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Developments in Washington indicate that the President will not be able to carry his $4,880,000,000 work-relief bill through Congress without amendment. The Senate Appropriations Committee provided, by a vote of 12 to 8, that the wages paid in the public works program should be "not less than the prevailing wage" of private industry in the locality. This provision goes directly contrary to the President's wishes, and removes an essential safeguard to prevent the huge expenditures of public money from interfering in the recovery of private business.
At the same time the House Ways and Means committee reported that unless the old-age pension bill was amended so that the federal government should pay the whole amount of such pensions, instead of half with the states, it would put an intolerable strain on state finances. The assumption is that no expenditures would strain the national treasury, or at least, that the political repercussions to such expenditures are not so great as they would be in individual states.
This tendency in both houses of Congress to use their new-realized power against the President, not in attacking his program directly, but in going his generosity one better, is very serious. It proves that in a democratic country a reckless promise or program to stir up the people cannot be controlled. Mussolini appeals to nationalism and the war like spirit, yet can keep his country behind him for peace; Hitler, after winning support through an appeal to racial prejudice, claims now that he can keep it in check; but Roosevelt, in a still free country, carries out a large expenditure, and the country now shows signs of carrying him onward beyond even his reason.
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