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State of the Union

Good Government

By El Ham.

Looks like the nine old men have got the New Dealers on the run. Listen to Attorney-General Cummings, talk to the Court: "We do not suggest that it was with any glad heart that we intervened in any contractual obligations. It was done only as a matter of supreme necessity." He was referring, of course, to the repeal of the gold clause on contracts made previous to the repeal resolution. Although there is no specific clause in the Constitution which forbids Congress to impair the obligation of contract (Article one, section ten prohibits state governments to do so), the question is whether or no the Fifth Amendment forbidding Congress to deprive a man of "property without due process of law" can be invoked against the statute. Theoretically, of course, this "necessity" business isn't supposed to play any part in legal determinations. "The law's the law. . ." The feeling is that the Court is in a mess either way. They say that if it decides against the government, the Court will be packed by adding to the number of justices. If it decides in favor, it is said that they will be thought to be mere "Yes-men." At any rate, the capitalist reader had better be careful about his securities for a while.

* * *

It seems that a certain Mass Congressmen is going to introduce a bill into the House which will make all organizations that advocate violent overthrow of the existing government unlawful. An told that the San Simson Scion is going to have his newspapers back the little project. Watch all the leftists howl like the devil. They, who kick at the Supreme Court's power of judicial review will scream for it if this little tid-bit is passed. Your correspondent agrees with them heartily, but is inclined to smile at their feminine inconsistency. "There in lies their charm," we suppose.

* * *

All of which reminds me that a year ago almost exactly I asked a prominent assistant secretary when his boss was going to advocate civil service reform. I know he must have favored it for he's written quite a book on administrative law. And all administrative lawyers know that good administrators. Well, he told me that I should wait awhile before kicking; that in a few months when they got time they'd get to work on that angle. Well, over twelve months have passed and no action has been taken. In the meantime such organizations as the National Institute of Public Affairs has been organized which "looks to the development of a new and most necessary tradition which will attract to public affairs the well trained young people of high character and ability. . ." This crowd, by the way, is being partly supported by one of the biggest conservative bankers that ever issued a note. . . This bright-young-men-in-the-government stuff is O.K., but you never see in print what specific reforms they think are necessary. Someone would perform a great service if they'd get out a definite plan for reform. Then the good man Friday of the New Deal would have something to oppose. As it is, he just smiles safely behind the smoke screen of those reformers who speak in terms of glittering generalities.

* * *

The specific and simple character of the Townsend plan is what makes it appeal to so many people. One doubts of course whether the number of supporters is as high as the good Doctor places it, but you may rest assured it's high. Walter Lippmann, who is back in the fold again, by the way, spiked it beautifully in a couple of articles, but the people who support that sort of thing don't read articles; they read dollar signs.

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