JULY 18, 1946
NEW YORK, Wednesday—Sometimes I wonder whether the members of Congress give the people of the country credit for the intelligence in watching public affairs which they have shown over and over again in their votes.
As I read a comparison, the other day, of the old OPA bill which the President vetoed and the new one which the Senate passed and which is now being considered by Senate-House conferees, I could not help wondering whether this question of price control and inflation meant to some members of Congress just an opportunity to put the President in a hole! It should occur to them that it affects the pockets of practically every citizen in the country.
Philip Murray, CIO president, was right when he said that the housewives were the ones who would elect or defeat Congressmen on this issue. If prices go up even a moderate amount, a great many people are not going to have the wherewithal to buy the things they need. Many of us have already seen a change in our food bills.
We have read enough in our papers about inflation in other countries and what it does to the standard of living for the little man, so that most of us, I believe, backed the President wholeheartedly in his attitude when he would not sign an unsatisfactory bill. If he is now given an even more unsatisfactory bill and vetoes it, we are not going to turn upon the President, but upon those who so openly show their disdain for the intelligence of the voting public.
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At last the British loan is through Congress and has been signed by the President. But what months have gone by in which we were not making friends but losing them!
I almost think that the laggard way in which our public business has been conducted is as distasteful as too much haste would be to the American who wants careful investigation but prompt action, where his interests are concerned. Two of the reorganization plans which the President has been asking for went through, but only a few hours before the time expired when they could be passed. The third plan was to set up a national public housing authority, and if there is any one thing which the little man in this country is concerned about, it is housing. Again Congress has dawdled and ignored the people's interest.
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I was standing by my cottage door a few days ago when a young man with a discharge button came up in a car. He and his wife and little girl got out and stood before me saying, "We are desperate for a place to live. We applied to your superintendent, hoping you needed someone to work for you and would have a house for us to live in. Do you know Mrs.___, who owns two houses in Hyde Park village? There is no running water in them and they haven't been occupied for several years, but if we could contact her, we would like to persuade her to let us have one. We are sure we could make it livable." They were nice young people who had probably been brought up in comfortable, decent homes.
I think we owe it to these returning veterans to do everything possible—in the nation, in the state and in the city—to see that the machinery is set up and working in harmony to produce homes for them. It will take all these agencies if we are to accomplish the goal of enough houses for our people in the next five years.