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PRE-FIGHT TALK

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Each spring almost every team in both baseball leagues announces confidently that it will win the pennant; before the championship fight both challenger and defender are sure they will knock out the other. Likewise, in beginning this year's dogfight, the government and big business, with labor sandwiched somewhere in between, have sounded the note of war. The Administration, which should, because of its position, be acquainted with the virtues of tact and temperance, has obviously blown its trumpet too hard and very flat. On the other side, both business and labor have shown by their utterances that they, too, are not entering into this eternal triangle with a clear, calm, and impartial mind. If the government is not always right, neither is labor, nor business itself. There is a lesson of caution to be learned at once, before any happy outcome is made impossible.

It is not hard to find examples of indiscretion and tactlessness in the past month. When business demanded that the government raise its heavy hand of regulation, the latter responded in two quite rash ways: Assistant Attorney General Jackson, with his political eye cocked at his chief, berated the "business Bourbons"; Secretary Ickes claimed that sixty families controlled the economic destiny of the nation. Labor opened its mouth first when Matthew Woll, vice-president of the A. F. of L., said that most trade union leaders thought the government had gone too far in regulating industry. The U. A. W., an affiliate of the C. I. O., declared that the solution to the present business recession was to increase the purchasing power of the workers. Business, of course, made it plain that New Deal mistakes were to blame for the slump, emphasizing the lack of confidence which unsound policies have induced. In rather guarded statements economists asserted that only increased employment will cause industry to pick up, and more employment cannot be had without a better balance between price and demand.

No two men have made the government look more silly in a long while than the New Deal disciples Jackson and Ickes. When Mr. Ickes hinted that the fascist-inclined plutocracy in America would be defeated by anti-monopoly legislation, he forgot to mention that the government itself tried to foster monopoly and regiment the people under the NRA, which told business to fix its own prices, and under the AAA, in which Washington played Big Bad Wolf to all the pigs and regulated crop planting for the farmers.

While it is apparent that the government has spoken most rashly, labor has forfeited its right to voice opinion because of the unlawful violence which has accompanied many strikes and followed, after successful negotiation, many more. A well-known trade magazine showed that labor violence forced 58 plants, representing 200 million's worth of capital and a half million in Social Security taxes, to close for keeps--statistics which Washington admitted it makes no effort to collect. Unions cannot afford to be divided, to hold Communistic and racketeering elements, nor to coerce the free will of their members.

In its next turn at bat Congress, instead of playing Casey, ought to hit a home run that will correct the fallacies of the Administration, reassure business, and help to end the recession. Business and labor, too, should use their heads and not their hearts and give dispassionate thought to the economic problems confronting the United States at the beginning of 1938.

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