November 21, 1936 - Article - Bringing Over Europe, by Raymond G. Carroll
Our country is facing another powerful dose of Europe. The New Deal sent a host of investigators overseas last summer to bring back the essential parts of its hoped-for 1937 model.
These delegations of observers included members of the Cabinet, heads of the independent alphabeticals, departmental economists, bureau chiefs, Government service specialists, social uplifters and a fine array of brilliant what nots.
To overcome the shortage of Americans with what is termed "world background, perspective and experience," regular assignments of promising Labor Department officials are to be made to the International Labor Office in Geneva, Switzerland, for special tasks or temporary duty. The I.L.O. is an appendage of the League of Nations.
A growing custom of recent years has been to refer to America as a potential but undefined mass, "still in the making."
To widen our sky and broaden our vision, we are to be reconstructed from Europe, where, alas, for all they may say, the status of labor is not the same as it is in America. A workman even during a period of depression is far better paid in America than anywhere else, and his standard of living is enormously higher. But these facts have been wholly disregarded.
A forecast of the New Deal planning from the Old World background has been made by Miss Francis Perkins, Secretary of Labor, who last February, in Kansas, was reported as saying she preferred the works of man to the Grand Canyon and the Rocky Mountains. Over her signature, Miss Perkins wrote: "As I see it, in the course of time, we shall have to establish in this country substantially all the social-insurance measures which the Western European countries have set up in the last generation, adapted, of course, to American conditions and improved through study of Europe's experience."
I lived in Europe for more than a decade. As a writer, I am acquainted with the labor leaders of the principle foreign countries, and I have talked with them of this very social insurance. They unreservedly told me that their security projects were primarily installed because wages were so low that European workers had a bare living and nothing to put aside for sickness, old age or unemployment; that the continuous tapping of industrial pay rolls for the security installments had kept wages down and stifled thrift.
Eagerness of the New Deal to import European ideas is putting unemployed foreigners upon the Federal pay roll. A typical case was the hiring of DR. Arnold Steinbach, of Austria, who could not find employment in Europe, as "administrative specialist" for the Social Security Board in its Bureau of Research and Statistics, which is headed by Walton Hale Hamilton, formerly of Yale, but more recently chairman of the Advisory Council of the defunct NRA, also Adviser on Consumers' Problems of the National Emergency Council, after which he was director of the Consumers' Division of the Labor Department and editor of its organ, The Consumer.
Doctor Steinbach began his American duties on April 27, 1936. He was a protégé of the International Labor Office. He came to the Social Security Board with letters of recommendation from Leifer Magnusson, the Iceland-born American representative of the Geneva body. Doctor Steinbach's envelope from the files of the personnel section of the board establishes him to be a person of character and ability. His salary is $3800 a year and he was qualified as an expert by the Civil Service Commission..... On April 15th, of this year, he applied for his first citizenship papers, which was 12 days before he started working for the American Government.
The International Labor Office, in a special report, gives the historical background of social insurance in the different Old World countries. For example: The first sickness-insurance act was passed in Germany in 1883, applying to industrial workers only. In 1892 it was applied to all employed persons. Old-age insurance in Germany was begun in 1889. In 1911, widows' and orphans' insurance was added. Unemployment insurance was established in Germany in 1927. National heath insurance was launched in Great Britain in 1911, and unemployment insurance the same year. The report refers to the "insurance schemes introduced by the Austrian act of 1888."
Sen. Robert F. Wagner, of New York, born in 1877 at Nastätten, Province of Hesse-Nassau, Germany, who is known as the "Father of American social insurance" - he introduced and put the measure through Congress - arrived in the United States as a child about the time the first social-insurance measures were instituted in the Old World. He is among the New Dealers who went to Europe to study housing conditions. (pg. 37)
Two of the "foreign help" on the pay roll of the Resettlement Administration in Washington, D.C., are:
Berta Asch, associate research economist. Employed June 6, 1935. Filed declaration to become a citizen October 16, 1936. Salary $3200. Born in Hamburg, Germany. (pg. 90)
We belong to a country which has a vast and open territory of consumers enjoying the largest free market in the world. We have colossal natural resources and, it was once our proud boast, a virile, self-confident population.
It was Thomas Jefferson who gave the sharpest and most convincing exposition of the no-entanglement-with- Europe creed. In his message to Congress of October 17, 1803, Jefferson said: "How desirable it must be, in a Government like ours, to see its citizens adopt individually the views, the interests, and the conduct which their country should pursue, divesting themselves of those passions and partialities which tend to lessen useful friendships and to embarrass and embroil us in the calamitous scenes of Europe."
In 1811 Jefferson wrote to Dr. John Crawford: "We especially ought to pray that the powers of Europe may be so poised and counterpoised among themselves that their safety may require the presence of all their forces at home, leaving the other quarters of the globe in undisturbed tranquility. When our strength will permit us to give the law to our hemisphere, it should be that the meridian of the Mid-Atlantic should be the line of demarcation between war and peace, on this side of which no act of hostility shall be committed, and the lion and the lamb will lie down in peace together."
Toward the end of 1813, Jefferson, in writing to Baron Von Humboldt in regard to the future of the former American colonies, said that "but in whatever government they will end, they will be American governments, no longer to be embroiled in the never-ceasing broils of Europe. The European nations constitute a separate division of the globe; their localities make them part of a distinct system; they have a set of interests of their own in which it is our business never to engage ourselves. America has a hemisphere to itself. It must have a separate system of interests; which was not to be subordinated to those of Europe. The insulated state in which nature has place the American continent should so far avail it that no spark of war in other quarters of the globe should be wafted across the wide oceans which separate us from them, and it will be so."
Again in 1820, Jefferson declared to Correa, the minister from Portugal, that "nothing is so important as that American shall separate herself from the system of Europe and establish one of her own. Our circumstances, our pursuits, our interests, are distinct; the principles of our policy should be also. All entanglements with that quarter of the globe should be avoided that peace and justice shall be the polar stars of American societies."
On his side, the average American of the 20th century is dazzled by reports of what he hears the New Deal for him from Europe. With the true heart of a nation wrapped in a spangled cloud of rhetoric, it is difficult to know what is real and what is false, what is good and what is bad. (pg. 92)
Comments: I thought it was interesting that the New Deal imported brains from Germany and Austria and paid them around three times what the average American worker made back then. I'm sure Hitler was proud to see this happening.