Senator Paul H. Douglas (D. Ill.) last night offered two cures for prevailing "pressure, influence, and favoritism" in the administrative branch of the federal government: 1) immediate dismissal of public officials for all actions which are, not illegal at least "grossly improper"; and 2) restoration of genuine competition in private enterprise, with subsequent curtailment of government regulations and subsidies.
Douglas, who will deliver the third and final Godkin lecture tonight, said that "one has not had to be psychic to smell the odor of evil which has pervaded Washington hotel lobbies during the last six years." He then listed practices which would be condemned under what he called "a new code of ethical propriety."
Among these was the acceptance by public officials of gifts and entertainments from representatives of private firms. "Often," Douglas stated, "these practices begin, innocently enough, with the acceptance of a cigar or a luncheon invitation.
"But gradually," he continued, "the official finds himself under increasing personal obligation. He loses his sense of mission and shifts his loyaltie."
The speaker criticized President Truman's failure to recognize evils simply because they were not illegal. "It is obviously extremely difficult, if not impossible," he pointed out, "to prove the causality between favors and official decisions."
Douglas also attacked the aimlessness of government regulatory bodies, using the Reconstruction Finance Corporation as an example of a commission which operated with "no planned procedures, no criteria whatsoever for granting loans."
The Senator said that regulation and subsidization of industries should be reduced and more reliance placed on "free market behaviour--provided that competition in this area could be restored." He felt that a greater degree of competition might be obtained, particularly in heavy industries, if "we got hot on the anti-trust acts"
Whenever the government tries to control business, he stated, business will always try to control government and this leads to corruption.