May 18, 1935 - Editorial - Bullheaded Government, by George Lorimer

It sometimes happens that the most valuable , indeed, the most fascinating reading comes to one in dull grey form. Take, for example, a paper-bound volume of 1141 pages which has lately come to hand from the world's largest publisher, the Government Printing Office. It contains the hearings before the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives on H.R. 4120, which is known as "a bill to alleviate the hazards of old age, unemployment, illness, and dependency, to establish a social insurance board in the Department of Labor, to raise revenue, and for other purposes." A perusal of these hearings will afford a clearer conception of the high-handed, steam-roller methods of government now being pursued than could be gained from all the speeches, articles and editorials extant.

Here is a provision for basic, permanent change in American policy. It is in no sense whatever emergency legislation, as its principal features would not become operative for a matter of years. The legislation provides window dressing in the way of Federal aid to the states in such desirable matters as public and child health work, but it also sets up a vast Government scheme of old-age pensions and unemployment compensation. No European nation has ever adopted all these forms of security or social insurance at one time. Each subject is important enough to deserve separate and lengthy consideration; lumping them together and driving them through simply minimizes the careful scrutiny which each deserves. (pg. 26)

Comments: Here we see the beginnings of the Social Security Act. Lorimer also pointed out that there would be a new tax involved in this legislation - a tax on payrolls. Lorimer questioned the constitutionality of taxing payrolls, but we shall see that the New Deal will get away with this too, for the Supreme Court could not withstand the upcoming attack upon its independence.

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