Committee on Economic Security (CES)
Volume VIII. Committee Activities
D. ADVISORY COUNCIL
Advisory Council Conference
CONFERENCE ON ECONOMIC SECURITY
Table of Contents
November 14, 1934
GENERAL OPENING MEETING
Frank P. Graham
ROUND TABLE CONFERENCE ON CHILD WELFARE
Clifford G. Grulee, M.D.
Mrs. Harris T. Baldwin
Mrs. W.T. Bannerman
ROUND TABLE CONFERENCE ON UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Chairman Joseph H. Willits
Mary K. Simkhovitch
Paul H. Douglas
Miss Josephine Goldmark
Chairman Paul S. Kellogg
Harold B. Butler
Harry L. Hopkins
ROUND TABLE CONFERENCE ON PROVISION OF EMPLOYMENT
Chairman William Haber
Frederic A. Delano
Roger F. Evans
ROUND TABLE CONFERENCE ON OLD AGE SECURITY
Chairman Mary W. Dewson
Lester H. Loble
Afternoon Session (Continued)
ROUND TABLE CONFERENCE ON MEDICAL CARE
Chairman Livingston Farrand
Dr. Henry A. Luce
Dr. Van Etten
Dr. George E. Follansbee
Dr. Michael M. Davis
WHITE HOUSE AUDIENCE
Hon. Frank P. Graham
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Toastmaster John Stewart Bryan
Hon. Daniel C. Roper
Hon. Frances Perkins
WEDNESDAY MORNING SESSION
November 14, 1934
The General Opening Meeting of the National Conference on Economic Security, held in the Hotel Mayflower, Washington, D.C., in the Chinese Room, convened at ten-thirty o'clock, Mr. Frank P. Graham, Chairman of the Advisory Council on Economic of the Advisory Council on Economic Security, presiding.
CHAIRMAN GRAHAM: The meeting will please come to order.
On behalf of the Cabinet Committee, the staff, the Technical Board, and the Advisory Council, we wish to welcome you to this Conference.
Some of you have come from as far away as California. Your presence here gives welcome to the idea back of this Conference. That is the idea of providing for social security.
This conference is an expression of an increasing interest not only in the economic recovery of the nation, but also in the economic security of the individual human beings for whose life, liberty, and happiness the nation was founded and continues to exist. Without less emphasis on the imperative need for economic recovery we must, along with national economic recovery, lay the foundation for individual economic security. Without any let-up in the efforts in behalf of the more decent conditions of work and a fairer return for those who are doing the work of the world, the people all over America, we believe, wish to make more intelligent provision for the economic security of underprivileged children, the sick, and disabled, the unemployed, and the old. It is a shallow recovery that would sacrifice the security of millions of people. The economic security of the individual contributes to the recovery and the well-being of the nation, and the recovery of the nation contributes to the security and well-being of the individual. The security of the individual contributes to the security of recovery.
With partial recovery there has come in the states and nation something more of security to the homes, savings, farms, forests, schools, work, and hopes of the people - but not enough. With more recovery should come more security to human beings everywhere - in childhood, youthful education and opportunity, adult work and savings, sickness, and old age.
A few of the American people desire present economic recovery without any fundamental social repairs or reconstruction. A few call for a violent reconstruction regardless of present recovery. Others consider that a sound reconstruction is the only basis for a real recovery. Others consider that a sound reconstruction is the only basis for a real recovery. Most of our people are opposed to a mere recovery of the old regime and a false prosperity which would bring on another cruel collapse. The President and the Congress could not have allowed the country to remain as it was. Economic society had broken down and had to be mended or it would have tended to crash in its own ruins. This conference is called to consider ways and means of further mending so as to insure more intelligent security against the hazards of modern society.
This security is not to be achieved through tyranny and the regimentation of a dictatorship. It is not the security of the complacent privilege and power of the few, but the shared security of the many. It is to be a constitutional and lawful security through the cooperation of the government management, and labor. Real security never comes at the sacrifice of real liberty. The people must preserve the substance and spirit of the old liberties through a new security. An increase in economic security should mean an advance in human liberty and social well-being. Human beings in cooperating to win security against wild animals, the elements, and the wilderness did not thereby destroy their individual initiative and daring enterprise, but rather liberated for higher reaches the mind and spirit of men. With cooperation for social insurance will come a higher level of economic security. A higher level of economic security should mean a higher level of human liberty. Raising the levels of economic security widens the areas of intellectual enterprise and spiritual aspirations of the whole human personality. The road from savagery to civilization has been marked by victories for security against the hazards of the jungle and organized society.
By the nineteenth century, man had won a large measure of security in his home, fields, workshop, savings, and in his almost self-sufficient local community. With the coming of the power engine, his standard of living was, in many respects, raised, and his independence and security in some respects advanced, but on an unstable basis. Caught in the mechanical processes and social incidence of industrial society, whose unfeeling heart is the mighty power engine, are millions of helpless human beings. Industrial civilization depends on the dependence of human beings. The human casualty of an industrial society is unable alone to provide for his own security. Labor unions, fraternal organizations, and cooperative societies are necessary. Social legislation is required for minimum wage and maximum hours. But social insurance is indispensable to security against unemployment, sickness, and old age. These millions of human beings provide the life and labor necessary to industrial civilization, but our modern civilization, with its fragmentary view of human beings and human society, makes but little provision for the security of their labor, sickness, and old age.
The American people, in response to a gallant but patient leadership, propose to win this security for themselves without the illusions of a return to the old regime and its false prosperity, and without a resort to revolution, dictatorship, and the false security of tyranny. Neither do they propose to drift along.
The old drift of society and the nations led to the following results: the insecurity of peace in a world of armaments; the loss of homes in a society built upon homes; wide hunger in a land of plenty; child labor and sweatshops in the midst of unemployment; vast unemployment in a time of universal need; poverty and dependence after lives of faithful work; and disillusionment and despair in a world of youth and opportunity. The old social drift of a more static society does not need the human needs of a more dynamic society.
The steam, gas, electric, and oil power engines, together with the world war, the world moral confusion, the world depression, and the European revolutions, have accumulated such deep moving forces as to be the focus of a great historic transition with swift repercussions around the earth. From this earth much security has gone. Earlier historic transitions have been more regional in their processes of generations and slow centuries. Social drift did not then, as now, mean swift and wide social tragedy. The vast and dynamic mechanical framework now flung around the earth gathers up wars, revolution, depressions, and unemployment anywhere and implicates men everywhere. The pull of a trigger in a remote village or the press of a button in a financial capital may release pent-up forces that go on the wires of the world and engulf mankind in international murder or vast unemployment. Either we are to master our great industrial civilization and give human beings security, or we are to see it drift into unregulated self-destruction. Americans who, with scientific knowledge and mechanical device, have won a physical mastery of this great continent, will not long stand baffled and afraid along the social frontiers of a civilization which has not yet mastered the hazards of modern society.
To understand and to propose provisions for security against these social hazards is the purpose of this conference. As Director Witte has said, "We have no cut-and-dried program and no specific formula." We vitally need the information and views of the people in attendance. We especially need the study and thought of the invited guests, chosen for their special knowledge of the problems involved in proposals for social insurance against unemployment, sickness, and old age. We bring, we trust, minds open for the facts and the experience of states nations. The Advisory Council seeks to learn before advising. We will keep our feet on the ground in the valleys of our day's work even while we look into the hills yet to be climbed. We must preserve and carry on the good in the old society. We need to be patient for facts and fair to all interests and groups. We must work and think from day to day in a world of insecurity and grim realities and dream a bit sometime that the old society may yet become the great society of liberty and opportunity, security and happiness for more and more of the people of America and the world.
MR. EDWIN E. WITTE: I have some announcements to make regarding the events of the day.
. . . Announcements . . .
CHAIRMAN GRAHAM: The meeting is adjourned.
. . . The session adjourned at eleven o'clock . . .
WEDNESDAY MORNING SESSION
November 14, 1932
The Round Table Conference on Child Welfare, of the National Conference on Economic Security, held in the Garden Room of the Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C. , convened at 11:15 o'clock, Miss Grace Abbott, of the University of Chicago, presiding.
CHAIRMAN ABBOTT: The meeting will please come to order.
I think most of us who are here for this particular side of the program will have arrived out of the other room, and as long as we are all ready, and we are quite a little late, I am going to begin without any remarks on my part at all, except to say that we hope for a very full and free discussion of what are the needs of the children at this time.
I am going to reverse the order a little bit, and call on Mr. Homer Folks first.
MR. HOMER FOLKS: Madam Chairman and members of this section: no social worker and thoughtful citizen would have lived through the distressing experiences of the past five years, which have piled load after load, and yet more loads of trouble, on helpless people without arriving by this time, and long before this time, at a very deep interest in the subject matter of this conference, namely, "Economic or Social Security."
And, therefore, from the first announcement by the President of his intention to take up this subject, we all have followed it with the greatest possible interest.
Now, in following it, I have noticed in passing that the particular subject referred to here, child welfare, did not as such appear in the general discussions of the subject, and not in fact until the announcement of a sub-committee, happily consisting of Miss Abbott and Miss Lenroot, was the child welfare aspect of the matter brought to one's attention, and since that time I have been asking myself, "What has social security to do with the welfare and protection and health of children, and what have they to do with social security?"
The result of a little thinking on the part of anyone, I think, on that particular question, would lead to the conclusion, to which I was led, that the protection of the health and well-being of children is pretty near to the very gist and essence of the subject of social security, and that perhaps we might even consider the various aspects of a general program of social security, which is drawn up in its various sections and packaged and labeled according to the phase or entrance-point, profitably from the point of view of this question:
Do they, each of them within its own particular scope of action, give actually suitable and adequate active protection to the needs of the children of the families within the scope of that particular type of social security?
It doesn't seem to me to be even a difficult test to apply. It raises new thoughts about the subject, but it is quite easy, I think, to apply this test of the effects upon child welfare of the various proposals in relation to social security.
There is a very concrete example, for instance, in the matter of health insurance. It is quite an outstanding fact, speaking in general terms, that many of the continental European countries, in their medical benefit systems, provide medical care not only for the worker but for his wife and his children, as part of the security which is provided by means of the payments made under the health insurance system.
In Great Britain, on the other hand, the medical benefit has been provided from the first only for the worker himself, leaving the wife and the children of the family, so far as medical care is concerned, a subject, still, to all of the hazards and uncertainties of uncertain income and uncertain provision.
It is obvious, I think, from this statement of the facts, that on this test of child welfare, the continental system of health insurance is vastly superior to the British system.
Returning a moment to the general thought-security-I take it that it means security of income and security of resources. Security of resources is primarily for the purpose of the security of the home, of the group, of the family. That is the intent of security, to enable the wage-earner to continue to discharge his obligations toward his family. The chief objectives, so to speak, the central feature of family life is the welfare and the development of the children born to that family.
Now, I think we can also apply the test to the subject of unemployment reserves or insurance. The benefit there is variously determined under various systems, but usually with some relation to the wages which the wage-earner had been earning.
Now, of course, his needs vary greatly, and vary in proportion, in a considerable degree, to the number and ages of his children. In many instances, his wage has been barely sufficient to meet the needs of the family, and in particular the needs of the children.
Now, a percentage of that wage will obviously be insufficient to meet the needs of the family, including the children. The question came to me, in thinking of this subject, "Might we not raise the question, at least for consideration, as to whether the unemployment benefit to be received by an unemployed person under a system of reserves or insurance, takes into the account the number and ages of children in the family as a standard for determining the benefit to be received?"
If it is aimed to provide security, then it must do that, in substance, because a percentage of the previous wage would be insufficient to provide care and protection for the well-being of the children.
I was told that one of the bills which has been widely discussed providing for unemployment reserves contains that provision, that the benefits shall be adjusted according to the number of dependent children in the family, as well as the previous wages.
Now, there is one form of social security or insurance included in the general program, which does seem, on the face of it, to be very specifically addressed to the needs of grown-up people. That is old-age security. On the surface of it, it is, but is you penetrate just a little bit there, even, you will find that it has a very direct relation to child welfare, in a large proportion of instances.
If the person who reaches an age of inability for further employment has no resources of his own, by law and by tradition and by human instinct, he is cared for by his grown children, who in most instances will have children of their own to care for. That is the cause of the unhappy spectacle, (I am almost inclined to say the unconsciously indecent spectacle) of a competition between grandparents and grandchildren for the margin of the time, attention, and income of the grown children of the aged person.
And, conversely, if the grandparents are provided for adequately by some form of social insurance, old age security, or whatever it may be, then the children have first claim and complete claim upon the resources of their parents, and grown-up people do not have to choose between adequate care of their aged parents and adequate care of their young and growing children.
So here I think we can find that the subject of child welfare is directly and intimately related to the subject of social security even for old age.
But security resides not only in the application of the principle of insurance, as we analyze it, of mutualization by payment of insurance, it resides also in the development of direct public services for various social purposes, and when we consider that as a form of security, we enter upon a potentially extremely larger area of possible, and to my mind, highly desirable action.
I suppose the greatest form of what I would call social security for children which has been developed in this country, is the public school system, which provides an opportunity for every child to gain some knowledge of the world in which he is to live, and some poise and some ability to meet the problems he will encounter.
Not only his education but his health is directly concerned in the development of that security for his earning capacity, so we have drawn up, in connection with the schools, under the school authorities, and occasionally under the health authorities, an ambitious scheme on paper for conserving and protecting the health of school children.
This has largely been done by local funds and by local action. In some few instances, with some state aid we have been able to do a little more, thus far with practically no national recognition or participation.
Undoubtedly, some national participation and recognition and guidance will be essential for a real system, that will properly and with reasonable adequacy, protect the health of school children generally. That would be an extremely important form of economic security for those children at the school age and long thereafter.
In fact, it is only a short step from that program to the recognition that all public health activities in their essence contribute most to the protection and care of children. We can hardly think of any important activity in the public health field, to whomsoever it may at the moment be immediately directed, which does not have a direct, vital, and extremely important function in the protection of the welfare of children.
The prevention of tuberculosis, in which such striking progress has been made, is in its essence a campaign for the protection of children-protection from the impairment of their health and the undermining of their earning capacity, from the breakup of their homes, from the incapacity of their parents. Every shot fired in the tuberculosis campaign is one for the protection and the benefit of children, and is actually a definite form of social security for children.
Syphilis is another disease strikingly comparable to tuberculosis in its prevalence, in its serious nature, and in its harmfulness to child life. We are as open to reproach for having done nothing about syphilis as we are to congratulation for having done so much in the field of tuberculosis.
Our efforts in that field certainly are halting and haphazard, lackadaisical, unplanned, and thoroughly inefficient and ineffective, and we shall not arrive at a really serious and substantial effort for the protection of children from that most prevalent, most serious of diseases, without a broad, national planning, participation, and leadership, and undoubtedly a degree of national support.
And so we might go through the other forms of public health work, and primarily, of course, the subject of the protection of maternity and infancy, about which promising beginnings have been made, about which we have pursued, perhaps, too long the slow process of education. What is the use to educate people to the need of proper maternity care, if they can't pay for it? To be logical, to be consistent, to be effective, we must accompany educational measures with the actual provision of the funds whereby that care can be secured.
That is an extremely large area of need, and of opportunity for the protection of children by social action, which, insofar as it is active, brings security.
Then we come to some smaller groups, numerically, but perhaps an even greater need to home security should be provided in much greater degree, with much more certainty than at present.
I think the first of the mother's aid group, the mothers and the families in which the wage-earner has dropped out and for which at the present moment there is no other provision except a form of public relief which we call a pension, whereby we salve the feelings of the participants and permit the special interest in children to have the legitimate and proper scope and effect.
Now, in these years we have not improved our machinery for the protection of children in their homes. In some respects it has lessened its effectiveness and obscured its responsibilities. It too certainly needs a wide area of state-wide participation, which exists in a few states, and very possibly federal leadership and federal support.
In fact, all of the provisions which we have customarily in our national conferences thought of as child welfare, namely the care of particular groups of children away from their homes, or groups of children with special need, are still worked out primarily by local authorities under, in many cases, some degree of state leadership, and with perhaps federal benediction, but nothing more than that. If we are to provide security for our children, we must have a thorough overhauling, building out, or rounding out, state by state, an assurance of proper, adequate, and efficient operation.
Personally, I am a little inclined to say that security resides also in relief, an unacceptable and difficult type of security. Had we not had that, at least, how terrible, how additionally terrible the last five years would have been.
Now looking at this broad movement for social security we must not, of course, delude ourselves with thinking that everybody is going to agree with us, that it is going to be easy to put it over, pell-mell, or en masse. I would just like to raise the question, in bringing my remarks to a termination, that since social security is so largely tied up with, and consists of, the protection and security for children, and since the interest in children is universal, and since it is always relatively easy to secure funds and actions and public interest in children, is it not perhaps possible that child security might be a suitable opening wedge for the entire social security program?
Or I might say more accurately, may it not be that child security is the spearhead behind which the total security program may be driven home to its objective most speedily and most effectively?
CHAIRMAN ABBOTT: We have had Mr. Folks give this broad view of the child in relation to society, we might say, and then those special measures which relate to children individually. Following this I will call on the others who are listed on the program that you have, but I want to say at this point that after we have had those speakers, we want a full discussion by the others gathered here this morning. We hope that it is going to be such a discussion.
I am calling now on Dr. Grulee, who may have many titles given him, but is given on the program the title of Secretary and Treasurer, American Academy of Pediatrics, Chicago. Dr. Grulee!
DR. GRULEE: I wish that there were more men present then I wouldn't feel so alone.
CHAIRMAN ABBOTT: Well, the quality is high.
DR. GRULEE: Very.
I have written down what I wanted to say, for fear that I might talk too long, and since the time allotted is short, I felt that I could get it all in better that way.
The function of a pediatrist in such a meeting as this is, I think, two-fold. First, to present the pediatric viewpoint as he sees it, and second, to outline the resources in his field which would go to consummate any extensive work along the line of child welfare. The pediatric branch of the medical profession has always and increasingly been for preventive measures, much more so than the rest of the medical world. They may be said to have led medicine to this viewpoint. This preventive medicine has been developed as an individual service. Pediatrists of the country are, I am sure, persuaded that the only way to take care of children is as individuals. They feel that much of the propaganda that has gone out has been too generalized and has developed reactions among laymen which were not altogether healthy. The rightness of this position is, I think, justified by the results they have obtained. You may, therefore, be sure that from the standpoint of the good of the child, pediatrists of the country are a unit on this point.
It should be borne in mind that pediatrists constitute only a minority of the children's physicians. The majority of children in this country are cared for by general practitioners. It has, therefore, been necessary to develop more adequate facilities for the teaching of pediatrics in our medical schools. Within the past few years, efforts along this line have borne fruit, so that in nearly all the first-class medical schools, the pediatric department is not only an independent department, but is also one of the four main departments of the school. Where this is not true, the situation is in nearly every instance on the mend. As a result of this, the men who leave medical schools are much better prepared to look after children than they formerly were, and for these men and also for the men who have graduated in medicine in the last ten or fifteen years, we may say that they are adequately trained not only to care for children when sick, but to protect them when well. The oft-repeated statement that the medical profession does not care to do preventive pediatrics and is not capable of doing it if the chance presents itself, is no longer tenable.
I am quite sure, too, that I voice the feelings of the pediatric profession when I say that there is a vast amount of difference between undernutrition and malnutrition and that it will be necessary to investigate in the individual child which of the conditions is present and treat the case accordingly. In other words, while food, shelter, and clothing are absolute necessities during childhood, as they are during adult life, malnutrition in children is by no means always a result of underfeeding, or improper feeding. This must clearly be borne in mind in any program which has to do with child welfare, under present conditions.
Another viewpoint which I think would be held by this group of members of the profession is that only by definite cooperation of the whole medical profession will we be able to get the results which we desire. Antagonism of the medical profession will absolutely block our program and must be avoided wherever possible. This does not mean that if the occasion demands we cannot go counter to individuals and their ideas, but we must on the whole cooperate with the medical profession if we are to do the things that are necessary. Therefore, the success or failure of child welfare depends to a large extent upon the general measures which are taken towards cooperation with the medical fraternity.
Another point which I would like to bring out is this: if we are to obtain the best results, it is not only necessary to cooperate with the medical group, but it is likewise absolutely necessary that full cooperation with all groups interested in child welfare be brought about. The key-note of a meeting like this, it seems to me, is cooperation. Without such, it will be impossible to obtain the best results, and the best is the only thing which we can consider. Child welfare is not essentially a medical problem, but in pretty nearly every phase of it medical work enters, and it is only by fitting the medical man into his proper place in the organization that we will be able to do so for the children of this country what should be done.
A short survey of what we already know would, I think, not be amiss at this point. While to many the health of the child seems paramount, to those of us who are initiated, it is the infant and especially the newborn infant, which deserves our special attention. While unquestionably pre-natal care has done something to reduce neonatal mortality, still mortality in the first two weeks of life is so great that special emphasis should be laid upon this point. The mortality of the infant is still higher than that of the pre-school child although it has been so remarkably reduced in the last 20 years. It is only when we view the whole problem in a comprehensive way that we will be able to get the final result which we desire. Many of the things which occur at childbirth are irreparable. If we can erase these, or even reduce them, we will do a great deal of good. I have only mentioned this phase because I felt that it was one which a group of this sort might easily neglect, and this, in the opinion of pediatrists, is one of the most important of the problems to be met. I think it should be mentioned here that unless our survey of children's hospitals and pediatric departments of general hospitals is very far wrong, the facilities for education in pediatrics for nurses in this country are entirely inadequate.
I might say that we have finished a survey of the child hospitals. There are but 34 child hospitals in the United States. They give excellent training for nurses and frequently take in nurses from other institutions. We have likewise collected as far as we could the number of hospitals in the United States that have 25 beds or more for children. We felt that anything under that would be entirely inadequate from the standpoint of training, and we find that there are something less than 320 of these hospitals in the United States, and one-fourth of them are in the states of New York and Pennsylvania.
There are something like 6,000 or 7,000 hospitals in the United States, but you can see that the facilities for training nurses are pretty poor in those hospitals.
This from a medical standpoint is of great importance because it means that nurses have not a pediatric viewpoint and a pediatric technique. This is of moment since in many instances their statements regarding child health are received by laymen as authoritative.
I come now to the second of my propositions and that is, what are the pediatrists of this country capable of at the present time? How are they organized and what are they doing? At the time of the recent White House Conference many of us were appalled when we realized that there was such a vast program for betterment of the children of this country and no pediatric group to take advantage of it. Since that time there has been developed an active society in pediatrics consisting of between 700 and 800 members. This society is organized into four regional groups, one in the east, one in the south, one in the middle west, and one in the intermountain region and Pacific coast. These regions in turn are each organized into state groups; each state group has a state chairman. These are at the present time, only three states in the union that have no chairmen, namely, North Dakota, Montana, and Nevada.
Of greater importance to those here is the fact that the basic principles upon which this Society are founded are essentially those which would be of the greatest aid to any child welfare program. In the first place, this organization has been instrumental in raising the standard of pediatric work in the medical schools. In the second place, each chairman has formed a close contact with his state medical society. This has been done with the idea of bringing to the general practitioner the advantage of and necessity for better recognition of the needs of the child. It was a great surprise to me to see how eagerly the general practitioners participated in this effort. There is on their part, I am sure, no lack of interest in just this sort of thing. In many of the states this Society has developed close connection with allied organizations such as parent-teachers organizations, health departments, etc., with the idea of developing the medical side of the programs.
I shall not take up your time to go further into the work of this Society. The mimeographed sheets which are available will give you a much better idea of what has been done. Some of the efforts have been individual state efforts, some have been regional and some have been national. Perhaps the most extensive has been that carried on by the southern region under the direction of Dr. E.C. Mitchell of Memphis. This has resulted in a combining of forces with the Health Departments of all states involved and likewise with the obstetrical groups. I wish to say, however, that these are simply beginnings, but I think I have said enough to indicate to you that the Society in question is willing and able to cooperate with you from the medical standpoint.
In conclusion, I would like to say that cooperation of all branches and all efforts must be the key-note for success in any child welfare movement. The pediatrists of this country are organized for such cooperation and receptive to it. While the scientific knowledge for such a program may be lacking in spots and will always be, there is still sufficient to do a great deal of good from the medical standpoint. Pediatrists can and will help in the various efforts, and frequently their opinion is of value in the spheres where it has not been sought.
I would urge that this group direct its attention not towards emergency problems only, but that the effort be so organized that it will bring about not only temporary good to the child, but develop methods and measures which will be found to be of permanent value. Therefore, it must be an effort not of weeks, or months, but of years.
No plan or plans will be effective in all communities, but general principles and special examples will be most helpful.
What has all this to do with economic security? As to the present, the health of the child is intimately interwoven into the happiness and success of the family. As to the future, the health of the child grown up, which depends so much on the health of the child growing, will not only reduce the cost of living, but will frequently determine whether the individual is to become a useful member of society.
CHAIRMAN ABBOTT: Before we have our general discussion now we are going to hear from two of the many women's organizations that have been interested in the problem of child welfare.
Mrs. Harris T. Baldwin, Vice President of the National League of Women Voters!
MRS. BALDWIN: The National League of Women Voters, through its Department of Government and Child Welfare, is concerned with discovering to what extent the child is cared for and protected by the government, and it is concerned with the problem, with which it is working through public opinion and through legislative action, of securing more adequate child protection.
It is because we have been so concerned with questions of child welfare since our organization in 1920, and because the League is asking for certain lines of legislative action in the coming years that I venture to come to-day before a group of experts.
I am going to read what I wish to say.
Since its organization in 1920, the National League of Women Voters and state and local leagues have dealt continuously with child welfare problems and year after year have sought public action needed in behalf of children. It is our of this experience that I speak to-day.
One of the serious economic hazards of family life is the expense incidental to the birth of children. Under the best of conditions there is the cost of normal medical and nursing care, and in many cases someone must be employed to care for the house and family for two or three weeks.
When things do not go well and the mother or child is ill, or when one or the other dies, there is great additional expense for the husband to meet. These latter hazards can usually be avoided if the mother is given proper pre-natal care, if the mother and child have competent medical and nursing care at the time of the birth and during the post-natal period, and if the mother is properly instructed in the care of her child.
Due to the advance in medical science and to the educational program for mothers and fathers carried on since 1900 there has been a great reduction in the infant mortality rate, that is, the number of babies who die during the first year of life.
The latest Census Bureau report shows that during 1933 the infant mortality rate was 58.2 deaths under one year per 1,000 born. This represents a great gain over 1915 when the infant mortality rate for the birth registration area was 100 deaths per 1,000 live births. However, the real significance in the infant mortality figure for 1933 lies not in the rate for the United States as a whole but in the fact that the rates for the best states ranged from 39 to 48, (Washington 39, Oregon 40, New Jersey 46, and Connecticut, Iowa, Minnesota, and Utah 48), while the highest rates were Texas 76, South Carolina 78, Arizona 111, and New Mexico 136. If the Washington rate of 39 had prevailed throughout the United States there would have been in 1933 almost 40,000 fewer deaths of babies in the United States.
Of even greater economic importance to the individual family is maternal mortality, because the loss of the wife and mother is as serious and sometimes more serious that the loss of the wage-earner. On maternal mortality, there has been some progress but it has not been as rapid as on infant mortality. During 1933, 12,884 women died from causes related to child birth, and the maternal mortality rate was 62 per 10,000 live births, a rate higher than that in most of the other countries.
Meanwhile it has been successfully proved that with proper prenatal care, obstetrical service, and post-natal care, the lives of fully half the mothers who now die might be saved. Last year we read the report published by the New York Academy of Medicine which states that nearly 66 percent of the mothers who died in child birth in New York City in 1930, 1931, and 1932 might have been saved by the application of medical knowledge.
From 1921 to 1929, a great effort was made to promote the hygiene of maternity and infancy in the United States. Federal aid for this purpose was given to the states. Almost every state established a division of child hygiene in its state department of health and local health departments, and doctors and nurses under state supervision sought to educate mothers in the care of themselves and their children and to educate doctors on the latest medical conclusions on the proper care of mothers and babies. Unfortunately, the federal aid ceased just before the period when the depression curtailed state and local tax receipts.
We have watched year by year health appropriations cut and maternity and infant hygiene service by state and local governments curtailed despite protests by the League and other organizations. From 1932 to 1935 state expenditures and appropriations for child health activities showed a net increase in only four states, no change in two, and a net decrease in thirty-seven. Five states had no appropriation for child hygiene in 1932, 1933, and 1934 and four others had none in 1933 and 1934. Fundamental health protection was thus decreased during a period when the economic depression brought new hazards to the health of mothers and children.
We use maternal and infant mortality indexes to measure our progress and we rejoice that knowledge spread during the active period of health education in this field has continued to bring decreases in these mortality rates.
From the economic standpoint, however, illness of the mother and child which does not result in death, often is the more serious financial burden to the family. On the effect of the depression on this, there is only scattering evidence. However, knowing from experience unrelated to the depression, that a large measure of such illness can be avoided, prevention in this field offers a certain return in reducing the economic hazard of families in the low income groups.
The National League of Women Voters seeks federal leadership on this program combined with participation by the states. We need both the aid and stimulation of federal action, and at the same time the states must increasingly carry the actual responsibility of service to the women and children within their borders. It is too important to leave to the action of the states alone. Since there are over 2,000,000 births a year, perhaps no other preventive effort can mean more to so great a number of families.
There are two other phases of economic hazard affecting children on which Leagues of Women Voters have been at work. For the child whose father no longer supports the family the League has sought mothers' aid from the state or county to enable the mother to keep a home for her children. The state laws on this are uneven, the amount of assistance given is often too low, and recently there have not been appropriations even sufficient to pay the small amount allowed under existing laws. Assurance of income for fatherless children to enable the mother to provide adequate food and shelter and to send them to school at least until they are 16, is essential if they are to develop into citizens who will be able to provide for themselves and their own families. The financial support for mothers' pensions must be increased and stabilized so that it will not be subject to sharp shrinkage unrelated to the actual need of the children involved.
The National League of Women Voters has as yet only sought state action on mothers' pensions. We recognize that the need for action is nation-wide and we will study with care any proposal which may involve federal action.
The third economic hazard affecting children involves the group often designated as children in need of special care by the state. It includes child dependents and delinquents and children handicapped physically or mentally. For these children, financial provision is needed either to prevent the cause which necessitates special care or to provide the care which they need. This involves services to the child such as the investigation of his situation and needs, supervision during the periods of experiments and probation, and intelligent use of public agencies and institutions for the child's benefit. The League of Women Voters and others on many fronts have sought to secure public provision for such care for children, but the results are fragmentary. In addition to funds needed for direct service to these children, we need better organized state and local agencies to provide for these services. Here again the League has sought results through state and local government action except that it has urged adequate appropriations for the Children's Bureau in order that the states might have the advantage of federal research and leadership. The next several years are likely to see an increase in the need for this type of welfare service. There has never been greater need for setting our house in order to be able to care for the children handicapped by the depression. This is not a sentimental appeal for helpless children. It is common sense recognition of the fact that if the community helps children in need to-day, those children to-morrow will be able to shoulder their own share of the economic load under which adult citizens carry.
For many years, the public protection of children has been built up brick by brick. The recommendations now in preparation offer the opportunity for a nation-wide program to prevent the unnecessary economic hazards which affect children and to promote aid for children in need of special assistance. We trust that this phase of personal economic security will be given full attention in the final report of the Committee on Economic Security.
CHAIRMAN ABBOTT: : Next is Mrs. W.T. Bannerman, from the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, who will now say a few words. Mrs. Bannerman!
MRS. BANNERMAN: Madam Chairman, the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, too, is not a professional organization, and so my remarks will be confined more largely to the difficulties which we have encountered, and the feeble way in which we have been able to meet them, than to any scientific discussion.
Since its organization on February 17, 1897, the National Congress of Parents and Teachers has grown in membership to more than 1,500,000 comprised of over 20,000 local associations in 48 states, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and Alaska.
Its objects as set forth in the Constitution are:
1. To promote child welfare in home, school, church and community; to raise the standards of home life; to secure adequate laws for the care and protection of children.
2. To bring into closer relation the home and the school, that parents and teachers may cooperate intelligently in the training of the child, and to develop between educators and the general public such united efforts as will secure for every child the highest advantages in physical, mental, moral, and spiritual education.
Among its policies are that it "shall be non-commercial, non-sectarian, and non-partisan" and that its "purpose shall be educational." While financial support of the public schools, public health, or other tax-supported services and agencies is not included in either its objects or policies, efforts and expenditures to protect children from the devastating effects of economic insecurity for the past three years have been recorded in the reports of practically all of our national officers and committee chairmen. This situation and the spirit in which it has been met are best epitomized in the following excerpts from the 1933-34 annual report of our National President:
"During the year with its momentous changes the National Congress of Parents and Teachers has steadily faced its obligations and opportunities with enthusiasm, zeal, and unselfish effort. In each historical epoch of the nation, the Congress has found its particular phase of service in meeting the paramount needs of childhood during that period.
"So in this, our year of 'recovery', when social educational, and economic forces have reacted against the security and well-being of the child, have come greater opportunities to serve, more accomplishments to record, and many rich rewards in reestablishing the child in his rightful place.
"Home Making. Our opportunities were found in many fields. Many parents in the home, eager to stretch the meager incomes and protect the health of the family, have sought technical advice. They have read carefully the bulletins and articles in our Child Welfare Magazine on nutrition and care of the family; they have used the advice given in leaflets by our specialists. They have learned to conserve health and happiness by more careful consideration of the needs of family life.
"Public Education. Another opportunity came to us as citizens and patrons of the school in protecting our public schools. We have found opportunity to reflect our faith in American education and to defend its support in national, state, and local groups.
"Our rewards have come though seeing school programs suffer a minimum in quality of curriculum and length of school terms. Many states having too little financial support before the crisis, have, through these more dire situations, forced attention in their extremity. Much has already been done through federal relief measures in the reopening of closed schools and aid to college and high school students. Not the least of the good results has been an increasing amount of information to the public concerning schools of the public.
"Community Cooperation. Our members in groups cooperating with others have sought to conserve to the people of all communities, public health services, recreational centers, and library facilities.
"Health conservation has been secured for many children by the cooperation of school officials and parent-teacher workers in serving hot lunches, providing clothing, and obtaining medical and dental clinical services for those who were dependent upon public bounty.
"The Conference on Child Health Recovery called last year by the Honorable Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor, showed the need for greater concern for malnurtured children. Not only were there startling cases of lack of nutrition in families whose children were not in school, but many children were attempting to attend school without meals, except those furnished by school authorities or parent-teacher associations."
The foregoing statements are not mere generalizations without factual basis. The departure from an exclusively educational program to the performance of essential relief work has led us as a national organization to evaluate with greater care and uniformity our own procedures and activities. In 1932-33, a comprehensive questionnaire was prepared and sent to every local parent-teacher association. As a result 7,803 associations in 28 states reported. These reports indicated that programs and projects in child health, many of them of a relief character, far out-distanced all others.
In 1933-34, a similar questionnaire brought replies from 11,849 local associations (57 per cent) in 46 states. So numerous were the projects of a relief character that three sections of the Annual Summary are devoted to "Emergency Activities."
An outstanding health activity which has been carried on during the summer for several years is known as the Summer Roundup. It consists of a complete health examination of all children entering school (kindergarten or first grade) for the first time, determining what medical care is needed and correcting before school opens all remediable defects. Statistical data compiled show that in 1933, owing largely to financial conditions, less than half of the defects discovered were remedied. This report, together with the General Summary, is submitted with this statement.
Plans for the solution of the problems which these reports reveal are not specifically or completely formulated. They do, however, include adequate appropriations for governmental research agencies which conduct studies related to home making, child health, protection of maternity and infancy, education, and other community services. State congresses of parents and teachers are eager for information concerning the program of social legislation now under consideration, but to do date, owing to lack of adequate knowledge, no action has been taken. In our legislation program, there is also included a larger measure of consideration for the consumer in the field of health, education, and recreation as indicated by our support of the federal food and drug bill, motion picture regulation, election of the Board of Education of the District of Columbia, and emergency federal aid for education in order (1) to keep open schools which otherwise would be closed, (2) to provide buildings for consolidated schools, and (3) to re-finance school indebtedness at lower interest rates. Indirectly, these measures, we believe will tend to democratization and stabilization of support in the particular fields to which they are related as well as contribute in no small measure to the protection of children.
In behalf of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, I appreciate the opportunity extended to our organization to participate in this conference. That the federal government is not unmindful of the difficulties which we have encountered and is studying ways and means of insuring more stable economic security affords us a sense of satisfaction and gratitude and inspires us to continue our activities with renewed enthusiasm. We hope that the time is not far distant when the home-every home-which we recognize as the basic social unit, will enjoy such a measure of economic security as will enable it to assume its proper responsibility, not alone in providing for its own children in the home, but also of participating in the support of those secondary social units, the school, the church, and other community agencies which combined, constitute that larger home which we call "our civilization."
I would like to give some items in this statistical report.
Parent-teacher associations are primarily educational; they are not relief. Yet we have in the last year's report the following items: milk for under-nourished children furnished by 3,683 parent-teacher associations in 41 states; hot lunches furnished by 4,072 local units in 41 states; clothing and shoes furnished by 4,597 local units in 40 states; car fare furnished by 612 units in 31 states, etc.
There are many items, covering both aid of that type and aid for the schools, which are entirely out of our field, purely emergency measures.
CHAIRMAN ABBOTT: The subject of children's needs is at this time open for discussion, and while I think that we had better adhere to the rule of having those who have not spoken speak now, we are a small enough group so that I am sure we can go back to any of those who have, who wish to say something more in view of what has already been said.
I should like to have volunteers now for the discussion.
DR. FRED L. ADAIR (Chicago, Illinois): I suppose that someone has to start the discussion, and it seems appropriate that we might have a discussion relative to motherhood and maternity, which is my main interest in the program of maternity and child welfare.
I think practically all of the remarks that Dr. Grulee made would apply with equal force to the practice of obstetrics. So that with a few exceptions I will not reiterate the ground which he covered.
I was very grateful, indeed, that Mrs. Baldwin stressed the maternity aspect of the child welfare program.
About all I can do is to emit myself the results of some of the thinking which has been gone through past years, and efforts to further the program of maternal welfare.
Personally, and naturally, the stress comes, in my mind on the mother rather than on the child, not that I am oblivious to the interest of the child. So far as the family is concerned it seems to me that the mother is really the keystone of the arch of our social organization, and that the maternal influence on the child, in its formative period in the early years, is really the dominant influence not only during that period but in a major degree through the remaining portion of its life.
Consequently we should stress the end for itself and not only as part of the child welfare program, the welfare of the mother.
The protection of motherhood involves both social and economic features which I am not competent enough to discuss, except with reference to one point, to which I would like to call your attention. The birth rate is continually diminishing-not only the rate, but the actual number of births-so that now our birth rate is practically at a maintenance level.
I am not going to discuss the desirability or undesirability of that fact, but the point is that the child is becoming increasingly more valuable to society, because there are relatively fewer of them. Therefore, the conservation of these child lives is a matter of increasing importance to society. It is also important to the individuals involved.
It has been pointed out that there has been relatively little decrease in our still birth rate, that is, our foetal death rate, and in our near death rate. Most foetal deaths, are, of course a responsibility of the care of the mother. While they could not all be prevented, their reduction is an obstetric problem.
The major portion of deaths occurring in the newly-born period of life is also in a great degree the responsibility of the obstetrician.
Medical care in its relation to the protection of motherhood is the field that I wish particularly to mention, and particularly certain points which I think are worthy of consideration.
When I speak of medical care, I do not limit that to the care of the obstetrician but to all related fields. Including the nursing field and special medical fields which comprise a part of the complete care of the mother.
We are conveniently dividing the care of the mother into the preparation for motherhood, or the pre-conceptional care, the pre-natal care, and the actual care of delivery, the post-parent care, and the post-natal care. All of these must be covered in order to secure the ultimate satisfactory care for the mother. This involves the care in the home, both in urban and rural districts.
Not all confinement cases have been taken care of in the hospital, even if it were desirable that they should, but adequate provisions for hospital accommodations for cases where it is necessary should be made in both rural and urban communities.
It seems to me that the best way to work out a complete program is by the utilization of the resources in individual communities-making the best use of those which already exist and supplementing those which are lacking. This would be a much simpler program than to attempt to work the whole program over.
It seems to me that this involves medical leadership, in cooperation with other agencies, in individual communities; the individual communities present different problems, and the general principles of a program would have to be applied to each community to meet its individual needs.
It has seemed to me that the most vital thing that could be done by agencies outside of a community would be to furnish a catholic action, so that each community would be stimulated to carry out a better program. Financial aid is one of the best stimulants that I know of.
What Dr. Grulee said relative to the inadequacy in the past of medical and nursing education in the field of pediatrics applies equally well to the field of obstetrics. We have improved a great deal in this respect, but there is still much to be done.
There are many service institutions in various communities which are not operating to their capacity, largely due to inadequacy of funds. I happen to be connected with an institution, a maternity hospital in Chicago, in which this condition exists, and which is probably typical of many other institution. We have 160 bed capacity, and our actual occupancy is only about 100. That means that we have an expensive plant, which is being operated at about two-thirds efficiency.
The same thing applies to our home service. We are not able to carry our home delivery service program because of inadequate finances. That, I have no doubt, is typical of similar institutions in other communities where such are present.
Of course, there are any communities, in fact, most communities in the country, which have no adequate provision for maternity hospitals.
In relation to medical provisions, and medical leadership throughout the country, as a whole, I would like to call attention to an organization which has been in formal existence for a number of years, but has recently become more formal in its existence and is representative of all of the leading obstetrical societies, both national and regional in the United States. It seems to me that through this organization, it would be possible to issue a certain amount of propaganda and guidance to various communities throughout the country, so that a much more effective program for maternal welfare could ultimately be carried out.
MR. HARRY L. LURIE (American Association of Social Workers, New York): It seems to me that we are probably all in general agreement, concerning the problems, and the standards of care, and perhaps some other details of the technical and professional services involved. However, we have not as yet given attention to the basic economic problems which underlie the lag in all of these efforts which all of us agree are necessary.
It seems to me that is the question which this Conference on Economic Security needs to consider particularly.
The various discussions we have had indicated the fact that programs already established are lagging because of the lack of financial support, for one reason or another, and we are to discuss some new measures for social insurance.
It seems to me that fundamentally, our problems is to try to devise ways and means whereby these programs for child health, family security, and child welfare in general, can be undertaken by our national community.
On the basis of existing measures, we have fundamentally only two provisions whereby we can bring into effect the various proposals for increased security. One of them is the provision of insurance, which is being discussed largely at the present time on the basis of contributions out of the wages or out of the payrolls, and which will find their way finally into the cost of living. From these contributions we are to derive the resources for maintaining these general programs.
If that is to be the method, I think we should be aware of the fact that such measures, if they are at all extensive, are likely to reduce the general standard of living of families. Distribution of the already low wage level, and the increase in prices brought about by increasing the cost of production through taxes on payrolls, naturally will mean that most of the population for whom we are concerned will bear the cost of these additional measures.
In part, that may be desirable during a period of prosperity, of increasing living standards, but not during a period such as this. It would mean that a large part of our population, by sharing the riches, would sacrifice some of these basic provisions for health and economic security which are provided from the already low wages of a mass of our population.
The other alternative, of course, is the alternative of taxation, and from that point of view it seems to me that we might well go on record as favoring systems of assistance and relief to child welfare which rest upon the obtaining of funds from taxation, from surpluses of production, not from the part of production which naturally goes into wages and is borne by prices. For that reason, a program in which the federal government is particularly involved is desirable, because it is only the federal government, at the present time, that has the authority and the opportunity to get for social usage the surplus of incomes which are now produced, and to stimulate the further production of those incomes represented by goods and services, which are required by children and by families throughout the country.
In this conference, therefore, perhaps this section can sound the general note, that our programs of security should be devised so that they come from the surpluses of production, and stimulate production, rather than as in the past when measures for social purposes have been limited and restricted and have failed to meet basic needs because no effective economic basis has been found for their support.
MR. JACOB KEPECS (Child Welfare League of America, Chicago, Illinois): I would like to discuss for the moment the other phase of this problem Mr. Lurie has developed. I am certainly in agreement on one thing, namely, that you cannot possibly consider the child problem as apart from any of the other categories which are under discussion to-day. As Mr. Folks pointed out, there is even direct relationship between the security of the child and the security of the aged person.
I would like to discuss for a moment the problem of special classes. There are, of course, these two phases of this problem, namely, all children, but particularly the children in the low income families and those in families on the unemployed rolls, and in addition to these, there is a large group in need of special services and special care, whose security is threatened not only on economic grounds but also by certain physical handicaps.
These special cases, as it was pointed out, consist of children in broken homes, children who have lost their father, whose father is away from the family, children who have lost their mother, and those in need of special services-a large group of handicapped children who are not being served at the present time or who are being served only in a small way.
Coming back for a moment to the child who has been deprived of his father, we know that even though in the states with the best provisions care is taken of such children through mothers' assistance and mothers' pension laws, but we know that in most of these states only a comparatively small proportion of children receive those benefits.
Illinois, I believe, is the first state that made provision for such children, but I know that a comparatively small proportion of children are provided in this way in the state of Illinois. It seems to me that we are not going to get very far and we are not going to improve the situation very much in that regard without some assistance from the federal government. I think that it is essential to have the federal government enter into the picture.
Consider the comparatively large group of children suffering from various physical and mental handicaps. It is, I think, commonly conceded that but a small proportion of these children receive the services which they require through the state and local efforts.
Even deformed children, in whom so many difference organizations are interested, are very often neglected. I think in some states, as in the state of Illinois, it is estimated that only about 20 per cent are being served or are receiving the necessary care, and the same holds true for other handicapped classes. We aren't going to do very much for these classes depending on state aid alone. The federal government may well come into the picture in order to complete or round out the program for these special classes.
There is one other class which we haven't discussed very much, which is coming to the foreground because of the depression. That is the group of children who have reached the school-leaving age, or self-supporting age, of 16 and over. These children are on the labor market at the present time, or most of them are; some of them are at work, but most of them are not; and, of course more and more people are concerned about them. This is not alone an economic problem; it is a problem of morale which is extremely important. Very little attention as yet, in a practical way, has been given to that group locally.
The national government is doing some things for that group, some portions of that group, providing C.C.C. camps for some of the of the boys particularly, and for a few girls in the C.C.C. camps. It also provides some help for that group in the transient service and in other services, but on the whole that group is not served at the present time. It finds its way into what we call in Chicago, "basement clubs," and it is a pathetic group on the whole because it is loose--not in school, not at work. This is a group about which we must concern ourselves.
I read the other day an article on the financial page of a New York paper, and I was surprised that it appeared on the financial page. It was about a youth problem in America. The person who wrote about the youth problem on the financial page is greatly concerned about the youth of America, and claimed that there is more dynamite in that problem than there is in any other social problem that we are faced with to-day. He gives two bits of advice on how to meet that problem, and I am particularly interested in the advice which he gives.
One bit of advice is that employers should be very considerate of the young people who apply for jobs, very polite to them, and that they should not dismiss them abruptly, so that they won't become anti-social. The other bit of advice is that employers should give preference to male applicants over female applicants because of the tradition in America, and because, he says, after all it is a little bit cheaper to maintain girl and women on the relief than it is boys and men. He said that women and girls somehow can manage on less than men and boys can. I think it is rather interesting that this appeared on the financial age, and that this man is talking along the same lines that some other men are. I think that the youth problem is something about which we must concern ourselves, and I do not think that the local or state governments are going to give it very much attention without some impetus from the federal government.
I submit, Madam Chairman, that in this conference when we talk of social security, we include in any kind of a program that group which falls, let's say, between the ages of 16 and 21 or 22, which deserves, I believe, very special consideration in any security program.
CHAIRMAN ABBOTT: Is there someone else who wishes to speak?
MISS WAGGAMAN (Bureau of Labor Statistics): I was very much interested several years ago in an interview with you in New York in which you suggested that the mothers' pension laws should be extended to include families in which the wage earner was unemployed, and I am wondering whether the Committee on Economic Security has considered the question of extending the mothers' pension law to include all families where the wage earner has an inadequate income?
CHAIRMAN ABBOTT: I don't think that it has been done; other inclusions have been lost rather than added.
MISS HAZEL CORBIN (Maternity Association of New York City): I should like to urge the need for the development of maternity welfare committees or commissions throughout the country--state, county, urban or whatnot--to set up standards for maternity care that would be applicable and workable in those communities, and to conduct current studies of morbidity and mortality so that it would be possible to know what was happening, and to work out some measures for preventing the unnecessary morbidity that we have now, and to development methods of teaching the public the need for adequate maternity care, so that the public will more completely avail itself of the facilities that are now available to maternity patients.
I think that one of the other things that this maternity committee should work on is the development of facilities to make adequate maternity care available to every woman at prices she can afford. These facilities would include, I name first what I consider most important, development of institutes for teaching doctors and nurses the most up-to-date methods of giving maternity care. They would include the development and control of safe hospitals for maternity care, the working out of some scheme for properly supervised home medical and nursing care, including some form of supervised household help, the development of dental care that would be available when the mother needed it, and such social service as may be necessary.
I think that the committee should address itself to the working out of some scheme for the regulation of the practice of all who would contribute to the maternity care of all patients.
MR. C.C. CARSTENS (Child Welfare League of America, Inc., New York): I should like to supplement very briefly what has already been said in regard to mother's aid, and particularly in regard to its fragmentariness and the need of having a thoroughgoing program that will be in a sense a national program which will meet the situation.
A good many facts were brought out in the studies that were made for the White House Conference on Child Health and Protection, which haven't come out into print. A bit of information is in my possession that bears out the fragmentariness of mother's aid.
We were able to gather data from quite a number of states, but not from all, on the parental status of all the children being cared for away from home. It was very interesting to find that while in one section of the United States in a group of contiguous states an average of 10 to 12 per cent of the children of families in which the father had died were being cared for away from home, while in another group of contiguous states, those who were being cared for in orphan asylums and children's homes or foster homes, amounted to from 25 to 47 per cent of the children in families where the father had died.
Most of these states of the last group had mother's aid laws, but the inadequacy of care seems to me very striking. I do not believe that such a program as we have now in mother's aid will get very far during the next ten or even twenty years unless we can in some way effect a national effort. We are still, friends, 48 different republics when it comes to child welfare, and I believe then we ought to recognize the fact that it is desirable in many ways to urge a national program of child welfare rather than 48 different state programs, even though there are those of us who do not want to see the powers of the states infringed upon.
The children are the sufferers in an inadequate program.
DR. T.F. ABERCROMBIE (President, Conference of State and Provincial Health Authorities, State Board of Health, Atlanta, Georgia): I want to emphasize particularly what the last speaker has said. I think we need a national leadership more than any other thing, and a national program.
Some of our states are so small in population and financial resources that we can never be able to develop the well-rounded program that we could and should have, without the leadership and financial aid of a national plan.
I wish to give you an idea of some things being done in Georgia, (I am from Georgia) before I mention that I think that sometimes we approach this problem from a specialty standpoint rather than consider the local problem, and from that point the whole picture. We see the problem from pediatrist's or an obstetrician's viewpoint (without taking into consideration the background, the family, the whole picture.
The White House Conference was organized in our state but didn't function very well. We had two or three general meetings which, through the pediatrician's of our state, have been kept up, and an association formed, called the State Association for Child Health and Welfare. It is composed of all of the organizations interested in the child-pediatricians, medical associations, boards of health, women's organizations of all kinds, parent teachers associations, Kiwanis Clubs, in fact, anybody that has a child welfare program.
Now they are organizing county councils, which I think is the secret of the success of the organization. The county council is composed of the same group, but there is somebody in each county who will be responsible for any program. We have nearly 125 councils already organized, ready and willing to effect any program that has for its object the welfare of the community, particularly of the child. What we need most of all is a real program with real leadership.
One other thing that we are doing is rather interesting; we are making a complete physical, mental, and a dental examination of everyone on the relief rolls, through the aid of the Federal Relief Administrator's office in three counties. Georgia is a rural state. We are going to consider the results of these examinations with an open mind, and I believe that they will give us some real basic facts on which to build our relief, rehabilitation, and our welfare program. We have no figures to present yet, but that can be done in cooperation with the medical and dental professions, who are devoting time to it.
If I am not mistaken, it is going to do one of two or three things. It is going to show that a certain group in each community will always be on the relief roll and might as well be planned for, and that another group, by rehabilitation, can be made self-sustaining.
This brings us back to the very thing that we are discussing here. We need national leadership and support from the national government.
CHAIRMAN ABBOTT: Is there someone else?
Don't you want to follow Dr. Abercrombie, Dr. Parran? Dr. Parran is the Health Officer of New York State.
DR. PARRAN: In view of the hour, I think, perhaps, that I shall not discuss the several aspects of the problem, but I should like to elaborate somewhat on one point which has been brought up by Dr. Adair, and that is the economic obstacles to child welfare which surround the maternity functions.
Of course, we recognize that in many instances inadequate medical care is a factor for reasons other than economic barriers, but by and large, I think all of us agreed that the standards of maternity care could be very much elevated if these economic barriers could be, in part at least, removed.
I had a letter from an obstetrician in a city with a population of some 40,000 in New York State. He attends 60 per cent of the births in that city. He said that a woman who becomes pregnant in the city, except for the small percentage who are financially in good circumstances, has just one of three choices. First, she may go to an abortionist; second, she may wait until labor starts and call in the doctor whom she has not paid for the previous delivery; or third, she can take her pride in her hands and go to the welfare officer and get on the relief rolls.
I think that situation exists in many other communities in the state. All of us recognize that in spite of the gratifying declines in infant mortality, we have not brought down the maternal mortality to any significant extent. Dr. Adair has emphasized very properly the fact that it is more than a loss of mothers on account of child bearing; it is a loss of child life in addition which so often results from inadequate attendance at childbirth.
It seems to me that our efforts up to date in most communities of this state have fallen far short. The results are not gratifying, as our maternal mortality rate continues high, and the method of approach has been inadequate to meet the problem.
Of course, we need, through pre-natal clinics, public health nurses, and other facilities to educate mothers and encourage doctors to give a better quality of obstetrical care, but I have seen nowhere on any broad scale a complete follow-through system of care from the beginning of pregnancy, through the birth, to care of the child by competent pediatrists.
We have been faced with a similar problem in other phases of health. We are facing it with tuberculosis, and what did we do about it? We constructed tuberculosis sanatoriums. We made them available at first to the indigent. More recently in vast areas of the country the treatment of tuberculosis is almost as free as public education. It is available to anyone, depending upon medical need, rather that upon the yardstick of a pauper's oath. Yet when it comes to furnishing obstetrical care we still measure the needs by the indigency of the person who needs the care.
I think that we need to change our concept of the maternity function, to recognize that it is of sufficient social importance to society as a whole to necessitate the assumption of whatever proportion of the cost is needed to insure good obstetrics. To that end, I have made the specific recommendation to a number of organizations in our state that the state and local communities, through their taxes, assume whatever proportion of the costs of childbearing--medical and nursing and hospital costs--which is necessary to provide for good medical care for all who need it.
That is putting the medical need ahead of the economic need. In practice, persons well able to pay would not ask for that service, but the marginal patients, who now get a very poor quality of service, would be the persons who would be benefitted. Surprisingly enough the state medical society through its journal has spoken kind words of that program.
Obviously this could not be done by a system of state medicine as ordinarily considered. I am visualizing the rural problem where every physician who is now attending patients during childbirth would be eligible to participate if his work is satisfactory. Physicians would be paid fees for that service just as they are now in our state being paid fees of $25 for attendance upon the delivery of a person upon the relief rolls.
That same plan, I think, can be applied, and needs to be applied to the marginal and lower income groups. It seems to me that it offers a simple method of coming to grips with the central problem in the maternal mortality rate, which up to now has not declined.
CHAIRMAN ABBOTT: I think that is exactly what we have to face, the problem of maternal care throughout the country.
Is there someone else who wishes to speak? We have a few minutes before going to the luncheon meeting but I should be very glad to have everyone feel that they have said what they wanted to on this subject this morning. I know that it limits discussion to be covering so large a subject in so short a time. We can only talk in greatest generalities when we are covering the whole problem of child welfare in a single short session. However, it is important that we convey to the Committee on Economic Security and to the Advisory Council on Economic Security what this group of experts wishes to tell them after this meeting. I should be very glad to have any further discussion.
Have you something you would like to say, Dr. Grulee?
DR. GRULEE: There are one or two things. The problem of syphilis mentioned by Dr. Folks is one which can be practically controlled by pre-natal care. In the county hospital in Chicago they rarely have any congenital syphilis, the only type of syphilis of any moment to children, because all of the women come to the clinics beforehand. A large proportion of those women are negroes, among whom the progress of syphilis is much more rapid, than among white women.
Another thing is that the facilities available to indigents for proper conditions for maternity work should not necessarily be confined to hospitalization. This should be borne in mind very definitely, because in the out-patient departments developing in connection with adequate medical schools, even with only students in attendance, reduction of mortality of children and mothers is very definite. I know of one in which I made a survey of deaths among a total of 10,000 mothers. There were 21 deaths, of which ten were attributable to heart disease, diabetes, etc. Students officiated very largely in that institution.
Another thing I want to say here has a more general application. Many people have talked of the problems of the child, and many people have talked of the problems of their communities, but few have discussed a national plan.
Now I have been connected with an organization which has been nation-wide. I know that these problems are local problems and that the solution of them is not in any general scheme, but a local one which has to be worked out mostly as a state proposition. We should consider these problems more as a state proposition with federal support, than as a general scheme for the whole United States.
For instance, you cannot lay down rules for taking care of children in New York City that will apply to New Mexico; it can't be done. We have to take care of each local problem with certain general standards to maintain.
CHAIRMAN ABBOTT: I think that those of us who have not spoken agree completely to that. I am sure that Dr. Abercrombie doesn't want anybody to tell him what has to be done in detail in Georgia, but he does recognize that the children in Georgia are citizens of the United States. I have had some experience with a national organization, also. I was asked for a formula when going into one community. I said at once that, that community was very unusual and would need individual treatment. I found that the children weren't so unusual, that they were very much alike, and that the problems were very similar, but that the mode of organization for meeting these problems necessarily had to be quite different in the urban and rural communities.
Would some of the others who have already spoken like to say something further in view of the subsequent discussion?
DR. FOLKS: There is just one single word. It would seem to me that if we were trying to sum up our conclusions, this being a conference on economic security, that the two key things have been said by Dr. Laurie and Dr. Parran.
First, in these public health and medical services we should recognize that there are very large sections of the population at present who cannot make provisions for these services without reducing already very low standards of living. Therefore, we would like to see them made available by public provision.
Secondly, Dr. Parran's suggestion was that public provision of public health services and highly specialized services should be available to all desiring to utilize them, that irrespective of economic need, the medical need should prevail. Those able to pay may be expected to pay according to ability, but the services should not be met with the idea that they are restricted to the indigent, but that they are to provide for those in the community needing that particular specialized kind of service under the aegis of health and medical need and not under the aegis of indigency.
MISS EDWARDS (Home Economic Association): Going along with what has been said, should there be a gradation in the character or quality of the service given to people in these different groups? I think that is taken for granted that there would be none, but I think sometimes that possibility enters.
CHAIRMAN ABBOTT: Was there anyone else who had not spoken?
DR. LURIE: All I have to say is in line with what Mr. Folks has said. There has been considerable discussion among social workers as to the crucial problems involved. I think we put our finger on the fact that our lack of progress comes from the fact that basically we are operating all of our social services on the pauper basis.
Social workers, therefore, feel that real progress in human welfare, social security, and child welfare cannot be made unless we can abolish the poor laws and pauper system. All of our problems of care for the security, health, medical, and individual problems of families should be met on the basis of their needs as persons, rather than on the basis of their pauper status. I think that is the task in the present administration.
We must recognize our social services so that these rest not upon benevolence or upon charitable grants but upon the right of individuals to health, welfare, and security. To some extent that involves not merely a governmental system of relief and insurance, but it involves an organization of the local community, perhaps on a basis somewhat similar to some of the European systems in which the public, largely labor, has a real share in the formulation and in the management of the administration of the system of human welfare.
MRS. CHARLES W. SEWELL: (Home and Community Department, American Farm Bureau Federation, Chicago): I have hesitated to speak because this meeting was supposed to be for experts and I certainly can't pose as an expert. I have not heard definitely mentioned, however, the need of the rural children or of the rural mother. I should like to plead that, that be covered in this committee report.
I think, perhaps, it would be difficult for many in the room to realize the primitive necessity with which maternity and infancy are surrounded, not only in the recesses or mountain regions of some of the states, but in the great corn belt, and wherever farm people are making such desperate efforts to keep their heads above water. I think some of you have already seen "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch." If you have, please remember what Jimmy said about pulling against a debt. If we can do something that will reach the rural home, I am sure it would be worth a great deal.
CHAIRMAN ABBOTT: There is no doubt that in those areas that have a small amount of dependency which are largely rural, we have had a sharp reduction in facilities for care, that a great many women are not having a doctor now in childbirth who used to have one. They are doing without doctors and it is, of course, an appalling thing. They are remaining off relief, but it is at a very great cost to them and the children. That we hold the standard of destitution as the basis of relief, which eliminates these families has been the cause of great loss in many of these communities.
Is there someone else who wants to say something? If not, we may adjourn, but there is still time for anyone to send in a statement that occurs to him afterwards, or something that he wants to be sure is presented to the Council. I should be very glad to make sure it is presented to the Council.
I thank you all very much.
. . . The meeting adjourned at one o'clock . . .
The Round Table Conference on Unemployment Insurance, of the National Conference on Economic Security, held in the Chinese Room of the Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C., convened at 11:10 o'clock, Mr. Joseph H. Willits, Dean of the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce presiding.
CHAIRMAN WILLITS: I hope the other round table has an adequate audience, because I can't see that we have any less than attended the opening meeting.
I think the least important part of the conference is the remarks by the presiding officer. Since we are already about half an hour late, the remarks will be very brief.
Five years of depression have served to make unemployment insurance, or as I would prefer to say the more precise an exact term, a compulsory pooled unemployment reserve, not merely a subject of academic interest but a subject of practical possibility. The case for reserving some part of the production of prosperous years as a reserve against the lean years is as astonishing now as it was in the days of Egypt.
I think, perhaps, the case for it may be summed up in the observation of a wise and competent friend of mine who reported the result of three trips to England. In 1911, when England was prosperous, he went through the lake and mining regions and observed, in spite of the prosperity, a large amount of destitution. He made two similar trips through the same country in the twenties when England was depressed, and in spite of the fact of the depression he observed less destitution than he had in 1911.
I don't want to commit this group to a particular point of view for I realize there are many different points of view represented, but I feel that for our discussion to-day we might take the strength of the case for granted, and concern ourselves particularly with the problems of how and when. There are grave problems in these areas. Should such a plan be a federal plan with the advantages of lesser costs and greater speed? It also has obvious disadvantages. Or should the plan be one primarily of states, with the disadvantages of slowness in progress, but the advantage that responsibilities do tend, under those circumstances, to root themselves in the communities and insure competent administration?
How are we going to deal with the problem in a part of the country which is not yet established generally, without a civil service? How are we going to maintain the integrity of administration which is essential in a problem of this kind? For how long a period should we provide benefits under such a plan? What funds would be needed? If our accumulation should run up to a total, as some careful students estimate of $4,000,000,000 or $5,000,000,000, how are we going to handle the problem of investment during the boom period?
How is such a plan to be tied up with the relief system? I take it that none of us would feel that any such system is a substitute for a relief system, but that it would be for a limited period of provision, after which the burden would have to be assumed by a relief system, coordinated with the unemployment insurance system. How are we to work out those problems of coordination?
Finally, when will it be wise for us to inaugurate collections under such a plan without retarding recovery? In other words, what degree of recovery do we need before we start collections?
Of course, the fact is that we are collecting vast sums for relief. I am sure those questions are the least important ones as compared with the problems or practical questions of how and when, upon which of those of us who are formulating them very much desire the advice of this group.
I will now turn immediately to the leaders of the discussions and will call first on Mr. H. W. Story, Vice President, Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company, Milwaukee.
MR. STORY: Mr. Willits, ladies and gentlemen: You have gone into more detail in your suggestion than I had anticipated.
When Mr. Altmeyer suggested that I make a few remarks here I thought they would be applied to the more fundamental propositions than some which you have indicated. But, at any rate, I will proceed with the few remarks I have to make.
I approach the subject with a great deal of comity before a gathering of real experts. I do not pose in any way as an expert. During my business activities for the past 13 years I have given a great deal of thought to the subject, and I am here to-day merely to record my humble but rather definite views.
Prosperity is merely another name for widespread individual productive effort, which results in the exchange of the fruits of such effort. Thus employment is the key to prosperity and is the remedy for unemployment.
Unfortunately the processes of prosperity are tremendously complicated and finely balanced. For that reason it is exceedingly difficult to correct any maladjustment in them. Some may say that it is impossible for the human mind to determine the cause of the unbalancing of our economic machinery and to apply the proper remedy. I do not subscribe to this theory. Affirmative action, even though not entirely effective, is preferable to hopelessly awaiting the operation of so-called economic laws.
I have listened with much interest to the theories of proponents of pure individualism and with equal attention to the ideas of advocates of pure socialism. I believe that both are wrong. I am much impressed by the logic of the socialists in their advocacy of social justice, but nevertheless, have the definite instinctive feeling that pure socialism can never succeed because it is opposed to the strongest human instinct, namely, selfishness - which is merely a manifestation of the instinct of self-preservation.
On the other hand I do not agree with the rugged individualists who subscribe to the theory "let the devil take the hindmost." I think that both are partly wrong. I think that somewhere on the middle ground is a road which will lead to a sound system of unemployment security.
The foregoing is too abstract to be precisely helpful in the consideration of this subject, but it is presented to convey my thought that nature does not intend us to be soft.
What is the demarkation between a plan which is soft and a plan which is soundly recognizing principles of social justice? That is a matter of very difficult determination, but I will try to show the kind of an unemployment system that I think will meet the requirements.
The first problem we have is the kind of system. I don't know whether you close the door to that discussion, but at any rate we have two types of system, in other words, the European system and the American system. The European system is founded on the payment for enforced idleness. The American system has at least the idea of attempting to provide for a regularization of employment and hence in some extent, prevents unemployment.
Some renowned writers have questioned the principle that employment is the solution of unemployment because they claim it is practically impossible to provide work for all able-bodied persons. They cite the experience of countries which have established the European systems.
If the principle of employment as the correct remedy for unemployment is sound, then let is strive toward that goal. Where would this country be in its national development if the Edisons and Fords had said, " It can't be done?"
That expression had always irked me. It certainly does not represent the philosophy of our President or the American people.
So our problem, it seems to me, is to attempt to find the plan which at least tends to exert pressure toward the prevention of unemployment. Instead of merely adopting it, it gives ideas for paying for enforcement.
The European system contemplates a single fund into which are placed contributions by the state, employers, and employees. Benefits for unemployment are paid to all employees who become unemployed through no fault of their own from the fund. Thus a tax is placed on all employers and employees to set up a fund for the payment of money benefits to the unemployed.
There is certainly nothing in that plan to stimulate or regularize employment. Contrast it with the American system.
The American system, you know, provides for individual reserves under which an employer has the incentive to regularize employment, because when his reserve has been built up his contributions are either cut down or in most cases lost.
Is there anything to this idea of regularization? I don't think anyone can state positively whether it will, in fact, have a tendency to prevent unemployment. In the short experience that I have had with the Wisconsin law I know that employers are considering the unemployment benefits payable from the funds. They are considering it from the standpoint of their productive cost and endeavoring to find ways and means to spread employment, to take cognizance of this situation. It is difficult to tell how far even regularization will go in preventing unemployment because you may have the possibility of creating a full-time force. A full-time force is throwing out of employment a certain per cent of employees who would have otherwise been employed. From a social standpoint it seems to me that a full-time force of workmen is much better than a larger force of part-time workers.
I don't think there can be any questions about that because from the social standpoint continuity of employment promotes the habit of work which is vitally important in the human being.
There is another element, the effect of regularization on expansion. How far that will have a real effect is questionable. Only time can tell. At any rate the theory is at least to keep in mind the problem of prevention of unemployment, to have the urge there, to establish enthusiasm and the incentive, so that there will be the likelihood of some benefit from that source.
How effective it will be Heaven only knows, but remember this, the Wisconsin or the American system is merely an experiment. If it does not prove successful we can always return to the system of merely paying for an enforced idleness.
The next question is, shall the employees be required to contribute to the reserve fund?
Employee contributions are an important element to be considered in view of the fact that we are entering into a period when there is going to be a large charge against the wages of workers for social insurance. Employee contributions toward an old age pension fund is much more logical than toward an unemployment insurance fund. Unemployment may be preventable, but old age is not. Hence it seems to me, instead of splitting the contributions of the employees between the two funds, logically, the full contribution should be made to the old age pension fund.
I feel that the employer should contribute solely to the unemployment insurance fund.
Should the state contribute? The state should assume the cost of administrative of the system but no more. I feel that at this stage of the development of the idea of unemployment insurance in this country, we should keep the state out of the picture as much as possible.
I would like to have it clearly understood that if we need another system, or some supplementary system to work with the American plan, I am for it. I would like to have tried at this time a system which I think travels the middle of the road, but I am just as much in favor of social security for workmen as anyone in this room. I only plead to give the American system a trial.
Should whatever system is adopted be compulsory? There is little use wasting any time on that question. The answer is emphatically "yes." The old human instinct if selfishness will also operate to prevent the voluntary adoption of a plan of this kind to sufficient extent to make it really effective.
Some sort of compulsion, let's say stimulation of interest, is needed in the various states to accomplish individual state enactment. I don't want to go into the type of bill, as that raises legal and psychological questions. I think that the Wagner-Lewis bill, modified to some extent, would be the rather ideal vehicle for putting across the state idea.
I am hopeful that in any plan of federal legislation adopted, Wisconsin will be given a chance to carry out her ideas of unemployment insurance.
There is the question of whether we will be obliged to have supplementary relief to carry on our system, and the advantages or disadvantages of one type of relief and another, and the social implication of one and the other. I think we should look at this problem as one which is going to require much experimentation, and I hope that any federal law will allow wide latitude in selecting the various plans for the individual states.
The last and probably most important question is when to pass any law for the establishment of this system. When should the system become effective? When should contributions be made?
On this, in spite of the fact that we already are making contributions in Wisconsin and would like to have our competitors do likewise, I would urge that the actual effective date be postponed until such time as foreign groups of economists, advising the President, should decide the time is ripe for the institution of such a system.
It seems to me that at the present time any added charge upon industry is a detriment to the progress of recovery.
CHAIRMAN WILLITS: I am very grateful to Mr. Story for so thoughtfully opening up some of the issues involved, and because of his suggestion that employers alone should pay, merely in order to draw an issue.
I am going to read a letter from Mary K. Simkhovitch which Mr. Witte asked me to read sometime during the discussion. The letter is as follows:
"I should like to register my conviction that unemployment insurance legislation ought to call for contributions from the employers, the employees, and the government. I know it is said, and with truth, that employees give their contribution in the form of inadequate wages. Nevertheless, I believe Labor will be vastly more interested and feel it has a definite state in the operation of unemployment insurance legislation, if a direct contribution is made.
"In regard to contributions from the government, it seems to me that the amounts contributed without its participation would not be sufficient to meet the needs which the legislation is created to meet."
Because of the pertinence of that letter to the point which Mr. Story made, I read it here.
We will next hear from Mr. Paul Douglas of the University of Chicago, whose name is known to all of you.
Mr. Kennedy would you mind coming forward at the same time? Miss Goldmark, also?
MR. DOUGLAS: Due to the depression and to the statesmanship of the President, the campaign for unemployment insurance had been pushed down to the five yard line and should go over in the next play or two. There are few political leaders and comparatively few thinking employers who do not recognize the necessity of a more adequate, a more self-respecting and a more certain way of taking care of good men and women who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. The only way to do this is through insurance against involuntary unemployment. But mere enthusiasm for unemployment insurance is not enough, for we are now in the valley of decision and must determine the kind of insurance which we want. That at least is the question to which I shall address myself.
In the first place, we need to see how unemployment insurance fits into the problem of relief and the degree to which it will lessen the need for the latter. Had insurance been instituted, as some of us urged, a decade age, we would be in a far happier position now, since we would have accumulated reserves which would have greatly lessened the need for relief. But due to unjustifiable self-satisfaction, and to the blind opposition of the then dominant forces in our society, this was not done. We are, therefore, faced with the consequences of these sins of omission. We have come to the plan so tardily that it will not effect any appreciable immediate reduction in relief outlays. For whatever the system adopted, whether national, or as I would prefer, a cooperative arrangement between the federal government and the states along the lines of the Wagner-Lewis Bill, or an outright grant-in aid to the states, we shall show extraordinary speed if we get the system under way and begin to collect premiums by July of next year.* Then, under any insurance plan, a further
period of at least six months will be required before the employed workers are able to build up a sufficient period of employment to acquire eligibility for benefits. For the next year, therefore, insurance will not help in reducing the relief load. Moreover, while those who care are now
*I prefer a federal subsidy plan of approximately 100 per cent to states for these reasons:
A. All funds could be held more easily in the federal Treasury or Federal Reserve System, with states merely drawing upon these funds to pay current benefits.
B. The re-insurance feature could be handled more easily.
C. Minimum standards of administration and benefits could be more easily laid down for states.
It would also seem to me more justifiable on constitutional grounds, although I am not, of course, an expert on such matters.
employed or who subsequently obtain a job will be given much more adequate and self- respecting protection against future unemployment, those who are now unemployed and who do not get back into industry will be outside the protection of insurance and will have to be taken care of by other means.
Nor is this all. Any insurance system will have to limit the period of benefits to some maximum length of time. This period should be liberal and not niggardly, but while I do not believe it should be less than 20 weeks, we probably cannot hope to make it more than 26. Now, in a depression of any magnitude, a very large percentage of the workers will be unemployed for a much longer period than this. What then is to happen to these workers who have exhausted their claim to insurance benefits and many of whom will be in great need? Even in April, 1930, when the depression was just gathering momentum, the census showed that about 14 per cent of the unemployed had been out of work for more than 22 weeks, and about 22 per cent of the unemployed time had been accumulated by this group. The condition now is, of course, much worse.
It would be a mistake, I believe, for the insurance system as such to assume unlimited liability for them. But the public conscience will properly demand that they be taken care of in some better fashion than being dumped upon local relief. The best way of handling this situation, I believe, would be to set up a system of emergency benefits for this class which would be graduated according to need and which though administered through the public employment offices will be financed from governmental rather than insurance sources. Such was the German system up until the fall of 1933 and such is now the British system. The provision of such a further period of approximately 20 weeks will at once limit the liability of the insurance funds and divide the responsibility for unemployment between industry and government. Incidentally, if the government provided these emergency benefits, it might properly be excused from contributing to the normal benefits which could then be met from contributions by the parties to industry. Furthermore, since the government will be providing funds for the maintenance of those who continued to be unemployed, it might properly ask that those who receive these emergency benefits should perform in return work upon public projects or receive training to make them better fit for industry and life.
In our anxiety to set up insurance as much needed front-line trench against the ravages of unemployment, there will be a natural tendency for us to postpone digging this second-line trench of emergency benefits to care for the spill-over from the insurance system and for us to wait until the emergency arises before we act. But if we do this, there will be a grave danger that, faced with another emergency situation, we will instead merely prolong the benefit period under the insurance system and thus drag it down under an impossible financial load. If unemployment insurance is not, therefore, to be ultimately weakened, we need to provide for our second-line of defense now. Insurance will then be given as a right for a given period to men and women who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, without regard to their previous savings, etc. Thereafter, emergency benefits will be paid for a limited period according to need. Moreover, even behind emergency benefits, we will need to erect a better relief system and to reorganize our archaic poor laws.
The second set of topics I should like to consider are the minimum features which should be embodied in a system of unemployment insurance. The coverage should be as broad as possible, even though agriculture and public employments will probably have to be excluded. Salaried employees receiving up to $50 or $60 a week should be included as well as manual workers, and while small firms may be initially excluded for administrative reasons, the coverage should reach down to the three or five man enterprises and not stop at the ten man firm, as in Wisconsin.
A further requirement which the federal government may impose is that the state as well as the federal staffs which administer the system and its attached employment offices should be under genuine civil service rules.
The benefits, moreover, should be niggardly. The Wisconsin provision that not more than $10 a week shall be paid for not more than ten weeks a year is clearly inadequate, and higher a minimum should be fixed in any federal law. The benefits should be roughly 50 per cent of wages, subject to a weekly maximum of approximately $15 a week. If small allowances are added for dependants the normal benefit might then be reduced to $10 or $12 a week. In order to avoid administrative difficulties, it will be wise, I believe, to adopt the German system of wage categories with a given benefit for each category. This will enormously decrease the work of verifying and writing checks. The benefit period should be not less than 20 weeks while I would prefer to see it fixed at 26 weeks. The waiting period may, however, range between three and five weeks in order to help prolong the benefit period for those who will need it most, but it should not exceed five weeks at the outside.
From computations which I have made it seems probable that if we assume 10 per cent as the average unemployment figure, then 20 weeks of such benefits subject to three weeks' waiting period could be met from an assessment of between 3 and 4 per cent of the payroll. If 12 per cent is assumed as the more probable average figure for unemployment, the cost would be nearer 4 per cent. An increase of say one-half of 1 per cent would provide a reserve against catastrophes, while the same result would also be obtained and strengthened if the waiting period were raised above three weeks. These results of mine are very similar to those obtained by Dr. I. M. Rubinow for Ohio on the basis of a different set of data. An assessment of 4 per cent of the payroll, even if borne entirely by the employers, would in turn amount on the average to only a little over four-fifths of 1 per cent of the sales value of manufacturing, although it would of course be higher in the service trades. If the employers paid 3 per cent the cost would be about two -thirds of 1 per cent of total sales value in manufacturing.
A third issue is whether the insurance reserves should be upon a plant or a state-wide basis. If a cooperative federal-state plan is finally decided upon, rather than outright national law, the choice in such matters might well be left to the states, as was done under the Wagner-Lewis Bill. But since this issue is bound to arise in the states at least, I would not be candid if I did not point out a crucial and to my mind fatal weakness in the plant reserve system. During a depression the burden of unemployment, as we all know, falls very unequally upon various industries. The foods industries do not suffer appreciably, and the clothing and shoe industries but slightly. The heavy industries, on the other hand, are hit hard. And yet the latter are not primarily responsible for what happens. To pay the unemployed only from the reserves of their particular plant or industry would result, therefore, in the reserves of the heavy industries being rather quickly drawn down and exhausted. This would mean reduced and finally discontinued benefits for the workers in these groups. At the same time, the workers in the "light" industries would be receiving full benefits. Such inequalities between workers who were equally innocent would in practice never be tolerated, and the first serious depression would to my mind compel the abandonment of exclusive plant reserves and force the pooling of funds in order to provide equality of benefits. It is better to begin with such a state-wide pool from the start which will guarantee such an equality of benefits than to be forced reluctantly into it after an intervening period of hardship and collapse. As every insurance man knows, more adequate benefits can be paid if reserves are pooled. But while pooled reserves are preferable, merit rating should be adopted after a trial period in order to offer some stimulus to industry to reduce seasonal unemployment.
The federal government should also provide means whereby eligible workers who move from state to state would not lose their claim to benefit. In addition to directly covering the workers in interstate commerce, it may also properly set up a reinsurance fund to help protect states which because of their industries are subject to undue cyclical hazards. Furthermore, the President was quite right in his statement of last spring that the investment of the surplus reserves should be put in the hands of a federal agency. This would permit such a body to cooperate with the Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury in so managing affairs that investments would not be unduly stimulated on the upswing of the cycle, and added consumers purchasing power would be released during depressions with a minimum of injury to the bond market.
Finally, we come to the vexed question of whether the workers should contribute towards the cost of the standard benefits. Although it may be considered a proof of conservatism on my part, I personally favor such a contribution of approximately 1 per cent for the following reasons: (1) it will probably be needed to ensure adequate benefits. It is more than doubtful whether as a practical matter the owners of industry can be saddled for a full 4 per cent. If they are not, then it would be better for the workers to make a small contribution. (2) It will enlist the interest of the workers in preventing malingering, since if the system is abused, their funds as well as those of the employers will be wasted. (3) While many crimes have been committed in the name of self-respect, contributions by the workers will make them more inclined to treat unemployment insurance as a right rather than a gratuity, and this is precisely the way it should be. (4) Finally, and perhaps most important of all, contributions by the workers would ensure them an equal voice in the administration of the system, which might not otherwise be granted if the employers were the sole contributors. In view of the fact that such important issues as the definition of "just cause for leaving work" and "suitable employment" will necessarily be involved in determining whether claimants are eligible for benefit, it is highly important that the workers should be equally represented on the boards which administer the system, both locally and for the state. A slight contribution by the workers is, in my opinion, a small price to pay for the assurance of such joint control. Furthermore, a contribution of 1 per cent would not amount to more than $.16 or $.20 a week for unskilled labor and should not be an undue burden.
Many of the points which I have touched upon are of necessity controversial. Nothing is gained by evading them, for they are inherent in the decisions of the next few months, and will have to be faced. Let us hope that the decisions on those points are wise and far-seeing. But everything will be lost if we permit differences about methods to disrupt and embitter a movement which is on the verge of success.
The state of Ohio has recommended a pooled state fund, and a bill was introduced in the Ohio legislature to that effect. A similar bill was introduced in the New York legislature to that effect. The same bill was introduced in the Maryland legislature and passed one house there, and one has just been proposed by the New Hampshire legislature headed by Dr. Feldman. I have never thought that Ohio, New York, Maryland, and New Hampshire were outside of our Union.
So instead of drawing this plan between the American plan and the European plan I would like to have the comparison drawn between a company reserve plan and a state-wide pool. We are all Americans and though I have the greatest love and respect for the people in Wisconsin, and think Wisconsin is the best state in the Union, still, I am an American too.
CHAIRMAN WILLITS: We received the usual stimulating and thoughtful contribution from Paul Douglas. Among the issues he leads out with are these: the size of firm inclusion, worker contributions on a small scale, a benefit period of 20 to 26 weeks supplemented by emergency grants and better relief system.
We have a new type of American from Pennsylvania since November 6. It gives me a great deal of pleasure to introduce the next person, Mr. Thomas Kennedy, Secretary-Treasurer of the United Mine Workers and Lieutenant Governor-Elect of Pennsylvania.
MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen: I am not an expert on this subject and I prefer to be classified as the least among the others who are discussing this important subject. It is my judgement that the country is in agreement as to the need for unemployment insurance of unemployment compensation, whichever term may be preferred.
The capitalistic system, throughout our history, has been marked by recurrent breakdowns and depressions from which wage earners and salaried workers, through unemployment, have been the sufferers. Under the capitalistic system, as we have known it, the condition of the wage earners has been worse than under the system of slavery which preceded the Civil War. In times of less or bad years, the slave owners at least took care of their slaves--furnished them with food and shelter--until prosperous conditions returned. On the hand the attitude of modern industry has been the reverse. Industrial workers, when business activity receded, have been thrown upon the streets of industrial centers to take care of themselves as best they may or to be supported by public or private charity.
If, on the contrary, as we hope, the former grievous conditions of the old system are to be lessened, or, in other words, if we shall be so fortunate as to add the magic word "reform" to our plans for economic recovery, and thus attain to more regular and steady employment, the better standards of living, more equitable distribution of the output of industry, or in brief, to a more socialized and humanitarian condition of industrial operations, unemployment insurance will still be necessary to cover the transitional period.
Moreover, we cannot hope, even with needed reforms, to attain at once to a condition of economic stability and unbroken continuity in industrial operations. Under any new system of industry, therefore, however much improved it may be as compared with the past, a system of unemployment insurance will still be necessary for industrial workers. It must be organized and made ready to meet any unforeseen contingency which may arise. Numerous influences, some of which are not subject to domestic control, such as falling-off in foreign demand for certain manufactured or agricultural products, may at times adversely affect unemployment . Through economic reforms, in other words, we may so improve conditions as to reduce the cost of unemployment insurance, but the system itself must be firmly established and liberally developed, so as to safeguard the workers and society itself against any contingencies which may develop.
It is my firm conviction that the unemployment insurance system should be national, or, in other words, that it should be organized and operated under the auspices of the federal government. Any pooled company reserves plan such as the one in Wisconsin in my judgement would not fit in any arrangement or policy upon a national basis.
This is the equivalent to saying that the scope of the unemployment insurance system should follow that of industry itself. All of our basic industries--iron and steel manufacturing, coal mining, textile manufacturing, transportation, automotive products, clothing, electrical goods, etc.--are national in their organization and operation. Bituminous coal mining operations, for example, are carried on, under one national wage arrangement in more than 30 states. The clothing manufacturing industry covers more than 40 states. Outside of a few natural-resource industries, we have long ago passed beyond localization of mining and manufacturing undertakings. With the products of these industries moving in interstate commerce the industries could very naturally fit into a national picture for coverage. Moreover, in the case of certain holding companies, subsidiary corporations cover every section of the country.
State segments, or primary state organizations cannot, therefore, be practically detached for unemployment insurance purposes. Moreover, interstate comparative conditions would be dislocated, and the costs of insurance could not be equalized between different sections of the country except through a national system. Since June, 1933, N.R.A. codes for all industries have sought to bring about national uniformity in costs and equality in competitive conditions for all industries.
Of course, I am aware that some of our reactionary groups, as always is the case, have raised the question of unconstitutionality against a national system. No worthy cause or movement for human welfare has ever been free from such indirect and insincere attacks. I am informed, however, by competent counsel that no apprehension should be felt as to the constitutionality of a national system.
Finally, it is my opinion that such a national system should be organized and installed as soon as possible, even under the abnormal conditions which prevail at present. Special funds for this purpose should be immediately made available by federal appropriations and provision for their repayment arranged by assessments upon industry. In a word, this would mean that the cost of unemployment insurance would be part of the cost of production in the same manner and way as workmen's compensation benefits are provided, except contributions here would be to a national fund.
May I say this, that the labor movement of this country believes that the cost of unemployment insurance should be passed upon industry, and that employees should not make any contribution, for the simple reason that the cost assessed against industry will inevitability be absorbed in the cost of production. Since the wage earners of this country constitute about 85 per cent of the total army of purchasers, if they made any original contribution they would likewise make a double contribution in the purchase of commodities of industry in which the cost of the employers had been absorbed.
While such special measures are practical and desirable, as a general policy, I believe that a system of unemployment insurance at the present time should provide funds through emergency advances from the federal government for the purpose of changing relief payments to unemployment insurance payments. Such a procedure would obviously add to the self-respect and morale of unemployed industrial workers.
Funds so advanced by the federal government to the newly instituted unemployment insurance system could be gradually amortized over a period of years. Such a procedure for a number of years was practically followed by Great Britain. Unemployment insurance had already been established there prior to the unprecedented restriction of industrial operations following the World War, and the government made "transitional payments" to the insurance funds in order to maintain the system, and to prevent the substitution of an actual "dole" for unemployment benefits. Unlike Great Britain, we are in the midst of an unprecedented depression without any established system of unemployment insurance, but I believe that in organizing a system, we should recognize the same principle, and make provision for transitional or emergency payments in lieu of the measures of direct relief now in effect.
At the time of the revision of the British Unemployment Insurance Act in 1920, (it was originally enacted in 1911) insured workers who were unemployed numbered only about 500,000. Because of the trade depression, however, which soon followed, the number wholly unemployed had by June, 1921, increased to 2,000,000. Another 1,000,000 was working part-time and claiming insurance benefits.
As it had been impossible, during the short time in which the revised Act had been effect to build up reserves from contributions of workers out of which benefits could be paid, it was necessary to pass a new Act in March, 1921, to meet the emergency.
As the result of conditions then existing, an entirely new principle was adopted which had been defined as "transitional benefit" payments. Stated in brief form, it provided that an unemployed person who normally would be employed in an insured industry might receive benefits even though he had never contributed to the insurance funds. These "transitional benefits" were paid entirely from the British Exchequer or treasury. In round numbers, such emergency advances by the government amounted during the period 1922-1930 inclusive, to 113.2 million pounds, or more than $500,000,000 in terms of American money. In 1930 alone when the depression and unemployment become more acute, the cost of "transitional benefits" to the government amount to $107,000,000, and the estimated cost in 1931 was more than $194,000,000. Since the labor government lost control, these emergency unemployment benefits have taken the form of direct relief.
The decision of the British government, during the stressful period following the World War, to make these emergency unemployment benefit payments, in the opinion of eminent authorities was the means not only of maintaining the morale of its working forces but was also the means of avoiding open social revolt and possibly revolution.
It seems to me also that at the present time in our own country, when we agree upon a plan of employment insurance, because of the emergency conditions which will prevail until normal industrial operations or economic recovery have been attained, it would be indeed a policy of enlightened social and industrial statesmanship if, in lieu of direct relief, we would make provision for federal appropriations to unemployment insurance funds sufficient to pay benefits to those now unemployed who normally would be employed, and also additional appropriations to provide rehabilitation for those who, because of mechanization and improved technological methods, will be permanently unemployed, unless they are trained and prepared for occupations other than those which they originally followed.
(Note: Statistics and statements as to British unemployment insurance payments are taken from Bulletin No. 544, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1932, entitled "Unemployment Benefit Plans in the United States and Unemployment Insurance in Foreign Countries."
CHAIRMAN WILLITS: The issues to be faced by those who have to design a plan for unemployment insurance extend to a number of difficulties.
I am very glad to be able to introduce the next speaker, Miss Josephine Goldmark, of the National Consumer's League, New York.
MISS GOLDMARK: In briefly supplementing the remarks of my three predecessors, for there are so many people who are deeply concerned with this subject, let me remind you that after the sessions of 1935, the next legislative session, a great many state legislatures will not meet until 1937, after the next general political election.
Let me remind you all that our legislative sessions begin on January 1. In many states they are limited to from 60 to 90 days. I think it is important, perhaps, to recall to our minds, the difficulties of translating the vastly increased interest and intelligent participation in discussions of this subject into concrete political programs. I think we should not make the mistake of underestimating the opposition that still meets this essential next step in the preservation of social security. In my own state this is the first time that the Governor of our state has campaigned for job insurance, unemployment insurance.
I think that whatever differences of opinion there may be on the subject, the question of separating unemployment insurance from administration of relief is something that we cannot escape, that to many people it is obvious that no system of insurance could have grappled with anything like the unprecedented calamity and catastrophe of the depression which we have gone through. It was an inescapable burden of public relief which the administration has not flinched from grappling with.
I do not wish to enter on controversial issues but it seems to me, to answer one or two points made this morning, with any subject so entirely not in black and white as insurance, this distinction has been perhaps too seriously taken with American and non-American methods.
In my own state of New York, to which Professor Douglas referred, another bill than the one he mentioned passed one house of our legislature. There are many in the state of New York who look with great interest at any effort to deal with this subject through increased encouragement of regulations of industry.
Whether or not that is to be the ultimate solution as provided for in this second bill that passed one house, and was favored by a large following, I don't know. There was an agreement that in so large an area, the problems are of industrial, rather than individual employer scope.
It was, therefore, provided as a middle ground that in industries such as the great clothing or building trades, committees of labor could require pooling of funds precisely to meet the suggestions that have been brought up to-day. While in other industries where it was feasible, we should still have the incentive to regularization and the responsibility put upon the individual employer.
I am bringing this up at the moment not for argument against what has been said, but in answer to the plea that the first speaker made, that under any system we allow for the utmost flexibility among individual states.
Do we have to remind ourselves that this has been the process in so much of social legislation in this country? Take the subject of workmen's compensation, now accepted as mere commonplace in the cost of production, as the last speaker indicated. Did we begin with the system we have in hand now? Did we not begin in New York with an entirely different set-up than we have now? Our difficulties are not entirely solved, but we have got a better administration, larger benefits, and an altogether different showing.
It is not true in another department--say the minimum wage--especially as applied to women workers? We know that Massachusetts has experimented for years, that California has made a different effort along this line to meet a different objective, and that in New York we have seen a most admirable experiment under an entirely new statute drawn to meet the objections of the courts. We hope to sustain the approval of the courts there this time. In this slow process of educating and enforcing that statute in New York, we have succeeded in very materially raising a huge proportion, a very large proportion, of the employees of that industry, and have done more than that by educating the whole industry into enthusiastic support of that type of legislation.
The point that I think should be stressed is that we are not prepared to enforced anything of this kind over local desires. We must have a sentiment of local "give and take." because none of this is going to enforce itself. It has got to have the approval of the people who are going to put it into effect.
There is another point that I want to cover briefly before the meeting is thrown open for discussion.
I can amplify this from my own experience in New York. Everyone could from his own local experience. The one other misconception that should be corrected is that we have to have employee contribution to the fund in order to insure safeguarding the rights of the employees in the administration of the act. Is there any reason why we should not, for after all the law has to be administered.
It is not true in Wisconsin, and in many states, that the representation of labor, the equal representation of organized labor and industry is assured in the important state wide boards that lay down the principles and practices on which the legislation is to be planned? Is that not assuring the participation of labor.
The all-important task is setting up the standards, the rules and regulations, and deciding mutual questions that arise under the interpretation of the act.
Aside from these state and local issues, which I so wish to stress, I speak, perhaps, not as an expert to this group; I speak more as a representative of a large group, which was a small group in the beginning, but grew larger, in the course of years. This group consists of those who have been students and followers of labor legislation and who, under the leadership of Miss Florence Kelly, since the first day, in 1920, when it was proposed in Wisconsin, have followed and urged the assistance and intelligent interest of their organization.
Aside from this local issue what do we look forward to from this most valuable central discussion and the President's Committee on Economic Security?
I should say that we look forward to federal encouragement of the federal state set-up which had, I believe it is not too much to say, a most encouraging reception in the extended hearings that were held last spring on the Wagner-Lewis Bill.
It is not stretching the truth to say that at that time the proponents of federal legislation were pretty well united on that measure, and that through that kind of encouragement, there would be a wiping out of the state lines. In order that there be an equal federal treatment to all in the federal tax on payrolls, from which states living up to minimum standard requirements are partially exempted, I think there could be no more heartening effect on local action than the recommendation of such an immediate federal reenforcement of local efforts.
Th postponement of action, I think, is to be deeply deplored because we know, if we know anything, that only trial, experimentation, and re-examination, just as in other social legislation, are going to figure in this next perhaps most important step, and the time to begin is now.
CHAIRMAN WILLITS: We have had thoughtful and suggestive statements from experts in the field, and the whole subject is now open for discussion and suggestions.
We will proceed with recognizing two points, the first that whoever rises, upon being recognized will give his name and state, especially for the benefit of the stenotypist; and the second, that I am going to sound the gavel at the end of three minutes whether you're in the middle of a sentence or not.
MR. ROGER SHERMAN HOAR (South Milwaukee, Wisconsin): I want to cover some points briefly and I think I can do it in three minutes.
First, I am in favor of the provisions of the Wagner-Lewis Bill which gave a square deal to local experimentation. I am particularly interested in a square deal to the only state that has had this legislation yet, the state that has been fighting for it since 1921, long before the matter was even considered in other states, and has had a law since 1932. The inadequate amount of the benefit has been alluded to as existing in the Wisconsin law. This is a mere detail and can be remedied. Wisconsin should be permitted to continue its experimentation along the fundamental lines, whether or not this is the American plan.
Wisconsin isn't the only state in the Union. Back in 1916, Massachusetts, my native state, started the ball rolling. The law that nearly passed in Massachusetts at the last session was along the Wisconsin lines. The bill that was favored by Governor Lehman of New York, was along Wisconsin lines, and perhaps if the proponents of this sort of legislation had backed that bill New York would have had unemployment benefit this year.
With regard to employee contribution, as a stimulant to prevention of malingering, it would be much more stimulating to have the employees realize that if the man on the next bench draws benefits unfairly it would exhaust the funds of his own company, than to have the employees feel that nothing that any of the people do will affect his right to the benefit.
Thirdly, I wish to touch on sweat shop labor. Sweat shop labor is paying an inadequate wage, but there is a new type of sweat shop labor that is now being practiced, the paying of an inadequate wage over a period of time by employing an employee on full time, then laying him off and putting him back into the labor pool. There isn't a person in this room that would advocate that. That is exactly what the proposition amounts to under the plan to establish the irregular employer, to amplify the yearly wage that, that sweat shop employer pays.
Professor Douglas, perhaps inadvertently, has given what I think is the solution to the one possible flaw of the Wisconsin system, the possible inadequacy of the funds. He advocates a state fund contributed by the state government to supplement at the end of the period of unemployment, the benefit paid it by unemployment insurance. Why not use the same state fund to supplement the inadequacy during that period of any individual reserves of employers, and still preserve the incentive to regularization of requiring each employer only to pay for his own unemployment insurance.
MR. HERBERT BENJAMIN (Representative of an organization of the unemployed, New York City, New York): It is, I believe, consistent with things as we know them that we were not invited to this conference and it is also consistent that we are here.
In the very little time which is permitted for discussion I want to take up only a few points with regard to the one bill which has been introduced in Congress which has received no mention here, but which is the only thing that embodies the principles that must be embodied in any system of general unemployment and social insurance. I refer to the rider on the bill which was introduced in the last Congress, H.R. 7598, which we have been discussing here today. The rider is a measure that is based on the needs of the unemployed and not upon the conveniences of those who would have to pay for social insurance. This measure, therefore, provides first of all for the safeguarding of the living, and wage standards of the workers of the United States, and that means that it calls for compensation in amounts equal to the average wages which a worker could earn in a given industry or locality if permitted to work.
Secondly, it undertakes to provide a uniform system of relief for the unemployed rather then the present haphazard system which now prevails. In order to do that, it is necessary first, that we shall redistribute wealth, turning it from investment into purchasing power.
You cannot solve the problems of the workers by asking them to take a small part of the pay envelope and transfer it from wages into unemployment insurance, and think they will be the richer thereby. The funds can come only from those sources that are available. These sources are, for instance, the gentlemen of Allis-Chalmers, men who have surplus wealth from income and from inheritance, not from taxes upon payrolls and upon wages. The funds must come from these sources of frozen wealth to pay for insurance.
Secondly, manifestly it must be a federal system of unemployment and social insurance.
Thirdly, it must cover all workers without exclusion and without discrimination, particularly of the negro masses who would suffer first if any exclusions are made.
It must cover them for all-time loss, and not for 20 weeks nor for 26 weeks. They have got to live every week of the year and you must undertake to provide for them for every week of the year.
Finally, on the problem of administration, we won't worry much. Whether it be by a civil service system or any other, if the worker's bill we provide is enacted, any administration will be satisfactory.
This is the only kind of system that will assure the use of these funds, not in order to maintain company unions or break strikes, but to make certain that they will be used as we intend they shall be, to safeguard the existence of the population.
MR. CLYDE R. WHITE (University of Indiana): I want to speak on one part of the discussion, that relating to the conflict between the Wisconsin plant pool and the other plan which provides for a state pool.
There are a great many business failures even in normal times. A business which fails will have what support in Wisconsin to take care of the workers who are laid off? The chances are the business will not be able to pay the ten weeks payment in the amount which the worker is entitled.
I should like to know how provision will be made for this condition. I do not think there is a necessary conflict between the Ohio plan and the Wisconsin plan. It seems to me the stabilization feature of the Wisconsin plan might be combined with the contributory plan of the Ohio bill.
If you provide for contribution by both worker and employer it is easy to arrange a sliding scale of contributions based upon average benefits paid to workers from a particular plan. That would provide for individual action and would additionally provide for a state or national pool which would spread the risk to all industries.
I do not believe that a senator or a representative could maintain his seat and vote for the payment of all of the cost of it by the employer. I think they could and will support some variation of the two plans which would also emphasize stabilization.
MR. I. M. RUBINOW (B'nai B'rith, Cincinnati, Ohio): There are many points I would like to discuss but I shall not take over three minutes.
Apropos of our discussion on the Wisconsin bill, I might say that we have the same problem in Ohio, which has assumed large proportions, whether anyone who supported a new kind of unemployment insurance was admitted to be an American.
To get down to one specific point, I want to talk about whether the Wisconsin plan does have or may be expected to have any preventive aspects. I think it is the most visionary of the Wisconsin acts.
Now remember what the Wisconsin act provides in the way of incentive. Admitting for the moment that the employed can stabilize industry, admitting that the stabilization has anything to do with the reduction of unemployment, and admitting that the employer still needs incentive to stabilize, he is promised that if he accumulates $75 for each member of his labor staff, he then is relieved entirely. He is also promised he can reduce his 2 per cent contribution to 1 per cent.
Now, no matter what rate of compensation you use, it will take approximately three years of contribution to accumulate $75 per person, presuming that during those three years he has not left the plant.
The employer is allowed to accumulate that for three years. Now I submit that if it doesn't have to let go a single man in the three years, that particular establishment needs to further incentive.
MISS ADDIS: I represent the social worker crowd. We are interested in two points that we hear over and over again. The first is my friend Paul Douglas' theory that the worker must contribute in order to have a proper self-respect.
We look upon any unemployment allowance, or employment problem, or anything of that kind, from the standpoint of the public schools. We don't think the worker would feel any better if he had each of his children in public schools and had to pay money for that as my father and mother did in Illinois. I went to a state university and from the day I entered until the day I received my diploma, I paid no fees. I probably could not have gone if I had to pay tuition fees. I would have had no more self-respect if I had paid for the information I got. Contributions would have made no difference.
The other point I wish to make on the matter of contributions is that we object to laying this burden on our people, who are already overburdened.
The next subject I wish to mention is the recently drawn distinction between the people who are on relief and the people who are to get these superior benefits. We don't want anyone on relief. We want the old poor relief off the statute books. We want some kind of decent self-respecting security for everyone, the rich and the poor, just as much as the unemployed.
Now then, you have indefinitely extended benefits, transient benefits, emergency benefits; in any of those things you are taking your funds from exactly the same funds from which poor relief comes, a general tax collected fund. You give it an ugly name and call it relief.
Then you want us, as social workers, to administer it. We object to that. We object to having to do with anything that is degrading, humiliating or uncertain for anyone. We want a new set of statutes on our statute books that shall be called "public assistance." We want widows' pensions, unemployment compensation, and we want general home assistance that shall not be in any respect uncertain, humiliating, or degrading.
MR. FREDERIC S. KELLOGG (New Jersey Manufacturers Association, Jersey City, New Jersey): We have a membership in New Jersey, in our Association, of about 3,800. Most of them are small manufacturers and when I say "small," I mean "small." I mean those who employ less than 25 men.
I have been listening with great interest to the various ideas that are put forward. I haven't heard any from the point of view of the small industrial unit. We have got to bear this in mind-if you fit a coat and suit for the large industrial unit, that coat and suit will not fit the small one. The trousers will be rolled to the knees, the sleeves will be rolled to the elbows, the derby will come over the head and he won't be able to see where he is going and can't make any progress.
The question and the method of handling the question, in my judgement, has got to be left to the states. I want to speak in favor of the maximum fluidity as far as federal legislation is concerned. If the states have got to meet the varying conditions in those states, then the method by which the state works out its individual problem has got to meet the varying conditions, not only as to one line as against another, but considering the varying sizes of its industries.
Now, I come to one other point. The large units of the industries are perfectly competent, in my judgement, to handle unemployment reserve funds. I am just as convinced that individuals are incompetent to handle those funds. The workman is entitled to security if money is put up for him; he is entitled to know he is going to get it. The only solution, it seems to me, to that variation of ability and stability between the large and small unit is the plan worked out in workmen's compensation insurance.
We started workmen's compensation with no insurance. The next step was to demand insurance and to allow the large, highly integrated organization to handle its own insurance. I think that I can say that there is no objection to that. The point that I am trying to make is this, that any law is passed, whether it be federal, state, or whatever it may be, to operate effectively, must allow the small industrial unit to have recourse to special organizations, such as life insurance companies, or some other such organization, for the handling of these funds.
MR. JOHN TROXELL (New York Shoe Manufactures' Association, New York): I would like to throw out two ideas which must be kept in mind. I should be afraid that the individual reserve scheme would discourage re-employment as recovery comes for the reason that employer contributions are proportionate to the number of men on each payroll. The pool plan of contribution is presumably more favorable to the payroll with regard to minimum men on the staff.
The second idea bears on the merit rating which I think Professor Douglas referred to. I think it would be unwise to embrace a merit rating scheme which would differentiate between one industry and another, for the reason that some are lucky when it comes to depression, and some are unlucky, that no merit or blame is attached to the employer in either case.
In workmen's compensation we have different ratings based on the hazards of the industry. Seven dollars in the shoe industry will carry a rating of perhaps one dollar. I think merit rating for individual plants above or below the normal would be the same for all industries.
The 3 per cent contribution from industry is aside from the point. The shoe manufacturers who can stabilize will get the advantage above or below 3 per cent, but will not expect the industry to compare with another industry that is less lucky than the shoe industry. I think the manufacturers of shoes, even though they know that the strict merit rating system would be followed, would be in favor of that.
In other cases, that success ought to be compensated in a merit rating scheme, rather than on the basis that a particular industry happens to have a nearly regular operation and hence starts below a level of another industry with a less regular history of operation. Thank you.
MR. FRANK MORRISON (Secretary of the American Federation of Labor): It has been a hope of mine for many years that it was only a matter of time before the introduction of machinery into processes of production would be made to such an extent that it would require the reduction of the hours worked per day, and the reduction of days worked each week, throwing many persons out of employment, who would demand some form of security.
There are also the great mass products industries and the seasonal industries, which have expanded and employed millions of workers, but only employed those workers for five, six, seven, and eight months a year without the possibility of securing sustaining employment.
Because of these conditions I feel the federal and state governments are brought together to enact an unemployment insurance law, to give to these unemployed either employment or a stated amount that will enable them to have shelter, food and clothing.
Steady introduction of machinery and new processing of products in industry has resulted in an increased amount of unemployment which has been accepted for the past four years of depression. It seems to me that with the legislation that has been enacted, or that has been placed in the hands of President Roosevelt, there can be submitted to Congress the following changes in our social structure that will forever drive from the minds of our citizens the penalty of old age and the growth of unemployment. The advocates of the hundreds of plans which have been suggested claimed that these plans would change the present condition.
It appears to me that the tragic conditions that exist because of the unemployment of millions of other workers through no fault of their own, make it imperative that an unemployment insurance law should be enacted to take care of the unemployed. No contributions under such law should be paid out of the new wages of labor. Rather, the whole cost should be paid by the management of industry, as part of the cost of production. The necessary funds to effect such a law should be raised as a charge to cover these costs and contributions, rather then derived from the payroll. The exact percentage that should be levied on the payrolls should not delay the immediate passage of such a law.
I have abiding faith in the findings of this committee, the recommendations of President Roosevelt, which they will submit to the next Congress, the result of the enactment of legislation that will bring more sunshine and happiness into the homes and hearts of the people than any other legislation that has ever been enacted.
MRS. IRENE CHUBB(Chairman of Government and Economic Welfare, Missouri League of Women Voters): Is it in order to move that this conference presents itself as favoring federal encouragement to state acts through some such measure as the Wagner-Lewis Bill?
CHAIRMAN WILLITS: I am under no instructions whatever. I would like to mention the motion.
MRS. CHUBB: I would like to ask everyone on favor of the Wagner-Lewis Bill to please stand.
MISS MARY DEWSON (National Consumers' League, New York City): I was just going to state the same thing. I would like to second Mrs. Chubb's motion.
MR. ROBERT J. WATT (Secretary, Massachusetts State Federation of Labor, Boston, Massachusetts): I quite agree with the motion. However, I should like to have inserted that it be part of the suggestion to the federal government, that any state operated system shall be operated through the department of labor and industry with the set-up of free public employment offices. I say this because during the past week (I thought it might sound humorous) in our state a bill has been introduced suggesting that unemployment compensation be operated by the banking commissioner. I should have thought, after the records of failures during the past five years, that such a suggestion was nearly impossible. It seems to me at the moment that the importance and the value of the whole system, to the wage earner, will depend entirely upon whether or not it is operated by the department of labor and industry with a public employment office system in order to abolish fee-charging employment agencies.
I should like to add that to the motion.
CHAIRMAN WILLITS: It is rather a lusty amendment.
I understand that amendment to be, that in the federal encouragement of a state operated system, there shall be a stipulation that such a system shall be operated by the state operators of labor in connection with the federal.
MR. LOUIS JOHNSON ( Past National Commander of the American Legion, Clarksburg West Virginia): If that resolution is adopted, does that represent the complete report of the conference with no mention of a federal act of possibly...
CHAIRMAN WILLITS (Interrupting): You are referring to the amendment? Unfortunately I left Roberts Rules of Order at home. I will hear the motion. Do you wish to make a motion, Mr. Johnson?
MR. JOHNSON: I move that motion and amendment be tabled.
...The motion was seconded...
CHAIRMAN WILLITS: You have heard the motion. I will hear the motion for the reason that if I passed the motion I might do as Dr. Rubinow suggested, and secondly, because if that former motion were passed now it would be necessary for me to rule as out of order a lot of the discussion that many of us wanted to hear. I think that the definite consideration of a motion of that kind can be postponed until the last act of the business of the conference this morning. It won't be necessary to postpone this action indefinitely.
I have to follow this trail, and I haven't caught up with it yet. But that is the way the matter stands at this time.
MR. JOHNSON: It can be lifted off the table later on.
CHAIRMAN WILLITS: Mr. Johnson has offered a motion to table both the motion and the amendment. Is there a second to that motion?
...The motion was seconded...
CHAIRMAN WILLITS: It has been moved and seconded that the motion, with its accompanying amendment, be tabled. Is there any discussion?
MAYOR LaGUARDIA (New York City): I want to urge the proponents of the motion and the amendment to withdraw their motion at this time, or at any other time during this conference. It is obvious from the discussion that we have had, gentlemen, that this conference is in no condition to vote on any specific bill or motion.
We have heard the discussion on theories. I am confronted with a condition. We who are responsible know what the conditions are as many of you social workers do. We cannot make a snap judgements which the country would misinterpret if they came from this conference called by the Committee in Economic Security.
I have heard this discussion this morning about company plan unemployment insurance. This is a meeting called by the President's Committee on Economic Security. The subject matter of the discussion is economic security, and you cannot separate old age pensions, child labor, unemployment insurance, and everything that goes to make up economic security.
This discussion would have been interesting in 1920. We are in 1934. As the lady from Illinois said, we cannot separate relief at this time from unemployment insurance. Everything at this time must be based on actualities. Let's be frank about it. Governor Kennedy said he wasn't an expert. The legislation will have to be written. If we wait for the experts and the economists to write this legislation, we won't get any. We will get discussion, we will get quibbling. Nor do I think that we can serve any great or useful purpose by submitting the learned papers that we have written, and the discussion we have had, to the conference. Now, that we can say, though, and I am sure that every man and woman affected in any way by the problems will appreciate it, is that we must have immediate action by Congress. We can't wait.
I know that I can speak for every man in the country when I say that we can't carry the load much longer, and that we have to face that problem constructively and morally. Now, Mr. Chairman, if this conference can recommend general principles, that is the need of immediate legislative action by Congress, the need of an adequate national system for providing for the economic security that we talked about, it will have rendered a great service. We cannot depend on local treatment of the problem. We have had the experience with child labor. We have had the experience with the workmen's compensation. Economic security legislation has got to be on a national basis.
Now, perhaps I am out of order in taking the floor and going into the subject matter, but I want to urge for the sake of what we are all trying to do, not to make snap judgement to-day, not to favor one bill as against another, but simply to give and contribute for the benefit of the committee which will make recommendations to Congress.
Please, for the sake of the very thing you are trying to do, I ask the sponsors of the motion to withdraw the motion.
MR. JOHNSON: Out of deference to Mayor LaGuardia I did not raise the parliamentary point. He was out of order.
My motion is not debatable and I call for the question.
CHAIRMAN WILLITS: It has been moved and seconded. (I am informed from the side here that the time for adjournment is here and the luncheon is waiting.) All those in favor please say "aye"; those opposed. It is carried.
Happily the chairman is not called upon to help summarize these discussions.
The meeting stands adjourned.
...The meeting adjourned at one-fifteen o'clock.
November 14, 1934.
CHAIRMAN KELLOGG: I am pinch-hitting for Mr. Stern. Perhaps some of you don't know who I am. I am Mr. Kellogg, the Editor of the Survey and the Survey Graphic. That ought to be worth one hundred subscriptions.
We have heard a great deal about the trusts--the brain trusts. In this conference to-day there is something different again. It is more like a corporative brain trust society. It is an effort to bring here to Washington people who have ideas and contributions to make, to canvass their ideas so that they will be part of the background, the material and the impulse that will come before the Advisory Council of the Committee on Security so that it will have the advantage of every speaker, of every idea, of every bit of experience that is brought out at these meetings. Complete notes are being taken of all of the discussion, so that the individual suggestions will always be there to carry just as much weight as the reports.
We are going through a process of clarifying the ideas of a group of people that will try to put forth a plan for bringing greater security into our American life.
Let me say that we are very fortunate this noon in stretching our ropes so as to include a gentleman who is an Englishman in view of his services to England as the Assistant Secretary of the Ministry of Labor during the War, but who is also a citizen of the world, because since 1919 he has identified with the International Labor Office at Geneva as Assistant Director, and since 1932 as Director.
We know him because away back in 1919, when the International Labor Office held the first International Labor Conference, that conference was held here in Washington, and he was the Secretary of that conference. He has been here four different times since. His staff has been making an inquiry and an appraisal of our NRA which will be one of the most interesting documents before the world very shortly.
But in another and in a special sense, he is "our" Mr. Butler because, thanks to Miss Perkins, the President, and the Administration, we are now members of the International Labor organization.
May I introduce "our" Mr. Butler.
HON. HAROLD B. BUTLER (Director, International Labor Office, Geneva): I am very happy to accept the title which you have just conferred on me.
As you have said, this is by no means the first time that I have been in Washington, but it is the first time I have been here that T have been entitled to consider myself as to some extent an American civil servant. Being an international civil servant of an organization to which the United States now belongs, some fraction of me, I don't know how great, but some considerable fraction is now American.
I take it that in inviting me to speak this morning, you have not asked me to do so in the expectation that I am going to suggest any specific scheme or plan to meet the situation which you now have in the United States. Even if I were competent to do that, which I am not, I have had sufficient experience as an international civil servant to avoid doing so.
But it seemed to me that it might possibly be of some assistance in a great conference such as this, to look back a bit and try to view the whole problem of social security in its historical setting, and as it now presents itself in the world.
I believe it is the most important social problem now facing not only this country, but every country in which industry is developed. It is, of course, not a new problem. There has always been in every community a certain section living on or below the margin of economic safety. I can remember, in my own country 20 or 30 years ago, it was common to speak of the "submerged tenth." Whether that was a tenth of the whole population, or a tenth of the industrial population, I don't know, but it was recognized that there was a proportion of the population that was living below the margin of subsistence. In those days it was thought that there was nothing that could be done about it. It was thought that it was one of the inevitable consequences of the economic system, and though that there was nothing that could be done about it. It was thought that it was one of the inevitable consequences of the economic system, and though it undoubtedly brought hardship on individuals, there was nothing effective which society could do except perhaps organize charitable relief.
It was always held, in those days, as part of the economic philosophy of the nineteenth century, that it was even undesirable to do anything, that any interference with what were called the economic laws would be positively harmful and that, therefore, whatever might be the condition of individuals, it was a matter which must be left severely alone, except insofar as it was provided for by private charity.
I have never been able to understand the economic distinction which was drawn in those days between the economic effect of money that was paid out through private organizations, and the same money, derived from the same people, publicly administered.
But since that time, a considerable change has come over the whole problem--a double change.
In the first place, it is a change in magnitude. Whatever the truth may have been before the War, it is quite certain that the incident of unemployment is very much greater now, and I believe that is true not only of the last five years of the depression, but during the whole post-war period in, of course, a more limited degree. The problem has now assumed sufficient magnitude to have demanded the attention of every industrial country. The quantitative basis has been definitely altered. It is significant that in all of the various calculations that have been made in Great Britain of what is called the normal incidence of unemployment, the calculations have steadily risen.
On the other hand, there is also an altered approach to the problem as a moral problem. People are no longer ready to accept the view that nothing can be done about it or should be done about it. We have got to the point now when in practically every industrial community the state has assumed the obligation of taking care of the unemployed in some shape or form.
It struck me as significant, that in the World Economic Survey of last year, which is edited by a number of very impartial and competent economists, the principal opinion was definitely expressed that one of the most striking features of the present depression has been the general recognition of the principle of the right to work, or maintenance.
Now, of course, in an ideal society, anything of that kind would be totally unnecessary. If everyone were able to provide for himself, that is to say if everybody were assured of sufficient regularity and continuity of employment to make provision out of his own income against the hazards of life, it wouldn't be necessary to be talking about social security here.
But, unfortunately, our society is not yet ideal. In fact, there is some reason for thinking that as I have already said, the number of persons, or the proportion of persons in any given community whose livelihood is increasingly secure, is no greater than it was 20 to 30 years ago.
Now, there are one or two quite evident reasons for that. It is evident enough that when you get great masses of population concentrated in urban communities, those people no longer have the independence, the power of changing their mode of life, that exists in rural communities. They are dependant for their livelihood on the fluctuations of industry in general, but very often on the fluctuations of some particular industry, the particular industry which is located in the place where they live. That has brought about a general change, and a general lack of security, which did not exist to the same extent in earlier times.
And then there is another aspect to which attention is often being called by economists in this country, and that is the growing uncertainty of economic demand itself.
As our industrial civilization has developed, it has put within our reach a much greater variety of articles, a much greater choice from which the consumer can select. That has meant, and as it is being traced here in a number of economic surveys, it has actually worked out that instead of demand being comparatively stable, as it was in the past, it is now liable to shift in matters of diet, in matters of clothing, in matters of amusement, in a great many other matters on which industry and employment depend.
That, I think, is another element in the situation which has to be taken account of.
And there is yet one more, which is the rapid changes in the economic balance, which are produced by the discoveries of science. It is not necessary for me to enlarge upon that point. When we think of one basic commodity, coal, and of what the history has been during the last fifteen years, and how every coal producing country in the world is now facing the situation that a large number of its miners no longer have a steady occupation, or even an occupation at all before them, we have one illustration among many which one could give of the growing insecurity, owning to the complexity and the rapid development of industrial technique.
When we look at the situation from the point of view of the individual, we realize that he may be, and now frequently is, in great straits. Even if new occupations are developed, as no doubt they will be and are being, that doesn't alter the case of the individual whose profession or craft may have been completely destroyed by the march of progress. The transition in any case is bound to be painful, and it may, in many cases, be fatal to the prospects of life of particular individuals. These individuals have acquired skill after long training, and now find that their skill is no longer needed.
Not long ago I was in Czechoslovakia, a great glass producing country. The Bohemian glass blowers have traditionally been among the best in the world. There is now no employment for them, as glass is now made by automatic machinery.
I could give another instance of that kind, just to illustrate the point that instead of greater security than in the past, there is a good deal of reason for thinking that it is actually diminishing. At the very moment when it is diminishing, demands of life in civilized communities, in communities whose standards of civilization have been rising steadily over the last one hundred years, are naturally much greater than they were in the past. The people feel that they have a claim to the standards which have been reached, which the multiplication of production, the mastery over disease, and the higher education which is necessary to our civilization, make necessary.
Therefore, I think that the tragedy of unemployment is greater now than it has been at any previous time. When a man loses his job, the fall is steeper and swifter than it was in the old days, because he falls from a higher standard, and it is for that reason, as I see it, that during these post-war years more and more attention is being given to this problem of social security. It is being directed along three main channels. In the first place, against destitution by the lack of work; in the second place, against sickness, especially as regards the families, the women and children of the working population; and thirdly, security against the loss of earning power which invalidity and old age inevitably bring.
I am not going into detail on any of those three subjects, but there are just two or three points which perhaps you will allow me to make in conclusion.
As regards unemployment, there are a number of possible schemes. We in Geneva in drawing up the International Convention, which was adopted this year, have left a great deal of latitude as to the precise nature of the scheme to be adopted. There is no hard and fast rule or rules which should be or could be applied to every country. One finds that there is voluntary insurance, with aid from the state in countries like France, Holland, Switzerland and Norway. Then again you get full state insurance, such as exists in Great Britain, Germany, Italy and Poland.
But in that connection, whatever the kind of scheme might be, there is one point which I would venture to say a word about. It is often alleged that this expenditure from public funds is uneconomic. I look at the expenditure in Great Britain and Germany for 1933. In Great Britain there was an expenditure of $535,000,000 on unemployment insurance and emergency benefit. Of that sum $190,000,000, was paid by the employers and workers' contributions. In Germany, in 1932, the sum of $750,000,000 was spent for the same purpose. One may ask oneself, "Was all of that money wasted?" Well, I venture to think it was not, and I think when one sees the situation as it has been in those countries, one realizes that, that expenditure has made some contribution toward maintaining the economic situation.
In Great Britain, the total earnings of industry naturally dropped by some $855,000,000 between 1929 and 1931. During that period, the expenditure on unemployment arose by $375,000,000. I don't feel any doubt in my own mind, that, that money was one of the factors which kept retail trade on a comparatively high level, and I think if you will look at the situation you will see some evidence that it kept production moving on a lower level, much lower level, of course, but still did keep some flow of money circulating in industry, and also prevented a great accumulation of unemployment in the urban centers. The fact that a man could get his relief as well in a small town, or his village, as he could in a great city, kept him on the spot, kept his reduced purchasing power on the spot, and prevented a great accumulation in the urban centers. I think that, that undoubtedly has been the result of the widespread payment of unemployment relief in various forms in Europe.
I needn't emphasize the moral aspect of the thing, but there is one other point, which is still the point, I think, which requires the most elucidation. Of course, it is much better to give cash benefit than nothing, but it is not as good to give cash benefit as it is to give work, if it can be made. My own feeling is that sufficient exploration has not yet been made along that line. Of course, one realizes that public works are expensive. On the other hand, there is no doubt of the moral value of work as against the mere receipt of cash, and the desirability of maintaining the mental and physical activity of everybody as far as that is possible. Of course, a good deal has been done in some countries. In Sweden and in Germany, particularly, a great deal of money has been spent, and I believe usefully and wisely spent, on public works, but as far as our inquiries have gone, we are rather led to think that a further investigation of that particular phase of the unemployment problem can still be made.
Well, as I said at the beginning, I do not feel competent or called upon to make any suggestions as regards the particular solution that may be adopted in this country of the unemployment problem. The only thing I feel certain of is this, that the American problem must find an American solution. The experience of each country is individual, and each country has to work out its own solution in the light of its own experience, and its own conditions. Foreign experiences are useful up to a point, as showing the shoals to be avoided, and perhaps pointing to some channels which are probably safe for navigation, but beyond that they cannot be expected to go. I think that our experience has shown that each nation has got to be its own pilot and chart its own course, taking advantage, of course, of such indications as may safely be derived from the previous experience of others. I also feel certain of one other thing, that a solution and a satisfactory solution will be worked out in America.
The convening of this conference is in itself a proof that it will have the will to find that solution exists. I have no doubt that all that given that will, the way will be found, and I wish you every success in finding it.
CHAIRMAN KELLOGG: I think that we are all indebted to Mr. Butler for this address, and also for one thing that most of you don't know, and that is that he has risked missing his airplane by finishing his talk with us this noon. Unfortunately, he is leaving the country within two days, and this afternoon he flies to New York.
I think that some of the countries of Europe would give their shirts if they could somehow or other contrive our scheme in the United States of unfortified boundaries. They might be willing to give something for our years of not having tariff walls within the states. Yet, those nations of Europe have thrown the gauge down to us not with respect to this question of safety against war, but with respect to the question of security against the hazards of our internal life.
I think that probably in this audience there are 200 vocations represented, probably 2,000 points of view, but what we are dealing with in this security problem is something that is universal, that the people of the United States know first-hand. When we put out any plans before them this winter they must be something that the people can take into their own experience and weigh and judge, some of the things that you or I might want to suggest as the line of attack.
The universality of the experience that we have all been going through in the hard times was illustrated in the story which was told to me this morning by Helen Hall of the Henry Street Settlement. She had visited with a nurse a family on the east side of New York, in which the mother had heart trouble, and the father was a shoeblack earning a precarious $30 a month blacking policemen's shoes. Why was it precarious, Mr. LaGuardia? He had set up a small shoe stand near one of the police stations, and the reason that it was precarious was because of "them Communist parades." When there was a parade of that kind, the police had to go on extra duty, and when they had to go on extra duty they didn't have their shoes shined, and therefore the depression. This question of security reached down to that family with a mother and her heart disease.
Now we hear a great deal about adult education. I feel that the man who sums up in himself the American idea of adult education is Harry Hopkins, our Federal Emergency Relief Administor, because no man in my time has met so many and various challenges to imagination, to initiative, to scheming something that would work and work swiftly, as this man who works for us in these hard times.
Three years ago, it was considered preposterous even to think of federal relief. To-day we see how preposterous it is to think that we could go through a depression by merely relying on local resources.
The man whose courage and initiative has faced that whole situation is Mr. Hopkins, and he has something I am sure, to throw forward into the long range planning that concerns us.
HON. HARRY L. HOPKINS: Mr. Chairman, Madam Secretary, and friends: You are always grateful for some things. For instance, I am grateful that there are only 96 United States Senators. A lot of you people don't get to Washington very often. I am an old timer here now, and part of the atmosphere around here, which is a political atmosphere. I don't know anything about it, but the day after election I met the Chairman of the National Republican Committee at dinner, and we got to talking over what had struck him the day before. I told him that he must feel something like the women who was president of the bridge club of her town, and she had to go to the hospital because she was going to have a baby.
She came out of ether all right, and the doctor said to her, "Madam, you have two fine bouncing boys."
She said, "Well, doctor, I know I was vulnerable, but I didn't know I had been doubled."
I won't tell you what he said to me, but it was a pretty good one.
Some of you know that the President appointed a Committee on Economic Security. I think I can say two or three things for the rest of the members of the Committee.
In the first place, the Committee has not at this time its final recommendations to make to the President. We did not ask this group to come here to listen to a plan which was already worked out. We genuinely want your advice and help in working out this program.
Secondly, my contact with a group that has been working on this lately convinces me that anybody can qualify as an expert. Most of us are a long ways from home. No one needs to be sensitive about the fact that he doesn't know much about this business. You can't get two people in a room together at the same time and get them to agree. I think you would find this out very quickly if you talked to the various members of the Committee. It is altogether appropriate that anybody that is here in this room should take part in these discussions. None of us pretends to know the last word about economic security. I want to discuss it on several fronts, security and it relation to relief, the various types of security, the various types of benefits, and how it is going to be paid for.
Here are some interesting facts. Forty-five per cent of the 18,000,000 people on the relief rolls in America live in eight states, and 10 per cent of all of the people on the relief rolls in the United States live in two cities, Chicago and New York. Eighty per cent of the total group on relief live in industrial towns and cities.
There are about 4,200,000, families in the relief rolls, and about 800,000 single people, in addition to he 4,200,000 families. It is our belief that about 25 per cent are unemployable, in the sense that they are old, or there is no employable member of the family. It is furthermore our belief that there are approximately 4,500,000 able-bodied employable people on the relief rolls looking for work.
There is something that I want to say in regard to relief, and the phenomena of an increase in employment, at the same time that the relief rolls are increasing. Two things have happened. Ever since 1929 young people, grown to the age where they become employable industrial workers, have been coming up. On the other hand, 1,000,000 or 1,500,000 are dropped from the gainful worker group annually; so you have a net increase of somewhere between 300,000 and 500,000 workers each year. But since 1929 they haven't been going off at the other end, except by dying, in the same numbers that they did prior to 1929, because many people who would have retired or been cared for by their families, have been forced to keep up their employment.
The second thing is that there are far more people looking for work in 1934 than there were in 1929, for the simple reason that many wives and other adults in families find it necessary to look for employment because of the cut in the total family income. To be sure, they may not be in need, nor on the relief rolls, but don't forget this, they are competing every day of their lives with the people on the relief rolls for jobs.
And so when you see these various figures about the number of unemployed in the country, none of us know how many there are, remember that there are more people looking for work than there were looking for work in 1929, and a great many of them are getting what jobs there are.
I have seen it over and over again. I saw it yesterday. A man wanted to have his son put on a job. The man has an income of $15,000 a year. The son doesn't need to work in terms of the economic picture, but his father called up a big employer, and got his son a job. That goes on every day. I don't blame these people; I would do the same thing. But don't forget that all of this group of unemployed, not on the relief rolls are in competition every day with those on relief.
And let me say this: no security program worth its salt can be established in America that does not encompass the families now on the relief rolls. It is unthinkable. We are talking about a program of security in this year, and not taking into consideration these families.
What kind of security do these people want? What types of benefits are required for those that require them? I won't go into old age. Obviously a regular cash benefit coming in every week, every month, is essential. There should be some regular cash benefits for mothers' aid, for children in families where there is no bread-winner. There are the unemployed, who may require a totally different kind of a benefit, which might be in terms of good medical care.
There is another thing that we might think about, but aren't considering much these days in terms of security. It is very real, and it is going to be real in America for years to come, the security which public welfare departments all over the country have got to give to tens of thousands of families in the form of what we know as public outdoor relief.
Let no one think for a moment that any type of security program that can be set up by legislation can be a catch-all for these large numbers of people that have received benefits in the past from these county, city, and state public welfare departments, and must receive them in the future.
But I think of other types of security, and I have a feeling that there are far more people than we think in America who need types of security which are not found in terms of insurance benefits, or work benefits, or pension grants, or what not. I am not sure that there aren't about as many of those as there are groups that need the kind of benefit of which we have been speaking. There are thousands of stranded populations, in mining towns, oil towns, lumber towns. There are tens of thousands of people now living in places where they are not going to be reemployed again. I envisage in a security program the giving to these people, not the type of guarantees which we speak of in a cash benefit, but rather the opportunities for security--the use of the land, decent houses on the land--moving these people from one place where they have no security at all, to another place where there is an opportunity for security. That cannot be encompassed altogether in legislation. It involves a nice relationship between industry, government, and people, but to me it is just as important, and perhaps more important, than some of the other types of security which we are talking about here.
I think of security in terms of housing. I believe that as a matter of social policy in America that policy should include the right of every person in American to live in a decent home. That type of security is just as important as the type of security that comes with a public school system.
These types of security must be envisaged and secured in any national program of security in America.
How are we going to pay for it? Well, in the first place, real security for the people, the kind of thing they are thinking about in their own minds--you know they are thinking about things that we don't think about--is the real job in industry. That is what they want. Therefore, any program of security that is worked out, with governmental or state or local assistance, should be so developed that it will aid the objective of getting people jobs in private industry. That is extremely important, it seems to me.
But X number of people, none of us know how many, are going to require an immediate benefit. There is no use fooling ourselves, that benefit can come only from one place. It has got to come out of the sum total of the national income. I maintain that with a national income of $90,000,000,000 which we had in 1929, which dropped to $40,000,000,000, it is ridiculous to say that out of the future national income of America we cannot find the funds to provide the security benefits which the American people need.
You know, I have heard an awful lot about the demoralizing effects of people getting doles. Well, most of you in this room have had doles. If any of you went to college, you certainly did. None of us paid our way through college. I have a feeling that there are two kinds of doles. We say of the crowd on the lower end of the picture, if they get a dole--something without work--"Oh, that is terrible, it is going to ruin them." Yet I talked to a man in New York who has never worked to my knowledge a day in his life, but, gee, what he doesn't get! Every week and every month it comes in the form of a check, $5,000 or $6,000 a year. I would like to get those two groups of people on a dole a little closer together, that is all I am interested in.
The Chairman, who was advertising his magazine here for you (it is published in New York, and costs $3.00 a year) tells me that I have to stop. In finishing, all I have got to say is this:
I have read about social security ever since I was a boy, ever since I went to school, ever since I went to college. I have heard people talk about it in round table luncheons like this. I am convinced that now is the hour to effect it, and by a bold stroke we will do so, but it has got to be a bold stroke. This is no child's play, but for the life of me I can't see why we should wait until kingdom come to give security to the workers of America.
CHAIRMAN KELLOGG: There will be no further words after Harry's. You are adjourned.
...The meeting adjourned at two-fifteen o'clock...
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON SESSION
November 14, 1934
The Round Table Conference on the Provision of Employment, of the National Conference on Economic Security, held in the Ballroom of the Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C., convened at three o'clock, Mr. Haber, Director of the Emergency Welfare Relief Commission, Michigan, presiding.
CHAIRMAN HABER: Since you all have been attending one or two or more of the sessions in the conference I presume you are all familiar with the purpose of this conference.
It seems to me that we ought to state that this afternoon's meeting is at least intended to get as many suggestions and ideas as possible from those in attendance as to the kind of provisions from unemployment we ought to have for consideration and proposal to the President.
I might by way of introduction just take a moment or two to contrast the meeting on unemployment insurance and the meeting which we are attending now. I think there is a different point of view and possibly a difference in philosophy between the two meetings. The unemployment insurance people are over-simplifying the problem in assuming that once we make available some kind of a national or state system of insurance, we thereby include and provide security for all types and classes of people.
There is another point of view which suggests that several problems remain entirely unanswered. In the first place, from a long time point of view, large groups of people, not covered by insurance or not eligible to receive insurance, will still need to apply for some kind of work, some kind of assistance. They will still need to find a place in industry and will still be needy. For this group the particular question arises whether to finance a program that will also include those not covered by insurance. There is a feeling, I believe, that you can get by talking to the people in this conference, that the very immediate problem is the problem of taking care of the situation tomorrow, and next month, and next year, and may call for an approach somewhat different and somewhat more immediate than that of setting up reserves for insurance.
I do not wish to be misunderstood. There is no necessary conflict between the group that talks in terms of work and group that talks in terms of insurance, but there is a difference in the points of view of time. Let us see if, by throwing it open for discussion here, we can survey the 5,000,000 cases who are applying for relief in the states and counties of the country to-day. I think they fall, generally, into about three groups. There is one class of people among these 5,000,000 cases who are able to work and willing to work and want a job. They have no problem; they need no treatment. To them an insurance system would solve the problem immediately and entirely. There is a second group that is equally willing to work, has some ability to work, but is very likely not to get a job in private industry. The people in it may be too old to work, to slow to work, or their trade may have been taken out of existence. They may, in fact, not be employable__not in the sense of not being able to work, but of not being able to work in a profit-making private industry. There is a third group of people who are in no position to take any kind of work.
Now this conference this afternoon is thinking primarily in terms of group one and group two. Group one, insofar as it goes is in need of activity and work and income before its members are eligible for benefit insurance. Group two is very likely not to be included under any benefit because its members are not likely to hold industrial jobs in order to make contributions.
I wish to present the probable possibility that the unemployment insurance question is over-simplifying the problem here to-day. In thinking in long range terms we are likely to forget that the long range in many respects is a short range. We have an opportunity here to make suggestions as to the kind of program, the kind of provision for unemployment which may be at least complementary to unemployment insurance.
I am very pleased, therefore, to be able to call on the group who are listed on the program who have some suggestions. I call on Mr. John Carmody who is a member of the National Mediation Board.
MR. CARMODY: Mr. Chairman and friends: Mr. Hopkins said during luncheon that the important thing about this conference is to get suggestions from the people who have come here to the conference, and with that I am in entire sympathy. I shall spend very few moments giving you a note or two that occurred to me in this connection.
Mr. Hopkins also said that 80 per cent of the unemployed people were in the industrial cities. He stated also that in his judgement real efforts must be made to get work in private employment. If that be true then all efforts ought to be made in that direction.
We have heard, during the past four years, a great deal about the inability of the capital goods industries to recover, and we also realize the tremendous importance of capital goods industries to our whole employment problem. With that in mind I am going to throw out a suggestion for which I have no authority from anyone. If we are about to appropriate money for work programs this year or next year it can be done in this general way:
All of you are familiar with the trip recently made by the streamline train from Los Angeles to New York. You are familiar with the theory that practically all of the railroads now need improved equipment. The railroads are in no position, because of their tremendous burden, to make large expenditures for the very improvement they themselves badly need, but there is a possibility that a provision can be made whereby that money can be made available. In the normal course of events practically all of the railroads in this country would have, in the next 15 years, these modern trains, and the kind of road maintenance required to carry them.
Now, if a sum of money, perhaps $1,000,000,000, were to be put in the hands of a corporation that might be known as the United States Railroad Equipment Corporation, this money could be rented to the railroads, and spent to build those trains and equipment. The railroads would not be required to increase their indebtedness; they would rent their trains just as they do their Pullman cars to-day. Nor would any governmental agency be required to spend that money. This money could be available immediately to the railroads to build trains according to their specifications for trains that are already equipped.
Two or three days ago the New York Times carried an item to the effect that the Pennsylvania Railroad had bought 57 new locomotives for a total of $15,000,000. Even that small amount was sufficient to get the front page of the New York Times. That meant that immediately people will be put to work in East Pittsburgh, in Eddystone, perhaps in 50 other communities in the United States. If we were to say that $1,000,000,000 is immediately available and that the trains to be built from this sum would be on the rails within two years or two and one-half years, that would mean that every single concern whose product would go into those trains would be able to make contracts, not only for the raw material which goes into those trains but for equipment necessary to process those various new types of cars, locomotives, motors, etc.
It strikes me, if we are thinking about recovery for the capital goods industries, and if we are thinking about stimulating private employment, no other single thing would give us so large an opportunity to work out a self-liquidating product on a large scale which would immediately have its effect in practically every industrial community in the United States. These railroads themselves have shops scattered over the country. Some of the work can be done in their shops; some of the work will be done in large industrial plants that are now practically idle. In the last two years I have been in some plants and in some communities. I know something about the condition of their equipment, and I have a feeling that the expenditure of that large sum (it must be a large sum) must be contemplated and will be forced in a reasonably short time.
Now, of course, that doesn't take care of security and the generations hence. That is another problem. If the capital goods industries can be revived by such an expenditure as that without participation by the government, except as a holding company for funds to be released immediately to build equipment to the specifications of the railroads themselves, I am satisfied that it will do more than any other single thing that I have heard discussed in the past four years to revive the capital goods industries.
One more thought, and that is that so far as reemployment of people is concerned all effort in that direction must be dynamic. We do not have a dynamic reemployment program. One step in that direction was taken when a national reemployment service was set up. That is not enough. I am afraid that a great many people feel that since that has been done, that service has been established. That service does everything it can to achieve reemployment of people, but that is not enough. An effort ought to be made to bring employers all over the United States into closer cooperation and coordination with that reemployment service on a dynamic basis, and for that we have a pattern.
We are now in the middle of a campaign to raise money throughout the whole of the Untied States by various community chests and agencies. In that effort business men cooperate, employees cooperate, labor groups cooperate, and in the period of three or four weeks practically all of the money that can be raised for that effort is raised. Business men actually go into their factories and get people to commit themselves and make contributions in order that they may achieve a 100 per cent subscription.
Yet nothing else is being done in this spirit. As a matter of fact, even now employers are not cooperating with the trade unions. Instead they are wasting their time and effort and energy squabbling over Section 7a. If, instead of doing that, they could be brought to complete cooperation with the trade unions and public agencies, and particularly with the reemployment service, that would establish a routine by which reemployment could be effected. I expect that within three months they could achieve a considerable amount of reemployment.
Another thing that could be done for this whole business is this: a quick survey could be made as to what the effect would be on various industrial and commercial institutions if all of the employable persons were taken back into the plants where they belong. If just that were done we would have some idea of what the problem is that lies ahead and what those institutions would need in the way of increased volume of business in order to absorb the unemployment labor.
If this effort toward reemployment could be coordinated with the general plan I have mentioned here for the United States Railway Equipment Corporation with a definite amount of money made available to all of the carriers in the United States to completely rehabilitate their transportation facilities without any increased burden of debt on their part, merely for the rental that would come, it would mean that at least 2,000,000 people, as a result of the indirect effect, could be brought back into industry within eight or nine months.
CHAIRMAN HABER: Following now, is the next speaker, Mr. Frederic A. Delano, Vice Chairman of the National Resources Board.
Mr. Delano: Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen: I have tried to get out of this assignment because I really wanted to come here and listen. As a member of the National Resources Board and of the previous National Planning Board, I see no conflict between the beliefs of those who hold that what is needed is job insurance, and those who are seeking to increase employment. It must go without saying that we have got to increase employment in the period in which we are building up this more permanent step of insurance, and that has been a matter to which the National Resources Board, and the National Planning Board before it, has given a great deal of thought.
Our thought has been directly largely to public works. More than a year ago you know that the Administration undertook a rather large expenditure on public works and what they met with at once was that there were no plans ready. In most cases, there hadn't even been a decision as to what sort of thing should be done. Therefore, great pressure was put upon groups of men and women to try to make up their minds, first what should be done, and next, the priority. Then to the disappointment of the whole country, even after a particular undertaking was chosen, there was what is called a great lag between the selection of that undertaking and the actual letting of the contracts for the work. That couldn't be avoided. There wasn't any lack of enthusiasm and hard work, but it just couldn't be done in a short time. In many of these cases it required the purchase of property, and those of you who have had experience with buying property for government use know that our laws were certainly drawn up, with good intent, to protect the owner of the property, and it is not a quick operation to take a man's property and use it for governmental purposes.
So that we on the Planning Board recognize the great difficulty of putting men to work on public works, because the theory of planning has only been recently born. I hope, as a result of the experiences that we are going through now, that, that will never occur again. I can report with some jubilation the fact that 42 states in the Union have now set up planning boards. One thing that I might say that I think is a hopeful sign is the great difference in efficiency between cities that you might say are well governed, have able public works departments, etc., and cities that do not have those advantages. We noticed last winter when the Civil Works Administration, in order to give work to unemployed, allocated large sums of money to cities and states, that there was a great deal of criticism which claimed that in many cases men were employed who did not do any useful work. The classical statement was "All that he had to do was rake leaves back and forth."
There was a lot of exaggeration in that kind of remark. I can tell you that there are a great many cities and towns in this country accomplishing things which they had intended to accomplish for ten or twenty years, and while I don't claim that they got 100 per cent results from the money they spent, I do claim that they got a pretty high percentage in many cases. They are the strongest advocates of continuing that kind of work.
I and my colleague, Dr. Merriman, who is here, want to hear the suggestions that come out of a meeting like this. We are glad to hear the suggestions about private work and how that can be encouraged. There is no doubt about it, government encouragement of work to be done and ultimately financed by the beneficiaries would be far better than the government doing it all.
I think in any case the government has got to take an important part, but I for one, am strongly of the opinion that we ought to encourage communities and even private corporations to do things which can result in the employment and reemployment of idle men.
CHAIRMAN HALER: I am going to shift the program for just a moment. Mr. Hopkins said this noon that 10 per cent of the problem lies in two cities in the country. A great deal of that lies in one of the cities. It happens that Mayor LaGuardia is here and must leave at four o'clock. Possibly nowhere else is the pressure and need for a work program greater than it is in New York, and I am sure you will allow me to shift the program a moment to permit Mayor LaGuardia to speak before he leaves.
MAYOR LAGUARDIA: Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen: I want to thank the speakers on the program for their courtesy in permitting me to speak at this time.
It is quite natural that 10 per cent of the unemployment should be in Chicago and New York because these two cities constitute 10 per cent of the population.
Now it is quite true there are contacts with this problem that are very close. I was asked by the United States Conference of Mayors to come here to-day and tell you that we are meeting in Chicago on November 22nd. We expect about 110 mayors of cities, representing a population of over 50,000,000. We expect to consider plans in keeping with this program and submit them to the Committee on Economic Security.
The question before the house of providing employment is part of the general economic security program. As the previous speaker stated, it is not to be confused at all with national unemployment insurance, child labor, old age pensions, etc. I noticed this morning in many of the statements that were made, and you heard the gentlemen who first spoke this afternoon say that we are considering the return of prosperity and not the return of what were considered normal conditions prior to 1929. That is impossible. It has been the big, fundamental mistake of our entire relief program--making it temporary, waiting for prosperity to return. All the American people have stiff necks from looking around the corner.
If we should, at any time, return to what was normal as in 1929, well and good. Nothing that we do now on a permanent basis would hurt it. We simply won't have to apply the remedy or invoke the relief. But as we see it we must take the premise that we have reached a new normal level and provide for it. I don't know what percentage of the present unemployed can be placed under this new normal classification, but we must state conditions as they are and not as we hope they will be.
Then, we must face the facts as well as the opposition. After we agree on the program, legislation must be drafted. Then we have all the "states rights boys" and Constitutional lawyers and the economists and experts coming along and telling us we can't do it. The lawyers haven't considered one idea in this entire crisis, and that is that we can eliminate them. Then we have economists and experts with their charts. Charts remind me of a politician that uses good works. I have seen the same chart and used to prove the failure of unemployment insurance and to prove the amount of lipstick used in the United States. We can't feed people on charts any more, or surveys or statistics. We are beyond that.
The question comes of proving employment. The first speaker said to let private industry do it. Give it to the railroads. We begged private industry to do that before 1929 and they had neither the vision nor the courage nor the good sense to do it. We cannot leave recovery, national recovery, or the fate of the 12,000,000 unemployed men and women to the people who are responsible for the present economic depression.
The very people who complain about interference of the government are the first ones who come to Washington, hat in hand, to the RFC for relief.
We can provide employment; and mayor will tell you that is the ideal solution. We are going to be met with opposition, legal and otherwise, to any plan which we suggest, because there is a distinct school of thought in this country that believes that the unemployment situation should be left alone, creating a highly competitive labor market, bringing down wages so that industry can get a chance to compete with Japanese industry or Chinese labor.
Your program must be drastic, far-reaching, broad and novel. There may be constitutional questions raised to meet that. I would suggest that the President of the United States request all of the governors to have their legislatures in session on a given date, February 15 or March 1, so that necessary constitutional amendments can be immediately referred to the states for adoption in a constitutional way, and this whining about constitutional law will stop.
You need funds. Now every suggestion which will be made this afternoon about providing funds for public works or to states, or agencies of the states, will be made, of course, on a loan basis. I want to speak frankly on that. Additional loans for municipalities will be of no avail; we can't absorb any more. I have got $54,000,000 worth of public works going now, and I want to say that I got full cooperation from the Public Works Administrator, that all of our projects are expedited as rapidly as reasonably possible. I have got $54,000,000 worth approved. Most of the projects are going. I have some $50,000,000 more which will come along, but we can't absorb any more. You can't bring relief on a 4 per cent basis. It just can't be done. We have got to have money at no interest rate or at a nominal interest rate. Is that shocking? We gave it to the shipping industry and we are giving it to a great many industries that you will hear of when the final accounting is made.
We must have a gigantic works program. Is it artificial? Yes, of course it is artificial. We are not going to wait for the old lady's "supply and demand" are we? You can see where that got you. First, we can have the so-called self-liquidating projects. Every municipality would be ready to construct any such work that would pay for itself, assuming that it didn't have an interest burden to carry, but which it is probably now carrying.
Then, we could have a great housing program. (I am sure you must have all been thrilled and inspired and encouraged by the statement made by Mr. Hopkins at luncheon. As long as the government can have men like Hopkins at the head of a relief department there is hope for the American people). Every city can embark on a vast housing program to furnish sanitary, cheerful, safe, low-priced, dwellings. But I repeat, we must off-set in cities, not only in large cities but in all other cities, the high loaning bankers, and we cannot possibly build with the present land values if we have got to pay high interest rates. Now, wouldn't it be worthwhile to put some of this money into housing? The money will come back. We can have an enormous amount, and we can have amortized loans. We cannot absorb the interest.
There are many necessary public works in street and street crossing improvement. You talk so much about grade crossings--in my state we have carried out an active project of grade crossings, and now we need street crossings. We can undertake that. We have a good deal to do in my city and I suppose in others too, in transportation, power plants, public buildings. All these are awaiting construction and employment, and take up a great deal of our unemployed in numbers.
But it isn't enough to have an appropriation and then have to qualify for a loan. I repeat, at the risk of becoming boresome, that the municipality can't absorb any more. The service of my city now is in the neighborhood of $200,000,000 a year for interest, and that is the case in every large city in a proportionate amount. The thing will topple over if we build more on it.
If you stop to consider the amount of money that we are now handing out, on a temporary basis, we are at a disadvantage. We can't tell more than 30 days ahead what the allowance will be for the next months. We can't embark on any long range program because of that, but if we have had a national unemployment insurance system, I stress the word "national," coordinated with the real employment service and this public works program, then we could call upon anyone receiving unemployment benefit to put him to work on the works program. We would have a complete record of the merit of every applicant for relief, and then we could well tell just exactly what the new normal is.
Now, all the relief that is handed out now, (I wish industries would get this once and get this right; they complain of the relief that we are handing out), the relief that we are handing out, ladies and gentlemen, isn't open for the direct recipient of that relief. It is a relief to all American business right now. That money immediately goes into circulation. It is spent the moment it is received. On my works program and our work relief in New York, all the material we buy comes from out of town. What of the material that I am buying for the subway now, the signal system, or the electric system, comes from out of town. The rails are ordered from out of town; the steam in our buildings is going out of town. You must look at this from a national viewpoint, not a local one. Men employed out of town are able to buy the things we make in New York. We in turn are able to buy the goods that are raised on the farm.
With an enormous works program, with money loaned to a state, and state agencies on a nominal interest basis, it would immediately be used for the benefit of the industries because the material brought in the open market would mean millions and millions of dollars. Yes, I say millions, and it does not shock me one bit. Don't forget I was a war congressman. It seems to me that considering the enormous problem ahead of us, the remedy must be applied on a large scale.
Mr. Chairman, I know the Committee on Economic Security will benefit by the statements made representing the problems of the various parts of the country here, and we will have, I suppose, a great many suggestions. There is one appeal I want to make and that is after the program is agreed upon and the legislation drafted, and we marshal all of our strength in getting that legislation passed and not go before Congress and defeat it by some groups seeking to oppose it or get something else. I speak from actual experience as a legislator. There have been more good bills killed in Congress by the insistence of the insertion of a comma, than by outright opposition. So when the legislation is agreed upon, and I am hopeful that it will meet the situation, or I wouldn't be talking this way, we shall have to marshal all the strength we have to prevail upon Congress for the immediate passage of that legislation.
We can provide work by a comprehensive building program, housing self-liquidating projects, and necessary public works. It has to be a program of at least one year duration, or a year and a half, and cities and states should be ready to embark immediately. That will provide planning for at least that period. It would absorb many million men in employment, and private industry could adjust itself to that condition for that period.
In the meantime we must continue our studies of just what adjustment our economic system requires. Something is wrong with it, and I think we have the genius and the courage in this country to analyze it, find it, admit it, and correct it. We are deeply grateful that we have a man in the White House who talks in terms of economic security.
Political liberty and religious freedom are not worth much without economic security, and to that end we must all work.
CHAIRMAN HABER: I am very grateful to Mayor LaGuardia for presenting the need as well as some suggestions.
The next speaker is Mr. Jacob Baker, the Assistant Administrator for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, who has had much experience in conducting many work projects in all parts of the country.
MR. BAKER: Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen: It is a tough spot to come here and follow the Mayor of New York. I liked what he said; he said all that needs to be said.
I worked all through the Civil Works Administration. I would like to take a minute or two to review for you here something about the Civil Works Administration, because that was a great national effort to solve the problem of economic security for a large part of the nation's unemployed by work, and it was a highly successful one for a while, during its life. It was done very quickly, very hurriedly, and was dependent almost wholly upon local planning. In this it was surprisingly successful.
A survey of the projects of the Civil Works Administration made any time during January or February of last year indicated particularly that all of the work being done was useful in the communities for which it was carried forward. The movement, the flexibility of that program was remarkable and is essential to any work program that in any way contributes to economic security. The fact that it was possible, through the maximum use of state efforts, to put on 500,000 men every week for five weeks and to carry that force along planning the project, securing and distributing the labor, and gathering the tools, the material, and the equipment, is a remarkable tribute to the business ability, the engineering skill, and the planning that actually exists and is present in the American people.
In an examination of the Civil Works program in any one of a number of places, considering, for example, material prices, so far as we can feel they were lower throughout the Civil Works Administration than were the material prices that contractors paid during the same period for the same kind of materials. The number of people that were indicted for crookedness was probably less than on any comparable undertaking. The number of people that were indicted per 100,000 was one-half the number of indictments for crookedness in war time contracts.
Actually it is possible to build up a great public works enterprise, if the idealism of the country is enlightened, if the efforts and ingenuity and pressure of people is brought into play, and to have it go alone efficiently and well. That perhaps is beside the point here, but it seems to me it is interesting or at least it should be of interest to you folks to know that you can operate with efficiency and honesty. On the whole there is a feeling that the only way you can guard public expenditures is by elaborate and careful contracts and by a great deal of follow-up.
There is another guide and another guard. That is an appeal to idealism and to patriotism, to do the decent thing for one's government.
To make an unemployment program actually fit the skills and the needs of workers who are unemployed it must be very flexible. That means that you have got to have people working where they need work and doing things that they can do. That cannot always be done in terms of regular capital construction of public plants. In other words, you can't always build a sewerage system and utilize the labor in a given community. You may have projects with a little skill and planning that can be built up by the people of the United States who are on relief.
I know about them very well. I think of all the unemployed people are able to work and want work. An interesting change has come over the delegations that come to Washington lately. Last year delegations came down, small and large asking for relief. Recently, just this morning, a delegation came down from a nearby state, and what they wanted to know was how material could be got there for work problems. Five men found the means to get to Washington to ask how their boroughs and townships could borrow or get money for projects to work on instead of having to take relief in terms of grocery orders. There is a real demand for work for people on relief. The kind of work they want, the sort of work they want to do, is the kind of work that fits their skill. That, of course, is obvious to anybody, but there is a feeling that the man ought to be thankful if he gets any job, even if he were a shoe clerk and he gets a job digging a ditch. But he could be more thankful if he got a job doing something he had training or experience in.
There is one other point that seems to me to be of interest to you and I have made a few notes about it. It is the relation of security to recovery. The purchasing power theory of the development and maintenance of prosperity requires that government money be spent when private money stops. In two respects that has not actually received full application in the United States. In one case the other expenditures haven't been at all comparable in size with governmental expenditures and private expenditures, and in another respect the government expenditures have not been made at the point where money would be most certainly re-spent.
If the purchasing power theory of recovery and prosperity is to be used, it means that government expenditure must be made through the lowest tract of economic life so that the people who have the least get the first, because they spend it quickest. This suggests a work program, because if you put to work those people who have no money at all, they will have to spend immediately what they are paid. Now it just happens that relates to and is coincidental with the need of an individual for a job. If you can carry out the theory of government spending by putting the money out to the people who need the jobs most, then I think you are finding a recovery program that will build prosperity for the nation by making the individual economically secure. That, it seems to me, is an important point that the Committee on Economic Security might consider.
To sum up the rather rambling comments I have made, a national work program is possible and can be built up and given flexibility. To do so, it is necessary for it actually to fit the skills of the people and the needs of the community. Of course, it is rather important that the element of profit, in the program itself, shall be secondary.
Mayor LaGuardia says you can't make profit on the money you borrow. Obviously the wages paid must be too low to permit any money to be saved. A corollary to that is that if the men who lend money and the men who do the work do not make a profit it is quite to be expected that the contractors shall not make anything on the program.
So far as the security of the individuals is concerned, in the jobs they work on a very low margin of profit is highly essential. The contribution of the system to the regular industrial work must be secondary. But that is a tremendous contribution, of course, in that the orders for construction material, tools, etc., will carry plants along and keep their overhead going. They can have their profit on commercial operations.
The total experience of the relief administration is that the most satisfactory way to give relief is to give them the work if they can work. They always like that. That is the most satisfactory way to the community. The best work for them is work that is useful to the community. We get kicks from workers on projects because they feel they are not of the highest value to the community, that the people aren't getting their money's worth. But on the whole, the projects of the relief administration and development works were of the very highest degree of social utility. If such projects are and can be developed, a works program is very important thing to be included in a program for economic security.
CHAIRMAN HABER: There is one speaker yet, before the meeting is thrown open for discussion. Mr. Roger F. Evans of the Chamber of Commerce of Philadelphia.
MR. EVANS: What I say may be the better understood of you know it is the humble view of one who, after 15 years on the management side of industry, left private business to work with what to him were the more significant community aspects of our industrial problems, and who for the past four years has been concerned with the general problem of employment stabilization in Philadelphia. Among matters relevant to the present discussion, that included handling the city's sizable first work relief program in 1930-31; making a survey for the Pennsylvania Relief Board on "The Place of Work in Relief" covering Pennsylvania and several northeastern cities in 1933; developing the Philadelphia Demonstration Public Employment Office; making reports favoring unemployment reserves; and almost continual contacting of the PWA, CWA, LWD, and even a local self-help program. So much for the background.
It probably goes without saying that such an experience leaves one with a genuine admiration for the courage and ability of those who have done as well as they have with our relief program, with few illusions as to the difficulties involved, and duly impressed with concessions that all concerned must make if we are to put our millions of unemployed back to real work.
With due regard for other major factors, for example, responsible industry realizes the sort readjustments that have to be made if it is to reabsorb its share of the unemployed on a gainful basis, and is making those readjustments. For our business leaders realize that, if these people are not put at creative, self-sustaining jobs, they will have to be carried by taxation and government, much less effectively and much less productively, on public work or relief.
The years have only strengthened my conviction and agreement with Mr. Hopkins' statement this noon that our only hope for a real and enduring solution within our present system lies in the widespread resumption of private enterprise. The thesis of what I have to say, with all the force at my command, therefore, is that, given progressively higher standards in private industry, all of our public work and relief policies should be so related to that idea that they always serve to strengthen, not weaken, natural forces, and reduce, not increase, the public load. For, as Mr. Hopkins this noon repeatedly has pointed out, 80 per cent of our unemployment is concentrated in our cities. Therefore, our major unemployment problem is the problem of industrial recovery. That being so, it behooves us to see to it, much more clearly than we have so far done, that our public work and relief policies are so designed and so operated, and so related to the standards and motives of industry and of the individual worker alike, that they at all times serve to promote recovery, and never, as so frequently happens now, to work at cross purposes with it.
Along with that belief in our basic system, naturally, goes a comparable belief in the advantage, indeed the necessity, of conserving all that is good and workable in existing institutions, customs, habits, and experiences that will enable both individuals and groups to help themselves. That also includes everything connoted in an earned standard that serves as a further incentive to self-help. Since it seems we have come to a time of appraisal of our work relief policies, then, let us first acknowledge some of the errors and weaknesses of which we all have been guilty, whether through shortsightedness, expedience, or a curious inversion of reasoning.
1. Individual values: Since the success of any such programs may be measured in terms of its aggregate effect upon individuals, it seems to me that perhaps our worst failing has been a tendency to operate on the false assumption that all work is "just work," and of equal value. But it is not the form of work, it is rather its suitability to the individual and the reality and inspirational quality of its content and administration that increases both human and physical worth. Meeting this requirement is extra hard in our industrial centers where the characteristic high development of cities reduces the quantity of eligible work, nearby and suitable to the higher average skills, in which the unemployed can take a personal interest.
Incentives: Instead of developing and choosing the most needed and most worthwhile projects and manning them with those best able to carry them to successful completion, we have (with the exception of 50 per cent under CWA) restricted eligibility for the work to those on relief lists, and the choice of projects to the generally simpler, inferior, spiritless made work which alone can be handled under the heavy turnover and with the fewer and generally lower skills found in that group. Many of the very best projects, for example, just cannot be handled on the present budgetary deficiency basis. Yet, occupation for occupation, wage rates for this work have been set in all too many cases above the actual rates long prevailing in respectable private employment. Since relief status has been a prerequisite for this cash employment, the resulting tendency has been to increase the numbers on relief lists, not reduce them, and thus to enlarge and perpetuate, not reduce, our problem. With only one-third to one-half of our unemployed on relief lists, we cannot afford to make relief status attractive. This is the more important because, despite all we can do, an independent American loses something priceless and too often forever when he accepts public aid, whatever its form. The net result is a waste in funds, skills, attitudes, and progress.
3. Security is an aim and attribute of real work, yet most of our programs so far have been a series of abrupt starts and stops.
4. The very pressure to create quantity of work has led us into an increasing amount of work substituting for or competing with either existing or future public or private work, to the degree to which it does this, it defeats our main purpose. It is hard to believe all one reads in the newspapers, but the accounts of this conflict are, of course, especially true with respect to the so-called production units.
5. The natural tendency to keep administrative cost at a minimum results in our trying to operate projects with only generals and privates, trying to make bricks without straw, with corresponding loss in effectiveness.
6. With all our outward dedication of these programs to the priming of private enterprise, it is a strange fact that they are largely predicated on the assumption that the relief load is static, which is far from the case, even in our unhappiest industrial centers. As the better workers find other sources of income, projects have continually to be shored up or operated at deadening pace with less effective workers.
7. To digress to our present PWA program, the net quick aid from that direction has been conditioned, as Mr. Delano has said, by the lack of time for advance fiscal and physical planning, and also, in our opinion, by its high and rigid wage policy. In view of the balance-of-consumption-and-production argument above mentioned, however, let it be clearly stated again that all references made in this paper to wage rates refer not to absolute rates, but to rates relative to those in the private enterprise we seek to revive.
Returning to work relief, there of course are brighter spots, and more notable cases even in our improvised programs where inspired leadership or unusual conditions produced real independence or rehabilitation. But these constituted by far the minor part of what we saw. Enough has probably been said, therefore, to explain the three main conclusions reached in our survey:
1. Under present conditions any conditional mixing of work and relief--either by making work a quid pro quo for public employment on public work--is both socially and economically unsound.
2. While there is something attractive about the idea of a great work corps to take up the slack of private unemployment, it is physically impossible to develop, organize, finance, and operate enough eligible and suitable public work to absorb all our urban unemployed within any near future, without dislocating and retarding the broad recovery of private enterprise which we professedly seek. For at least some time to come, therefore, our work programs must be selective. Then why should they not be primarily so recruited and operated as to enlist and strengthen the mass forces that can help toward recovery?
3. If we do believe in the recovery of private enterprise as our only hope of a real and enduring solution of our major unemployment problem, there is apparent need of consolidating or coordinating our public relief and work programs--from the planning and timing of projects to the recruiting of workers, the fixing of wage rates, and financing--very closely with the industrial recovery administration.
But we are confronted with a condition, not a theory. I assume that we all stand with the President in his unwillingness to accept a condition that includes any large permanent group of unemployed in this country. The calling of this conference, together with his message of June 8 to Congress, implies the desire to bring out of our experience the consistent elements of a more workable, more comprehensive, and more permanent program. The following are, therefore, suggested as desirable basic requirements:
1. The first requirement as above would seem to be a complete dedication to the goal of a wide-spread and self-sustaining recovery of private enterprise. Public work policies and activities should therefore be coordinated with those of all other agencies influencing private recovery and at every important point be designed to promote, not retard, that recovery. This provision, please note, would rule out all production units that would be either directly or indirectly competitive. All work policies also should put a premium on ability, efficiency, and self-reliance, rather than on need, mediocrity, and dependency. This in turn means that so far as practicable all work should be recruited and conducted on the basis of qualifications and efficiency.
2. The next requirement would seem to be for a permanent organization, flexible enough to expand with the share of the problem it could or had to handle, and to meet varying conditions. It should also be so designed and so operated that it would automatically contract with the need.
3. While the strength and standards of the federal government are obviously needed to cope effectively with a problem so national as depressional unemployment, the initial and always a significant share of the responsibility and costs of public work programs should be borne by local and state governments.
4. We should have a single comprehensive federal-state system of public employment offices as now made possible under the Wagner-Peyser Act, and preferably operated under high civil service standards to provide a central agency for dealing with the residual employment problems of every person able and willing to work. It is safe to say that such machinery is almost indispensable to effective handling of the informational, guidance, restraining and adjustment, clearance, and placement functions involved in a successful attack on unemployment as well as to the administration of any system of unemployment reserves that might be set up.
Proceeding to the suggestion of more specific measures consistent with the foregoing requirements, about all that one of my limited farming acquaintance can say about the rural phase of the work problem is that the reasoning of last spring's three-point program seemed sound. Except for essential road work that might promote a higher standard of living, it seems logical that the farmer can be better helped through aid in improving his own living and farming equipment and methods than through cash for work off his property. Nearer the cities, likewise, reasonable gradual encouragement can be given to part-time industrial employment or subsistence gardening, to provide at once the broader security and the higher standard of living that eventually must be worked out of industry, if at all. It is, therefore, to the problem of urban unemployment which largely must be solved and dealt with where it is, that our work programs are mainly addressed.
1. At the bottom, of course, come the unfortunate indigent, aged chronic unemployable that customarily and properly are the responsibility of local or state institutions or agencies.
2. While the ideal and goal is worthwhile employment for everyone able and willing to work, it seems as a practical matter unavoidable, if our earlier argument is sound, that we next would have, through a transition period a sizable group of less efficient though employable persons on home relief which should be adequate for minimum needs but sufficiently unattractive to spur them to improve their own lot. If this inevitably is a marginal problem to be handled in a marginal way, professionally and economically, common humanity also requires that it be administered fairly, without stigma and with all the consideration that conditions permit.
3. The next suggestion is not a new one. The principle has been widely applied in Germany and is also found in own CCC. It has been advocated by many, most recently and effectively perhaps by that able engineer and member of the Industrial Advisory Board, Mr. Ralph R. Flanders. This would be a most important type of work program following more the lines of the present CCC than any of the other work measure we have had. Recruiting persons on a merit basis from the foregoing relief group, this service would attract the best, discipline would drop failures back on relief, and better men would be marked for promotion. Work, contrary to the practice in the CCC, would be limited to projects of definite social usefulness, and might well be extended to include non-competitive, non-substitutional state or local projects, where they met all requirements, and the sub-division bore a suitable part of the cost. Esprit de corps and an efficient non-perpetuating leadership could desirably be achieved by putting this branch in charge of permanent professional services of the government such as the engineer corps, medical corps, various surveys, or under army officers themselves, as now in the CCC on simpler work. This service in any case would vary from CWA and LWD in the essential points that it would provide a higher standard of achievement, paying only a little more than subsistence to a man and any dependents but much more in extra values and permanence, if necessary, than our present emergency work offers. It likewise could be expected to return proportionately higher values to the community for the expenditure made. Such a service would naturally take time to develop, but once established it conceivably could readily be expanded and not unprofitably to the community nor disadvantageously to industry, to absorb a much larger share than do our present work programs of the employable unemployed, on a wide variety of physical and cultural public projects, training courses, and social services for men and women alike.
Let there be no misunderstanding here. The difficulties of finding enough eligible work and funds will continue, under any system, to be so serious that I am not one of those who can rhapsodize about complete or easy solutions. For a time, the choice may well be one of lesser evils. In other words, my clear belief is that the development of a semi-professional corps of the type and on the basis proposed gives larger hope of success because it reduces the problem on all fronts at once. It provides a competent but telescopic overhead; it pays adequately but not much; and it can be expected to return greater values to both worker and the community than do our present impromptu programs. Equally important, however, private employment should gain to the extent that the method reduces the cost, uncertainties, and competition of the present emergency methods.
4. Next higher would come the important buffer of normal public works, less readily expandable or allocable to particular localities, but brought through forward fiscal and physical planning and careful timing to the highest effectiveness and availability that foresight and political government will allow, through the influence and help of such an independent continuing public works authority (national-state-and-local) as our best thinkers in this field long have envisioned. Differing sharply from the next lower service, however, this public works employment would consist only of normal governmental projects, handled like any normal building, under normal rates of pay and working conditions. It would be limited in character and, as now, mainly to the highly irregular construction trades. Through these and the building materials it used, it would contribute its stimulating and stabilizing effect far and rapidly. Thus, within its limited field, this service would afford an attractive field for promotion from below, and on the other side--being at the same level--would permit a free passing in and out of private industry to which it is timed.
5. Here, at this level of normal employment, comes the opportunity for limited industrial unemployment reserves, to be worked out in good time in accordance with our particular needs and condition, to maintain consumer purchasing power over the minor dips or interruptions of employment, or to cushion greater shocks while necessary readjustments can be made.
6. At the top, finally, would come the great bulk of private enterprise and productive employment in which not only our national prosperity, but from now on any progressively higher standards of living depend. This probably carries out of the scope of the present discussion, but to the extent that government may influence it, it may yet be in order to suggest that, in the interest of flexibility and stability, wage and hour policy here might well be related to the uncontrollable ups and downs and always to the standard of living, even as changes frequently need to be made generally to avoid dislocation and stoppage.
Such in mere outline, then is a suggested work layout. Certainly in such matters is the hallmark of a fool. But most of the elements we already have, or are working toward. To that extent, the one point here made is that putting them together in the foregoing relationship might well help bring us at least two things a few students feel we very much need, namely, first, a more effective system of auxiliary works, supplementary relief, and government spending in depressions that continually would be aiding and stimulating or balancing our essential private production machinery, instead of retarding it as now frequently happens. Likewise and very important, it should tend, not to weaken and subvert, but progressively to strengthen mass individual incentives and satisfactions. Second, through the Employment Service on the operating level and through the close coordination of the separate relief, work and recovery agencies on the policy-making level, such a consistent set-up might go far to secure unified or coordinated action.
At least, the possibilities of such gains seem worth exploring.
CHAIRMAN HABER: May I make two announcements before this meeting is thrown open for discussion?
The President desires to meet the Advisory Council in advance of the general reception. This will make it necessary for these members to be at the White House at 4:45. I am advised that they must leave shortly after 4:30 to be on time. The rest will stay with this meeting.
Five persons have taken part in this discussion so far. They have presented several problems. Is there an essential need for a works program, and for a public program inspired by the federal government? These two features seem to be the most important questions which have been raised.
In other words, are we to believe, because of the immediate possibility of an insurance program, that we can relax our efforts towards the creation of a works program, to consider not only the person on relief, but those who may be out of the system entirely? If there is to be such a program just exactly what kind of projects are to be considered, how should they be financed, what are the wages to be, etc.? I should like to throw the matter open to those who are present in this group. I have been requested to ask you to state your name and city when you rise to speak.
FATHER RYAN: (Catholic University, Washington, D.C.): I want to address myself to the first question that you proposed as to the outcome of discussions this afternoon, whether or not we need a big public works program.
I think in answer to that question the first thing I would like to mention is what seems to me to be the fundamental predicament we are in economically. That hasn't been touched at all by anyone this afternoon except by the first speaker, and indirectly by Mayor LaGuardia.
We are told we can't get industry going until the capital goods industries are going. We know very well they are not doing that now. I question whether they can increase their production. Where are you going to put men to work in the capital goods industry? We don't want any more apartment houses, or hotels. We are overbuilt as far as that is concerned. All right, where are we going to put these men? Lately the fundamental proposition is that we get industry revived by shifting the emphasis to replacement, replacement of things that are worn out, and replacement of instruments that have become obsolete. Mr. David Lawrence, in his book, says it is estimated that $6,000,000 can be expended in the replacement of buildings and machinery. Estimated by whom? Who gave him that estimation? What does he mean by the replacement growing obsolete? It simply means building up more debt.
We received a suggestion from the first speaker that the government lend a great deal of money for the railroads to build cars, that they might have to rent from the government. They would have to pay the interest, and they would still have to pay interest and mortgages on their present cars and other equipment. So I think very little can be done in that respect without piling up or increasing the burden of debt which already is intolerable.
Then, the first speaker also mentioned in a survey of this arrangement that these loans would be self-liquidating. The man that invented self-liquidation did no service to the American public. The word is a lie. Projects aren't self-liquidating; the local community pays for them. Take the loans of the railroads, apparently freight rates would have to be raised to take care of that. Take the self-liquidating bridge, the bridge across the East River. Those who go over that bridge are going to pay for that. It seems that the people that go across that bridge and pay will have less money to spend for other things and other projects. There is no self-liquidation which does not involve payment by the ordinary consumer. Insofar as he has to pay for public works he has that much less money to spend on the necessities of life.
Just one word more. What is the remedy? To take money from those who have the surplus. Call that radical if you like. It is the only way it can be done. Give the money to the cities, and take it from those who have it through heavier income and inheritance taxes. We are just kidding ourselves by talking about self-liquidating projects. There are none. Thank you.
MR. C.L. BARDO: (President, National Association of Manufacturers): I have listened with a great deal of interest to-day, both in the meeting this morning and this afternoon, to the discussions that are being raised with respect to the matter of reemployment. The Association of Manufacturers, of which I am president, represents a very large amount of the private industry of the United States.
We have been fairly alive to the problems of this question for the last two or three years. We have committees at work steadily. We have committees of the outstanding industrial men at work on several of these plans but also on social security by industrial planning which goes to make up a rounded-out industrial program, and we are getting to where we are about ready to file those reports and have them adopted at our convention which will take in New York on December 5 and 6. We are not only doing that but we are cooperating with all of the other agencies that are interested in this question of social security, and we are cooperating with them in an effort to find a foundation and common ground of intelligence and construction, so we can go before the Congress and people of the United States and present a plan from the standpoint of industry and the manufacturers.
I have great respect for the impulse of these people to discuss this thing. I don't know how many of you know that private industry has laid out in the four years ending last July $3,000,000,000 more than they took in. That money came out of surpluses. So private industry hasn't been asleep.
I also want to impress on you that those in private industry are just as human as you are. I have been in this game a great many years. I worked all the way through from the bottom up and I know exactly how workmen feel and how they perform. There isn't a man in our organization who hasn't the same human sympathy as you have. He is just as anxious to do what you want to do, with the limitation that he must work to help carry out the program the President has inaugurated. We are in sympathy with all of it.
There is a little we would like to see changed, but by and large I want to leave the impression with this group that there isn't anything you can think of that the Association of Manufacturers and allied groups, haven't been thinking of seriously and with sincere desire to find an answer and an answer that will work. We have investigated all over the world. We tried to find out the good and bad points. We have investigated and gone through the actual experiences. We are trying in every way we know how to get the base line, the ground-work upon which we can stir up our viewpoints from the standpoint of unemployment.
Is unemployment insurance the answer to it? There isn't an industrial man in the United States who doesn't want to increase employment. The more he increases his employment, the more he increases his profit, and there is no reason for any industrial man not wanting to employ more men. I know that they want to do it. I don't want to let it go unchallenged that employers look upon this unemployment situation in the light that it is a good thing to have a surplus of labor. Some do, but industry as a whole doesn't go on that theory at all. What we want is to pay the very best wages, have the best hours we can afford for the industry that the sale of our products will support.
MR. JOHN P. FREY (Secretary Metal Trades, Department of Labor, Washington, DC): I realize that there only a few moments left, but I want to leave this thought: when we were enacting the workmen's compensation law down in Ohio, there was much opposition to the passage of the law. Everyone realized that a new element had entered in and that was not payment for industry accident, but prevention. The operation of all that we did in that state was not so much the payment of compensation as the prevention of injury to wage earners.
This afternoon I feel like I did when we had our conference some twenty-five years ago. We have been discussing the necessary conditions required to deal with the extraordinary emergency. We have been dealing with results and how we can improve them. We have not touched upon causes.
May I leave this thought, that we are the most self-contained industrial nation in the world, depending upon our own population, at the present time, for about 95 per cent of all that we produce. The industries, whether they are heavy basic ones or small, both depend upon the purchasing power of the American people. Eighty per cent of them are wage earners or their dependents. Statistics would indicate that the real wage is not advancing. If that is true, then until the real wage begins to advance, until we give a purchasing power to the American people, all that we do does not bring about recovery. It merely assists us for a moment.
So in connection with that, all we are concerned about is the government providing funds for this and the other necessary enterprises. It is our opinion that unless woven in with that is a policy which increases the real wage, nothing can be done.
MR. JOHN NORTON JOHNSON (Washington Community Chest): There was a situation in a local community not far from here, in the last election where a very dirty political situation was cleaned up and its supporters defeated. This was accomplished by concentration upon that objective and no other.
We have had a national election in the country to-day, which has given the Administration a vast majority. The Administration is in a position to crack a lot of precedents and to go ahead. It seems to me that we are asking the unemployed to look to the Administration for their guidance and their leadership, and yet in the papers, day after day, we see criticism of this person or that one for graft of inefficiency or something like that.
It seems to me that involves a fundamental that has not been touched, that of giving to the unemployed that which they need, and their security, and at the same time assuring them of the highest type of civil service, and the best trained civil employees. That is something that could be courageously undertaken at this particular time.
In that same connection I think that this meeting here is an excellent start along the line of possibly a permanent brain trust, not a brain trust of just one set ideas, but a brain trust representing all the various principles of the country. I have one personal illustration. Several years ago I had a plan for the relief of unemployment. Some one said to me, "If you take this to a certain man, you can get it over." Well I did it, and the plan never got anywhere. But to my mind there are people with brains in this country who should be heard, and there should be some means of recognition for them throughout the country
MR. FRANK PALM (Philadelphia Civic Society): Ladies and gentlemen: There seems to be much economic discussion here to-day, and much talk about economic relief, old age pensions. There seems to be one particular group of citizens in the United States we are forgetting all about, or just gliding over.
There happens to be an over-abundance of the so-called youth in America to-day. Now, they are either going to obtain employment or they are going to do something else. There are perhaps two extremes of political thought in the country to-day. One is a violent socialism, and the other is a rugged individualism. When a youth comes out of college or high school and he looks for a position, he is asked, "Well, what experience do you have?" It is a cinch he has none, so he is just turned away and someone with experience is employed.
We are going about talking of subsidizing industry, subsidizing everything else. Why not subsidize employment for youth, so that as soon as they finish school, they can go somewhere?
A young person finishing school is tossed around with political theories. Which do you think he will adopt, rugged individualism? He can't get a job himself. What do you think will appeal most to his mind? Violent socialism, which we know. We know the results of that so we can see what would happen. You can take it as a warning, or a suggestions, but there is a group of people in this country who need relief and there is only one way to give it to them, by direct work, by subsidizing employment instead of industry.
I thank you.
MR. JAMES MYERS (Federal Council of Churches): I was very much interested in the President of the National Manufacturers' Association's talk, and I am convinced that he is not only sincere but well informed when he says that most employers would like to increase employment.
I was very interested in William Green's challenge to industry and the government to increase employment 30 per cent. We all know that we have got the land, the men, too much money in the banks, the goods, materials, factories--everything--and yet employment isn't increased.
I would like to know whether the National Manufacturers' Association is going to take up that challenge, whether they have a plan whereby they can and will increase employment 30 per cent. Everyone here says the goal is to get real jobs for people. It seems to me if the present system is able to do it, now is the time to do it. I would like to know whether they are taking up that thing seriously and doing it, because of all of this work relief, good as it is, is piling up debt, and we will have to pay for it some time. I agree with the gentleman from the National Manufacturers' Association that the solution is jobs. Does that Association have a plan to increase jobs?
MR HARRY L. LURIE (Chairman, Committee on National Social Welfare Program, New York City): I would like to point out that there is an actual delusion with reference to the fact that industrial recovery and increase in employment are necessarily related or reciprocal.
Our recent experience I think, is partly to the contrary. According to the figures of the National City Bank of New York, for the major part of the industries of the country, the average return on capital investment for the first six months of 1934 amounted to an average of 5.7 per cent, very close to 6 per cent, which is considered a fair return on private industry.
In 1933, for the corresponding period, the average return on investment for all industries was 1.7 per cent, so that actually during this period, private industry has become very much more profitable to its owners, with a very small increase in employment. Logically, I think that means that inherently in our present stage of private industry, limitation of output and limitation of employment are actually more compatible with profit than increase in the number of those who are given employment.
With reference to Father Ryan's analysis, while I am in agreement with him, I think that is an essential fallacy in the idea that the difference in income required for the country as a whole can come out of taxation, even taxation upon surplus incomes and capital. Our income at the present time is probably $40,000,000,000 to $50,000,000,000 a year, as compared with an income in so-called normal times of $80,000,000,000 or $90,000,000,000. How by any possible mathematical formula can we get $30,000,000,000 of income into the hands of those who are unemployed or on relief out of a possible income of $40,000,000,000 or $50,000,000,000 for all classes of population?
Obviously something more fundamental than distribution through taxation must be found if we are to increase the standard of living of the 10,000,000 or 12,000,000 unemployed to its normal level from the present standard.
CHAIRMAN HABER: Are there any other comments?
MRS. POMEROY: I speak for an organization of women called the "One Hundred and One Services." This is an organization really to promote new renumerative work for the white collar women who are very much affected during this period when incomes have been reduced.
Now, we have thought out a plan by which in a cooperative way, we could operate, but strangely enough, we can't even start this mill turning. We say to the worker who needs work, "Will you give your work for a while? Will you just contribute some part of it?" She will probably say that she can't afford to do it because she must have a wage. If, on the other hand, she feels that she could, and in some way it could be worked out on a percentage basis, then she will say, "But who gets the other per cent?" We say that we will try to work out a group, and they will perhaps supply wages for another group. Almost invariably she says that she is not interested in the other person, that she is interested in getting a job for herself.
We have tried to get office space, but we can't find it. I will give you a rather interesting illustration about a large house which is empty and has been for some time. It is held by an insurance company, and they obviously can't move it at this time, rent or sell it. At the same time, it is impossible for us to get located. We said to the insurance company, "If you will let us go in there, we can prove in six months, by getting memberships from people who can afford it, and having some club facilities, that we can afford to promote and interest ourselves in a movement of this kind." The worker would go in on a percentage basis, and the whole thing could move on, with its own momentum. Now, of course, frankly, we are not interested particularly in having to get into a large group like the government, or anything. We think it much safer if we stand on an individual basis, but I really would like to have some thought on a subject of that kind.
CHAIRMAN HABER: It is five o'clock. I wish, on behalf of the committee, to thank you for being here.
We have a complete record of suggestions that have been made. I think the discussion convincingly presented the serious needs for a workable program. The suggestions were constructive and of real value.
. . . The meeting adjourned at five o'clock . . .
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON SESSION
November 14, 1934
The Round Table Conference on Old Age Security, of the National Conference on Economic Security, held in the Chinese Room of the Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C.., convened at three o'clock, Miss Mary W. Dewson, Director, Consumers' League of New York presiding.
CHAIRMAN DEWSON: We are already a half an hour late, so I think if we start, the others will gather more quickly.
I don't know why I was asked to preside at this meeting except that I am one of those "experts" about whom Mr. Hopkins talked. I know very little about old age pension. The only clear idea I have is that old age pensions are a more humane way of taking care of those in need of assistance in their later years than almshouses. But I consider that old age pensions are a rather ignominious end to a life of honest toil. I think that we might as well face this whole problem in the attitude of Mr. Hopkins, and that is that we are really trying to do something worthwhile, and that now is the time, if ever. For that reason I am going to suggest at this conference a new deal in the way to run a conference.
I would like to get as much out of this conference as possible, and therefore I think it would be fine to have the four gentlemen who have papers to give these papers to the committee, and let us get down to-day to the discussion of the mooted questions. Because here we are from all over the country, and there are certain things we really would like to get a common point of view on, if possible. Of course, everything we say is being taken down, and the committee will get all these expressions of opinions from the floor, and be able to get a great deal more than they would if we were listening to the papers of the speakers as a whole. We will give the four speakers time to lead off and say what they think of the particular phases of the old age pension security plan. In other words, we will have a general discussion from the floor.
There are things that I, myself, would like to hear discussed. Perhaps, not the things you people consider "mooted questions." I would like to know if the time isn't ripe for a long-time point of view on old age security. It seems to me perhaps that the time has come when we should establish a system which would go into operation in full three years from now, by which a worker begins to contribute even a small sum when young.
Mr. Hopkins says that nobody minds getting something for nothing, that there is no pride among us. Well, yes and no. I think, if it is thoroughly considered, we are all willing to go to college and take what we get there, but I think this matter of receiving a weekly dole from the public funds is quite a different thing from receiving insurance. I would like to discuss whether the time is ripe for a plan of industrial workers' contributions and removing the whole question of old age pensions to the field of insurance. I would like to have discussed the question of whether the federal government should have a share in the financing of some plan that we devise for the intermediate period, (because it would take 30 years or so to build up a contributory system) and if so, what share.
Then there is a third question--a question for real experts to answer--and that is, "Why shouldn't the pension age begin at 60?" The reason I say 60 is because it looks to us as though for some time to come it will be difficult to get enough work to go around for everyone. There is going to be a slow start, and if these people at 60 who have no jobs could go on a pension now, I think it would ease the situation.
The pension that is given is so tiny that it takes a healthy person to live on it. Now you are experts in this field, and we would like to ask you to try to see if we couldn't really obtain a consensus of opinion of some of these "mooted questions."
Is anybody with me? Those who are in favor of my suggestion please indicate by saying "aye," those who are against it by saying "no."
MR. LESTER H. LOBLE (Helena, Montana): I was going to suggest, Madam Chairman, in view of the fact that there are other speakers I would like to hear from, men whom I know have had a good many years of experience with old age pensions, I think we should go along in the regular way.
My reason for suggesting this is due to the fact that some people know one thing about old age pensions, and other people know other things. I think I know little about the theory, but much about the practical side, because I was the author of the first old age pension law enacted in the United states. I have come here from a long distance, from out West, and I hope the problem suggested by Secretary Perkins may be adopted. I would like to have the benefit of hearing from other speakers.
CHAIRMAN DEWSON: Well, I don't seem to find anybody with me.
MISS MARIE OBERNANER: (Joint Chairman Home Owners Protective Enterprise, Washington, D.C.): I suggest, Madam Chairman, that we take a vote.
CHAIRMAN DEWSON: Miss Obernaner would like to take a vote. All those in favor of the regular plan of having the four speakers present their papers please raise their hands. All those opposed who would like to have an open discussion raise their hands.
It seems that the majority are in favor of the regular program. I am sorry I wasted so much time on this subject. Mr. I.M. Rubinow, Secretary, B'nai B'rith, of Cincinnati is our first speaker. MR. RUBINOW: I didn't want to go contrary to the wishes of the audience. After all, I have written my paper, handed it to the stenographer, even given a copy to the newspaper boys. So the paper has done its duty and I may go ahead and discuss the problems at issue.
I want first to make this general statement. We mustn't visualize one specific method of meeting the problem of old age pensions. In Cincinnati in a public address, I recently mentioned that the people of the State of Ohio have shown their interest and humane attitude to the old people by passing overwhelmingly the so-called Old Age Pension Law last year, upon which one of my audience made the remark that the people's altruism was over-estimated, that it was not so much the old people they had been thinking if, but of themselves getting old. From that point of view, old age pensions will, I am afraid, be a dismal failure and disappointment. There is no one way of visualizing our own friends or parents at old age.
There are at least ten different ways of adjustments now being made. We don't even know the distribution of half of the people of the United States over 65. The increased number of people which Mr. Hopkins says do not have to work either when they are old or young, who are not particularly worried as they have made safe and secure investments, and perhaps know the secret of security. That is, of course, a very desirable adjustment.
I am sorry to have to disagree somewhat with moving the age of idleness back to 60. I am at present a member of the Wage Adjustment Board, working on cases of the Street Railway of Cincinnati, and I have learned that they have people over 60, 65, and even 70, who are still running cars. While that might be a most desirable adjustment, I don't know how far to increase such an adjustment. Because of the increased mechanism of industry, it is quite a big question. Industry will have to become less intensive before we can find employment for people over 65. Then there is another problem. Certainly we have not yet been able to decrease the large number of people over 65 who are found to be incurable, who are in insane asylums and institutions of that character. We would like to depopulate them of old people, but we don't know how. There is also the undesirable form of adjustment of enforced residence in a poorhouse, almshouse, or even call it county farm, that we may be able to correct.
There are at least three more popular methods of providing for the aged. One is having the old folks stay with their children, another, the so-called old age pension, gratuitous plan, whether from state treasury or any other source, and the third, service pensions.
Now, the leading thought in my mind is that obviously the form of service pension, from which there are now a few hundred thousand people getting advantage, is in my opinion, and I believe it is the opinion of most social workers, the most desirable solution of the old age problem.
Since the present conference is engaged with the question of what to do with the old folks and what to do with ourselves when we get old, the controversy is between two alternatives, the service pension on the one hand and the old age pension on the other hand.
I think that as far as the psychological and economic phases are concerned the advantages are on the side of the service pension. The difficulty of the service pension at the present is the requirement for long continued service for the same employer. Compulsory contributing old age insurance is no more than the extension of the principle of service pension from the individual employer to cover the entire industrial history of the individual. That is all it means. In this way if you have compulsory contributing old age pensions with the vast majority being given the advantage of this method, it is much more desirable socially, economically, and spiritually than the method of old-age pension so-called. That is why I prefer the compulsory contributing system to the old age pension system, even though I am at present chairman of the Board of Old Age Pensions in my own city, and trying to do the best I know how with that particular law. We have no system of compulsory pensions even now.
Unfortunately we have not the choice between the two methods. It is extremely difficult to introduce and apply at once a system of contributing old-age insurance. You can't insure a house that is on fire, and you can't insure if there is any meaning in the word "insurance," an old man over 65 against economic conditions as the result of his old age, but you can insure the young generations. So obviously state old age pensions must be supplied to those who are in need of assistance, those immediately in need. For all others, the method of compulsory contributing old age insurance is much more preferable than any other system.
This conflict between the two methods is not new. The difficulties confronting America to-day are the same difficulties which confronted Europe. There were exactly the same discussions; exactly the same procedure had to be followed in both England and in France in inaugurating old age pension systems. Things that were done in the earlier stages were afterwards considered unnecessary.
If you accept the duality of the problem--the old already old and for the young who will come old soon--then the technical question is to find the best solution of both aspects of the problem.
We have old age pension laws in 29 states already. Let us hope in the near future the rest of the states will enact old age pension laws and thus make this system nationwide.
May I take another two or three minutes to point out one very important consideration in the immediate sizing up of the problem confronting us? That is that at best the so-called old age pension gratuitous grants are after all a modified, camouflaged form of relief, which do not meet the conditions, and might as well be nothing, because they are based upon evidence of need. The one thing 75 investigators in our little town have to struggle with is determining, not whether the people are deserving, but whether they are in need. Of course, when you get into a situation of this kind there is bound to be the temptation to misrepresent or exaggerate. I certainly do not blame the old people. If I were dependent and had to make a sad story of my own life, I probably could succeed in making up a good one. The "means test" is a consideration of old age legislation.
While I am rather hesitant in criticizing this legislation, particularly in the presence of the author of the first bill, it must be recognized that American legislation added another undesirable requirement. I am trying to do my best on every occasion to point that out, as it apparently has not penetrated the public conscience. Not only do we apply the "means test" to the old people, but we apply it to their descendants. No old age pension law outside of the United States asks for that. That emphasizes the charity, philanthropy, and relief aspects of our legislation. We have to go into the economic conditions, not only of the old folks themselves, but of every one of their children, and grandchildren. It seems even the ancestors are involved.
In addition to the service pension at one end and the free gratuitous pension on the other, there is also a third accepted method of adjustment. That is, for the old people to be a burden upon their children. With the present condition of the county at large, the present leveling of wages, the present difficulty of keeping up the American standards (the American standard about which we talk so much, and which is more of an aspiration than recognized economic fact) I maintain the imposition of the burden of support of the old, if placed upon the children to the extent of depriving the children or the grandchildren of their purchasing capacity is not a desirable adjustment. Whether or not the old folks should live with their children we will not go into.
I believe the federal government has a very strong duty to perform in this respect, not only because it may stimulate adoption of new old age laws in the 17 or 18 states that haven't these laws yet, but because by subsidy there can be an increased rate of pensions, which at present varies in the different states by ten or twenty dollars a month. It has been maintained that $17 is sufficient for the maintenance of old folks on a level of decency and comfort.
Only by national control over state systems achieved through the promise of a federal subsidy can we have at least a decent system of free public old age pensions to work with, until we get service pensions.
(Following is the speech prepared by Mr. I. M. Rubinow.)
Within the inevitable time limitations I can only lay down to-day in a somewhat dogmatic way, a few fundamental principles underlying the problem we are to discuss. Perhaps the first principle is recognition of the fact that the problem has many ramifications, that the aged do not represent one uniform group, and that no plan for the aged can be satisfactory unless it recognizes at least the most important variables.
There is, to begin with, the question of age which may begin at 60 and extend to 80 or 90 or more; second, the factor of health; third, the general economic status; fourth, the occupational status: fifth, the marital and family status. It is further important to recognize the fact that none of these five conditions always remain static, that every one of them is subject to change--age, health, the existence of responsible relatives, and even occupational and general economic status.
Because of the influence of these numerous factors in various combinations we find in a cross section of to-day at least ten groups making various methods of adjustment to secure the necessities of life, as follows:
1. the old persons remaining at their jobs, or occupations until 70 or perhaps even until 80,
- the fortunate minority which may rest on its economic laurels, drawing upon inherited wealth or upon saving of a successful economic life,
- those who have earned and receive a satisfactory pension from their former private or public employer,
- the large, though gradually decreasing number of recipients of war pensions, whose number may perhaps increase if the pension principle is applied to the veterans of the World War,
- the very large, perhaps the largest, number of those who are supported by their children or other relatives,
- a rather limited number of persons receiving regular relief from private philanthropic agencies,
- guests or inmates of private homes for the aged, having a very great variety of standards of comfort,
- the aged population of our poorhouses or almshouses or county farms,
- the aged in homes for incurable or insane asylums, and
- the latest development, the recipients of the so-called state old
Unfortunately, there are no figures to indicate the distribution of the 6,500,000 persons over 65 years of age among those ten classes, to say nothing of the possibility of a residuum which continues to shift for itself in various distressing ways.
At least approximate estimates can be made of recipients of public and war pensions, inmates of public almshouses and private old folks homes and hospitals for incurable and mental disease, and even recipients of old age pensions in a number of states. The total number of these classes, however, amounts to considerably less than 1,000,000. Only rough guesses can be made of those still employed, living on savings, or living in children's homes. And the population of cheap lodging houses and the residuum which may be in the gutter is an absolutely unknown quantity. The few local investigations which have been made are not sufficiently trustworthy. No study which dates back to the pre-depression era can serve as a guide because of the tremendous changes which have taken place in the value of savings, the employment of the aged, and the ability of the majority of workingmen's families to support their parents. Perhaps a thorough investigation of the distribution of our aged population among these classes should be the first task in a scientific study of the problem if it were not for the fact that such investigation, besides being costly, might take a good deal of time and delay necessary action.
At any rate the important problem that faces us is not so much the exact distribution among these ten groups which may fluctuate from year to year, particularly under stress of exceptional economic conditions, but some agreement as to the comparative fitness and desirability of these various methods of facing old age. In regard to some of them a general agreement can perhaps be easily reached, but unfortunately, these are the methods which perhaps we can influence but slightly. We should like to see fewer people ending their lives in insane asylums or hospitals for incurables, but this represents a medical problem of which we cannot dispose to-day. Perhaps at the other extreme we would admit the desirability of the aged retaining their health, working capacity, and working opportunity until the end of their days, but again that opens a complex problem of industrial organization that cannot be easily answered. For instance, can private competitive industry be so adjusted as to provide an increasing opportunity for workers who have passed the crest of productivity and endurance? We might all envy the fortunate minority that can live on income from accumulated capital, but how to increase the number of those who can accumulate enough for such a happy old age is a problem perhaps even more complex than all the problems presented by social insurance. One couldn't very well look towards an extension of war pensions as a method of solving the problem of old age without placing one's hope in a continuous series of destructive wars.
Old folks homes present a traditional and popular escape for some, but are altogether unacceptable for sound psychological reasons to many. Institutional care will always be needed for some proportion of the aged. This may be easily admitted in the case of those who are incapacitated either physically or mentally, but may be optional with healthy old men and women, depending upon their comparative sense of gregariousness. On the other hand the public poorhouse will be condemned by most and, in fact, has been one of the most potent factors in popularizing better methods of provision.
Thus by a process of exclusion there remain certain methods of care for aged persons, incapacitated primarily by lack of economic opportunity. These are service pensions, dependence upon relatives, and so-called public old age pensions. Compulsory social old age insurance is obviously but a modification of service pensions extended from one specific employer to the entire industrial history of the individual.
The history of the movement towards systematic public provision for old age in Europe and the rest of the world during the last 40 years has been, to a very large extent, a more or less friendly conflict between the two methods, compulsory insurance and so called state old age pensions. The discussions around this problem in this country during the last 25 years have, after all, been merely a reflection of similar discussions and arguments in all the other countries. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this discussion throughout these 40 years has been the tacit but altogether erroneous assumption that both methods are equally applicable to all the elements of population, and that therefore the problems necessarily reduces itself to the choice between the two. The slightest consideration of the problem must show that this is not so, and particularly is not so at any one moment when a system, whichever it be, must be adopted.
It is but a trite observation that social measures are not adopted for eternity. They must present an effort to meet, first, the immediate problem which confronts society, and in addition, plan as far as possible for the immediate future. The immediate problem is to determine the distribution of the aged among the ten classes indicated above, some highly desirable and some highly undesirable. The task is to influence this distribution so that there would be a larger proportion of the aged finding satisfactory adjustment and a reduction in the number of those whose adjustment is obviously unsatisfactory. No counsel of perfection need be aimed at in the beginning. Few counsels of perfection are easily achieved.
The obvious problems that present themselves as soon as the whole question is considered are what to do with the unknown distressing residuum, the people on the bottom, the people who manage to get along, we don't know how. And only slightly above them is the population of our poorhouses and county homes. They present the picturesque though gruesome aspect of the problem of old age. For them private social agencies have advocated private assistance or even public outdoor relief, and more recently old age pensions. The efforts of disguising the poor relief aspect of so-called old age pensions are praiseworthy indeed. They indicate the humanness either of the social worker or reformer or legislator. Yet an analysis of the situation should not find any difficulty in recognizing that disguise. Can one question what the result of an inquiry would be among millions of workers, young or old, and particularly young, if they asked to state what method of provision for themselves they would prefer, an ample and earned service pension or dependence upon a skimpy and gratuitous grant out of public funds? But in the presence of millions who have not earned their pensions and are in need of help, a discussion of this character might appear to be purely academic. The standards of so-called pensions in the United States have already shaped themselves even though the movement is only a few years old. An average grant of between $15.00 and $20.00 a month, a searching inquiry into economic status, the hated so-called "means test" of England aggravated in the United States by an equally searching means test of relatives (which I shall touch upon presently), and numerous qualifying conditions, moral, political, or others, taken together, so forcefully emphasize the relief character of pensions that a mere use of the word pension--and even that is not universal--is not sufficient to disguise it. At the other extreme are pensions earned, partly paid for, free of the means test, coming not as a gratuity but as a matter of right, and not subject to the vagaries of state appropriations.
In a sliding scale of social conditions the choice is never between the uppermost and the lower rung. No human being, except it be in sentimental movies, has his choice between clipping coupons and sleeping in a bowery lodging house. The choice usually lies between adjacent areas. I would want to provide to all those who are not economically independent and who cannot continue at their normal occupation, a decent and reasonable service pension, but it cannot be done--certainly not in a day or a year. There is no social justice in limiting the opportunity for such pension to the lucky few who have worked all their lives for one large and prosperous and generous corporation. Again, any action on behalf of the aged is induced by the problem of the aged to-day. A public grant with or without disguise is obviously the only practical way of meeting that problem. It is a rational way on the part of working society, you and I who are still earning a living, to meet the problem of old age of the other fellow, of the old men and women who are down and out. But how many are there, not only among us but among the millions of wage workers, salaried employees, or even farmers, who would be willing to consider this method a satisfactory answer to the problem of the future, the problem of their own old age? If then, we only are concerned about the problem of distress of the aged of to-day, an old age pension system, perhaps more generous than those already adopted, may be considered sufficient. But if we are to legislate for tomorrow as well, the advantage of a service pension system must be recognized.
As to what should be the best method of procedure is another problem, perhaps merely a technical problem which must receive separate consideration. Whether to establish a comprehensive system of compulsory insurance in which the entire financial responsibility for the years gone by, spent in service by each individual prior to his insurance, will be carried by the public treasury, whether to adopt and continue straight old age pensions, side by side with the compulsory insurance scheme, and allow the insurance scheme gradually to replace the free pension system, is a question of method. Whether both steps should or can be taken at once will depend very much upon the social and political situation of the moment. England and France adopted old age pension systems years before the compulsory scheme was provided. In this country we already have some 30 state old age pension systems not all of equal effectiveness. It is not unreasonable to expect that with some effort the system might become universal except for the inevitable tardiness of the south in social legislation. The skimpiness of even the best of their systems and the tendency to reduce the standards because of pressure of fiscal difficulties points to the desirability of a national subsidy and control. At best the method cannot be expected to come up to the dignity and thoroughness of service pensions through old age insurance.
Perhaps I have said enough about the fundamental distinction between old age pensions and compulsory insurance, but if I may take the liberty of a few more minutes I should like to point out one very significant factor which differentiates the old age pensions in the United States from the systems prevailing in other countries, and that is the introduction of the "means test" not only for the aged themselves but for their so-called responsible relatives. To come back to our original analysis of the ten methods of present provision for old age, American pension legislation evidently assumes without argument that the fifth method, support by children, is at least as desirable as, or perhaps preferable to, public support through old age pensions. It makes the violent assumption that wherever such support is found it represents a socially satisfactory answer to the problem of old age. It says little concerning the social cost that the imposition of this burden of support of the aged upon their children represents; it gives no consideration to the lowering of the standard of living of millions of families and their children. It assumes that the average wages today are sufficient not only for the maintenance of the worker and his wife and children, but even of ancestors. Perhaps it is only through the humaneness in the application of this principle that the cruelty of this system is somewhat mitigated. But it is that very humaneness that emphasizes the charity aspect of American so-called pension legislation. In our haste to get something done we have allowed this point of view to penetrate practically all of our state pension legislation that has been written on our statute books during the last ten years. The implications are too obvious to require any extensive comment, even if there were time. Only national control over state systems achieved through the promise of a federal subsidy or threat of its elimination can correct this tragic situation.
CHAIRMAN DEWSON: At any rate, my three questions were answered. The next speaker on our program is Mr. Lester H. Loble of Helena, Montana.
MR. LOBLE: It is a distinct honor and a source of satisfaction that permits me to come this great distance from the heart of the Rocky Mountains in Montana to our nation's capitol and be privileged to exchange ideas with you national leaders interested in old age security.
In view of the fact that it was my good fortune to be legislative author of the first old age pension bill passed in the United States, introduced during the time I was a Democrat floor leader of the Montana Legislature in 1923, I may perhaps be permitted unusual contentment and satisfaction at this notable gathering and be allowed to tell you of the operation of years of old age pensions.
I know little of the theory of old age security but much, I believe, of the practical operation, the tremendous advantages and the pitfalls. To those who are opposed on the grounds of paternalism, let us remind them that government is not a dividend-paying institution, except in the happiness and contentment of its people.
In 1923 there was no awakened consciousness of the desire for old age pensions. It was introduced in our legislature during times that were most difficult and following a year of drought and distress.
The only organized effort made in behalf of the passage of this law was by the Fraternal Order of Eagles. Much credit is due to this organization which gave of its memberships, its money, and its time in assisting in the final adoption of the bill introduced. The leaders of this organization, Mr. Frank Hering of South Bend, Indiana and Mr. Conrad H. Mann of Kansas City, Missouri, were very important in the establishment of the first old age pension law in the United States.
The bill that finally passed was not mandatory but optional with the boards of county commissioners of the several counties. It is not the best old age pension law that could be drawn, but it was the best that could be secured in the pioneering of this movement.
At the same time that I was preparing the old age pension bill for Montana, one was being drawn in Pennsylvania. I collaborated with some of the eminent legal minds of that state. I was fearful that under the constitution of the state of Montana the act would be held unconstitutional if the pensions were paid from the state treasury, but if they were paid from the county poor fund it would withstand attack. I therefore proceeded along that line. Pennsylvania adopted a law along different lines that was held unconstitutional. Our law has never been attacked nor has any attempt been made to repeal it or amend it. By its provisions any person over the age of 70, who has been a citizen of the United States for 15 years, and who has an income of less than $300 per year, may receive an old age pension, the maximum of which may be $25 per month. The cost administrating of this law has been nothing. Without additional compensation, the boards of county commissioners of the respective 56 counties in Montana constitute the old age pension commissions.
Often a pensioner has some real estate, but an income of less than $300 per year. It may consist of a home. Before granting the pension the commission may require that this property be deeded to the county, effective upon the death of the pensioner, and from the proceeds of the sale of this property at the time of the death of the pensioner, the amount of pension paid during his lifetime, plus 5 per cent interest, is repaid to the county, and the balance from the sale of property goes to the pensioner's heirs. Thus the counties are often reimbursed the entire amount of the pension paid, with interest. Heirs, who in the lifetime of the pensioner have not been interested in his welfare, do not succeed to the pensioner's property until the county has been repaid.
Pensioners received during these 11 years approximately $14.00 per month. The official figures of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics issued by the United States Government disclosed after a national survey, that the average cost for the care in a poorhouse of an aged person is $334.64 per year, or $28.42 per month. Thus 11 years of actual experience in the administrations of this law discloses beyond contradiction that it is twice as costly to confine an aged person in a poorhouse as it is to grant him an old age pension. As has been demonstrated beyond question, it is an economic saving. The pension system has closed some of the poorhouses of Montana. Poorhouses cannot compete against pensions.
We had but little difficulty in putting the law into operation. There was some resistance from the boards of county commissioners who preferred to give supplies to the aged poor instead of money. We had to eliminate early political pressure in granting of pensions and in various counties had volunteer committees, usually recruited from the Fraternal Order of Eagles, that assisted the boards of county commissioners in investigating the condition of the pensioners so that the law would not be imposed upon.
A few years after the law was in effect, a vice president of a large Pittsburgh steel corporation called at my office and advised me that he was making a survey as one of a committee of the Manufacturers' Association, that he personally was opposed to the old age pension system, but that he wanted full information about it.
Instead of telling him anything about it, I took him by automobile to a little village 20 miles from Helena. We stopped in front of a little vine covered loghouse, walked up a rustic path to the door and were admitted by a little old white haired lady. He observed a tidy home, on the floor was a hand-made rug, on the table a family Bible; on the wall hung a picture of her husband in one of the heavy gilt frames of yore. Her name was Mary Galliger. She and her husband had been trail blazers and pioneers of Montana. On her eightieth birthday she stood in front of a banking institution and read these chilling, type-written words, "Closed by order of the Banking Department. In the hands of a receiver." Within the vaults of that institution rested every dollar that she and her husband had accumulated---ample to care for her--carefully saved for old age. She found herself, an old lady of culture, education, and refinement in the twilight of life, without relatives, without money, without earning capacity. Had it not been for the old age pension law she would have ridden in the black wagon to the poorhouse, there among the derelicts of the world to sit in her tiny, plastered room, wondering why her life should thus be ended. Instead, she lived out her life in her own little home, surrounded by her friends, puttering in her garden, happy and contented, and there finally passed away.
I introduced her to my friend and told her that he was interested in old age pensions and she, from the infirmities of old age, not understanding, and looking at him through eyes dimmed with cataracts gave him her blessing for having assisted in the passage of old age pensions. As we left her home he inquired as to what she was receiving and was informed that she received $15.00 a month, that she owned her home. Had it been necessary to send her to the poor farm the cost would have been $30.00 a month.
We drove on a few miles up into the hills of the Rockies. There we stopped at a prospector's gold mining claim. We sat down on the edge of an old broken-down wagon box and waited for the owner. I pointed out to my friend the tunnel, hundreds of feet in depth that had been dug out by hand, the crude hoists and even more obsolete hand mining machinery. It was a typical prospector's layout. From across the hill came Jones Callahan, almost with the step of youth, carrying his pick and shovel and a sack of ore across his back, a long, flowing white beard, a rugged man of the outdoors, aged 92. He had prospected this claim for 45 years, had found but little, yet was as enthusiastic as if he had just started. Before he operated this mine he had discovered one of the richest gold mines in Montana. Like many of his kind he received little for his effort; in fact he sold his interest in this mine years before for $4.00. That mine was produced millions of dollars in dividends and has paid thousands of dollars in taxes. At this very moment it is one of the best paying mines in the state of Montana, hiring scores of men. But this man was a miner, a dreamer, always just going to strike again. Living high up in the Rocky Mountains in his little miner's cabin, he spent his last day on earth with his pick and shovel, still pursuing the elusive gold.
Jones Callaway received a pension of $20.00 a month. It was ample for his needs. He refused to take it until he was told that it was not charity, but in recognition of a life well spent. He talked a long time to my friend from Pittsburgh and this old miner's enthusiasm fired the imagination of my friend from the east. Jones Callaway is long since dead and I cannot remember the name of my friend from Pittsburgh, but he has not forgotten Jones Callaway I know, for when he left and started back down the road he said to me, "I came out here convinced that old age pensions were purely paternalistic, socialistic, unworkable, but I have changed my mind." What report made to his committee, I do not know, except that a few years later I observed in one of the annual reports of the Manufacturer's Association, at least a tacit approval of old age security.
The following figures are the official figures of the State Auditor of the state of Montana, issued under the seal of the state of Montana, and are recorded in his office and kept by him under the requirements of the law.
The first nine months of the year 1923, the first year of the law's existence, disclosed that pensioners received $65.24 per year per person, only $5.43 per month per person.
For the first year 1924, $151.74 per person per year or $12.64 per person per month
" " " " 1925, $174.14 " " " " " $14.36 " " " "
" " " " 1926, $179.59 " " " " " $14.96 " " " "
" " " " 1927, $167.97 " " " " " $13.91 " " " "
" " " " 1928, $188.35 " " " " " $15.69 " " " "
" " " " 1929, $168.77 " " " " " $14.15 " " " "
" " " " 1930, $154.30 " " " " " $12.85 " " " "
" " " " 1931, $158.34 " " " " " $13.18 " " " "
" " " " 1932, $145.37 " " " " " $12.12 " " " "
" " " " 1933, $ 87.32 " " " " " $ 7.27 " " " "
Let us for a moment analyze the figures. Eleven years is a fair test in the trial of this law, as in 11 years are represented good and bad years, prosperity and adversity. The man now 70 years of age receiving a pension was 59 years of age at the time the law became effective. The increase in the number of pensions granted has not been in accord with the claims of its opponents at the time of its adoption. As a matter of fact the increase has been quite gradual. Death and changing conditions are, of course, important factors in the number of people who apply for pensions.
In 1923, 349 pensions were granted
" 1924 521 " " "
" 1925 583 " " "
" 1926 584 " " "
" 1927 693 " " "
" 1928 884 " " "
" 1929 875 " " "
" 1930 1032 " " "
" 1931 1130 " " "
" 1932 1254 " " "
" 1933 1781 " " "
You must bear in mind that while Montana does not have the characteristics of many of the eastern states, the state is a combination of industrial and farm life; located there are the largest copper mines in the world, and throughout western Montana there is much mining and some industrial activity. The eastern part of the state is largely made up of farming communities where large ranches are located, engaged in the production of wheat, cattle and sheep.
In 1933 there was quite a large increase in pensions over 1932, but there was a decrease in the amount paid to each pensioner. This was due to two factors. There was a greater demand for pensions, but there was less money with which to pay them. As a consequence the amount each person received was materially reduced. The pensions are paid from the country poor fund and many of these funds are depleted due to delinquent taxes.
Why is it that an old person can live on a pension of $14.00 a month when it cost $28.00 a month to maintain him in a poorhouse? The answer is found in the fact that the person is not lost to the community and is still partially self-supporting. For illustration, Jack Ferguson, a pensioner, now dead, received his first pension when he was 72 years of age. Hale and hearty, he still continued his business of driving an express wagon for the delivery of small parcels. Though the wagon was dilapidated, and the horse looked as old as himself, he could and did make from fifty cents to a dollar a day during good weather. In the winter he was unable to work. During those months he was on the old age pension list, and religiously, during the summer months when he could work, he had himself removed from the rolls. These old timers earn something. They do some mining, take care of public parks, act as watchmen, and engage in various kinds of activities that permit them to earn a part of their living. They remain among their friends who help them. Remove them to a poor farm and they are lost to society forever. Their self-respect is gone as is their meager earning capacity, and they become dead weight, with nothing to hope for but the call of the Almighty.
Old age security is but payment of a debt that this generation owes to those trail blazers of yesteryear who have made our present existence possible. The law is very little abused and is a haven of refuge to many people who never believed they would need assistance. This law will never be repealed because 11 years of trial have shown it to be a far cheaper method of caring for the aged poor and because it is more humane.
I speak by command of silent lips on behalf of the old age pensioners of the west who have gone on to their reward, on behalf of the contented aged people of Montana who are able to live out their lives with some security, though small. I speak for a state that has tried the experiment and knows that old age security is possible, economical, and humane.
I submit with these remarks the complete record from the State Auditor's office of the state of Montana, which, under the seal of the state shows the process of old age pensions in Montana over a period of 11 years.
We are great in area, small in population, approximately 600,000, but nearly 2,000 old men and old women in the state of Montana are to-day receiving old age pension security.
It is gratifying to know that we have a Committee on Economic Security whose record of past achievements on behalf of the masses of the people lends sincere encouragement to the progress of old age security, that under the leadership of our President and the illustrious Secretary of Labor, the old people have renewed hope.
I trust that legislation will soon be enacted so that instead of 28 states of the Union now in the old age security column, the entire population of this glorious country will know that the haunting fear of poverty in old age has been forever removed from the hearts of our people.
CHAIRMAN DEWSON : I think that Mr. Loble paints a very modest picture of the part he has played in this work.
Our next speaker is Mr. Royal Meeker, former United States Commissioner of Labor Statistics, New Haven.
MR. MEEKER : Madam Chairman, ladies and gentlemen: I have no written document. If I am permitted to speak just a few minutes, I have just a few notes which I may or may not be able to read.
First of all, I would like to direct your attention to the fact that relief or pensions are the last ditches against insecurity, social and economic. You can't insure anything that doesn't exist; you can't give a pension unless you have funds out of which to pay pensions.
The first and most important measure for social security is the revival of industry, constituting employment for the unemployed, constituting income for the lack of income, to take care of the necessities from whatever cause they may arise.
The first and most important step then as a relief measure which this Committee on Economic Security can offer to the President, is a complete revamping and reconstruction of our banking credit and monetary system. I repeat, our banking credit and monetary system--it is one united, indivisible, system--will do more for reestablishment of industry, and reestablishment of income, than all the pension relief measures that could be devised in a hundred years.
The second step is the organizing of industry, conducting it, providing for the conducting of industry so far as possible in an orderly systematic way, so that the balance between consumption and production may be immeasurably improved.
The third and last measure is insurance and relief.
In spite of all we do, men do become unemployed and must be maintained. Men become invalidated and must be maintained. Otherwise we must adopt that philosophy, or rather that policy which obtains among primitive peoples. I am told among certain tribes of Eskimos it devolves upon the eldest son of the ancient patriarch of the family, when the old man cannot pull his weight in the boat anymore, to take the ancient out and knock him in the head. We haven't been reduced to that condition in this country, but if we keep on in the direction we have been going in the last five years, we will arrive there, because we are returning with disconcerting rapidity to that difficult stage of civilization where we will have to use the hand loom, the shoemakers' tools, etc., to furnish our clothing. We are not there yet; it is not necessary for us to discard the ancient invalid in society. We are not yet dragging these ancient, dependent old people out to the city dumps, as they do in China.
May I just briefly survey the whole field which does properly come under the jurisdiction of social insurance against the hazards, the physical hazards of existence? All of the major hazards of existence may be classed properly under six heads: birth, unemployment, illness, accident, invalidity, death. I don't include old age, because old age is not primarily a major classification. Old age falls under two heads, invalidity due to advancing years, and unemployment due to depreciation or advancing years or both.
I greatly honor the Fraternal Order of Eagles for their work in calling attention to the need to provide against dependency and misery attendant upon the advancing years. But I think a word of general admonition, if not criticism, may well be uttered here. It is, I think unfortunate that attention has been centered so wholly upon old age as a cause of dependency, leading to the subordination, if not the actual ignoring of other causes of dependency, which on the whole are much more important than old age. Does that answer your question, Madam Chairman?
With regard to the question, "Why not resort to insurance instead of pensions?" I would say, supplementing what Dr. Rubinow has said, that it is wholly impossible to substitute insurance for pensions because of the present problem which confronts us. People are now suffering from lack of employment, from invalidity, and they must be taken care of. We cannot wait for 30 years to build up a reserve fund in order to take care of these dependent people. That is, it seems to me, a sufficient answer, but we are in the process of the shaping of all state legislation and we should keep in mind what Dr. Rubinow so ably outlined, that is, the necessity of providing for all kinds of invalidity, whether from old age or from other cause, and the building up of a reserve fund, the establishment of what he calls "service insurance." Call it what you will, I don't care, but I think the principle of insurance should be instilled into every old age pension measure that is introduced anywhere.
I have heard during this conference, and I hear it everywhere, whether I stay at home or go abroad, the idea of technological unemployment--just as if something new had come into the world. That is a mistaken idea. It is just as old as the division of labor, and that is pretty old. There has been technological unemployment from the beginning. I suppose that when some men devised the first instrument for scraping up the surface of the ground, so that corn or whatever they had to plant might be planted, I suppose that led to technological unemployment. For instance, these extremely primitive instruments, which consisted of cross sticks, were invented as it did to hunt around in the brush and gather berries, overtake the rabbit, etc., in order to obtain the food supply for the tribe.
Therefore, technological unemployment has always existed. I doubt very much, you may dispute what I am going to say, whether there is any more technological unemployment to-day in New York than there was in the beginning of the nineteenth century when the industrial revolution so-called was in full swing. I doubt very much if the proposition of technological unemployment to-day is as great as then. However, it is of no matter, purely an academic question.
I don't think we should accept the doctrine that technological improvements increase unemployment, and that therefore from now on we must look forward to an increasing volume of unemployed persons, whether they are unemployed because they have reached the age of 65, 40, or 45, whatever the age limit may be. I see no reason why we should accept that doctrine. It is the most utter arrant nonsense. Technological improvements tend to wash themselves out, to create more employment.
We are in a terrible state of unbalance now, but we have been just as unbalanced before, and I think we have the ability to get back into balance. It is some job, I grant you, but it is the same job that has been done time and time again. And don't forget this old world is a pretty aged institution. I suppose all of you studied ancient history when you went to high school. I didn't go to high school. I didn't go to college. I supposed you studied the history of Egypt. You had perhaps 20 or 30 pages on Egypt and it seemed a very compact piece of history. But there were at least a dozen different Egypts, and dozens and dozens of crises occurred in the history of Egypt. Every one of these crises were as serious to the people of Egypt as this world crisis is serious to us now. There have been industrial revolutions time and again, but the world is not yet bankrupt.
I think we are going to pull out of this. We are in conference for the first time and have some hope of getting through an old age pension system. The only reason it is advocated is because it is the only thing possible. An insurance system is utterly impossible now. The pioneer work done by the Fraternal Order of Eagles and the Federation of Labor has made possible old age pensions.
I have great hopes that we can succeed by driving deeper, in order to provide and care for these hazards of life by an insurance system. It can be done and the time to do it is now. Don't put off unemployment insurance and the building up of unemployment reserve funds until it is too late. I contend that industry cannot afford to delay. The only thing that can save industry from bankruptcy is to adopt unemployment insurance and build up a reserve fund.
Just one more remark. I see the Chairman is getting nervous, and anxious to get to the President's reception. I want to go myself as I have not seen him for some years. I strongly favor the system of federal grants in aid. I think that the federal government has the means of tapping sources of income which cannot be reached successfully by the states, because of state boundaries, etc.
I would strongly suggest that the Committee on Economic Security consider very carefully and recommend very powerfully to the President, the use of grants in aid by the federal government to every state which will enact old age pension laws that measure up to the standards laid down by the federal government. It is the only way to get through some states, and I think the Wagner-Lewis Bill does give us the means of helping old age security from the end of unemployment insurance, as the last measure in the revival of industry.
CHAIRMAN DEWSON: The next speaker on the program is Mr. Abraham Epstein, Executive Secretary, American Association for Social Security, New York City.
MR. EPSTEIN: Madam Chairman, ladies and gentlemen: I am sorry as I am just recovering from a serious illness that I cannot liven up this discussion a little bit. I think this discussion needs a little life, but I am afraid I am not up to the test to-day.
There is one thing that strikes me in both the discussions to-day, this morning and this afternoon; it has struck me too during all my years of interest in this subject, and that is, that the chief difficulty, probably, that prevails in the United States, is the idea of perfection.
We can never discuss one problem by itself. We want to solve all the problems of the universe. And not only do we want to solve all the problems of the universe, but we want to solve the problem in a perfect way. If you had a suggestion that would solve a problem 90 per cent, there would be a demand for a remedy that would solve all the problems 100 per cent. If we in this country get to that stage which our forefathers reached, that is, to stick to one thing at a time and discuss one thing at a time, feeling even a 60 or 70 per cent solution of a problem is worth doing, better than doing nothing, we could make some progress.
While I am not disagreeing with Mr. Hopkins, I do know from my many years of experience that it is dangerous to emphasize that no program of social security is complete unless it has this or that.
We all know, of course, that any program of social security will be complete if complete security is provided and the best kind of security. But I believe that since we are just imperfect human beings, and most of us are imperfect, we should confine ourselves for the present to one problem, at least try to solve one problem at a time, not 100 per cent, or even 90 per cent. If you can only get over that philosophy to the legislatures, I think that all of our problems on social security in this country will be solved.
The reason that there is no perfect remedy for making old age absolutely secure, no matter what principle is adopted, no matter what legislation we enact, is that there will always be certain flaws to make it at least just below 100 per cent perfect, if for no other reason than the fact that the members of the Senate and House of Representatives are fallible people. Some may not believe that, but at least most of us agree on it. Therefore, we cannot expect infallible laws.
We are not going to have perfect old age security legislation, but I do believe that kind of old age security legislation that will meet present conditions, is the best kind of legislation.
This is the subject on which most people become confused. In my 18 to 20 years of hard work, I don't think I can point to a single person whom I have been able to make understand. They all get confused. Even congressman who have been sponsoring bills have gotten mixed up and gone in the other direction. People do not understand, but it is as simple as a, b, c's.
You have a problem to-day of millions of people who have no jobs, and their children cannot support them. That is simple.
All we can do is to get a scheme--not a perfect scheme--but a scheme that will best provide with some decency. I think that everybody in this country and in Europe realizes that the old age pension system, as it is known in this country, whether called this or that, or whether it is a perfect thing or not, can be improved. At least, the idea of keeping all the people in homes on a small pension from the government is a better system, both from the point of view of economy, social and spiritual, than any previous system we have had in this country.
Now, I think that all of us can agree also that in the case of a man 65 or 70 years of age with no job and no children to support him, there is only one thing to do and that is to get him a straight pension. Can't we settle that matter for once and stop this talk about contribution? These contributions mean or presuppose the earning of wages.
Remember most of the people of that age have no wages and no money. Let's not talk about it any more and for once come to the agreement which we already ought to know, because for seven years we have had a bill--seven years is supposed to be the ripening age for a bill to mature--and it should have matured last year. Now then we have a bill in which we said to accomplish this thing we will need the federal government to subsidize some of the states making provisions for the aged, because some of the states cannot do it themselves. There should be universal agreement on that.
It seems to me before devising the most perfect scheme, we should at least do this. We are not going to have 100 per cent perfection, but I for one will be darned happy to see 60 per cent of the problem solved.
I come in contact with dozens of old men and women in New York drawing $30 or $35 a month from the city. I can see the change in these people, and I confess even in my sickness, I get cheer out of it. It makes me quite happy over this accomplishment, although we do know that there are other people in New York who are entitled to it and not getting it. But there are 52,000 more getting it now than before.
Let us first of all understand that there is no other way, no better way of meeting the present problem than improving the existing pension legislation through federal subsidy. That was provided on the O'Connor Bill maturing in Congress, and there is absolutely no reason for a bill of that sort having to go through again this year. It should have gone through last year.
There is another problem. That is in relation to the taxpayer. Do we wish to continue this kind of system? Let me suggest as Dr. Rubinow suggests, that you can't relieve yourself of this problem in the future by establishing a contributing pension system, which will not mature for a good number of years. Until that system matures, give the people straight pensions and ultimately establish a fund which will be able to improve a great deal of the present handicaps. Eliminate the "means test," and all sorts of things will be automatically eliminated. Take the burden from the government and put it on the people themselves.
This seems to me very simple and yet here are 20 years of educational work on this thing, and I challenge you to find six people in this country who understand the matter. We have not been able to get Congress to understand it in spite of its simplicity.
I only hope the Committee on Economic Security will be able to reach the nation with this very simple proposition--not with the aim of getting a perfect scheme. Even the Committee is fallible. I at least think so. I don't expect the perfect thing, not even from the White House. But let us be contented with half-perfection for even half is better than none at all. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN DEWSON: Before I throw the meeting open for discussion, I want to read this note.
"The President desires to meet the members of the advisory Council in advance of the general reception. This will make it necessary for the members to be at the White House at four-forty-five p.m."
It will therefore be necessary to close this meeting at 4:20 so that those belonging to the Council can leave.
We have 20 minutes left during which we can discuss the question of old age insurance and pensions.
MR. FRANK MORRISON (Secretary of American Federation of Labor): I desire to say that the American Federation of Labor is wholeheartedly in support of old age pensions. We feel that men who have devoted their time to industry and the government should be take care of in their old-age.
We believe that it is cheaper for the country itself to have old age pensions with a uniform age for the receipt of pensions, than for individual industrial organizations and governmental units to have varying systems.
Only a few years ago this Federation declared in favor of old age pensions, because many of the international unions set up old age pensions for their own members. The organization of which I am a member, International Typographical Union, gives an old age pension of $8 a week for all men over 65 years of age who are unable to secure sustained employment because they have infirmities.
Formerly, when a man died his pension died with him. His wife did not have the protection of the pension. Now the pension that would come from the states or from the federal government including the District of Columbia and Alaska, would cover both the man and his wife separately and distinctly, so that they would have protection in their old age.
We feel that until a man or woman is protected in old age, until we have laws that protect the workers by insurance against unemployment, conditions are not satisfactory. I want to ask you gathered here to-day, what more splendid thing could happen, if we should on the basis of these meetings enact an unemployment insurance law and give impetus to the various states to secure the enactment of old age laws? We would thus be covering our citizens from the cradle to the grave.
MR. F. S. KELLOGG (Manufacturers' Association, New Jersey): As I have listened to the discussion here to-day, I have become increasingly convinced that we will not find a solution of these problems until we consider the individual worker. I feel that a reserve should be accumulated, not as a means of relief at the present moment. I recognize what other experts have said, that you cannot accumulate to meet the present situation, is correct. Accumulations to meet the present situation should have been started years ago.
CHAIRMAN DEWSON: Would you begin it now?
DR. KELLOGG: The state has got to take care of that end of the thing.
CHAIRMAN DEWSON: For the future?
DR. KELLOGG: For the future and we should begin now to accumulate that fund. To my mind that should be accumulated for each individual worker and should be available for that worker's needs, if that worker's needs happen to come first by unemployment. And if he isn't unemployed it should be for old age, and if he doesn't reach old age and get out of employment previous to death, then that fund should be available to his family and his people at his death.
I don't believe we will get any solution of this problem until we do two things, get down to the individual worker, and make the fund, if I may say it in this way, limber and flexible enough to satisfy the conditions that may arise, the catastrophe which meet the worker, so much for non-employment, so much for life, so much for old age pension, these reserve funds must have enough mobility and flexibility to meet these different problems.
The Manufacturers' Association of New Jersey has been studying this problem. I want to say here, there seems to be a popular idea that each and every Manufacturers' Association is opposed to the proper solution of these problems. I can say our association is not. It is willing to cooperate toward the proper solution, and any information which it has gathered together or has on hand, or any ideas which it may have, or any assistance it can give, are at the disposal of the Committee. Thank you.
MR THOMAS DONNELLY (Representing the State Federation of Labor, Columbus, Ohio): Madam Chairman, ladies and gentlemen: The most pleasing things to me when I come to gatherings of this sort, are the discussions on social insurance. I am struck with the thought that we have awakened the social consciousness of the American people on some of these various schemes or reforms of social insurance.
I listened very attentively to the gentleman from Montana, and the thought occurred to me, that in 11 years 29 states have enacted legislation providing for the care of the aged to a limited extent.
It is true, as our friend, Mr. Morrison said, that a number of international unions of labor had pension systems of various kinds, and some industrial organizations have had pension systems, and because of the growth of annuities in insurance, the insurance companies have taken it up. It appears to me the whole nation, the states that have no such legislation as well as the state that have, is giving thought to some form of sustenance for their aged citizens.
Now, in all of the states that can enact such legislation, I think that I speak correctly, there is a full realization that the measures enacted are inadequate as far as adequate relief maintenance is concerned. But it is just like everything else. We have to do the best that we can in a given situation.
We have gone through a very open and severe opposition to old age pensions. It was my good fortune to be an officer of the state commission 17 years ago that submitted a report to the General Assembly of Ohio. That report recommended that some provisions should be made for the aged. This recommendation was included in each of the following sessions of the General Assembly.
In 1923 the gentlemen from Montana was the author of the first bill on old age pensions, and Montana was the first state to go on record for old age pensions.
Ohio had a referendum for a vote on the subject of old age pensions which was defeated by 400,000 votes. Still we persisted and I am pleased to report that we are one of the last states to enact that legislation.
Notwithstanding the national issue of the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment, which was submitted to the voters at the same time, our old pension bill was adopted by the people of Ohio by the surprising majority of 862, 639 votes. A larger vote supported old age pensions, with a larger majority, than the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment.
It is very evident to me that the economic conditions are pressing this questions upon us more strongly each day. The character of our industry which eliminates men and women from industry earlier than in former years because of increased mechanization, and the limited fields in which persons who pass middle age can find employment bring this question before the American people as the one great outstanding question requiring our attention.
And as I have said in the beginning, I am tremendously heartened to think that in 11 years, notwithstanding the great opposition such legislation has met with in various states in the Union, that there are now 29 states which have enacted such legislation.
We have come to Washington now to find, because of the industrial crisis and the economic conditions of many thousands of people in old age groups, that the federal government has appointed a Council, the members of which have come from all parts of this nation, to discuss this important question.
We are pleased to know through the statement of the representative of the New Jersey Manufacturers' Association, that they are in favor of some system of old age assistance. So, I am sure these meetings will be the means of producing a greater interest on the part of our Congress and the state legislators.
CHAIRMAN DEWSON: We have now five minutes left, and I think I will divide it. We will allow one minute to a speaker.
MR. ROWLAND EGGER (University of Virginia): I , too, have an interest in what the Chairman and the gentleman from Montana said in regard to the accomplishments of the Fraternal Order of Eagles. I am very hopeful that something approximately on that scale will result from our efforts.
But I don't think we will succeed if we try to do five different things at one time. As Mr. Epstein advises, we should do one thing at a time. In other words, we have to confined our efforts to old age security. It may be best for the government to pay people who are not able to accumulate. There are a lot of people who have been unable to accumulate. The problem we must address ourselves to is the security of these people.
I have in this regard only two suggestions. One is the possibility of federal supervision in order to make the actuarially calculated subsidies that are necessary for the retirement scheme, in order to secure regular service retirement.
Second, federal supervision and the federal subsidies will be necessary for the same reasons, that is for the maintenance of large enough reserves. That is to my mind the most profitable direction in which federal government may move.
MR. ROBERT WATT ( Secretary, Massachusetts State Federation of Labor, Boston): One moment, please. I would like to leave this thought with this group. First of all, I want them to ask themselves and answer this question which I am not going to answer. Do these 29 states have old age pension legislation or glorified pauperization?
Ask yourselves this question, too: How long are we going to have two classes of people? On the one side is a preferred class who have job security and good positions, including judges, policemen, firemen, federal and state employees, with a pension at the end of 12 years. On the other side there are people who pay for these 29 pieces of not old age pension legislation but 29 places of glorified pauperization paid through the public welfare system.
MISS GRACE ABBOTT (University of Chicago): I spoke briefly this morning and I want to speak again, this time about the objection that many people feel to making the workers pay the cost of this security that we are asking for them. This theory that reserves must be built at the expense of the worker, in large part at their expense, seems to many of us to be undoing the benefits of the system.
We got the public school through the poor relief system. Everybody paid except the people who could not, and they had the tuition fees of what are now the public schools paid for them by the poor relief officers. Many of us are looking forward to seeing a new organization of relief. We want to make it into a newer and better system of public aid, of public assistance that will have no sting of pauperism.
We happen to have one bank in Chicago that got $90,000,000 from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, I believe, in 1932. It was thought that this was necessary to protect the depositors and the stockholders of this bank. Now, that may not have been pauperization. I don't know. After all, there is a great deal in this question of what is a dole, and what isn't.
CHAIRMAN DEWSON: This has been a very interesting meeting, but it is now 4:30, and we will have to adjourn.
. . . The meeting adjourned at 4:30 o'clock . . .
The Round Table Conference on Medical Care of the National Conference on Economic Security, held in the Garden Room of the Hotel Mayflower, Washington, D.C., convened at 2:30 o'clock, Mr. Livingston Farrand, President of Cornell University, presiding.
CHAIRMAN FARRAND: Ladies and gentlemen: It is already an hour after the time when this meeting was to convene, and I think it would be wise for us to gather as well as we can in the front and come to order.
In this Conference on Economic Security, there are, as the program of the day's sessions indicates, the various aspects represented. I think that by common consent, one of the most difficult is the problem of medical care, and it is that particular problem that we have been asked to come together and discuss, and give an opportunity for the statement of those different points of view which we all know exist, are sincerely sustained, and are of extreme and fundamental importance in the consideration of any plan to meet the general problem which faces this country.
Now again, by common consent, I think there are certain phases of this problem of sickness, to which all will agree. In the first place, it is now perfectly obvious, and with figures that can be supported, that a very large proportion of the population of the United States does not receive adequate medical care.
It is commonly agreed, of course, that the medical profession is an indispensable part in the solution of this problem of ill health and sickness. I include, naturally in the medical profession, the dental and nursing professions, as well. It is also clear, I think, that we can't confine ourselves, if we are dealing with the provision of adequate medical care, simply to illness, but it is inevitable that the prevention of disease enters the field.
Now it is clear that the medical profession, to whom we must look, is inadequately compensated in the present instance, and with the progression of affairs that problem becomes more and more serious.
We are meeting here not to formulate any specific recommendation, but to afford an opportunity for the statement of different points of view, which in turn will be placed in the hands of the President's advisory commissions for their consideration.
I am sorry the hour is so late. As it is absolutely necessary, I am informed, that this particular gathering shall adjourn at 4:30, in order to enable those who have been asked, to go to the White House at 5:00, and I shall have to insist strictly upon the time limits of those who are to present papers, or formal speeches, and limit sharply the discussion which shall follow.
Now, in the preparation of the program, certain points have been invited, and the first speaker of the afternoon is a man who has given particular attention to certain plans in this and other countries, with regard to insuring against sickness, at least insuring medical care for sickness, and who has been instrumental in producing and laying before the profession of a great state, Michigan, a plan for their consideration. I have very great pleasure in introducing at this time, Dr. Henry A. Luce, of Detroit, who will open the proceedings.
DR. LUCE: Mr. Presiding Officer, ladies and gentlemen: I will read my paper.
The remarks which I am about to make must be considered as coming from a private citizen engaged in the practice of medicine and in no way being the official utterances of the medical organizations with which I may be connected.
For nearly 30 years, it has been my privilege and pleasure to have been a family doctor in the city of Detroit. In this capacity, I have entered the homes of all classes of people. During all this time, I have been face with the problem of how best to give medical service, and what this actually means to the family as a unit. I appreciate the fact that I am just one of the many thousands of physicians who are also facing this problem every day. That has been the problem down through the ages.
The medical profession approaches this question of medical care in reference to economic security from the point of view of its effect on the standards of medical service and the possible effect of proposed changes in medical practice on the health of people. Those who have practiced long in the medical profession know that many new methods have been developed to treat the sick. Many a suggested remedy has proved worse than the disease. Time-tested and worth-proven principles governing treatment of the physically and mentally ill must not be supplanted. Thomas Jefferson said: "We must be contented to travel towards perfection step by step."
The real question at issue is the character of service. Every method of medical practice must be tested by its effect on the service to the individual and the public. Good medical service can only be given when the physician is brought in contact with the patient, which contact should be as close and friendly as possible. This should be based on a mutual confidence. Trust in the physician by the patient and the knowledge on the part of the physician of the physical, social, and moral standards of the patient are all essential to the successful treatment of disease. On the basis of these principles, the medical profession of these United States is rendering service; we yield to no one in the quality of service or accomplishments. It is not mere chance that the tide of those seeking the best medical training has turned back from Europe to the United States, and that the most recent Nobel prizes were given to physicians on this side of the Atlantic, in the two countries where medical service is rendered under the above-mentioned principles.
The essentials of good diagnosis are knowledge, time, patience, careful attention to details, and a sympathetic relation between a skilled practitioner and cooperating patient. Haste creates antagonism on the part of the patient and incompetence on the part of the physician. Under such circumstances a diagnosis cannot be accomplished. Mathematical and mechanical measurements are not substitutes for these essentials. The inevitable gap results. Any attempt to bridge this chasm is resorted to by over-medication. A look and prescription is not service.
The vital test of any system of practice is its effect in regard to death and disease. The effects of the present system are manifest in the statistics of a steadily declining death rate and the actual control of disease that formerly scourged the country.
By habit and training, the physician tests before he accepts. When he makes an experiment in medical care, he insists on localizing it and testing it to determine whether or not it is good for the people. Over the United States, nearly 100 varieties of medical service are in operation, conducted by county medical societies; each is an attempt to serve the needs of its own locality. There is no question but that different services are necessary for different localities and social conditions. Prevailing conditions determine the necessary procedures. Social experiments differ from those in the physical sciences in that in the case of a failure in the latter, the residue may be thrown away with little loss except time, unsuccessful social experiments result in institutions that remain to retard future progress.
Not only has the medical profession been concerned from Hippocrates' time to the present with improvement of service, but it has studied and planned towards extending service to all. With this in mind, various systems and plans have been and are being considered and operated, each to be tested in the crucible of experience and trial before approval.
In Detroit, starting only last February, a method has been in operation, known as the Medical Service Bureau of the Wayne County Medical Society, whereby complete medical service is offered and given to wage-earners of Detroit through a plan developed and put into operation by the Medical Society. This is a demonstration in cooperation. Five professional groups (physicians, dentists, hospitals, nurses, and pharmacists) are working together to provide complete medical service to the employed worker of small means. The purpose of the Bureau is to assure employed people of modest income that they can go to the physician, hospital, dentist, etc., of their choice and receive necessary service when they need it. Furthermore the Bureau works out a plan for them whereby the account can be paid from week to week.
With practically no publicity during this experimental period, the Bureau has served 1,326 people since its organization in February, 1934. These grateful workers, during a time of industrial depression, have paid in small installments the surprising total of $26,815.16. This seems to prove the medical profession's contention that the average wage earner does not need or want charity or paternalism, but merely CREDIT. This method appears to give satisfactory results in Wayne County, which is no guarantee, however, that its operation would be successful under different circumstances.
The Michigan State Medical Society, during the past three years, has given intensive study to medical economics. Careful surveys have been made. Data have been analyzed. Tentative conclusions have been reached.
In July of 1933, the following principles were approved as being vital and necessary in the establishment of any system of service: 1. Free choice of physician by the patient.
2. Limitation of benefits to those of medical service.
3. Control of medical benefits by the profession.
4. The exclusion of individuals or organizations that might be influenced by the profit motive.
These principles have been recognized as a basic by the profession in general. Subsequently a plan was submitted for consideration. Owing to the controversial nature of features involved and by reason of the fact that Michigan has widely diversified areas on industrial and agricultural interest, a continuation of the study rather than a practical application of the plan was approved.
In its studies and plans, the medical profession has not neglected the preventive medicine phase of service, exemplified in the Detroit Plan of Medical Participation in which over 1,000 physicians are taking part. It is significant that during a recent visit to Detroit of a group of 40 physicians making a study of contagious diseases, not a single case of active diphtheria could be found for clinical demonstration.
At the 1934 session of the American Medical Association in Cleveland, principles were laid down as bases for the conduct of medical-social experiments. "If is determined in a community that some experiment to change or improve the method of administering medical service is desirable, observance of these principles will remove many of the 'disturbing influences' from such an experiment. In all such experiments, attention must be sharply focused on the quality of medical service.
"Such restrictions will undoubtedly lower the enthusiasm of many of the present advocates of such schemes. They remove the interest of the politician, the commercial promoter, and all those who consciously or unconsciously are seeking to achieve other objectives than better medical conditions. All these principles are directed toward protecting the character of the service to be given, and all are directly designed to guard against abuses which experience shows are bound to arise when these principles are neglected. In most communities it will be found that comparatively few changes in the methods of administering medical care will be necessary. That type of medical practice which preserves the personal relationship between physician and patient, that maintains the practice of medicine as a profession, and that has withstood the test of centuries, must be preserved for the best interests of both the public and the medical profession."
The medical profession feels that its contribution to economic security lies in along the line of competent, scientific medical service to the people. The higher the quality of service, the greater the security. To prolong life and to limit the ravages of disease is the task of the profession.
It is not necessary to inform this conference that the medical profession of the United States is sincerely willing to cooperate in all efforts to secure economic security, but principles of medical care that do not guarantee to the public the highest grade of service will contribute toward insecurity and social injustice rather than happiness, well-being and fullness of life to our countrymen.
CHAIRMAN FARRAND: Thank you, Dr. Luce.
In the state of New York, for many years, we have been accustomed to look with confidence for advice and counsel from our next speaker. He has shown himself always alive to the social aspects of the medical problem. He has occupied positions of honor in the profession. He is former president of the state medical society, and at the present is a trustee of the American Medical Association. I take great pleasure in presenting Dr. Van Etten of New York.
DR. VAN EATEN: How shall the sick be adequately served? And how shall the servants of the sick adequately paid?
Those are the questions which should be adequately and unemotionally debated in every county and every state before hurried national commitments are made. Quacks and charlatans and cultists have always marched side by side with the physician and occasionally politicians, notably Bismarck and Lloyd George, have joined the long procession of those who have discussed the questions. Before the advent of the professional philanthropist here there was comparatively little complaint concerning the economics of medical care. The physician was more concerned with the welfare of his patient than with his own comfort or prosperity. All of modern medicine has been developed within the inclusive period of the last 50 years, and the progress of the science of medicine has been so absorbing that the art and application of medicine has lagged behind, and even now shows few signs of reaching its proper proportionate position unless or until a new type of physician shall have been developed.. The physician feels the pressure of public health education and the reaction of his own work in preventive medicine which has eliminated diseases which formerly absorbed much of his effort. The physician has cooperated with the government's agencies in the attempt to eliminate communicable disease, and the absence of destructive epidemics has been of great economic value to the nation. The quality of medical care has been so remarkable that students generally concur in the opinion that nowhere are the citizens of any country better served than here. The extraordinary vital statistics in the state of New York were cited editorially in last night's New York Sun as furnishing one good reason for celebrating Thanksgiving Day in 1934. The distribution of medical care, while admittedly faulty, is steadily improving. In the state of New York, a few years ago, there a good deal of talk about the rural problem of medical service. A campaign was organized which attempted planning the planting of physicians in small towns. The few physicians so placed could not exist in those small places because the rural people drove right past their doors to the larger towns where there were better medical facilities. In short, good roads largely solved the rural medical deficiencies in the state of New York.
In spite of the fact that very few physicians have ever been included among wealthy classes there has been little complaint from physicians until the last five years. In our riches year, 1929, only 15 per cent of physicians had net incomes above $10,000, and this group was largely composed of highly skilled specialists. At the other end of the financial scale, 15 per cent were said to be failing to make a living. As this was our most prosperous season, this 15 per cent may safely be considered as a constant figure. During the depressive cycle of the 1930's it is said that 30 per cent of physicians are failing to make current expenses. This group is probably more vocal now than the limited specialist who suffered proportionately more because many of the patients were unable to pay specialist fees and returned to their family physicians or turned to free clinics. For several years physicians have complained of the intrusion of free or cheap clinics upon their private fields. They have complained of the corporate institutional practice of medicine which, in line with all corporate practices, crowds the small individual out of his field by restraint of opportunity. During this time physicians have continued to be the only double taxpayers concerned in the care of the sick making their regular tax contribution and that the same time serving tax supported hospitals and public clinics without fee. In all of this public service physicians are the only persons who work without pay. This inherited traditional service has now become heavy enough to stimulate physicians to demand a change. If, however, economic conditions continue to improve, it will be characteristic of physicians to forget their resentments and to continue to give away millions of dollars of free service unless free clinics or cheap pay clinics continue to press their projects to unbearable limits. Who is asking the government to interfere in the practice of medicine? Who is devising schemes for security through insurance or cooperative protection of medical service?
The visible demand for government medicine seems to come from the patrons of free hospitals or free clinics. The medical indigent, who may be defined as persons who cannot pay for medical care without denying themselves or their families the necessities of life, is entitled to this care, but the generosity of the taxpayer is at the same time abused by a very large number of people who are well able to pay a private physician for the same kind and quality of care they seek in the hospital.
Otherwise I do not hear people asking for free service. I see no letters in the newspapers complaining of the quality of medical care. There seems to be no public demand for sickness insurance. Public officials are not besieged with cries for public medicine. The common run of people seem to be satisfied with the medical care they now receive. Large groups such as the parent-teacher organizations or labor federations are not asking for sickness insurance. Labor asks for better wages, and if or when labor secures better wages there will be little demand for any type of compulsory health insurance. Our people are entitled to good medical care. Physicians want to give it, but they are met with the resistance of indifference. This is well illustrated by the reaction of the people to campaigns for immunizations, which show only half-hearted cooperation under the stimulus of artificial excitement, and show that no lesson has been learned of the value of the health measure, because after the noise of the campaign is over, immunizations of the untreated are neglected just as they were before. People want security; so do physicians. They want to be paid for what they do--not necessarily single fees for single services. There is nothing new about an inclusive fee for a complete maternity service. There is nothing new about agreements for a term of service. Deferred payment is not new. Most doctor bills are put in deferred files.
Many medical service plans are being worked out in various social services laboratories. The Iowa plan is still developing in that states and some of its features are being tried in other places. The Alameda plan, the San Diego plan, the Vaughan plan are now being tried in many cities. The Wayne County plan is now interesting many county medical societies. If these plans, or parts of them, work well they will be tried without committing the national government. If they fail they can be forgotten. If the nation adopts a system it must set up a machine. It must employ many people. It must pay them. The congress that votes the money must participate in its spending. If they spend money bureaucracy is inevitable, and once embarked upon, is almost impossible to recall it if it proves to be inefficient. Who is asking for the health insurance scheme built after the European manner, or any other schemes which will involve permissive or mandatory legislation? It is only some members of the medical profession, a few surgeons who would like to promote schemes which might lift their hospitals out of the red. Surely there can be no personal reasons for those physicians who are usually among the better-paid class to seek the leveling downward of their incomes in order to lower the costs of medical care.
Another group of physicians who seem to desire government medicine are the those who are already in it as practitioners of state medicine, health officials who see an enlargement of opportunity in widened fields and employment in many bureaus. Few salaried officers can have a private practitioner's viewpoint. Their security colors their vision. The most ardent group of advocates of sickness insurance are individuals who have developed their theories while serving as salaried employees of paternalistic foundations, who are pursuing the objectives assigned to them by directors who have never practice medicine, who cannot understand the value of the confessor relationship between patient and physician, and who desire in their great wisdom to prescribe English medicine, German medicine, or red medicine for the American people. The operation of workmen's compensation legislation has taught us that compulsory industrial insurance is riddled with rackets. A few physicians who are inside of the rackets make inordinate profits while the rest of the profession and the injured workmen get little or nothing out of this politically mismanaged piece of government medicine. The contemplation of the operation of workmen's compensation compulsory does not inspire anyone to desire new forms of compulsory insurance until this present compulsory scheme shall have been so improved that labor, industry, and the physician shall each be guaranteed to receive a fair deal. Amending legislation is attempted every year with more or less futility. The prospect of no sweeping comprehensive bill ever passing leads one to speculate upon the possibility of the success of an advisory committee constituted with an equal numerical representation from labor, from industry, and from the medical profession, appointed to think this matter through, and year by year propose corrective and improved piece-meal legislation. This would take several years. Although it may be possible that the insurance principle may be invoked as part of our final working plan, let us avoid compulsory insurance until every phase of the subject and its adaptability to conditions in the United States has been carefully and unemotionally studied. Conditions of medical care have always been better in the United States than they were in England in 1911. National insurance appears to have improved the kind of medical service then given the British people, but sickness insurance there to-day does not prevent disease, does not take care of the indigent or reduce the cost of the care of this class of people, does not reduce morbidity, has not reduced the costs of medical care, because it has merely instituted additional expenditures incident to the collection and to the distribution of these costs. The organized medical profession has been called reactionary, and static, and obstructive because it does not welcome these foreign schemes with enthusiasm. There aspersions are unjust. The medical profession knows that changes in the delivery of medical services must come, is willing anxious to promote changes, ardently desires improvement in the art and application of medicine, is generously public minded, desires only the best of medical service for the American people, and asks that no governmental system be developed without full opportunity for free cooperation by the medical profession.
During the last 18 years there have been presented from time to time at the sessions of the House of Delegates of the American Medical Association various propositions concerning health insurance, and many forms of group, corporate, or contract practice. All of these have been seriously considered by reference committees and by the House with an open-mindedness and a forward-looking vision which displayed intellectual integrity. The insurance schemes have all been disapproved, and constructive cautions have been given concerning practices involving contract alliances. The American Medical Association suggests uniformity of action in setting up its ten point basic principles but has no desire to suppress the spirit of adventure which may inspire pioneers to look for new paths to new horizons. Our present economic policies will not determine the course of the world tomorrow; indeed it is much more likely that some now unknown influence will change the current of our civilization. The War to make the world safe for democracy failed. Democracy on trial. Dictatorships of various colors are now dominant. America must step carefully to avoid the "isms" that are keeping European nations in constant fear of explosion. Regimentation is the parent of "isms." A threat of bureaucratic domination must be opposed. Self-respect must be preserved by maintenance of the quality of service regardless of material reward.
It is perfectly evident that organized medicine must array it forces aggressively not only to improve the service to the sick but also to improve the financial status of the physician. American ingenuity should be equal to the task.
CHAIRMAN FARRAND: One of the most important inquiries which has been made in recent years was that of the Committee on the Cost of Medical Care. For the first time we have had made available to the public certain facts of very far-reaching significance. Before that we were the victims of impressions. Impressions are sometimes just, sometimes unwarranted.
At least, in the facts presented by the Committee on the Cost of Medical Care, the proof is present.Now on that committee, participated in by many men, was a man who gave himself devotedly to the study with a candid mind for those facts. He is our next speaker. I have great pleasure in presenting at this time, Dr. Follansbee of Cleveland. Dr. Follansbee!
DR. FOLLANSBEE: Mr. Chairman, members of this conference: Some of the things that I wanted to say have been said by previous speakers. I may emphasize some of those things. I may repeat what they have to say with some additions, but primarily I desire to come here and talk to you from the standpoint of the people who are going to have the medical care which is provided for them, if any change is made different than the present one.
In doing so, and assuming to speak for the people who are the recipients of medical care, I think it is only fair to myself as well as fair to you to give the qualifications which I believe I possess for making such an assumption.
I was born in Cleveland, in the steel district, in one of the ordinary families that live in steel districts. I was raised there. When I graduated from medicine. I went back to practice medicine. I practiced general medicine for 15 years among those people, and I still live there, those are my people.
I am now taking care of them in the capacity of a specialist. I have no desire to leave that class of people, although other doctors very often have an ambition to move on to the heights. I expect to stay there; I know these people and I live with them. They are my people; I understand their psychology and I know their wants. They are my friends. I think that introduction will give you some idea that I may speaking with some kind of authority on what those people are thinking.
There will be under discussion, and there is under discussion, a change in the fundamental system of the practice of medicine, but there has been no change advocated widely at all except an insurance scheme. That insurance program is supposed to apply to people in the low income group, employed people in the low income group. The limit of that employment group, we call it "low income," has never been definitely stated, but the income in it vary from $2,000 to $5,000 a year.
If the limit is placed at $5,000 a year, it is going to include 95 per cent of the wage-earners, income receivers, of this country. If such an insurance system is provided for their medical care, you must not forget that those people are going to ask what is going to be done with them and to them in cases of unemployment, especially at such times as we have at the present. Where are they going to get their medical care?
There are a large number in this group I admit, who do not care where they get their medical care. They drift from one doctor to another, from one place to another; they leave the medical profession, go into the cult and come back again. They are not particular who gives them care. But the great majority of those people have as much interest in who their doctor is and what he is to them as the rich people have. You cannot separate their psychology, in respect to their own doctors, from that of a higher income group than we are considering.
Now the statement has been made and the claim very widely made in propaganda, that there is a vast amount of medical care that people do not get at the present time because they can't afford to get it, that they need more prevention, and more curative care than they get at the present time. I agree with that statement.
But that statement by itself, without a consideration of what that care is, does not adequately present the problem. I could walk down the street in Washington here any time and in passing people see defects, troubles that they have that need attention. They are not getting that attention, not because they can't afford it, but because they don't want it.
The medical profession has for a number of years, at least ten, been propagandizing for the periodic health examination, but even to-day the periodic health examination is seldom made. Why? Because people don't want it. I venture to say that 50 per cent of the people sitting here before me have never had a health examination, to say nothing of a periodic health examination in spite of all the propaganda that has been carried out. Why? You don't want it.
Now that is a curative work. So far as preventive work goes, every doctor in private practice, when he is taking care of his curative cases, is also teaching those people preventive medicine. It is part of the treatment. He does not consider it as being preventive medicine. It actually is, but it is a part of his job, and so he doesn't call it by any particular name. That is done by all of the practicing physicians in whatever field they may be. They are trying to tell people individually how to take care of their health, and that is preventive medicine.
Now there is another feature of preventive medicine which I don't believe it is the function of the physician to give the people, and that is public education in the matter of preventive medicine. That should be the field of the foundations and public health agencies. Just as soon as doctors get up before people publicly and try to educate them in preventive medicine or get a more curative care, it at once will be charged, and not surprisingly so, that they are out seeking more work. They cannot carry on as effective a program of public health as can the foundations who are disinterested or the public hearth officials.
Now while it is true that people are not getting as much medical care as they ought to get, I want to say that in my opinion there is no system of medicine, whether incorporated or private practice as it is now, that can make that care compulsory, that can impose that care on the people when they do not want it, because the person, you and I and all of the rest of us alike, think that our health is our own private concern, just as the same as our policies, our religion, our property, our morals, and our habits are, and it becomes a public concern only when it dangerously affects the people with whom we come in contact.
Now, let me speak a little on the effect of an insurance program. As I see it, and as many of the people see it, under such a system, unless the program is handled as a medical proposition exclusively, (which can only be done through a county medical society, such as the experiment now being tried in Wayne County) an intermediary is introduced between the patient and his physician, an intermediary who holds the funds and directs the treatment. He directs the payment and has a controlling influence in the kind of care that the people are going to receive.
It is inevitable that those people who are controlling the funds will object to expensive types of treatment because the funds can't afford it. The expenses will have to be looked after and the compensation will be talked out with the doctors and the administrator, not between the doctor and the patient. The patient becomes a pawn then in the hands of the administrator. The doctor is not directly responsible to the patient, and the doctor therefore cannot give to him the best attention which he is capable of giving.
This destroys that personal relationship which exists between the doctor and the patient under the private practice system, and which is a most valuable feature of the private practice system to the people.
Anything that stands between the doctor and his patient is detrimental to the patient because the patient must have full confidence in the doctor and the doctor must have the fullest information about his patient, or the best service cannot be given.
And one of the best ways of getting into the closest personal contact with the patient by the doctor is the matter of the discussion of his financial condition. I have no sympathy with those doctors who leave the discussion of the financial matters of their patients to a secretary. That is as valuable a feature as there is of getting close to the patient. Because I have found that when you come to discuss finances, if there is any reason for it, you will open up avenues of information which are of the greatest value to the doctor in giving his patient proper treatment.
If there should be an insurance scheme in effect, among other things, I believe it would destroy the competition that there now is between doctors, both financially and professionally. There are two ambitions that a doctor has, and they are similar to the ambitions that everyone else has, to rise in a financial way, and to rise in a professional way.
Each doctor wants to get himself up as high as he can, and in doing so he has to please his patients, and he has to be a good doctor. He has to keep up with his profession, and if any such leveling program as an insurance scheme comes into effect you will have taken away from the doctor that incentive to rise, that incentive to do good work, and to keep up with his profession that he has under the present system where he has to do it or he slides down in the scale.
While I am speaking about that incentive, I want also to say that I am more fearful of this idea because of that feature than I am of anything else, for this reason : If we have a scheme of that kind, we will deter the brightest of our men, the best qualified men for the practice of medicine, from studying medicine.
If you will look over the field of endeavor in the United States to-day, you will find that the practice of medicine is almost the only profession which is now open, wide open, in which the individual can go as far as he may. Think that over, and I think that you will find it is true.
Consider the practice of medicine, which is now individualistic and gives an opportunity to rise as far as a man's energy, knowledge, and faithfulness to his work will permit. If this practice is stopped the incentive for the best young men to enter the profession has been removed.
The claim is made and used in advocating an American health insurance scheme, that in the European countries the provision of medical care to those people covered by insurance is much better than that made before the introduction of insurance. I will grant the truth of that, although I know nothing personally about it, but that doesn't mean anything in America because it is well known that the class of treatment that the industrial people of our country get to-day is far and away ahead of anything those countries ever had, and if an insurance scheme has given those people over there better medical care than they had before, it is because they had awfully poor care before they had health insurance.
There is no public demand on the part of the people for this type of medical care. I have talked with many of the type of people of whom you are thinking. They know nothing about it, and they think nothing about it. A few simple questions as to what they would like to have in their medical care show me very well indeed that they are not in sympathy with having their care handed to them by that method, and I question whether those people who advocate this thing the most would be satisfied to have that care for themselves personally. I have found in most matters of regulation, no matter whether it is of medicine or something else, that people are willing to regulate the other people but they don't want to be regulated themselves. I think that is the case in this instance.
Dr. Van Etten has well said that the present system of the practice of medicine, it has been charged, is not progressive. That is not correct. Medicine is making direct progress all the way along, and all of the time, in that matter of furnishing medical care as well as in scientific attainment.
We believe that the progress ought to be of a continuously evolutionary character, for the benefit of the people. A revolutionary change of this kind will lead us into troubles we will regret very much afterwards.
That conditions in certain localities or areas demand changes is true. Throughout the United States there are many localities that have got to have changes or additions to the present system. The needs of such places must be met so far as possible, but if it is by a radical change which would include in the regimented system all but an estimated 5 percent of the people, it would do inestimable harm to that great body of our population who are intelligent, sensitive, self-supporting individuals whose care under the present system, in normal times, and in most areas, closely approaches their own desires.
CHAIRMAN FARRAND : The last speaker on this afternoon's program is one who has for many years studied intensively the question of hospital and dispensary care and has made himself an authority on the method of that care as practiced in the United States. I have great pleasure in presenting Dr. Michael M. Davis, of Chicago, at this time.
DR. MICHAEL DAVIS : Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen : The subject of my talk is not health insurance but the much broader question of medical care, involving not merely a method but a problem.
With most of what has been said by the preceding speakers, every man who is in the position of a human being and therefore, a prospective recipient of medical care, even though in the course of his lifetime he hasn't already been the recipient of it, must cordially agree.
The problem of furnishing a high quality of medical care is fundamental to every consideration of the subject, and no one has a greater stake in the quality of medical care than those who receive it. It is the people of this country who must approve, and do everything that they can to preserve, the quality of medical care.
Now, in that quality of medical care there are obviously certain qualifications on the part of the physician which he can derive from his training, certain technical qualifications, but there is also that relationship, that prized personal, confidential relationship, that individual attitude on the part of the physician toward his patient as a human being, and that sense of confidence, that sense of gradually giving over responsibilities to the skilled physician, relieving the anxieties of the patient and his family because of the trust he places in that man. No one who has had the privilege of associating for many years with physicians such as the gentlemen who have spoken this afternoon, some of whom I know well, would deny that in their dealings with individual patients they typify that kind of relationship and its importance.
Who is the most interested again in the maintenance of that prized personal confidential relationship? Who wants, as a prospective or actual patient to be treated as a robot? Who wants a physician casually interested in him? Not the patient, nor the patient's family; it is the patient himself who has the greatest stake in the preservation of that.
But how to preserve it? How to maintain it? Clearly the patient knows in a vague way what he wants, but the only people who can actually maintain, preserve, and improve the quality of medical service are the physicians. The people of this country, I am quite sure, have confidence in their physicians, and have justified confidence that the American medical profession will maintain the quality of medical care. There are ready, I am sure, to leave that responsibility in the hands of the profession.
There is the other side of the story. The quality of medical care which is not received by people when they need it is somewhat difficult to evaluate. I hardly need, and there is hardly time to refer to studies on this question. It would be possible to refer to studies conducted ten years ago in the state of Maryland, not far from here, where a population was studied for a year or more by the United States Public Health Service, in which approximately half of the people during this period of a year received no medical care.
During 1929, referred to by our optimists as the most recent period of prosperity, and by our pessimists as the last period of prosperity, similar studies conducted on a wide scale throughout the country showed just about the same figures, about half of the population in the lower income groups going through a year without medical care.
Studies conducted by the United States Public Health Service in 1932 and 1933 of 1,000 families in each of seven large cities, showed practically the same figures or just a shade higher, and all of these studies show two other significant points.
The amount of sickness is somewhat higher among the lower income groups, and the number of people going without medical care for a year is progressively smaller as we move from the lower income groups to the higher, from about half in the lower income groups to about one-seventh in the higher income groups.
There cannot, clearly, be that difference in the need for medical care. Only the economic hurdle can account for such figures as that.
I don't know that it is necessary to enlarge on the existence of a need for medical care, of unmet needs which people have, and which are not met under present circumstances. I don't need more than refer to what has been touched on already, to the unhappy, almost tragic situation, financially, of physicians, of dentists, of nurses, and of hospitals, not only during the depression but among a considerable number of practitioners before the depression.
What is to be done about it? There is need for action, and encouraging to state, there is action.
Experiments undertaken by the medical profession and others have been referred to this afternoon. There are hundreds of such experiments now going on throughout the country. To my office alone, in the last two years, there have come about 350 projects or plans for dealing with the problem of medical care, from medical societies, from hospitals, from various professional groups, from groups of physicians, from individual physicians, from industrial groups, from philanthropic groups, from rural community groups, such as cooperative associations of farmers, and from almost every kind of organization that one can think of.
Two hundred of the 350 plans are now in operation, and the rest are in process of discussion and consideration. A considerable portion of them, about one-third of them, are directly in the hands either of the medical societies or medical groups.
These plans range in scope from broad general schemes of complete medical service, such as are going on in a little town in Oklahoma, Elk City, a little town in a rural community, or a similar place in North Carolina, to general schemes in some of the middle sized industrial communities. They range from normal schemes such as those merely providing payment for medical care on the installment plan, to specialized hospital schemes, such as are going on in Cleveland, Ohio, which Dr. Follansbee has taken as a notable part in organizing, and schemes for the pre-payment of hospital bills, going on other places in the United States, and organizing with others, with the cooperation of the medical profession in these communities, and of the hospital staffs. These experiments mean that the profession of this country, and the certain small proportion of the people of this country, are awake to the existence of a problem, and are trying to deal with it.
Furthermore, we have had in this country in the past year and a half, a new experiment on a very large scale in the payment of medical service and in the provision of it by the FERA. That is the scheme which at one stroke substituted the unpaid services of the physician to the indigent by a scheme which paid him for his service and laid down certain principles through which the organized medical profession in a locality is related to the public authority administering relief. Here we have a large scale scheme of public medicine in which, thank Heaven, the medical profession and the public are cooperating. They are cooperating for what purpose? In seeing that the service shall be rendered in a way consistent with the traditions of American medicine.
I think that in this particular scheme we have an example of a suddenly inaugurated big experiment of the type that is possible because America sometimes jumps fast and far. It is extremely important that we have in the American profession as it is organized and in the lay groups interested the machinery existing whereby in time of rapid public change various points of view can be united and organized so as to create that participation in action and in planning which is necessary to the most effective results.
There isn't time to more than refer to the briefest way to a few of the kinds of things that need to be done. I merely want to illustrate that the problem is much broader than the health insurance. It relates first of all to the problem of prevention. If you are to work from the standpoint of economic security, the first step is to prevent as much as we can, and yet, in four-fifths of the rural communities of this country there is no organized public health work at all worthy of the name, and in most of the cities the amount of expenditure for it is less than half the minimum amount which public health authorities know can wisely be spent for the prevention of disease.
That is the first step forward in the logical order dealing with economic security in relation to sickness. Then again, 1,300 rural areas, or 40 per cent of all of the counties in the United States, have no hospitals in them. Many of them don't need them because they are contiguous to well provided rural areas, but at least 500 of these counties need hospital service more accessible than within a 50 or 75 mile drive even on good roads.
The building of hospitals is a part of the Public Works Program, so planned that they should be effectively located and properly related to community interests and to the medical profession of the locality. It is one of the needs which, if this country deals with its rural problem, will be taken up, I think, by this administration.
There is the problem of public medical service, under the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, and the problem of dealing more effectively with our growing system of publicly supported hospitals, which now cover nearly half of all of the general hospital beds in the United States, supported by taxation. There is also the problem of dealing fairly with the physicians who give service to the 3,000,000 and more patients now cared for annually in these governmental general hospitals, and to the 3,000,000 odd patients, some of them duplicates, cared for in the out-patient departments.
As the system grows, the physician's financial part in the thing must be dealt with fairly. With health insurance there must be encouragement of the kind of experimental taxation which has been initiated both by lay groups and by the medical profession, the encouragement of such voluntary experimentations, and the careful study of the limits it can probably go effectively, and beyond which governmental action will be necessary, either in the form of extending the use of taxation as a means of paying for medical service, or in the form of insurance, contributory insurance, as another means of paying for it.
Federal legislation and state legislation both have to be considered, and such machinery as the government seems to be setting up now in bringing together professional advisory committees to work with this governmental office as planning groups, seem to be a most hopeful and encouraging step in this stage of this movement.
Just one word more. We have been talking about general phases of this question this afternoon. As I see it, it is first a question of providing medical care, in which the problems is how it shall be provided and how its quality shall be maintained. Second is the question of how it shall be paid for.
Now, the quality of medical services, I have tried to indicate, I believe, is clearly a matter which must lie primarily within the profession. The problem of how medical service shall be rendered is to my mind something about which the laymen can say nothing.
The problem of how medical service shall be paid for is clearly a matter, on the other hand, in which the people who pay the bills, and whose bodies and souls are the recipients of medical service, have a primary interest.
Those two sides of the story must proceed to a certain extent separately, and yet we recognize that there are certain areas and certain problems on which they are intimately related.
We must not allow a method of medical payment to be such that it hampers the delivery of sound quality. Neither must we deceive ourselves with the notion that because all of the people that practitioners and hospital superintendents see are getting medical care, there are not many more people whom they don't see and whom they don't know whether are getting medical care or not when they need it.
We must not deceive ourselves in setting up a plan, but must apply the test; it is not merely whether the people who come are satisfied, but how many of the people come. If the county plan in a year reached about 1,700 people in a county of 400,000, of whom at least 200,000 may be regarded as within the income groups to which this plan is applicable, is that a fair test of its value?
"Well," you say, "give it time and see whether it will reach a larger proportion." I say that too, but watch it by that test as well as by the test of satisfying those who come. How many don't come who need it?
In conclusion, the problems of paying for medical care and furnishing medical care, while the emphasis on one side lies with those who pay the bills, and on the other side with the profession, where it should remain, are interrelated. The joint problem can only be solved by some kind of participative, cooperative action on the part of the profession and the public. This is not a matter in which horns should lock; it is a matter in which the teams of the profession and the public should move together over the road.
CHAIRMAN FARRAND : Before calling for discussion, I am requested to announce the President desires to meet the members of the Advisory Council in advance of the larger gathering which will be held in the White House at 5:00 o'clock. In other words, he requests the members of the Advisory Council to be at the White House by 4:45 o'clock. Those members of the Council who are present will kindly note this request.
We now have, I am sorry to say, only 20 minutes, to devote to general discussion.
I think it is perfectly clear that there are certain fundamental factors in this whole situation which it is of the utmost necessity to maintain. No one would be satisfied in this America of ours with a lowering of the established standards and qualities of the medical service, and certainly anything which in the long run would tend to prevent the development of a supply of increasingly more competent physicians would also be a distinct loss.
Now on the other hand, it is perfectly inevitable that something is going to be done. It is perfectly clear that the country is not going to be content with this large mass of population which now, for whatever reason, does not receive adequate medical care.
The problem before us is to see to it that the steps that are taken are taken as wisely as possible, that we shall avoid the pit-falls, avoid the errors. No one is advocating as far as I know, for I know that no one is wise enough to be sure of the exact road to be taken, any single method of dealing with it. We have got to adopt whatever plans there may be, not only for our entire country, but for the different parts of our country, and it is probably wise that these matters should be tried out. But something is going to be done, and anyone who can read the signs of the times must be convinced of that.
Now the discussion is open. I shall hold any person who shall rise to three minutes, and request those of you who speak kindly announce your names upon rising.
DR. HARVEY CUSHING ( Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut): It is too bad to lose even a part of the three minutes.
I am very much disturbed by having people precede me who have been engaged in discussing this subject for many years, like our distinguished presiding officer and the last speaker, who of course have the matter very glibly on their tongues. One must be saturated with the subject, as they are, in order to present their particular point of view. I would like to ask Dr. Michael Davis a question. How long since you have been obliged to have any medical care?
DR. DAVIS : In the past year, sir.
DR. CUSHING : How long, and what was the nature of it? Or is that too personal of a question?
DR. DAVIS : It is not too personal. It happened to be what would be called a case of colly-wobbles.
DR. CUSHING : Now, Dr. Davis points out that 50 per cent of the people do not seek medical care; that among the people with smaller incomes, fewer come, and among the people with higher incomes, more come.
Mr. Hadley, at one time president of Yale University, once made the remark that figures don't lie, but liars still figure. I don't mean that this should be personal, but I mean that figures can be made to show anything one wishes to have them show. At least that is what I am informed by statisticians.
It is just possible that people who can afford to pay for medical care seek it more often than others, because we all know, particularly those of us who are doctors, that people get the medical habit. People keep running to doctors for innumerable things that they don't need to go to doctors for, like Mr. Michael Davis' belly ache which probably would have cured itself at home by some home remedies, or by his wife's advice. So it is almost impossible to measure these things.
Of the several interesting and carefully prepared papers given this afternoon, the paper that impressed me the most was the paper given by a gentleman who said that he was born in the same city where I happened to be born, Dr. Follansbee's.
I have never seen Dr. Follansbee before, and I didn't know that he was on the committee on the Cost of Medical Care, and I never heard him express himself, but I want to ask him a question or two.
Dr. Follansbee said that he was born in the steel manufacturing district of Cleveland. I know where that is. I want to ask him if he has a son.
DR. FOLLANSBEE : First, I want to correct you, if you don't mind. You have seen me in the Old Central High School on East Fifty-fifth Street and Wilson Avenue, when you were a boy.
DR. CUSHING : You have raised a beard, and I haven't done so.
DR. FOLLANSBEE : Doctor, I have no son or other children.
DR. CUSHING : If you had a son, Dr. Follansbee, I would have asked whether your son wanted to do what you have done. Was your father a doctor?
DR. FOLLANSBEE : Would I advise it, would you say?
DR. CUSHING : What I would have asked you if you said that you had a son getting ready to practice medicine, was whether your son wanted to follow in your footsteps in the same district where you have been in practice, in such a missionary spirit of medicine.
DR. FOLLANSBEE : I couldn't answer that, Doctor.
DR. CUSHING : Now the point that I particularly wanted to mention was that I was interviewed by some undergraduate at the University where I happen to be serving, all men who were potential medical students. They wanted to have an interview on the subject, and they asked me if I would meet them.
I met them, one by one, and almost the first question that came up with these young men, was "What is the idea of universal sickness insurance going to do to the doctor?"
I think that you could divide these men into two groups. There was one group of these men who wanted a universal sickness insurance, and there was another group who said that if that was going to be introduced they certainly wouldn't want to go into medicine.
The former group unquestionably were men that any one of you men here would have picked out as the less successful men in the group, the men who had the promise of the less success of the two groups. I think that is what almost certainly will happen to medicine if this movement should go through, if it is pressed through as I think Mr. Davis feels that it must be, and as I think that the people who serve on the Committee on the Cost of Medical Care now think it time to do. If they rush this thing through willy-nilly, at some times paying great compliments to the medical profession, as has been done this afternoon, and at other times saying that the profession must submit to, or, as has been said, be coerced into this, the difficulty would be that they would defeat their own ends because a new kind of man would go into medicine. I am almost certain that is what has happened in Germany. The doctors there are a very segregated lot of men as any German physician will tell you. Since this system had been introduced, Germany has produced no great medical men to compare with those of generations ago, when our forbearers went to Germany to study.
Very much the same thing is happening in England, though the experience hasn't been going on so long.
Now, we must, as Mr. Davis said, play together, but I think the thing to do is to press this matter. The doctors are all awake to it; experiments are being tried; and this is a vast country. Just because something happens in Denmark, and might work in Rhode Island, it doesn't mean that it will work in Texas. And slowly and gradually we will come to some basis whereby these people of moderate means who don't get medical care, (one in a hundred can't pay for this unpredicted illness, we only assume) can be taken care of, as well as the doctor who from time immemorial has covered their care.
CHAIRMAN FARRAND : We still have ten minutes.
MISS HARPER : (National Board of the YMCA) : I hesitate to speak in a group which obviously is composed of people of the medical profession, but in the work in which I have been engaged, I meet constantly with people of low income groups. Not very long ago we conducted a study of low-paid business women. We found that very nearly 80 per cent of those women had received considerably lower wages in 1932 than in previous years, and that they had accepted budgets for three months. We compared the figures which they had spent on medicine, year by year, and we found in some instances that the amounts which they had been able to put by for dentists or for oculist treatment or for medical care, had been reduced practically to nothing. The group which we described as the decreasing wage income group, had to cut out an item for which they had budgeted $42 one year to a little over $20.
I sometimes think that the medical profession does not take into consideration the economic standards of these people and the fact that when they cannot pay for medical care, somehow or other they have got to be taken care of.
MR. HOMER FOLKS : Before Doctor Cushing can ask a question I will anticipate his usual inquiry by stating that during the past year I have had no occasion for medical treatment for sickness. But notwithstanding that I have had during the past year, a general health examination, by a very excellent man who is also a dear friend of mine, and in this room at the present time, and who has given me that sort of examination not less than once each year for the past 30 years. The dose, is, I consider, one of the most satisfactory investments I have ever made.
I should be doing less than my duty as a social worker, if I let this meeting close without just indicating the fact that social workers spend all their time dealing with people of limited means or actually in need. Among all of those people, at no time is there any doubt or could there be any doubt, that the great bulk do not receive and do not seek, largely because of the economic consideration, medical care except in the last resort.
That is not the doctor's fault, but it is a fact. That is why social workers who so painfully have to deal with the results of the lack of medical care, and deal for years and years with orphans, and widows, and broken families, cherish the hope that for this mass of people the kind of skill of my friend who looks after me, shall be made available to all of these people without that serious economic restriction. This actually does, as all of us who are dealing with those people know, make for their breakdown, for their lack of happiness, for their economic breakdown, for their suffering, and in general militates tremendously against their well-being.
Now, I do not advocate a particular thing; I do not advocate health insurance. But just to get the facts right about how the insurance works, I would strongly recommend to the most generous of all of the foundations, whichever they may be, that they should invest a considerable sum of money to enable and encourage my friends to take a visit to Great Britain to see how insurance works.
MR. ROBERTS (Atlanta, Georgia): It seems to me that we are not altogether speaking on the subject. We have a condition before us in this country from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and that condition is that a great number of people in the lower income groups are not receiving adequate medical care.
Now, then there must be two classes of people who approach that proposition. I think we all admit it, and if you don't admit it, come south of the Potomac and go through Louisiana, through each state to the Rio Grande, and I won't have to say one word.
I took my friend Dr. Foster to a rural county in Georgia, 40 miles from Atlanta, and we met a Negro family of six children and father and mother with a net cash income of $65 for the year. They had the doctor from Covington, the county seat, and he charged $5. They had him once during the year, and had $10 left for other things. The average income is $350 a year, one mule, three children, one wife and occasionally a cow. Yet you tell me that such people can get adequate medical care.
I am reminded, in all respect to my friend, of what Christ said at the cross, "My God why have you forsaken me?"
We have a condition here and not a theory. My mind is not a conservative mind; it is a pioneer mind. It may be wrong. My friend, over there whom I love and respect very much--there is no more noble a man--Dr. Cushing and I served on the Committee of Medical Care for five, long, weary years. I am nearly as much at home here in this hotel as I am in my own home. We spent over $1,000,000, and in the two years since, absolutely nothing has been done.
There is something to be done. Not Dr. Cushing, or his friend, Dr. Folks, but my friend Davis said there was a call for action. There is something to be done. The greatest loyalty that I can now show to the American medical profession is to move forward and serve the people of this country. The greatest loyalty that I can give to our President, to this Administration, and to the common people of this country, is to do what little I can to see that they get adequate medical attention.
I have just treated a noble school teacher 48 years of age, who had an influenzal bronchial, and who lay at the point of death for three weeks. She with a sister, whose room she occupies, support an old mother and an old aunt. It took oxygen day and night to save her, and when she got through she didn't have a cent. She has been owing me $40 for six months. Now you tell me that family doesn't need help. They are as noble as George Washington himself.
Now this American Medical Association, we doctors of America, are on trial in this room this afternoon. If we obstruct and reason and dally, we are going to receive the contempt of the American people, and we will rightly deserve it.
I have served as commanding officer of a hospital in the Army, (pardon the reference); and I have done county practice in Georgia; I have done college practice in Georgia; and I have done university practice in Georgia, for years, like Dr. Cushing, though not in as distinguished a place. But I have come to see this from the standpoint of the average American, not from the peaks that you so beautifully spoke of, not as to whether this medical student will make a great research man. (I hope he will, and I am for him, and I am for research.)
But I am also for adequate medical care to the average American family in the low income groups. If we agree on the proposition that they need service, we agree to the proposition that they need adequate medical service. Then we must come together, as fellow Americans, and reason together, and do cooperative medical group thinking as to the best methods to recommend to this committee.
We are on trial, gentlemen; we can obstruct no longer. I have been condemned in the Journal of the American Medical Association in words of disdain. I have never said a word, and I have voted for the majority report of the Committee on Medical Care. Like Voltaire, I want my friends over there to have their opinions. I respect their opinions, and I would fight that they should have their opinions, but I cannot go back on the average interest of the average American.
I thank you.
CHAIRMAN FARRAND: Ladies and gentlemen, I am sorry to say that the hour has passed at which I was given directions to adjourn this meeting. And, therefore, with thanks to you for coming together, I declare this meeting adjourned.
...The meeting adjourned at 4:30 o'clock...
RECEPTION, WHITE HOUSE,
HON. FRANK P. GRAHAM (President, University of North Carolina): Mr. President: This group of 150 forward-looking leaders of industry and of labor, representative of the public, and students of social insurance, have assembled in Washington to-day to discuss in broad terms the implications and problems of a program of economic security; to advise and consult with your Committee on Economic Security and its staff; and to consider some of the practical questions involved in the epochal step which the nation is soon to take in the provision of a broad program of social insurance. Although the invitations were sent out only about two weeks ago, I am informed that nearly 100 per cent of those invited accepted, a number coming from as far away as the Pacific Coast. Their presence here to-day upon short notice is evidence of the great importance of the subject; it is evidence of the widespread interest, and the movement which is rapidly gaining ground, for the adoption of a nation-wide system of social insurance; it indicates further their faith that through your leadership some practicable, economically sound, and carefully considered plan to provide a reasonable degree of security for the wage earner, the home, and the family, against unemployment, old age, sickness, invalidity, and the other cruel hazards of modern society will be evolved.
A few years ago public opinion, insofar as there was any public opinion on the matter, was unfavorable to unemployment and other forms of social insurance; to-day, because the people have come to realize the very real, personal insecurity present on our economic life, public opinion has come to support social insurance. This insecurity is not confined to those unfortunate persons who find themselves unemployed at present; it is an ever present danger as well to those who are gainfully employed. The American people are looking to you for constructive and effective leadership to reduce this insecurity. In more than a dozen states official commissions are studying the problems of relief and unemployment insurance; in nearly as many more, official commissions have recently made recommendations for social insurance. Many of these states are ready to act, but are awaiting the decision of the federal government. In the 44 state legislatures which meet in regular session in January, unemployment and other forms of social insurance will be a primary consideration. Because of the fact that our markets are nationwide, and industry in each state is forced to compete with the industries of other states, it has been and still is very difficult for the states to act independently and individually in providing social insurance. The necessities of the case require national action, although, as you stated in your message of June 8, the states may well be charged with part of the cost of management.
Our nation is about a quarter of a century behind the other leading nations of the world in the development of measures for personal economic security. We are soon to consider plans designed to bring us up with the rest of the world. We would be unduly optimistic to hope for the immediate adoption of a complete system of social insurance, comparable to those which have taken other countries decades to develop. Nevertheless, we hope for and confidently expect the adoption of a long range plan which will eventually give us the reasonable degree of economic security within our means, and for the immediate adoption of those parts of the plan which may be instituted during a depression such as we are still undergoing.
And now, Mr. President, we would very much like to have you say a few words to us on the subject of economic security, in which we know that you are no less interested than we.
PRESIDENT FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT: I am glad to welcome you to the White House and to tell you that I am happy that there is so much interest in the problem of economic security. Last June I said that this winter we might well make a beginning in the great task of providing social insurance for the citizen and his family. I have not changed my opinion. I shall have recommendations on this subject to present to the incoming Congress.
Many details are still to be settled. The Committee on Economic Security was created to advise me on this matter. It will bring to me, not any preconceived views, but a mature judgment after careful study of the problem and after consultation with the Advisory Council and the cooperating committee.
On some points it is possible to be definite. Unemployment insurance will be in the program. I am still of the opinion expressed in my message of June 8, that this part of social insurance should be a cooperative federal-state undertaking. It is important that the federal government encourage states which are ready to take this progressive step. It is no less important that all unemployment insurance reserve funds be held and invested by the federal government, so that the use of these funds as a means of stabilization may be maintained in central management and employed on a national basis. Unemployment insurance must be set up with the purpose of decreasing rather than increasing unemployment. It is of course clear that because of their magnitude the investment and liquidation of reserve funds must be within control of the government itself.
For the administration of insurance benefits, the states are the most logical units. At this stage, while unemployment insurance is still untried in this country and there is such a great diversity of opinion on many details, there is room for some degree of difference in methods, though not in principles. That would be impossible under an exclusively national system. And so I can say to you who have come from all parts of the country that not only will there have to be a federal law on unemployment insurance, but state laws will also be needed. In January, the great majority of the state legislatures will convene, as well as Congress. You who are interested in seeing that unemployment insurance is established on a nation-wide basis should make your plans accordingly.
We must not allow this type of insurance to become a dole through the mingling of insurance and relief. It is not charity. It must be financed by contributions, not taxes.
What I have said must not be understood as implying that we should do nothing further for the people now on relief. On the contrary, they must be our first concern. We must get them back into productive employment, and as we do so we can bring them under the protection of the insurance system. Let us profit by the mistakes of foreign countries and keep out of unemployment insurance every element which is actuarially unsound.
There are other matters with which we must deal before we shall give adequate protection to the individual against the many economic hazards. Old age is at once the most certain, and for many people the most tragic of all hazards. There is no tragedy in growing old, but there is tragedy in growing old without means of support.
As Governor of New York, it was my pleasure to recommend passage of the old age pension act which, I am told, is still generally regarded as the most liberal in the country. In approving the bill, I expressed my opinion that full solution of this problem is possible only on insurance principles. It takes so very much money to provide even a moderate pension for everybody, that when the funds are raised from taxation only, a "means text" must necessarily be made a condition of the grant of pension.
I do not know whether this is the time for any federal legislation on old age security. Organizations promoting fantastic schemes have aroused hopes which cannot possibly be fulfilled. Through their activities they have increased the difficulties of getting sound legislation, but I hope that in time we may be able to provide security for the aged--a sound and a uniform system which will provide true security.
There is also the problem of economic loss due to sickness--a very serious matter for many families with and without incomes, and therefore, an unfair burden upon the medical profession. Whether we come to this form of insurance soon or later on I am confident that we can devise a system which will enhance and not hinder the remarkable progress which has been made and is being made in the practice of the profession of medicine and surgery in the United States.
In developing each component part of the broad program for economic security, we must not lose sight of the fact that there can be no security for the individual in the midst of general insecurity. Our first task is to get the economic system to function so that there will be a greater general security. Everything that we do with intent to increase the security of the individual will, I am confident, be a stimulus to recovery.
At this time, we are deciding on long-time objectives. We are developing a plan of administration into which can be fitted the various parts of the security program when it is timely to do so. We cannot work miracles or solve all our problems at one. What we can do is to lay a sound foundation on which we can build a structure to give a greater measure of safety and happiness to the individual than any we have ever known. In this task you can greatly help.
The dinner meeting of the National Conference on Economic Security, held in the Ballroom of the Hotel Mayflower, Washington, D.C., convened at 9:30 o'clock, John Stewart Bryan, President of William and Mary College presiding.
TOASTMASTER BRYAN: I never thought that it would fall to my lot to address as distinguished, as important, and as simple-hearted an audience as this by telling them a story from Tom Jones, but when I sit here to-night between this model of Democratic pride and perfect beauty, in all of his royal robes, and this brain truster here, and see myself, a college president, dressed like this, I am reminded of a Tom Jones story. Tom had just come back from London, and somebody asked him if he had seen the great actor, Mr. Garrick.
He said, "No, I didn't see him; I don't think so. I saw a play called 'Hamlet,' and there was a king in that play that was a real king, with a red robe and gold crown, and a little man in black who was nearly scared to death."
I tell you, I can borrow clothes like this, too.
I am not a Samson; time has shorn my locks; but I said to the incomparably charming young lady, "Is this informal dress the real stuff?"
She said, "Sure."
I said, "I hired a white waistcoat for to-night," and she said, "Leave it off."
I left it off, but I don't blame Mr. Secretary Roper. If I were a Secretary, with some small adumbration of political experience, the right-hand man of a leader who has had less opposition than any leader since Caesar, I think I should wear a dress suit too.
This is a kindly, good man. He came down to a little town called Williamsburg, where I had just been made the president of a college six weeks before. I was like the little boy in school who wasn't so good, whose father told him to go to school and study law. After he had been away for about six weeks, he came home, and his father asked him how he liked the study of law. He said, "I am almost sorry I learned it." Nobody can throw any rocks at Roosevelt for having a brain trust with me as an example.
This great and good man came down there, and he wore a cutaway coat, as becomes an important official, and he wore a black slouch hat, as becomes a Democrat, but the hat didn't have that sad droop that we have had since 1870. One corner was turned up in a jaunty way. He said, "We had an election two days ago, boys."
I had expected to have Harry Hopkins here to-night, and I had laid in wait for Harry Hopkins. The Lord once delivered him into my hands when he spoke in that fluent, attractive, engaging irresistible way he has. He used one word I didn't understand, so it must have had some background of simplicity about it. He said, "Everybody differs about this proposition. No two minds agree." I said to myself, "Why I have never heard that Harry Hopkins was a metaphysicist--that boy must be a philosopher." Because, of course, the greatest philosopher that Scotland ever had, except Dun Scottish, was a man named Sir William Hamilton, and one day he was asked, "Sir William, are you a metaphysicist?"
He said, "Yes."
Then they asked him what it was, and Harry Hopkins gave the answer to us in the same way that Sir William gave it. He said, "When you see a man trying to explain something he doesn't understand, to a man that doesn't understand what he is talking about, they are talking about metaphysics."
And yet, is it not true that the same spirit that brought this extraordinary assembly together is at the bottom kin with and part of the vital essence of that spirit we call religion? The best definition I know about the truth of religion is this: "All the theologians differ, but all the saints agree." And God forbid that I call myself a saint, or look upon the people who have come here in full dress when they should have come informally, as saints either. Two or three men that I know here would look much better in sack suits.
But all the saints agree, and I ask you this: Don't you feel in your heart of hearts, that we have somehow struck a new religious principle, and that principle is all-inclusive? I believe it is going to work out. The principle I tried to phrase just now, with a pencil and a piece of paper, is something like this:
"We here, and those whom we represent, have made up our minds that humanity shall never suffer if man can prevent it," and we are going to prevent it. I don't know how we are going to prevent it, but one way we are going to do it, I am sure, is to overcome the fear that a great many may get too much, and therefore a great many more may starve.
Of course, that idea has long been prevalent in well-fed circles. Mr. Roper was down in Williamsburg, where Mr. William Randolph used to live, and just before the War Mr. Randolph was drinking Madeira. He said to a young stranger, "Will you have some terrapin?" The boy, with the candor of youth, and the curiosity of vitality, said, "I thank you sir, but I don't know whether I like it or not." And Mr. Randolph phrased then the thought that is in the back of so many business men's minds today. "God forbid you should find out. Too many like it now."
Now, all of us have some kind of a lurking fear that we may make things so easy that our patron saint, instead of being the austere and immovable George Washington, may be the large-hearted and generous recent convert, Namon the Syrian.
I don't get the response that I should--maybe some of you haven't read the Bible for a long time. I will therefore take it upon myself to draw a diagram of this joke and explain it to you. Namon the Syrian was suffering from a disease that was not as deadly but quite as uncomfortable as being hungry or cold. He traveled a long way in a private car, drawn by two mules, to call on a prophet named Elisha, and Elisha put his hand on him and healed him. Then Namon said, "What do I owe you for this?" Elisha said, "God forbid that I should charge for the work of divine power; go on home." So Namon left. But Elisha had a servant, and he said to himself, "God forbid that this heathen should get away with all of this cash I have seen," so he started after him, and he drew near unto this Syrian, and said to him, "My Lord, two sons of the prophet have come to my master, and they need, each of them, a change of raiment and an amount of silver." And this is where the idea of a national idol, a national saint, or a national ideal comes in, because the Syrian alighted down from his chariot and said, "Be content, take two."
The first thing you know, I will be making a speech. I present to you His Excellency, Daniel C. Roper, Secretary of Commerce, particular guardian and friend of business, who will speak to you noble words. Secretary Roper!
HON. DANIEL C. ROPER: Mr. Toastmaster, Mr. Chairman, and ladies and gentlemen: My good friend, Dr. Byran, I think, should have spared me one thing. You noticed that he referred to the fact that I had to-night borrowed a suit, and that he had rented one. I don't like to have that distinction made about it.
I also object to his reference to politics--not being a politician.
Those of us who call ourselves Democrats are exceedingly grateful to those open-minded and sympathetic and constructive Republicans who have so faithfully supported us in recent days. In fact, so much am I devoted to them that I would speak in the kindliest terms.
I am reminded here of old Aunt Sally who belonged to a family that I knew, and who was never known to speak an unkind word of anyone. Finally one of the children said, "We believe that we can make old Aunt Sally speak against somebody. We will try her out on the devil."
So the children walked in to Aunt Sally, and the spokesman said, "Aunt Sally, we have been thinking over these things that you have been talking to us about, and we have reached the conclusion that the devil is the meanest and worst thing in the world. Aunt Sally, do you not think so?"
Aunt Sally had never spoken bad of anybody, and she said, "Children, if we were all as energetic as the devil, how much better off the world would be!"
So you see, there is a place in the world for the Republicans. If we Democrats had the energy, we might keep in power all the time, as the old lady said of the Devil.
The very name of the National Conference on Economic Security suggests order, cooperation, and stability, three factors which are so vitally essential to human beings in all segments of society. The general objectives of economic and social security are not only worthy but highly desirable and absolutely essential for the comfort and happiness of all. Segmentary thinking and action, as related to national conditions, had its day when the various elements of industry, business, and society were less dependent upon each other than at the present time when our economic and social system is characterized by an inter-dependence and an interrelationship of all units. We no longer have in our nation any isolated group or geographical division which can exist independently of other groups. So sensitive and complex has our entire system become that preferential treatment and advantage or disruptive forces in any one group may serve to bring about dislocation in other groups that will start a cumulative train of destructive forces throughout the entire system
Our approach to the general problem of economic security must, therefore, be predicated upon the broadest possible base. The least common denominator of any program for economic security is the individual human being. He is at once the first and the ultimate element in life. It is of course impossible to attempt to treat economic security on an individual basis or even upon the basis of certain groups and divisions of our population. The problem, correctly appraised, encompasses employer, employee, management, and capital, and specifically in relation to the particular problem of employment, it must comprehend also the machine and its technological implications.
The severity of the depression may have tended in some instances to bring about an over-emphasis upon one or more of these related factors of employer, employee, management, capital, and machinery. This situation requires a careful distinction between a long-term program for economic security and the immediate exigencies of emergency requirements. The great vision of the founders of our nation has been crystallized in an objective which has sought to provide a framework and system within which human beings individually and in their social relationships could manifest their own initiative and work out their own destinies. The responsibility of American leadership has been and is that duty of maintaining such a system within which the maximum approximation of this ideal can be achieved.
The point of departure, therefore, that seems most logical is that of redefining and re-orienting our thinking and action in conformity with the fundamental purposes and philosophy of democracy. A dominant characteristic of democracy is its capacity for changing and advancing with the times. Hence, even in the United States the application of democracy has undergone considerable change since its first great crystallization in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The provision for constitutional amendments is in itself a specific administrative recognition of the necessity for changes in methods, laws, principles, and philosophy.
Democracy can be defined more accurately in terms of principles than procedures. Varying conditions may require different methods to secure the same general result. It is the ultimate objective which is important. From this viewpoint we can define democracy as that state of society in which every safeguard is created to avoid preferential treatment for any group or class and every means is provided for maintaining social and economic opportunity along with an equity of legal rights and obligations.
Economic security, appraised in the light of this definition, must be given the broadest possible interpretation. It is in every sense the jewel in the setting of democracy. As such, economic security comprehends not only the provision of employment, a living wage, a future safeguard against the complete loss of savings, and sustenance for the individual, but also the security of management, capital, and the natural resources of our country. No one element, in our form of government and society, can have balanced economic security unless all elements have.
The agenda of the Committee on Economic Security, as indicated in to-day's program and as outlined by the President of the United States in the Executive Order creating the Advisory Council to this Committee, appeals to all reflecting citizens and offers a real challenge to those who wish a part in properly balancing economic and social security.
I am grateful to be associated in these times with those men and women who are relating their thinking and their actions to plans for the welfare of all segments of society. It is characteristic that the comprehensive vision and courage to outline and pursue this study emanates from our great leader in the White House, Franklin D. Roosevelt. In executing the best of plans, however, it is fundamentally important that the men and women selected for these tasks shall be sympathetic with the purposes and be constructive in their services. The President and the country are therefore to be congratulated on this Committee to which he has assigned this important task of the study of economic and social security.
President Hadley, of Yale University, voiced a real truth when he said: "Better the worst form of government with character and righteousness in the rulers and the ruled than the best form of government with the rulers and the ruled indifferent to moral principles." Indeed, much depends upon the spirit and integrity and the comprehensive objectives of those charged with such important studies as devolve upon this Committee.
One of the most encouraging features of this reconstruction period is the way in which men and women are willing to cooperate as in the case of this and other committees in bringing to our problems the representative judgment and experience of various fields of endeavor. When asked some days ago by a visiting friend from abroad whether I thought our country would be able to readjust its economic and social conditions and bring safety to society again, I replied that America always solves its problems and there was no doubt in my mind that necessary agreements could be reached among the related economic divisions and segments. I stated, however, that my greatest concern was in whether we would all appreciate the necessity of so undergirding these agreements, regulations, and laws created to put the agreements into effect that our people would be protected against the recurrence of past experiences. That is, whether we would be able to reawaken the appreciation of the common virtues of life, integrity, love of justice, equity, and righteousness. Otherwise, the best of agreements will prove fruitless. Has not the bitter experience of recent years taught us that our economic and governmental system cannot endure unless all elements in that system not only demand their rights but also insist upon fulfilling the responsibilities that are inherent in those rights? Has not the day definitely passed when any group, in the long run, can expect to win out by pursuing the policy of getting as much and giving as little as possible?
In any study as vital as that confronting this Committee I believe that due and proper consideration must be given to the scientific and technological aspects of economic security. Machines constitute a significant element in any program for unemployment protection. Goods are produced with three things: money, management, and labor. Machinery, both technically and actually, is merely another form of labor. Have we explored fully the technological implications of unemployment? Can we devise any system of unemployment protection, reserves, and pensions without including the machine as a prominent factor in such a program? I am not advocating any policy or method in reference to technological considerations, I am merely indicating questions which, it seems to me, must be answered factually before any lasting program of employment security and protection can be worked out.
We speak of taxing payrolls to secure reserves to be used as insurance protection for the worker. Has the proper analysis been made as to the effect of technological advances and improvements on unemployment and on methods that might be necessary for unemployment protection as it might be affected by such developments? Machines are inanimate laborers. Perhaps such a method would be inadvisable and would be objectionable on the ground that it might start a practice that could not be properly controlled. On the other hand, isn't it conceivable that a taxation of payrolls for unemployment purposes (and the setting aside of a percentage for this purpose is nothing more than taxation) would tend to encourage the employment of more machinery to replace more human employees whose wages and salaries make up the payroll which is taxed? Another problem is that of so investing the unemployment reserves and utilizing them in time of need so that the translation of these funds into payments will not act as a further depressant upon general investment and securities. How these questions relating to the technological aspects of employment are to be answered is an important problem related to the entire question of economic security. Unless the problem is now recognized and worked out carefully through adaptation and experience, without the imposition of any drastic and sudden requirements, the implications will increase cumulatively until a problem of major proportions has developed.
Every nation passes through those eras when a re-definition of concepts and relationships becomes mandatory. The United States is now engaged in a re-charting program, the ultimate objective of which is economic security and social well-being. Economic security, from the broadest viewpoint, is just as important in the business group as in the labor group. It cannot be attained in one without regard to the other. In formulating any such program one very large and important element of our society must not be overlooked. I refer to the 10,000,000 people engaged in agriculture. The farmer is both a worker and a small capitalist. He will help pay the costs of economic security and in this relationship the farmer must be given due and proper consideration in any national plan that is devised.
Business men, through the Business Advisory and Planning Council of the Department of Commerce, are seeking constantly to fulfill their social responsibilities, and in line with broad concepts I have outlined, are directing their study and analysis toward a constructive program of unemployment protection and social safeguards. This study has even taken precedence over many of the immediate and specific management problems of business. Business statesmanship recognizes that its approach must include the employee and the consumer as well as management and capital. This broad social concept has been accepted, and I am convinced that business is impelled by the spirit and the desire to aid in every possible way the fulfillment of these objectives.
A program looking to the maximum maintenance of economic security without in any way devitalizing the essential forces of individual initiative, work and rewards, constitutes what might be idealistically expressed as "planning for the greatest happiness for the greatest number." Let us reinforce this idealism with the realism of dealing with all elements concerned so as to avoid any class or group distinction or preference. In this spirit our cooperative action cannot fail.
TOASTMASTER BRYAN: I rise to a point of personal privilege. The Honorable Secretary of Commerce called me "Doctor." I have had two or three of those things for some time, and I have managed to avoid them.
I am going to tell you a story about a brother that I had who was a brother of long legs. They caught the boy once, and put a piece of red cloth around his head, some cotton batting on the back, and dabs of ink, and sent him to a fancy dress ball--and if any of you men have been sent to fancy dress balls, as boys, you know just what a torment it was. The poor boy was sent there, and he got to the door, and the lady said to him, "Robert, what are you?"
And he said, "I am a little duck."
She said, "What kind of a duck?"
And he said, "The same kind of a duck you are."
And I am the same kind of a doctor you are, Doctor, just exactly.
When I heard the good Secretary say, "I am only asking questions," I couldn't help but think how dangerous it is to have reporters ask you questions. They set a trap for you to walk in. Artemus Ward went once to a farmers' Grange, and a fellow there said, "We will ask you a question, and you ask us a question, and the man that can't answer his own question loses." Mr. Ward said, "All right, shoot."
The farmer said, "What kind of a calf makes the best cow?" and Mr. Ward said, "A heifer."
"Now," he said, "I will ask you a question."
"All right," said the farmer.
Then Mr. Ward said, "How does a ground hog dig a hole and leave no dirt around the top?"
The farmer said, "I don't know, answer your own question."
Mr. Ward said, "He begins at the bottom."
The farmer said, "How does he get there."
And Mr. Ward said, "I don't know, that is your question."
Now this is a philosophic discourse, and it reminds me of the remarks of a certain old colonial on the question of philosophy. He said, "The province of philosophy is not so much to insure men that they will avoid coming sorrows, as to explain to them after they have had the sorrows, how they might not have had them."
And so I am here sitting by this great, good, man, Dr. Frank T. Graham, of the University of North Carolina. I wouldn't have you distinguished guests go away from here and not know the truth about North Carolina. The Governor said in my hearing once, that it raised ducks and Democrats, hell and sweet potatoes.
At this time, South Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina, are all Democratic, have always been Democratic, and it looks like they are going to be Democratic for some time to come. It is a brand new experience for me, and I enjoy it very much.
North Carolina raised a very great man. His name is lost in the shadows of antiquity, but his powerful verbal expression, his sharp and incisive statement, has always remained. He evidently didn't go to your college; he didn't know Latin very well, but he had the broad sweep of fundamental principles. He was referring to a lady once, and he said, "She reminds me of Cornelia, and the jewel she wore on her breast."
If anyone were to ask the Cornelia of our land what her jewels were, I am sure that they would point to the unique jewel of the President's Cabinet, the Secretary of Labor.
HONORABLE FRANCES PERKINS: One of the greatest advantages of the Democratic Administration, Mr. Chairman, is that we always have an ample supply of Southern gentlemen to act as hosts. We enjoy our Southern brothers, now that we are in office.
I think that after this exciting day, all of us are exhilarated, rather than fatigued, and I think it is no mere accident that we come together with such an underlying current of rejoicing, as one feels in this meeting to-night, for though we have spent the day looking realistically into the face of sorrow and tragedy and social disaster, nevertheless having looked into the face of those difficulties, we have found that in a strange way we have had a meeting of minds, and that we are united not only among ourselves, but are united with the highest in the land, in adherence to definite programs to overcome the sorrow and the tragedy and the social disaster which we have looked at. For this reason we are entitled, I think, to the sense of exhilaration, that once again we Americans have proven that we can cooperate for the purposes of carrying out the principles of a Democracy, and bringing about those ideals for which we live, even though we sometimes seem to have forgotten them.
And that is why I think it is that we are in this room to-night, feeling that at last our imaginations are engaged again in the possibilities of the future.
This meeting to-day, I think, we have found of enormous importance and significance, for it is not only a meeting of minds that we have had, and it is not only a day and an evening of self-congratulation that we are able to think of things that can be done to overcome some of the worst of our social disasters, but this whole episode has been a re-affirmation of our faith in the principles of social justice, and an affirmation of a principle which has not been deflated by these years of deflation, but rather has grown in strength and substance under the tragedies through which we have gone in the last five years.
And we have come, we Americans, in these last few years, to recognize, I think, quite clearly, that it is a part of our genius, perhaps, to utilize government, in this Democracy, as an instrument of society to achieve social progress, and having recognized government consists of building up the items which make reality out of those things which are the aspirations of many people. So all of us to-day have been thinking cooperatively, challenging ourselves as members of the great commonwealth of the United States of America, and as such participants in its government. We have challenged ourselves, we have challenged our high offices, to find those items which will satisfy our aspirations for the principles of brotherhood in a democracy.
After the climax of this day when we met with the highest officer of this country, and heard him say, in what I think is an historic moment, that he and his Administration are pledged to the enactment into law of certain underlying principles for the prevention of suffering from unemployment, of prevention of human suffering from old age and neglected childhood, of prevention from unnecessary suffering from unprotected and uncared for illness and handicaps. And I think it was to most of us, in that simple conversation which we had with our President this afternoon, a very thrilling experience to realize that what we had been going through with each other during the day had been shared by him in some unusual way, and that he for months and weeks had been thinking too about these same things. There was, I think, the sense of the meeting of minds in that afternoon meeting that we had with him.
I want to thank you very much, all of you who have come here to help us in these deliberations. I want to thank you not only for having been here and given us the moral support of your presence, but I want to thank you the moral results which will flow in the communities where you live and work, from your having taken the trouble to come here on this particular occasion, and cast in your lot and your thinking with this program.
I want to say to you that we recognize that this group, which has come together to-day, is not just a group of people who haven't anything in particular to do, and thought it would be nice to take trip to Washington and look around. This is not the ordinary convention that comes to Washington. We do have a good many of them here, who just come in to see the sights. Those of you who have looked at each other and have met each other and have recognized a certain similarity of ideas, have realized, I think, that it is not an ordinary convention.
There isn't a person here who is not too busy to have come, and yet every one of you have thought that this business was of such significance that you could not do better or otherwise than come, participate, learn, criticize, and contribute to the program which is being built up by cooperative thinking, to build a kind of social security against the economic disasters which all of us have come to realize perhaps inevitably accompany a part of our progressive movement toward a greater volume of production, and a greater volume of distribution.
So I want to thank you, particularly, for having made the sacrifices in your daily activities that were necessary in order to come here, and I want to thank, particularly, those people who have heavy business responsibilities, and who have taken the time to come to-day, to think about this aspect of their business, and of the nation's business. I want to thank those labor leaders, whom I know have many problems on their hands these days, for having set aside this time to consult about this aspect of the nation's labor problem.
And I want to thank, particularly, those people who have for years delved into certain technical aspects, problems, we will say, of prevention of unemployment, of the details of unemployment insurance, of the details of the care of children, and widows, and dependent families, those people who have given their lives to caring for helpless and handicapped and sick people. I want to thank them particularly for coming here.
I do want very much to say that we are deeply grateful to the physicians who, doubtful in some respects of the implications of some of the things that they have heard discussed, have nevertheless come to take part, as citizens, in the consideration of what is best, not for their group alone, but what is best for all of the people of the United States.
It is, I think, because we have attained a kind of maturity in democracy in this country, that we are not afraid to sit down with each other to face these problems, even though they affect our business, our labor union status, or our professional status. It is because we have a certain security, and a certain maturity in our Democracy, and because we have a reliance upon the ability, upon the adequacy of a Democratic system to solve these problems, that we are fearless, as we sit down and face each other and disagree with each other about the details, and perfectly confident that in the underlying principles that all men are brothers, and that each one of the least of us is of infinite importance to all of the others. We are perfectly confident that in that underlying philosophy we are at one, and that however much we may differ on details, we shall in the end agree upon any program which makes a little progress toward the achievement of that ideal.
Because I think that is inherent in our discussions to-day, I am particularly grateful that so many of you have come, and that so many of you are willing to stay through for the next day or two of more detailed discussion.
I want to say to you that this Conference has not perhaps been as superficial as some of the ballyhoo conferences which all of us have attended in the past. I want to say that this conference was an invited conference, each person invited because of the peculiar contribution which either he himself or the group he represented could make to our discussion, and that he was invited because it was believed that he was one of a group of people who would discuss and canvass all of the aspects of the situation.
To be sure, we confined to one day a series of discussions which could perhaps have taken intelligent people a month, but none of us in these busy days have a month to give to the discussion of anything. I want you to realize that our deliberately provocative method of developing the program was based upon the contention that you would today in this conference discuss everything freely. What we hoped was that this conference would be productive not so much of a definite set of recommendations as of ideas, that it would produce and lay upon the table all of the ideas of a group of informed people, so that we might have out of the day of conference, a canvass of informed public opinion. Most of you belong to that group of the informed, with regard to these sufferers, and the canvass of informed public opinion is the canvass that will bring to the front those ideas, and those conceptions of these particular things which are important for our other committees to consider.
Following this canvass of ideas, which we have had to-day, I think very successfully, the Advisory Council which represents all of the groups which are here, not geographically, not professionally, but in a way which we think is adequate, will meet for as many days as is necessary. Certainly, they will meet for the next three days and for such other days as it wishes to meet, to canvass the ideas which you have presented, to check them with their own conceptions, and to cross-examine the members of the technical staff who have been studying many of these ideas throughout the last four or five months.
We have had a very fine technical staff at work, and I think that many of the ideas which have been expressed here to-day, many of the half-conscious, half-formed ideas which all of us have, have been canvassed pretty successfully by the technical committees already. They have dipped into all of the knowledge which has been accumulated in this or other countries, with regard to the different types of insurance, the different methods of underwriting these hazards, the different methods of handling funds, the different methods of distributing payments, the different types and combinations of contributory factors. They have canvassed all of these aspects, and have set up the pros and cons as completely, I think, as can be done, so that when they appear to discuss with this Advisory Council the various ideas which you have expressed here to-day, they will be prepared, under cross-examination or otherwise, to lay out for the benefit of the Advisory Council all of the aspects which they have discovered in their studies.
They will have the pros and cons of the contributory system of unemployment insurance, the pros and cons of a system in which employers and employees and the government, all three, contribute, and the pros and cons of a system in which only one party or only two parties, of the three interested parties, contribute to the fund. They have canvassed all aspects of the problems of administration of a federal system of unemployment insurance, and old age pension benefits as contrasted with a system which is based upon the cooperation of state and federal governments in administration and care of funds.
They are prepared to give the facts, the best opinion, and the logical results of their thinking for the benefit of the Advisory Council. I feel that the work of the Advisory Council will be shortened and made more realistic by the fact that we have had at work for several months now a group of competent people analyzing the problems and the issues and prepared to give not only the facts, but the experiences of other countries and other groups who have tried these various systems.
I want at this time to acknowledge for the whole committee which the President appointed, the services of some of the people who have been doing research work and clearing the ground for this conference and for the final decisions which have to be made.
We have had a very extraordinary group of people within the government itself, people who are working for the United States government regularly, in one capacity or another, who have been released ever since last June to work exclusively upon these problems. Not the least of these, I am very happy to say, has been the Assistant Secretary of Labor, Mr. Arthur Altmeyer, who has given most of his time, since last June, to developing and managing these problems. Mr. Witte we were able to secure on a loan from the University and the state of Wisconsin.
We had the advantage of having within the government itself a number of economists whose ability and whose techniques were so sound that no one would want to go further to secure technical people to analyze the problems.
Mr. Viner, of the Treasury, and Mr. Riefler, who was formerly with the Federal Reserve, and has recently been with the Emergency Council as its Chief Economic Adviser, have put in a tremendous amount of time. Their work and their standing is of such outstanding significance in this country, that one realizes, when one gets advice from them, one is getting advice from people who are disinterested, loyal, and determined to bring the truth to the people who have to decide policy.
For my own Department of Labor, I have been very proud that one of the solicitors, Mr. Tom Eliot, has been considered able enough to be the General Counsel for the whole Committee, and so we have had his advice not only as a research worker, but as a definite planner of the legal problems involved in building up these programs.
We have been very glad indeed, that we could utilize people within the government. We have also built up, as you know, a large technical committee of government servants and people outside of the government, who have cooperated in building up the programs, and in making the recommendations which will be put before the Advisory Council so that they may come to conclusions as to matters of policy. As to matters of fact, we will not differ I think, for they have cleared the ground; as to matters of public policy, the Advisory Council will have an extraordinary influence upon the reports which are made to the President and eventually to the Congress.
The President, in speaking this afternoon, indicated that his own preference in this matter, particularly for the matter of unemployment insurance, is in the line of developing a federal-state system, rather than an exclusively federal system. I feel that I must remind you that if that is the line in which we go, and I presume it will be, since the strength of his recommendation at this particular moment is of a good deal of importance to those who want to put forward realistically a program of real unemployment insurance, there will have to be significant organization of public opinion and of its expression in all of the states, for there must be expression of opinion not only to Congress, with regard to the measures which the Congress must pass, but there must be real organization within the states for the preparation of appropriate statutes for those states, and the pushing of those statutes to their full completion, until they become law.
Forty-three, isn't it, or 44 states meet this year in their legislative sessions? There will not be so many states meeting again until 1937, so it is of extreme importance that we have a coordinated, well-thought-out movement this year, that can take advantage of the fact that so many of the states are having legislative sessions, and secure a program of economic security which will really cover the whole United States in a national system.
Now, what are the subjects? Some of you have been sitting only in one or another conference to-day, and have, I think, only been vaguely aware of the problems which will be canvassed in other sections. At the present time, we have realized that the lack of economic security brought about by unemployment has been the issue which has forced us to consider all the problems of social and economic security. We have recognized in every sub-division that I have attended that the unemployment of the wage earners has brought to light, and brought to the surface acutely, all of the other types of insecurity which exist even when there is no unemployment.
We find this situation in which the insecurity of families in which the breadwinner is disabled by accident or by invalidity, in which the breadwinner dies or deserts or goes to prison, or in some way or other is removed from his role as breadwinner of the particular family; we find economic insecurity that flows regularly from unprotected old age and makes insecurity not only for the aged person himself but brings about a tragic insecurity to the younger people in the family you must support him, sometimes at the expense of the real social development of their own children and their own family life, making sacrifices of young people and their future.
We have recognized that these insecurities go on regularly, whether there is unemployment or not, but that they are made more acute, and become even more pressing in a long period of unemployment in which the opportunity to earn wages through which individual families can build up some kind of security is suddenly prevented.
The 4,000,000 families who have been driven to ask for relief, and the 800,000 single people who are on relief are only a part of the group which have had their social and economic security undercut by the depression, and by the hazards against which there is no competent protection.
I think most of us who have been thinking about these problems have recognized the greater security of those countries in recent years in which there are techniques of insurance against the major hazards, and a recognized security not only for the individual, but for the social, business, and economic system in those communities. We have recognized, with some envy, the fact that our English brothers had a small but steady income coming to wage earners out of work, and that small but steady income was spent over the counter on Saturday nights in just the ways that were most effective to keep up business and retail trade, and at least a minimum level of production in the consumption of capital goods industries in that particular country.
So we have recognized that the problems of unemployment insurance, or the payment of unemployment benefits to people out of work, and the whole technique of making payments to families who are deprived of their breadwinners, is, after all not so much a problem of cost as it is a contribution to market. We have all recognized that the sudden drying up of the wage-earner and farmer market in the United States of America was what caused the terrible drop in our great industrial production. We have all realized that loss of billions in the payrolls and the farmers' income has been the loss of an internal domestic market which we cannot afford to lose.
Not only is unemployment insurance, old age provision, and security for families without breadwinners a humane, and necessary item of a way of brotherhood in a Democracy, but it is also a necessity for a basic underlying market for American industries.
What American industries are lacking to-day, and will continue to lack, unless we can provide it by artificial means, is an internal market. In the development and steadying of this internal market lies that which binds all of us together, whether we are those who produce and sell goods, or whether we are those who work in the making of those goods, and sell only our labor. We have a common interest in maintaining that great underlying American market of wage earners and farmers, of people who live on incomes below $2,000 and provide over two-thirds of the purchasing power of the United States of America. This is the market that we must keep built up. It is in the achievement of that kind of balance that our future economic security and prosperity lies.
As we have canvassed the field of unemployment insurance to-day, and as we have canvassed the field of the provision of old age security, and security for families without breadwinners, we have also recognized the fact that we have in every community, and at all times a certain underlying group of people who are handicapped or invalidated, and who will forever be in need of some kind of public assistance. We have recognized also, and this has come up in every kind of discussion in every group, that unemployment insurance is not enough, but that remedies must be found which will provide work for the unemployed, and that there must be a prevention of the ills which we aim to insure against.
This, I think, is the most hopeful and perhaps the most American note which has been struck in the whole conference. We must find a way of preventing the major disasters of unemployment. We must not have the disaster against which we aim to insure, we must not have the invalidity against which we may have to insure, and we must somehow or other find a way, through the proper utilization of our industrial techniques and the scientific utilization of our medical and surgical techniques, to prevent at least a part of these major disasters which to-day we recognize as a part of the burden of brotherhood.
We have had to raise in almost every conference the idea that unemployment insurance would be sterile unless we had associated with it a program for giving work at the time when work was most needed in future unemployment cycles, and that we must also take cognizance at this time of the fact that no scheme of unemployment insurance, on its insurance basis alone, could or would cover people now out of work, that it could only be held to cover those at work.
That 20 per cent of our working population which is now out of work cannot be overlooked in any plans for social security. We must look to work programs, to programs of made work, public work, socially useful activities in order to employ people who are out of work to-day, and who will not get back into work until we have established the full swing of volume production and volume distribution.
It has been important that we have had reported to you the activities of some of the subsidiary committees which are working under the President's direction to survey the social, economic, and physical needs of the United States of America. Those who attended the conference in which Mr. Delano reported the deliberations of that committee on land and water resources must have had some sense of the enormous future ahead of us in which we could build a great country, and in the building of this great country and the preservation of the physical aspects and the economic richness of it, not only provide work and income, but also a truly sound social life for the people who participate in this work.
We have roughly outlined here to-day in our own thinking some of these major aspects of a program of economic security in a country which is as broad as a continent, and in a population which is as varied as the four quarters of the globe. We have truly brought forth, I think, a new conception of what is the function of people in a Democracy, of informed and thoughtful and patriotic people who are citizens of a great commonwealth.
We have recognized that people who are elected to office, are no more the government of the United States than are the meanest citizens, who in their patriotism desire to participate in building up the activities of government to make a reality of the ancient conception of brotherhood.
That, I think, is what really is back of our determination to have within the next few years programs actually in effect which will insure workers of a certain modest but regular income in periods of unemployment; which will secure old people against lack of security in their last years; which will give children the right to grow up in a family, with the educated experience of family life as well as its protection, and insure them the amount of education they are able to appreciate and to attain, which will insure those who are sick and disabled at least a minimum of care on an organized basis; and which will insure to all of the people of the United States that progress in understanding of human rights and virtues, and of the principles of living as a family, which are after all basic in the continuation and further development of the principles of democracy in which this nation was conceived, bred, and is still growing.TOASTMASTER BRYAN: In the name of the audience I thank both of you, Mr. Secretary Roper and Madam Secretary Perkins, and I promise you for the audience that we will take the work home and try to educate the uneducated, to build up that irresistible body of public opinion.
I myself am chairman of a committee on unemployment in Virginia and have been for two years, and I have found the same thing that we have found here. We knew nothing about it. The old story about the man having the Chinese interpreter illustrates our situation. The interpreter asked the sailor, "Was the mate on the bridge when the ship struck?" It took him 15 minutes to ask him the question, and it took the sailor 15 minutes to reply. Then the captain asked the interpreter, "What does he say?" The interpreter answered, "He say 'No.'"
I want to present Secretary Witte to you for a few announcements before we adjourn.
TOASTMASTER BRYAN: We are adjourned.
...The meeting adjourned at 11:00 o'clock...
Invited Attendees of the National Conference on Economic Security:
(This is a listing of the invited participants in the Conference. The list is more or less in alphabetical order.)