March 24, 1934 - Editorial - Who is Going to Pay?, by George Lorimer

Whenever men come together these days and discuss the far-flung experiments in which the Government is so busily engaging, they are sure to ask one another a perplexing and disturbing question. It usually comes up toward the end of the conversation and, as a rule, it brings what is likely to be a friendly and pleasant discussion to an abrupt and unsatisfactory close. The question upsets those who ask it and those who try to answer it. For there is no soothing and gratifying reply. The query has about the same pacifying effect as the words which appeared upon the walls of Nebuchadnezzar's palace.

Just as two and two make four, so spending on a great scale must bring payment in equal or corresponding measure. Like Banquo's ghost at the feast, so the question of who is going to pay thrusts its unwelcome and embarrassing features into every consideration, no matter how sympathetic, of the New Deal, of its many and varied experiments, of its alphabetical-agency expressions, and of the new social order which certain of its exponents wish to bring about. The question of who is going to pay is prosaic and mundane, but the suspicion grows that it cannot be escaped, that it must be faced, and that in the process someone besides the other fellow is going to suffer.

Whatever may be the reasons or necessities for governmental expansion, it always has one bad feature. People invariably think that the other people, the other classes and groups, will foot the bill. But the bill has become so vast that a troubled feeling is abroad that perhaps, after all, pretty nearly everybody will pay. You shall pay, I shall pay, and our children will pay. SO in every conversation we ask who is going to pay, still clinging to the vague, uneasy but fast-fading hope that perhaps someone else can be made to pay.

Republican orators are beginning to point out that the Democrats promised an immediate and drastic reduction in governmental expenditures when they were seeking election, but, on the contrary, have vastly increased those expenditures. All parties out of power and all candidates for office have a habit of making similar promises, and it is a very common practice not to keep them. pg. 22)

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