JANUARY 7, 1960
NEW YORK —Signing of the new steel labor contract is, of course, a great relief to everybody, and certainly Secretary of Labor James Mitchell and Vice-President Richard Nixon must be well pleased that this has been accomplished.
But there is one disquieting factor in the settlement, and it is contained in the report that "steel prices will not be raised in the immediate future." On the face of it, this might appear to be encouraging. It indicates, however, that a steel price increase will be an eventual result of the new agreement.
The President had said on a number of occasions that a settlement should not be made on the basis of a price increase because of its inflationary effect. My guess is that the price will not be raised until after this year's Presidential election, for the steel magnates are so close to the Administration that they would not want to hurt the Republican chances by putting an increase into effect before the election.
It was shocking to note that New York City Police Commissioner Stephen P. Kennedy was forced to post detectives at certain places of worship because swastikas had been daubed on three synagogues and one building which once housed the offices of a Jewish War Veterans post.
This wave of anti-Semitism, apparently sweeping from Germany over a dozen countries and even reaching Australia, naturally would show up here. But it is discouraging to realize that we still have to learn to be Americans and not interfere with the religious worship of others.
What difference can it make to anyone what particular church another person attends so long as the other person is a good citizen and ready to meet the calls for cooperation that come to one in a democracy?
The basis of a good democracy is acceptance of personal responsibility by every citizen for civic obligations. I think everyone will acknowledge that Jewish members of communities all over the country have a keen sense of civic duty and join in upholding everything that is good for those communities. This, after all, is the basis on which they should be judged, not on religion, which is each individual's private business.
It looks as though in the State of New York we might have some interesting discussions over the next five years on the rise in school costs. And this probably will be the case in many other states.
The school population will grow over these years just ahead at an unusually fast rate. And it remains to be seen whether we are willing to pay more for the education of our children and to consider this as one of our most vital expenditures.
The method of raising the necessary additional money will be left to state legislatures to decide.
In our own state, two slogans have been invented. The Governor has a program he calls "pay as you go" under which all new capital improvements, such as highways, state hospitals and state university buildings, would be paid for out of current revenue.
The Democrats have coined the phrase "pay as you use," and under their program the cost of capital projects would be met through the sale of state bonds. Interest and redemption charges on the bonds would be added to the current state operating costs as they fall due.
These two ideas should be fully discussed during the coming year.