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Federal employees, or the other employees, would be adversely affected by that part of the proposed plan.
You were in my State recently and you visited the Hobson plantation in the district I represent. Mrs. MEYER. They are very brilliant people.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I recall your article there. I have known your husband for 25 years.
Mrs. MEYER. I do not think it would affect that adversely, because in the Social Security Board are the people who are most versed in insurance problems and I think they would get a lot of help out of it.
In addition, I think the whole trend of Government is to eliminate the numerous commissions that we have that float, so to speak, in the air, because they really put a responsibility on our Chief Executive, that he cannot possibly carry. They are responsible to no one but the President.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Can you think of any administrator or any board in the Government that handles more claims than the Social Security Board or the administrator that follows?
Mrs. MEYER. No. Therefore, I think they would get an enormous amount of help out of being in the same set-up.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. A great many things have been said about the Employees' Compensation Board as presently constituted, being a bipartisan board. I ask you this question: I personally have never heard of the matter of politics entering into the adjudication of that Board, but the tendency is, in recent years, to establish administrators instead of these so-called bipartisan boards. I am just wondering if you can point out any administrator that adjudicates more claims for more different Republicans and Democrats and nonparty affiliates and others than the Veterans' Administrator, where you have a single administrator?
Mrs. MEYER. I think it is a general conclusion of all people who have studied our administrative problems that a single administrator is always a more effective agency than a board. I think that was one of the reasons why the Federal Security Board was eliminated, because it was found to be not very effective.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Then, more particularly in the District of Columbia, this proposed plan that you advocate here provides for the abolition of the Board of Visitors at St. Elizabeths Hospital and its functions are abolished.” Are you familiar with that Board?
Mrs. MEYER. I am not familiar with those details. I have never been able to do any work at St. Elizabeths. Therefore, it would be much safer for me not to give my answer.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I think that is a fair answer.
Mrs. MEYER. Child neglect and racial intolerance; but it is the problem of adequate child care that should be our deepest concern since children represent the future of our Nation. More than 5,000,000 children under 17 at present attend no school whatsoever. Wherever the schools are inadequate, health and welfare provisions are poor or nonexistent. Child labor, which had never been sufficiently controlled, has been dangerously stimulated by the war. Malnutrition, delinquency, and crime are the byproducts of our indifference to the educational and
social needs of childhood. We cannot conceal from ourselves, if we are honest, that our concern for the child is largely lip service. We must become more sensitive to human values. We must see our shameful wholesale neglect of childhood for the crime that it is. It will now take great effort and wisdom to overcome the disruptive effects of total war upon the Nation's children and upon family life. Mere preaching concerning the basic importance of family life will have no effect. The family can only be stabilized in a stable society.
I also found in my recent journey that racial and religious intolerance is becoming more acute every day. The causes are not far to seek. Fear of impending change, of sharper competition for jobs and general unrest make us all insecure and sharpen antipathies that had been softened during days of peace and prosperity. We Americans, in spite of all the injustices we have committed, were the world leaders in generous treatment of minorities. We are still a generous people, but when conditions become unsettled we revert easily to the primitive fear of the stranger. If we regain our former security through social solidarity and participation in a meaningful word, our fears, jealousies, and hatred will again be brought under conscious control.
If we think of the enormous problems of the reconversion period, better care of children, justice to our Negro fellow citizens, the readjustment of the war workers and returned veterans to the local community, it becomes obvious that only immediate coordinated planning on a Nation-wide scale between the Federal Government, the States, and the localities can prevent hardship, mass migrations from underprivileged areas, and possible disorder. A social program of such dimensions cannot be handled by the local communities alone, nor yet by the States, least of all by the Federal Government acting as a dictator, but only by the united and streamlined efforts of all three pulling together. Yet from the harmonious interaction of all these gigantic forces, there could arise a new America, a new moral and spiritual power commensurate with the physical grandeur of our vast Nation.
Mr. RICH. May I interrupt you there?
Mr. Rich. I am very much interested in this indictment of the things that seem to be apparent from your visit over the country and I just wondering if with the conditions as you say exist in sections of this country-I come from Pennsylvania and I live out in the country. I understand you live here in Washington.
Mrs. MEYER. I live here in the winter. I was born and married and brought up my children in Westchester County, just outside of New York City.
Mr. Rich. I am thinking here of the conditions as they exist in the city of Washington. When I travel through some of the streets, when I see where people live, and the housing conditions, I do not think we have in the country up there in Pennsylvania anything that would compare to a lot of the residences of the people that live here in the District.
Mrs. MEYER. Quite right.
Mr. Rich. If you have lived here for many years and the conditions are as bad as you say they are in this indictment that we have now, why would it not be the best thing to start right here in the District
and then from there branch out, instead of trying to take this thing in a lump sum?
Mrs. MEYER. In some of the articles that I wrote that represent the worst indictment of housing conditions I did on the slums and alleys of the District of Columbia, and I fought and fought to have those slums cleared up, but our Government is in such an absolute fog, it is so inevitable. It is so completely disorganized that you can fight and fight in this District of Columbia and never get anywhere.
Mr. JUDD. What Government?
Mrs. MEYER. District of Columbia. I have been up here before the Congress. I have given testimony on the impossible slum conditions in Washington; I have written from the country saying these slums are terrible but they are not as bad as the slums in our own capital and the capital should be a model for the country.
Mr. RICH. The point I want to make is this: I have not heard an indictment of the country at large more than I have in listening up to you at this point. I am anxious to continue to get the rest of it.
Mrs. Meyer. It all hangs together, so why do I not finish and go on?
Mr. Rich. I think probably that would be a good thing. What this administration has been trying to do for the country, if we are that bad off, I wonder why we should be out trying to do everything for everybody all over the world if we have the conditions that we have in America? I think it is about time to stay at home and attend to our own knitting.
Mrs. MEYER. The problems all hang together. We are getting off the point. With your permission, I will finish. I even go into the world situation from this situation in my last sentence.
Mr. GIBSON. I want to ask one question. The individual citizen has a little responsibility for his own position instead of the Government having to accept it all, do you not think that?
Mrs. MEYER. Certainly, I think it all rests upon the local community.
Mr. GIBSON. I am asking you about the individual citizen.
Mrs. MEYER. The community is nothing but a big group of individual citizens.
Mr. GIBSON. That is not my question at all.
Mrs. MEYER. I would not be sitting here this minute if I did not think the individual was responsible. I am merely here as an individual who for 5 years all through the war tried to execute a personal responsibility to the Nation and even to the District.
Mr. Gibson. I am talking about the individual's responsibility to himself.
Mrs. MEYER. Now we are getting philosophical. I am afraid you will not see how this hangs together unless I am allowed to finish it. May I go on?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Mrs. MEYER. To meet the serious problems of a postwar world, the State and local agencies are the first line of defense. To aid them in making democracy a reality for all of our people, what does the Federal Government offer? It offers a multiplicity of agencies, without coordinated direction. The result is waste, overlapping, and duplication, which could readily be eliminated through the acceptance of the President's reorganization plan.
Indeed, the social services of the Federal Government have grown up like Topsy. To paraphrase a sentence in the Report of the President's Committee on Administrative Management in 1939, the social services of the Government of the United States have grown up without plan or design like the barns, shacks, silos, tool sheds, and garages of an old-fashioned farm.
Having seen day after day during the war and after the war, a picture of democracy's administrative weaknesses, with their disastrous effects on family and community life, I accepted the challenge of the Women's Foundation to suggest a remedy. This foundation empowered Dr. Leonard W. Mayo, of Western Reserve University, and me to call together a committee of 27 experts in the field of education, health, and welfare to work out a report which has been published under the title “The Road to Community Reorganization." This report begins as it should with a consideration of the problems of the local community. That is where we live and have our being. That is where our problems must be solved.
Concerning local reorganization this report suggests:
The establishment for every community of community service centers, such as are now being organized in many cities to aid in the coordination of services for veterans, their families, and all individuals, to provide a clearing house of social endeavor where information, advice, and service will be readily accessible.
In order to hasten this objective of greater local efficiency, many of our most progressive States have already made great strides in coordinating their health and welfare departments, and in bringing them closer to the family, the child, and the school system. For example, the New York State Legislature, after 2 years of concentrated study and review by a special legislative committee, at its 1946 session, passed comprehensive legislation providing for local integration in the administration of all types of public assistance, foster care of children, adult institutional care, and hospitalization. During this same period, the State department of social welfare was reorganized to provide integrated State supervision of these programs.
This report points out that these State efforts toward greater efficiency will be impeded if the contradicting policies of Federal agencies continue to cause confusion as they do now, among the State agencies. The State government officials complain that the Federal bureaus, especially those concerned with children, have not given them the leadership which they have a right to expect.
If we have made any progress in the improvement of our children's programs said one State commissioner of welfare last weekit has not been because of any Federal leadership. Despite all the resolutions passed by well-meaning committees in Washington, despite the pamphlets and press releases, we know that the present system is confusing and that we get little practical leadership from the Federal agencies. Reorganization on the Federal level does not assure statesmanship. It does give a setting for the elimination of petty agency partisanship in favor of the care of the people,
Because of constant friction of this nature between the States and the Federal health and welfare agencies, many of the State governments endorse the President's demands for a reorganization on the Federal level of all agencies concerned with health, education, and welfare. They look forward to the establishment of a National De
partment of Welfare which will take over the authority now vested by the President in the Federal Security Administrator.
What do the States want? Since the State governments have the actual contact with the localities and the direct responsibility for human well-being, I should like to present now the opinions of these officials. The American Public Welfare Association requests:
That all welfare programs in which Federal Government participation is had financially be administered by a single agency at the local, State, and Federal level, the Federal Government's responsibility to be centered in a single combined public-welfare administration unit.
The State health officials are just as positive in their opposition to multilateral administration of health in the Federal Government.
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officers on October 11, 1945, officially went on record as favoring:
the coordination of all civilia public-health activities in a single department, thereby rendering liaison and cooperation with the several States and Territories the more efficient and effective. This, in turn, would bring about an improvement in general public health work throughout the entire country and enable this department to administer any future legislation pertaining to public health with much greater efficacy.
Both groups of officials point out the waste of time, energy, and money involved in making out more than one budget for Federal departments, and the confusion that results when they are obliged to conform with conflicting regulations of various Federal agencies. Since these State governments are the responsible administrators of health and welfare, it seems essential that their wishes be respected.
I went into that in greater detail before the Labor Committee. I should like to put in the record the testimony I gave last week.
(The testimony referred to is as follows:)
CHILD WELFARE IS BOGGED DOWN ÎN PETTY DETAILS-A RETAIL APPROACH TO A
(Mrs. Eugene Meyer was an opposition witness Thursday at a hearing before a House Labor Subcommittee on the proposed Maternal and Child Welfare Act. The measure would establish an annual $50,000,000 appropriation for increased grants-in-aid for maternal and child health, crippled children and child welfare, under the administration of the United States Children's Bureau. Mrs. Meyer contended that this was the wrong approach to the problem. Following is the text of her testimony :)
Everyone who knows how dilatory we have been throughout a total war in the protection of childhood, is agreed that maternal health and child-welfare facilities must be expanded as soon as possible through Federal aid to the States.
The objectives of this bill, H. R. 3922, the Maternal and Child Welfare Act, are desirable, and the amounts asked are modest in relation to the actual needs of the country's neglected mothers and children. This is the first major expansion of the over-all national health and welfare program. Therefore it is all the more necessary to view it in connection with the provisions contemplated by the President's reorganization plan and other pending welfare legislation.
The bill under consideration before your committee H. R. 3922, the Maternal and Child Welfare Act-recommends that the grants-in-aid for maternal and child health, crippled children, and child welfare, now administered by the Children's Bureau, should be increased, and the activities and services expanded.
But the President has recently issued an Executive order recommending the reorganization of all health and welfare activities, a step of the most far-reaching importance, which all Federal agencies, including the Children's Bureau, have approved.
Under this reorganization plan the three health and welfare programs now administered by the Children's Bureau-maternal and child health, crippled children, and child welfare-"are transferred to the Federal Security Adminis