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poorhouse." The record will show it. We can have the remarks read, if the witness wants that statement.
Mr. HOFFMAN. My recollection is that, but what would you do with them? What is your remedy?
I know dozens of women who live down here in these hotels, over in the Dodge or the others, right over across the street. Now they live in apartments there. They have their Government allowances. You cannot put them all out in a home somewhere. What would you do with them?
Mr. Rich. I am in hopes everybody can be taken care of and be given an opportunity to work, but when I look around the District, and you know you have been mayor of the District for a long time, I see homes in the District where I would not want them to live like that in my district. I think that we have a great problem here to take care of the poor people, but what we want to do is to give them an oportunity to work, and find jobs for them so they can earn and make their conditions better. There is always an opportunity for a man to be helped when he is willing to help himself. I want to help that man get a job so that he can help himself.
Mr. RANDOLPH. I am in agreement with you, sir. I remember, to give a specific example, of a man who in the early thirties lost his money and he became, from a man with money, a poor man, in the definition of the gentleman speaking. He had no money with which to pay his rent. The landlord in that instance put it “on the cuff," to use a common phrase, for almost 2 years. He was unable to pay but a small portion of the regular rent. He wanted to leave the premises, but the man said, “No, I know that later when you have a job you will repay the money.” He later did get the job and the money was repaid, but he did not go to a poorhouse, that man who was poor.
Mr. HOFFMAN. I assume that the witness did not mean to send anybody to the poorhouse that did not want to go there. I did not want the record to stand that somebody was advocating that you send everybody in.
Did you read the article in this week's Post on investors? Mr. West. No, sir. Mr. HOFFMAN. Well, if it is in that issue, I ask, Mr. Chairman, that it be incorporated at the close of this testimony. It shows how everyone is an investor in one way or another. It is an editorial. May we include that in the record ?
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, it will be included.
Mr. WEST. Mr. Chairman, may I say that this statement- as far as the words "poor” and “pauper" are concerned, I think we all know about the general economy of the country, and when people are poor enough to be in a poorhouse or when they are in an institution, with somebody helping them get on their feet, with the children farmed out with the neighbors, or what not, until we get them going again, that that is handled by family welfare societies and others, and I think shelter is a part of that contribution.
On the veterans' loan question, I think it may be said that it is contemplated that a lending institution will loan a veteran 100 percent of the cost of a house. The rate is fixed by Congress at 4 percent. The
term is as long as 25 years; now amended, only on a 20-year basis. All that a man must pay is $6.06 per thousand, interest and principal, per month borrowed, which, on a $5,000 house is no outlay in cash, it is only $30 a month. It seems to me, that almost every man in the country has an anticipated income that is sufficient that he can afford to avail himself of housing if he is a veteran of this war, and I think it would be doubling houses in some areas where, like in my State, where the housing in Atlanta is in a low-percentage area. Mr. WHITTINGTON. I agree with you. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. West. Mr. HOFFMAN. I want to put on the record now, Mr. Whittington, thať I, although I do not know a thing about it, that I do believe they spent and wasted enough money since the New Deal came in to have built a good big electrically equipped and steam-heated apartment house to take care of every individual in the United States who could not take care of himself if he wanted to. (The following was submitted for the record :)
JUNE 12, 1946.
Hon. CARTER MANASCO,
United States House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR CONGRESSMAN: When I appeared before the Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments on Thursday, June 6, to present the views of the National Chamber with respect to the President's Reorganization Plan No. 1, which would make permanent the wartime National Housing Agency, I was asked what additional funds, if any, the Federal Home Loan Bank System and the Federal Housing Administration had to make available for the overhead operation of the National Housing Agency after they were transferred to that agency from their previous position with the Federal Loan Agency.
Neither the Federal Home Loan Bank System nor the Federal Housing Administration had to pay any funds for the overhead operation of the Federal Loan Agency.
On the contrary, since 1942 when the National Housing Agency was established by Executive order, something like $1,200,000 of Federal Home Loan Bank System and Federal Housing Administration funds have been used to support it. I
These funds are not Government moneys.
The Foderal Home Loan Bank System's funds are derived from assesments against member institutions whose sole source of income stems from the small savings paid regularly in good faith by individuals into the institution.
In the case of the Federal Housing Administration they come from fees and premiums paid by home buyers into the mortgage insurance funds of which Federal Housing Administration is custodian only since under that system the fund is a mutual fund.
We submit that the use of these funds in payment of expenses of the National Housing Agency without the knowledge or consent of those who pay them is unwarranted inasmuch as the purpose of the expenditure not only does not accomplish any of the purposes of the laws originally providing for them, but quite the contrary, actually hampers them.
It is my hope that you will place this letter into the records in connection with my testimony.
Again thanking you and the members of your committee for the consideration you have given us in the presentation of our views on this important matter, I am Sincerely,
GEORGE W. WEST,
The CHAIRMAN. The next witness will be Mr. Douglas Whitlock, chairman of the advisory board of the Producers' Council, Inc.
STATEMENT OF DOUGLAS WHITLOCK, CHAIRMAN, ADVISORY
BOARD, THE PRODUCERS' COUNCIL, INC. Mr. WHITLOCK. My name is Douglas Whitlock and my offices are in the Shoreman Building, Washington, D. C. I appear as chairman of the advisory board of the Producers' Council, Inc., a national organization of manufacturers of building materials and equipment.
The council's membership includes 80 individual building product manufacturers, including a number of the largest and best known producers, together with 22 national trade associations which represent a large number of individual manufacturers of materials and equipment.
I appear in opposition to that portion of reorganization plan No. 1 which provides for a permanent National Housing Agency. This plan provides for the permanent consolidation of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and the Federal Housing Administration, which serve private enterprise, with the Federal Public Housing Authority, which performs a public housing function.
In the first place, we wish to point out that there is no need for the creation of such a permanent agency at this time and no reason to rush through such a controversial measure.
The powers recently conferred on the Housing Expediter in the Veterans' Emergency Housing Act are more than ample to care for all housing problems which may arise between the present time and the date'when those powers expire, which is December 31, 1947. Thus, there is no emergency situation which would justify hasty action at this time.
The Expediter now has full authority to issue orders and directives to other governmental agencies in any way concerned with housing. He is a virtual dictator in the housing field. The creation of a National Housing Agency at this time would add nothing to his authority and would in no way augment his powers to regulate or participate in housing matters.
There are, of course, reasons why some individuals in government are eager to establish the NHA as a permanent agency at this time, but I should prefer to discuss that subject a little later.
The scope of this provision and the concentration of authority in the NHA Administrator go well beyond the terms of the general housing bill recently approved if the Senate, despite the intimation to the contrary in the President's message. This proposal calls for a consolidation of the FHLBA, the FHA, and the FPHA, rather than a coordination, as provided in the general housing bill. The Commissioners in charge of those agencies lose all real authority over policy and personnel. In the language of the plan, the NHA Administrator is given “general superintendence, direction, coordination, and control of the affairs of the National Housing Agency and its constituent units."
So far-reaching a step should not be taken by default. After full and careful considerations of the impact of this consolidation, Congress surely would not accept so great a degree of centralized authority over agencies which have rendered a great service to the country in the past.
Mortgage-credit institutions, builders, suppliers, manufacturers, in fact every economic group upon which the supply of housing de
pends—and the supply itself—are vitally affected by whatever administrative set-up is created for the future. This plan, therefore, is no mere reorganization or reshuffling, and it is in no sense an economy measure; rather it is a proposal of far-reaching implications to the whole economy of the country, through a dangerous concentration of power.
The agencies involved have had the confidence of industry and have had confidence in industry. Cooperatively, they have done much to broaden housing markets and improve housing standards. There is real reason to fear that the proposed consolidation would substitute compulsion for cooperation and helpful assistance.
We object to this proposal also because we believe that it will retard, rather than advance, the housing program. In the first place, the contralization of Federal responsibility for housing under a single administrator, in one agency, as proposed in the plan, is distinctly unwise. The responsibility is too great for any one individual, especially with no sound pattern of experience to serve as a guide.
When rents are included, residential construction will account for at least 10 percent of the entire national income in the years ahead. And housing is the basic element in construction as a whole, which accounts for more than 20 percent of the national income. Housing policy touches every individual American in the most vital way. It is inextricably interwoven with our entire national-credit structure. Its problems cannot be isolated and dealt with as something separate. Housing requires and deserves the benefit of all of the best specialized experience available in our Government.
That is why we strongly urge that the Federal Housing Administration and the Federal Home Loan Bank Board be returned to their prewar status in the Federal Loan Agency, and that the Federal Public Housing Administration be returned to the Federal Works Agency. The Federal Loan Agency is charged with over-all responsibility for Federal lending and credit policies, from which housing finance cannot properly or successfully be separated.
The Federal Works Agency is charged with the administration of public works, public buildings, and highway construction. It is the Federal agency which specializes in Federal construction matters and is the best qualified to supervise any public-housing programs and policies. If we are to make progress in stabilizing the volume of construction in the future, as a means of stabilizing employment and business activity, it is imperative that responsibility for Federal construction policy be coordinated.
In addition, we cannot escape the fact that the National Housing Agency, which was established for specific emergency purposes which no longer exist, is not experienced in the handling of peacetime housing problems. It was almost solely concerned with the programing of war housing, and the need for such programing has come to an end and governmental programing has no place in a peacetime economy.
While there perhaps is some reason for coordinating the various phases of housing policy, we believe that can be accomplished far more effectively by providing for a board on which the heads of appropriate Federal agencies would serve, including the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the heads of the housing agencies.
This would bring the benefit of sound counsel on all aspects of housing, instead of relying on the judgment of one autonomous housing administrator.
To proceed on any other basis would run the grave risk of permitting housing policy to upset the entire credit structure of the Nation and unbalance the economy. In addition, the committee cannot overlook the fact that, in Reorganization Plan No. 1, no provision whatsover is made for coordinating the activities of the National Housing Agency with those of the Veterans' Bureau, which of necessity will play a major part in residential financing for years to come, under the terms of the GI bill of rights.
We contend that it would be exceedingly unwise to centralize housing activities at this critical time in an agency which is completely unqualified by experience to administer a program of such extreme importance to the country. We are about to enter the greatest era of residential construction this Nation ever has known. It is impossible to believe that the housing needs of veterans and others can be filled successfully under the domination of an agency without adequate experience, in its field. The very lack of experience might well dwarf the program from its very outset.
The reorganization plan also gives the NHA Administrator full authority to conduct “any research or statistical activities relating to any function of the NHÀ or any of its constituent activities.” So far as statisics are concerned, we firmly believe that all housing statistics should be collected and analyzed by governmental agencies which are qualified by experience to perform this function most efficiently and with the maximum technical skill, and which can be depended upon to collect and analyze facts and figures in an impartial manner.
The United States Bureau of the Census and the Construction Division of the United States Department of Commerce have wide and successful experience in this field, and have done notable work. The Census Bureau in particular is widely recognized for its impartiality and fairness. It can collect needed data with a minimum of expense. To authorize a National Housing Agency to collect housing data would result in great duplication of effort and unnecessary expenditure, and would give no assurance of impartiality.
We raise similar objections to the proposal for authorizing the NHA to engage in housing research. The basic research required should be conducted by the ablest talent available.
We believe that the Federal Government should, if interested in this field at all, create a National Construction Research Committee similar in character and general functions to the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics. This Committee would advise upon the allocation of Government funds to establish Government research organizations or to private, commercial, and institutional organizations deemed competent to undertake their required investigations.
The Committee should be empowered to determine whether proposed research financed by the Government is of real value to the public, whether it is beyond the realm of unaided private enterprise, and whether the results thereof will be dedicated to public use. The advisory committee should be composed of representatives of interested Government agencies and of outstanding scientists and technical authorities from the construction industry as well as from appropriate educational and research institutions.