federal Government rather than to curtail it. Make a note of it.

From the Comic Opera

The news that Mr. Chamberlain intends to ask his "ally," Signor Mussolini, to "use his influence" to halt the destruction of British ships in Spanish waters, is like nothing so much as the marriage of the pirates of Penzance to the daughters of the Admiral. The whole world knows that the planes which are destroying the ships are Italian and German planes. And more than that, Franco has complained to the Pope that they are acting against his protests and upon direct orders from Rome and Berlin. And as for the destruction of Gandia, the British owned port in Spain, its meaning is plain on its face. It is exactly of a piece with Japan's systematic destruction of Chinese and foreign-owned factories in China--a move designed to eliminate a commercial rival. Mr. Chamberlain is going to ask the man who is primarily responsible for all this to use his influence to stop it!

Truly, old Lloyd George has reason to speak of "twittering protests." And truly, England is in a sad way. Recent analysts are agreed that, actually, England is today ruled by a dictatorship almost as complete as that of Germany and Italy--the main difference being that it is a dictatorship of an oligarchy rather than one man, its methods are indirect, and that it lacks the one great merit of dictatorship: strength and decisiveness. The rulers of the mighty British Empire have considered a plan to seize one of Franco's ships every time a British ship is bombed--and, believe it or not, have rejected the idea on the ground that it might make Senor Franco mad and cause him to bomb more British ships. That seems to make the metamorphosis of the lion into a gentle little lady mouse about complete.

Up Go Taxes*

Mr. Paul's thorough-going analysis Tuesday of tax prospects for next year in Mecklenburg County brought up something we had suspected pretty strongly after receiving our notice of "revaluation and equalization" from the County Tax Supervisor. Which is, that while there may have been some "equalization" in the new appraisals of real property, the net of it was "revaluation" and "revaluation" upwards, at that. Twenty-five per cent ours was.

Over the whole county, valuations put on real property for tax purposes have increased eight per cent over last year. Hence, if the county fixed the same tax rate this year as last, it would receive eight per cent more revenue from the tax on real property, and real property comprises more than two-thirds of all taxable property. In spite of this automatic increase in revenue, however, it is a foregone conclusion that the tax rate too is going up. Chances are that the prepayment rate will be set at 90 cents, as against last year's final rate of 82 cents; and that would be a further overall increase of ten per cent on top of the eight per cent increase in real property valuations.

Everybody knows, of course, what is making these higher taxes necessary. Relief it is, in a word; or if you prefer two words, it is Social Security. On the County rather than the City these obligations fall, and the County Commissioners are entitled to a sympathetic understanding of their responsibilities. They are unavoidable. But, gentlemen, go as easy as you can. Taxes are paid, you understand, in the sweat of every man who labors.

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