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placing a woman in charge of the development of the Federal programs. If the formulation of this new integrated department is entrusted to a man, the President can readily change the tradition in the future by the appointment of a woman. On the other hand, if the first Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare is a woman, it will establish a dangerous precedent that can be set aside only with difficulty.
The goals we strive for; this is a moment in our national history when we must be courageous, creative, and imaginative. Especially is such courageous and creative imagination essential in the fields of education and welfare for they are concerned with the quality of human existence. We have already lengthened the span of life by 10 or 15 years. We must now devote our administrative, social, and scientific knowledge to improving its quality. If we are going to preserve human life, let it be worth preserving, capable of happiness, of self-expression, and of service to others. The ultimate destiny of any nation is determined by the physical, mental, and moral fibre of its people.
We have no time to lose. I urge that you approve without delay the President's proposals for the modernization of our welfare machinery. The pressure within the country for social progress, for greater equality of opportunity is irresistible. The education which millions of our citizens have gained from their war experiences at home and abroad has set a ferment in motion that will not come to rest unless the hopes aroused in many breasts not merely for security but for a better and richer existence, are recognized as legitimate and given the fulfillment which they deserve. What we Americans do now to satisfy these popular aspirations and to strengthen democracy will determine not only our own future but the future of the world for generations to come.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. You have made a very brilliant presentation. I was interested in your observations about the conditions in the South. It has occurred to me that if the United Nations practiced the same methods with reference to Germany and Japan, we might not have a war over there in another hundred years, because the South was certainly well occupied immediately after the Civil War and for years and years up to the present time, and we have been looked upon as the stepchild of our Nation. What do you think about that policy with reference to Germany and Japan?
Mrs. MEYER. I was thrilled by my journey through the South, Mr. Chairman, the amount of good work that is going on there. The leaders down there recognize their problems and they are making a coordinated attack on it in every State that I was in. But, they lack funds to do the things that they see they must do, and they want to do. For instance, the president of the southern division of the Methodist women, they had called a big conference to handle the problem of the veteran, and she pointed out to me that in Mississippi alone they had gone to the number of 80,000 negro veterans, and at present they have 24 places in their whole State educational system for those negro veterans.
The CHAIRMAN. You, of course, realize that in most Southern States, a larger portion of our tax funds go into education than any other region in the country?
faster thatries down" tilifficulties has
Mrs. MEYER. I said so in this statement, because it is true. They have been heroic about doing it.
The CHAIRMAN. One of our difficulties has been that we do not have enough industries down there to absorb our population that increases faster than any other section of the country. They have to move in the larger urban centers in the North and East.
Mrs. MEYER. One thing I would like to point out about Federal aid to the South. It looks as if it is not a permanent thing. If Federal aid is given to those States so that their boys and girls can grow up with skills for industry and with greater skill in agriculture, the States will become more productive, because the more skilled people you have down there, the more industries will go to those people. Therefore, the States will have a higher income, higher tax rates, and they will be able gradually through getting greater productiveness, to take over more and more of their own educational responsibilities. That is why I consider Federal aid one of the soundest investments that we can make.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course, there are some blessings in an agricultural economy. They usually eat. We do not have the tragedies that follow the shutting down of industries in some of your larger industries.
Mrs. MEYER. They could eat a lot better if they knew how to use their soil.
Mr. GIBSON. Who do you propose to send down there to teach these people?
Mrs. MEYER. You do not need to send anybody down there. You only need to give them a chance to go to it. They know what they want.
Mr, GIBSON. I think they have been doing a pretty good job.
Mr. GIBSON. You consider New York State a progressive State, do you not? Mrs. MEYER. In some respects, and in some respects I do not.
Mr. GIBSON. Let me say something to you that is as true as any statement that has ever been made. I saw more misery, more filth, more poverty and stench in Brooklyn in 1 day than I have ever seen in the South in my life.
Mrs. MEYER. The slums all over our country are a disgrace. They are not necessary. The point I make is this great welfare program does not reach those people. It does not reach them in New York City any more than any place else. It just needs to get to work.
Mr. GIBSON. I think so too.
Mrs. MEYER. Do not think I am criticizing the South. I am so enthusiastic about the South that I want them to help get what they want and then there is a chance to go ahead. As far as the liberalism of the South, I think it is more on the ball, more practical, and also more sincere, if less articulate than any liberal groups in the North.
Mr. Judd. Is that because it has not had much Federal resources from the Government ?
Mrs. MEYER. It is because they have had to work and fight.
Mr. Judd. Precisely. It would not have happened if they had had leadership from the Federal Government.
Mrs. MEYER. You can go just so far with leadership. There comes a point when you need dollars and cents.
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Mr. JUDD. Assistance is one thing and leadership is another. I am utterly opposed to Federal leadership.
Mrs. MEYER. So am I.
Mrs. MEYER. Dynamic leadership in setting standards, in calling the attention of the whole country to the fact that we are backward in our social program. You have got to start people up. You cannot expect them to vote money in Congress unless there is a terrific realization of what is going on in this country. That is what I mean by leadership. If we give welfare and education and health the dignity they should have by being in the Cabinet, the people as a whole respect those functions more. We do not respect education nearly as much as we should, or we would pay our teachers more.
The CHAIRMAN. I have read your statement.
The CHAIRMAN. It would take us 2 years to thrash this matter out. I am just wondering if your suggestions were carried out, every suggestion you made, if we would not run into the danger of becoming . a regimented society like we had in Nazi Germany. They had the best child-welfare program in the world.
Mrs. MEYER. Imposed from above. We have got to have a bill of this sort protecting the independence of the States and the localities in these areas to get ahead of the possibility of centralization, because the needs are there and the people are going to insist that those needs be respected and met, and unlesss we act in such way that in the bill, for instance, that comes up before the Congress about Federal department, unless that bill is so written that the independence of the States and localities is preserved, we are going to get a sudden rush for approval or improvement in the Nation which might lead to centralization. This is an attempt to get ahead of that.
The CHAIRMAN. That is one of the fears I have. I do not know whether or not following all of your suggestions would have the necessary safeguards to protect our system of freedom in this country. I am sure you have made a careful study of the system in Germany. They had a wonderful health program over there.
Mrs. MEYER. They were all imposed from above, especially when Hitler came along. Under the Republic, they did a very good job of decentralization.
The CHAIRMAN. But in a democracy, in order to continue to get the votes, do you not have to give a little more, and a little more and a little more, and finally your so-called bureaucrats, do not they get a little drunk with power and do they not disregard and disrespect the local management ?
Mrs. MEYER. That tendency, I regret to say, always exists. One of the things we have to do is to clarify the Federal-State relationship. The legislation which I mentioned strengthens the role of the State. As a matter of fact, the States are leading the Federal Government in this reorganization. They are hanging behind here in Washington like a drag.
The CHAIRMAN. I recall the WPA days when we had the so-called welfare workers investigating the cases. Well, the more cases you have, the more your salaries are.
Mrs. MEYER. Mr. Chairman, I am not the person to talk to about the WPA. I fought them tooth and nail in the press and on the radio,
and I fought them in my own county. When they came in there, they said what we are going to do with your county is nobody's business. It was a vote-buying thing, WPA, and deliberately decentralized, and one of the worst things that ever happened to this country. WP'A is just the opposite of what we are trying to do here, Mr. Chairman. This is throwing the responsibility out, and the responsibility is there now, but the Federal Government is not helping.
The CHAIRMAN. You could employ in Alabama alone, 200,000 welfare workers and nurses and so forth to carry out a program that some of our people have recommended.
Mrs. MEYER. When it comes to Federal aid, Mr. Chairman, there are definite ways on which it can be computed. For instance, I am not in favor of throwing Federal aid all over this country. I think it should be given according to need. You can have a Commission, for instance, to figure out what is a minimum cost per child in the educational system. Then that same commission can figure what that particular State can do according to its tax situation, and give them the spread between what they can do and what the minimum is.
The CHÀIRMAN. I notice in your statement here that if we can eliminate malnutrition
Mrs. MEYER. We are doing a fairly good job on that.
The CHAIRMAN (continuing). And child care and so forth, we would eliminate the cause of racial intolerances. Germany eliminated many of those things.
Mrs. MEYER. I said we would eliminate racial intolerances if we had a well-organized community in which each person can exercise not only his rights, but his duties, because only when you have good organization can all the people make their contributions to the progress of the community. Why can't we do anything in the District of Columbia? Because there is no set-up by which we can feed our abilities into the total picture, because we have no organization. You need organization for the individual to function.
Mr. GIBSON. Isn't it true there are too many people who overlook their duties?
Mrs. MEYER. I think we are better about that than most any country I know. All the people want is a chance to function.
Mr. GIBSON. Who have they to get the chance from?
Mrs. MEYER. Through good organization in the community, whereby you know your rights and duties. You know what the women say to me when I say, “Why aren't you doing something about these children running around ?" They say, "We don't know where to start."
The CHAIRMAN. You are for the reorganization plan?
Mrs. MEYER. As I said, Mr. Chairman, I do not think we can do any single thing anyway that will first of all stimulate morale of the people more if they saw this thing were even going to happen they would feel the country was going ahead. That is what our people need to feel just now. They need to feel that there is leadership here in Washington. I think the stimulus to morale would be tremendous at once, but point number two, I do think that we could stabilize our social structure more quickly in that way throughout the country than in any other way I can think of. That is why I have worked so hard on this thing for years.
Mr. Judd. I would like to just make this comment. I think you will find in this committee, or in the Congress, very little difference of
opinion with you, if any, as to the need. If there is difference of opinion, it is in most cases as to the best way to handle the need. That is done this way, Doctors may disagree as to whether they should operate this way or use that type of medicine or what procedure. There is the real difference. The question is, you can use short-cuts which produce brilliant immediate results, but which destroy the patient's long-term health in the process. We have got to walk between the two extremes.
Mrs. MEYER. I do not look upon it as a short-cut. I look upon it as a permanent improvement of the administrative machinery of the country.
Mr. JUDD. But the tendency, as you said in your colloquy with the chairman of the Government bureau, is that we have got to do it quickly, whether it is getting the kind of people you want in the Supreme Court so you will not have to go through the normal processes or another one of the short-cuts, it gets immediate results. But sometimes it has some ultimate bad results.
Mrs. MEYER. I just want to make the point again that by assuring the State and the local government in the legislation
Mr. JUDD. There is one place where we have had our most disappointing experience. I am on the Committee on Education where we worked for months getting out the vocational rehabilitation bill. We rewrote it and rewrote it to make sure that the Federal Government could not go in and tell the States how to do it. The language is complete. Nevertheless, it is being done. In my own State of Minnesota, within a few weeks men out of Washington said, “You are not handling this right in Minnesota. You have got to divide the State into nine regions." That is absolutely violation of the bill. Unless we put in a penalty for these executives, I do not think we will get them to obey the law.
Mrs. MEYER. I think the vocational bill, as I remember it, was not carefully written from the administrative point of view. I cannot get into the details of it with you now, because I do not remember the bill sufficiently, but it had loopholes which permitted just that kind of thing. · Mr. Judd. It said that each State had to submit a plan. We laid down in the law certain criteria which the plan had to meet. Once it met those criteria, the Federal agency will accept that plan. As far as the administration of the plan, it had nothing to do with it.
Mrs. MEYER. I remember now why it was weak, because it permitted Washington to cut right across the State government in its functioning, and that is what will always produce bureaucracy. We have one or two examples of it left now.
Mr. Judd. The Federal Government was not supposed to do anything except pay the bill.
Mrs. MEYER. You see, in this measure, we are simply following the structure that now exists, and clarifying it and strengthening it. We are not creating anything new, we are simply making more evident what we have. . Mr. JUDD. Of course, the difficulty is that we have this situation: Whenever the Federal Government pays the bill, under the law it can't do certain things and compel certain attitudes or policies or procedures in the State, during the year for which the appropriation has already been granted, nevertheless, it controls the thinking in the State by