The Charlotte News

Sunday July 24, 1938


Site Ed. Note: The post-war whopper boom would undo the optimistic predictions of population stasis by either 1955 or 1980. In 1980, the population of the country was 227 million, 135 million of whom were under 35, 92 million under 25. In 1955, the population was 160 million.

Some of them, in each era, were crazy.

More poetry on the cemetery, here, replete with the suggestion that, for its geranium kiss, the old plumbing apparati has to go--or something like that. Our own take, coming on good authority, from the dead themselves, is that it all depends, they tell us, on who the plumbers in the water closet were.

Omitting Oil

In the note which Secretary Hull has handed Mexico anent payment for "unlawfully confiscated" properties of Americans, nothing at all is said about the oil properties.

Regarding that, the Associated Press reports that "persons close to the President-- --"

...said last April that the administration would insist upon full and fair indemnification of persons who had invested meager savings in these ranches and farms which subsequently were taken over by the Mexican Government. But they insisted that the administration considered the oil properties to be overvalued by their owners, and that it would try to collect for them only damages equivalent to actual investment less depreciation.

All right. That is probably a fair enough rule. For the oil properties, generally speaking, were acquired in the days of the old Dollar Diplomacy, and, if we are to believe the reports of Americans who write books about Mexico, by methods which were at a least dubious. But--what is our Government doing? Won't the oil companies submit their claims to the arbitration Mr. Hull demands for the agrarian claims? Or are they to stew a while in penalty for their sins? Or could it be because they are big and toryish? Eh?

Courage, Clarence!

There was bad news for a lot of secretaries of Chambers of Commerce, intent on turning their towns into roaring metropolises, in the report which the population committee of the National Resources Committee made to Mr. Roosevelt last week. In 1980, says the report, the nation's population will probably reach its ultimate peak--156,000,000 people. But it may reach it by 1955, with 150,000,000 people, and decline to an equilibrium in 1980, with about the present number. Reasons are: steady decline in birth rate since 1925 and increase in life expectancy, resulting in a greater proportion of older people to children. In 40 years there will be an approximately equal number of persons of each year of age from birth to 60.

The report points out many advantages, but, alas for the Chamber of Commerce men, it says also that it inevitably means that the growth of cities will hereafter be slower and slower.

But before Mr. Kuester collapses, we hasten to say that the report contains some visible comfort for him. There is one great exception to the general rule about birth rates, etc. It is the South, and especially the Southeast, in which Charlotte stands. In this Southeast, the number of children is 77 per cent greater than the number of their parents. And though the section receives but two per cent of the national income, it still produces thirteen per cent of all the babies born in the nation. So Charlotte may yet be a whopper.

Br'er Railroads Say Nothing

You'd think that if anybody would be dead set against lowering freight rates on shipments from the South into the North, it would be the Southern railroads. They stand to lose revenue by it, lose at a time generally when railroads are begging for higher rates in order to make ends meet.

But as a matter fact, Southern roads are "benevolently neutral" in this fight. Some of them may actually be hoping for the South to win. In any case, it is not they but Northern industrial interests which are opposing the reduction with all the power at their disposal and with no effort to conceal the sectionalism that imperils them. The explanation of it is, with a reverse twist, the explanation of the Southern railroads' attitude. The North is afraid and the Southern railroads hope that rate reductions would better the South's competitive position so greatly as to multiply Northbound shipments and justify the lower charges.

What the South is after, in essence, is an opportunity to compete with Northern manufacturers for the rich Northern markets on a basis equal so far as Government-made factors (freight tarriffs) are concerned. The South argues that its remoteness from these markets is enough of a handicap, and that the Interstate Commerce Commission should not lend its authority to a further handicap. The North argues that the South enjoys certain advantages, such as climate, proximity to raw materials, lower labor costs and the like, and that an artificial barrier is necessary--frankly, to keep the South's chickens out of the North's corn. And old Br'er Southern Railroads, they don't say nothing.

Envious Note*

It's a shame that W. C. Feimster, reformed dry and newest member of the State ABC Board, couldn't have made his speech before some other body than the North Carolina Association of County Alcoholic Control Boards (hereinafter to be called by the short title of ABC Association). What he said--that the only real question about liquor was whether the bootleggers or the public authority should dispense it--was true enough, but the assemblage had probably reached that same conclusion independently. The United Drys, now--there would have been a fine crowd to have heard Mr. Feimster, though they might have called down maledictions on his head. Or the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners--they could have listened to his speech with profit to themselves and the wet cause, for they are influential in carrying on or defeating elections.

But on second thought, we believe it would have been even more enlightening than hearing Mr. Feimster's speech for the County Commissioners, especially of Mecklenburg, to have sat in on a budget-making session of Pitt County's Commissioners this past week. In Mecklenburg, you know, the tax rate is going to have to go up. The only question is, how much? The same condition is typical of most of the counties.

In Pitt, however, the Commissioners had hopes of reducing the tax rate. They were waiting for the audit of the Pitt County ABC Board. When it was completed, their hopes were realized. Down came the tax rate from 85 to 73 cents.

A Statesman Labors

Robert Rice Reynolds' only contribution to legislation may be a scheme to hound unfortunate aliens. But North Carolina can still be proud of him. For he is certainly the travelingest man who ever cooled an itching heel on a Capitol Hill desk.

To date his itinerary, for six years, reads like this: to Rajputana in India, to Russia, to Denmark, to Sweden, to Norway, home. To Cuba, where the luscious Senoritas grow, to Mexico. To the Virgin Islands where he went to settle a fight and promptly hauled out on it. All around the circuit of the United States in a cabin car. To Manila to witness the migration of President Quezon. Home around the world by way of Bombay, Egypt, Palestine, Greece, Italy, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Spain, France, England, Scotland, and Ireland. To Puerto Rico, to Panama, to Columbia, and down the West Coast of South America through Ecuador, Peru, and Chile, across the Andes to the Argentine, and up the the East Coast of South America through Uruguay, Brazil, French Guiana, British Guiana, Dutch Guiana, Trinidad, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico again. And now he has just crossed the continent to Seattle, and is on his way through Canada to Alaska. He still hasn't got to Australia, but after the top of the world, the bottom seems the natural thing: so watch out, Australia!

Ah, yes, our hearts swell with pride in Robert, carrying the dear old Tar Heel name, which some low slurrers used to call provincial around the world and proving to the ignorant aliens that we really are a most jovial and urbane people. There is only one thing about it that troubles us slightly: the thought that we might have got a man from Cook's to do it for less than $10,000 a year. On second thought, indeed, we here and now ourselves formally offer to take over the job merely for traveling expenses.


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