War profits—after deduction of war taxes—have been the greatest in history. The government virtually guaranteed contractors against loss by paying for their investments in war equipment. Now business is guaranteed against loss in resuming civilian production. By congressional enactment, the Treasury must pay back excess-profits taxes to businesses which in 1946 suffer certain reduction to income.
With the exception of one amendment, the Wagner labor-disputes bill, as finally enacted by Congress, does not differ much from the measure in its original form. But that amendment may be a joker and turn the entire Act into a company-union charter. It has to do with Section 9b, which governs the choice of the appropriate unit for collective bargaining.
Public opinion, which once upon a time was only a symbolic figure in cartoons, has become a valuable commercial property. The banners and buttons of World War propaganda showed, as one writer has explained, “the possibilities of molding public opinion toward an objective. Its success convinced leaders how vital it is to gauge public reaction to ideas or products; how necessary it is to get public support.” And big business, having learned the technique of selling its products, is now trying to sell itself.
Mr. Upton Sinclair, in his open letter to President Roosevelt published in a recent issue of The New Republic, again raises a question that has received much consideration in various quarters—the possibility of instituting a program of self-help for the unemployed. Dramatized by Mr.
American industry possesses the finest physical plant in the world, but our ability to get goods from it depends, of course, upon the skill with which we manage it. Never has this truth been more important than today when we are engaging in much reckless talk about the necessity of balancing the budget.
Complete figures dealing with automobile accidents in 1925 have recently been made public. They reveal that safety on the highway, or the present lack of it, may now fairly be reckoned as one of the major problems of the day. Last year more than 22,000 persons were killed in or by automobiles, and something like three quarters of a million injured. The number of dead is almost half as large as the list of fatalities during the nineteen months of America’s participation in the Great War. In 60 percent of the cases, the person killed was a pedestrian struck by a car.