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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

NINE SPOILSMEN

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

When nine of the thirteen men on the Post Office Committee sent the McKellar patronage bill to the United States Senate with their blessing, the issue of competent government service was placed squarely before that august body. There is no escape; within the next few weeks every one of the ninety-six senators must place himself on record for or against spoils in the public service. A public solidly behind governmental efficiency is sure to watch the developments with no little interest.

Left peacefully slumbering in another committee is the Ramspeck bill, a valuable and constructive reform. Its proposals are diametrically opposed to those of the McKellar bill. Whereas the latter would place the appointment of fourteen thousand higher-class postmasters permanently under Senate control, the latter would take such appointments entirely out of the Senate's hands. Although providing no magic formula through which efficient government service can be realized, it is infinitely preferable to the perpetuation of a system which has undermined government administration for over three quarters of a century.

From the undergraduate point of view, the issue is particularly important. In recent times there has been a trend toward concentration in the social sciences; enrollments in government and economics courses have swelled with amazing rapidity. There is no doubt that many of the men in these courses are ready to enter the government service if only the possibility of a career in this line were more apparent.

In the smoke-filled committee rooms at Washington the Ramspeck bill is, of course, singularly unpopular; in the nation at large, however, a different verdict is rendered. The most notorious of Jacksonian institutions must be destroyed. However great the senatorial inertia, however difficult the abandonment of old practices, however pleasant the rewarding of loyal friends with the juicy plums of public office, the day of judgement is at hand. Civil service reform has been postponed long enough; the time for action has arrived.

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