The National Crisis (written 1/13/1933 by Thomas S. Hogan):
These days are charged with explosive possibilities. No one can accurately predict the extent of the basic changes that will be wrought in our political and economic structure within the next twelve months. What Congress shall do in the next year vitally affects not only the national but the whole world. The questions before it pressing for solution are many and complex.
What about the farm problem?
What relief for unemployment?
What answer to the question of mortgage indebtedness, now swollen to forty-four billion dollars, against the farms and other real estate of the nation -- the interest and amortization of which is clearly unpayable and which has already dispossessed about one-half of the farm population and an even greater percentage of the erstwhile urban home owners?
What of the railroads and other transportation systems rapidly approaching complete insolvency in spite of the hundreds of millions of dollars poured into them by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation?
What about the collapse of the gold statndard as a sufficient medium of international exchange and the burden it lays on debtors at home and abroad by multiplying the amount of commodities required to pay debts in dollars that have appreciated in value?
What can be done to recapture our foreign commerce heretofore sacrificed by ill-considered tariff laws which have resulted in retaliation against our commerce in practically every port of the world?
How to remodel a banking system so disastrously unsound that under it ten thousand banks have failed within ten years, and in addition the banking fraternity has seduced the trustful people into investing billions of dollars in foreign and domestic securities of little or no value?
How to adjust the social and economic life of the nation so that invention and mechanical improvement no longer oppress us with unemployment and poverty but instead will give us a more secure and abundant life?
In addition to these major problems there are many important, but minor, problems such as prohibition, balancing the budget, veterans relief, foreign debts, etc.
The welfare of the nation hinges upon the answers to these questions which the incoming administration and Congress shall make.
Even among the so-called business leaders there are few so dumb that they do not realize that individual initiative is powerless in these chaotic conditions. No agency short of the government has the power to bring order, discipline and progress out of the maze of conflicting interests involved in this situation.
Even the national government itself is tremendously handicapped by a Constitution which wrapped it in the swaddling clothes of infancy and which still forbids the adoption of suitable raiment for maturity.
Instead of protection to our institutions the rigidity of that document hampers economic progress and will probably result in violent and destructive revolution.
Only one great gain has been made in this depression and that is that the people have been compelled to think of the larger problems which affect mankind.
The importance of this changed mental attitude cannot be overestimated for presently the people must sit in final judgment, as both judge and jury, on issues that will either make or break this nation.
That is why the happenings in Congress take on a new significance. Judgments based on half truths and incomplete information are likely to be disastrous.
The ill-informed and the stupid as well as the wise make up that illusive, intangible, but powerful thing called public opinion which finally shapes our destinies.
The primary source of news and information on these subjects is now that great national arena -- the Congress of the United States.
Let us try to get that news and that atmosphere as nearly accurate as we can.
T. S. Hogan