The Charlotte News

Thursday, December 30, 1937


Site Ed. Note: $, not 8. And &, not and. So sorry. We got carried away with our trade in silver out in Carson City--you recall, Saturday nights, then Sunday, out of the blazing map, all the Chevys...

Well, below we learn that the poor chairman of G.M. in 1937, after taxes, probably took home a measly $183,000, in silver. Put another way, that was only enough at the time to buy eleven gold Dusenburgs, among the most expensive cars in the world at the time.

We just happen to remember that factum, not because we were in the market for one in the thirties, but because in the sixties we once built a plastic model of one, list price $16,000--for the real one, not the model, though, even so, at scale, still high priced at $5. Sorry, pops. We had a lot of fun driving around in it too, with the passengers, our friendly cock-a-roachas, in the apartment wherein there we lived then. They were very friendly little fellows, and would come scurrying out in the night only to go flying to wherever it is cock-a-roachas go flying, whenever the lights came on. It could be a bit startling to our visitors, who might shriek at the sight of a cock-a-roacha scurrying across the floor. We had no idea why, as they made fine little passengers for our fleet of new and used cars. It did, however, become a little disconcerting when one would open up old musty letters or books or the like, and find hidden in them the Day of the Trifids, or maybe that was "The Night of the Living Dead" or that teenaged werewolf thing, anyway, the little white pods, left by the scurriers. We would just slam the book on that. Hah, got you, cock-a-roacha. No more free transportation for you, smart guy, leaving little pods in our books like that.

It all became much clearer to our visitors once we all started taking spanish.

Well, we hope you don't wind up like Miss Farmer, not to be confused with the cookbook lady and candy-seller, Fannie. We don't know if it was the lisle stockings or not, but she was eventually sent to an institution for the mentally ill, a very sad story about which a very fine film was made some years ago.

Stanley Reed, at the time Solicitor General, the person generally assigned to argue for the United States before the Supreme Court, was in fact the next appointment to the Supreme Court in 1938, followed in early 1939 by Felix Frankfurter, a Harvard law professor, then the same year, William O. Douglas. Justin Miller, as discussed below, must either have declined interest or been fairly far down the list after all, as Roosevelt's nine appointments to eight seats,--Owen Roberts being one of two survivors from the pre-Roosevelt to post-Roosevelt era, the other being Harlan Stone, elevated from Justice to Chief of in 1941, and the double-appointment to one seat when James Byrnes, later Secretary of State under Truman, left after only a year to join the Administration's war effort,--would not tap him.

Most were either New Deal administrators, as with Douglas at the S.E.C., or were in the Justice Department, as with Robert Jackson, eventually appointed in 1941, and who would also serve as chief counsel for the United States after the war at the Nuremberg trials. Three came from the political ranks: Frank Murphy, appointed in 1940, had been Governor of Michigan, particularly effective in his settling of the 1937 autoworkers' strike in Flint, then being appointed Attorney General before Jackson; James Byrnes, as with Hugo Black from Alabama, had been a Senator from South Carolina for a decade prior to his 1941 appointment.

Roosevelt's last appointment, in 1943, Wiley Rutledge, fit most closely the credentials of Miller, having been dean of the law schools at the University of Washington and Iowa State, and then appointed by the President in 1939 to the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C.; (and whose brief biography we had to go so far to obtain as from our 1953 set of encyclopedias).

They were all liberals, including Miss Farmer in her lisle stockings, though we assume none of the justices donned such wear.

The rest of the page is here. We must go out now and patrol the streets, make sure no one is acting the drunken, Pagan loon, as forbade by Mr. O'Meara, one of our favorite letter writers to The News, on this sixth, nearly now seventh, day of Christmas, and practice the art of not following any schedule at all, or, for that matter, any rigid anything, as Broun advises; such that we shall be fit for the Socratic dialogue between the Old Sea Captain and the little Drummer boy.

Let's practice. Altogether now: Come, they told him...

Well, that's enough of that. Go practice. You're off kex.

Now, be off with you, la cocka-RoaCha, before we fling the paste pot at ye again... @$$%*& 6

Trade Is Trade

Miss Frances Farmer, the actress, is wearing lisle stockings. Not only that, two of the biggest 5 & 10 chain stores have stopped stocking Japanese merchandise. Moral indignation over little Japan's mistreatment of hulking China is at the root of it, of course, and undoubtedly the sentiment does credit to the fine feelings of those two stores and their propagandist customers. But it looks bad for a couple of hundred million dollars of American exports.

It looks bad especially for the cotton trade, at a time when the South has cotton it would like very much to dispose of somewhere. And Japan, it happens, has been one of the best customers for the South's cotton, and of course unless we buy from Japan, Japan will be unable to buy any quantity from us; and then we both shall be the worse off.

In fact, to be brutally realistic about it, any general boycott of Japanese goods would be a bad sign for the world as a whole, and would be directly in contravention of the policies of the Roosevelt Administration and its Department of State. A fundamental belief of Secretary Hull is that the throttling of world trade, to which this country contributed handsomely, is at the bottom of much of the unrest and dissension that plagues the world, and he has proceeded on the theory that a capital contribution to world peace would be the restoration of that trade, without regard to the political congeniality or the political economics of the participants.

Moral indignation is all right, and we flatter ourselves that we have the capacity for it. At the same time, trade is trade; and we shan't get too very far by confining our trade exclusively to those nations of whose conduct we approve.

One Fatal Flaw

Our Raleigh correspondent advises that he has inside information that Dr. Justin Miller, former Dean of Law at Duke University and now a member of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, is being groomed by President Roosevelt for appointment to the next vacancy on the United States Supreme Court.

But somehow we doubt it. Dr. Miller is an exceptionally able man. He is learned in the law. His integrity is above reproach. On top of that, he is completely Liberal in his outlook, and Liberal after the principles of the New Deal, too. On the bench, he might be counted on to lean over backward in support of the New Deal, and not because of any pressure or any servility but because he sees it that way. More yet, he is represented as standing exceptionally high in the regard of Mr. Roosevelt. In short, Dr. Miller is nearly an ideal candidate for appointment by Mr. Roosevelt.

But--there has been one appointment already. And all we have said about the eligibility of Dr. Miller was perfectly true at that time. But as everyone knows, the seat actually went not to Dr. Miller or anybody like Dr. Miller, but to the man who had nothing to recommend him but political considerations. And Dr. Miller is of no more value today from the standpoint of political considerations than he was then. So we shall not believe in the probability of his nomination until it comes to pass.

The Ungrateful Mr. Jackson*

Far be it from us to take up cudgels for a man who draws down a salary, as Alfred P. Sloan, chairman of General Motors, did in 1936, the princely sum of $561,311. In the first place, we are prejudiced enough to believe that there is no defense for a salary like that, and in the second, anyone who can command such a figure needs no defense. He can take the cash and let the discredit go.

But in the case of Assistant Attorney General Robert Jackson's public designation of Mr. Sloan's name and compensation, fairness requires it to be said that these gigantic salaries aren't all beer and skittles. Let us take that $561,311 and make out a theoretical income tax return on it. To begin with, let's claim exemptions, earned income credits and the like for $11,311, leaving $550,000 net taxable income. Of this, Uncle Sam would take 4%, or $22,000, in normal taxes, and up to 70% in the last bracket of surtaxes, the total of which would come to $321,000. In sketch form, therefore, Mr. Sloan's 1937 income tax return would have looked something like this:

Salary.............................. $561,311
Normal tax.......................    22,000
Surtax..............................   321,000
Remainder....................... $218,311

That is still a lot of money for one man, but even so he got less out of his labors than Uncle Sam got. It is a cold fact. And when he finished with Uncle Sam, he wasn't through yet. There were State income taxes. Mr. Sloan probably pays his in New York, and if so he paid approximately 7%, which would come to another wallop. After that, his books would have shown the following entries:

Salary.............................. $561,311
Uncle Sam.......................   343,000
Empire State....................    35,000
Alfred P. Sloan................ $183,311

We don't feel too sorry for Mr. Sloan, but it is apparent all the same that the caustic Mr. Jackson is not above biting the hand that feeds him.

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