Other People's Money
July 17, 1935
It was a grand week for the Sound Thinkers in Washington. The House swatted the “death sentence” in the utility bill. The Senate Banking Committee—the same committee that brought in so many “reforms” two years ago—reported Senator Glass’s amended Reserve bill to the Senate with some queer things in it. The tax plan troubles the Sound Thinkers, of course, but they have really derived a lot of satisfaction from it because its ill starred career thus far has revealed the President in a not very pleasant light.
The Good Giant and the A.A.A.
July 17, 1935
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.
July 17, 1935
The President took a thorough beating from the House of Representatives when by a large majority it rejected his earnest plea to pass the bill abolishing public-utility holding companies. His only hope in the matter is now that the Senate will favor this clause—though if it does so, the margin can hardly be more than two or three votes—and that while the difference is being adjusted in conference an investigation of utility lobbying will bring to time the recalcitrant Democrats in the House.
The New Deal is Constitutional
November 15, 1933
There appears to be a very generally entertained notion among both liberals and conservatives, that if the Supreme Court of the United States upholds the recent recovery legislation it will be compelled to invent a complete new set of legal terminology, to tear up familiar constitutional landmarks and to graft new doctrine on an ancient document. It is popularly supposed to require a sort of dialectic earthquake, which will leave huge fissures in constitutional logic. It threatens even to create an unconstitutional habit of thought about constitutional issues.
The Supreme Court and a Balanced Budget
April 27, 1932
Foreigners are fond of calling us the land of paradoxes. Our public finances certainly justify that characterization. The richest country in the world has been the most dilatory in balancing its budget and appears the most distracted and embarrassed in attaining that end. The fundamental explanation, of course, is the systematically inculcated hostility to the taxation of wealth. For ten years the press has sedulously repeated the Mellon 'doctrine that the immunity of the rich from taxation is a blessing for the poor.
July 07, 1926
After leaving Pennsylvania, the next stop is Illinois! The searchlight of investigation is now to be turned on expenditures in the recent Senatorial primary in that state. The Senatorial committee which has been looking into the Pennsylvania orgy decided some time ago that as soon as Congress adjourns it will move to Chicago and continue its activities there. Since then Senator Caraway has made charges on the floor of the Senate which if confirmed will make the stigma attached to Illinois politicians quite as serious as that now clings to the Pennsylvanians.
The War Power of the President
May 19, 1917
War, as a social function, differs in kind, not merely in degree, from a croquet party or an afternoon tea. This important truth, apparently self-evident, is realized only with much travail by a peace-loving and peace-wonted people. For the present generation of Americans three years of fighting in Europe have done much to prepare our minds for the whole truth.
The Hope of the Minimum Wage
November 20, 1915
Minimum wage laws are to all practical intents as yet untried in the United States. Even their validity remains doubtful, for the Supreme Court still holds undecided the test case argued nearly a year ago. Un Australia, where analogous laws have been in operation for over ten years, it is different, and in the current number of the Harvard Law Review one may learn from Mr.
Normal Inequalities of Fortune
February 06, 1915
The Supreme Court has decided that no state may forbid an employer to compel a workman to leave the union under penalty of losing his job. This is not a new decision, but the Court repeated its belief in the propriety of the principle and refused to change the law. The result is that it will take the consent of the legislatures of three quarters of all the states in conjunction with Congress to make illegal such a practice. How has such a result arrived?
February 05, 1915
One public benefit has already accrued from the nomination of Mr. Brandeis. It has started discussion of what the Supreme Court means in American life. From much of the comment since Mr. Brandeis's nomination it would seem that multitudes of Americans seriously believe that the nine Justices embody pure reason, that they are set apart from the concerns of the community, regardless of time, place and circumstances, to become the interpreter of sacred words with meaning fixed forever and ascertainable by a process of ineluctable reasoning.