"Inherited Budget" One of the ridiculous things about our constitution is that the outgoing President has to give a State of the Union Address and present a budget, which then binds the new Administration for a year. The new budget forecasts a $10 billion deficit, which gives Republicans a whole year to talk about tax cuts versus budget cuts, or budget cuts and tax cuts adding up to a balanced budget, before having to deliver on the miracle. Better than 1946, anyway! The Economist then offers a bizarre draft inaugural speech to Eisenhower stitched together with one commonplace after another from earlier inaugurals. Why am I paying for this?
The Economist, 24 January 1953
Westminster is calmer these days, which is good. Bread is being decontrolled and the national loaf with 80% extraction rate is losing its subsidy advantage, so bread will get whiter. A White Paper on leasehold reform proposes very worthy changes. General Naguib's police arrested a number of his political enemies in the Communist Party, army and the Wafd party on the night of the 16th, ahead of national celebrations ahead of the anniversary of the Cairo riots on the 26th. The Mossadegh government has won a major parliamentary vote and is celebrating by exporting another tankerload of oil that RIGHTFULLY BELONGS TO ANGLO-IRANIAN and terrible things will happen because of it, and certainly not British piracy, which is not what happened to the Mary Rose, just you ask the Supreme Court of the British crown colony of Aden, more objective than which you cannot ask for. It turns out that some Germans did get upset when British authorities arrested a bunch of politicians for no better reason than that they were allegedly still Nazis. Fortunately, they were still Nazis, and while the political parties they were infiltrating are embarrassed, the trade unions are upset, too. So it will probably blow over. People are talking about bringing flogging back. The Economist points out, again, that it is a terrible idea. A bill to allow sport on Sunday, on the other hand, is a good idea, no matter what the Lord's Day Observance Society says. The National Dock Labour Board is making another attempt to encourage up to 10,000 dockers (an eighth of the total work force) to get out of the pool, where they receive £4 8s when not working. The record volume of 1951 is not coming back, but on the other hand there is not much work on Merseyside for unskilled former dockers. The French are trying to find some compromise that will let them keep their army (particularly for North African service) and still have some kind of "European" army that will include the Germans. Having reached the end of the two years allotted for winding down the Groundnuts Scheme. It was hoped that mechanised farming would be going on around Kongwa in southern Tanzania and the whole Scheme shut down. That hasn't happened, more money and time is needed, and Conservative members will have to be convinced that it isn't throwing good money after bad. The Economist really enjoyed "The Structure of Industry and the Technical Revolution," in Planning 19 (Number 350), and hopes that some researchers are given some money for a big, statistical survey that will get to the bottom of why sometimes technical changes lead to a few big firms dominating an industry, and why sometimes it is the other way around. Ceylon is in trouble for offering to trade rubber for rice, just because it needs rice and China needs rubber. Professor Bernal answered President Truman's comment about Lenin being a "pre-atomic man" by suggesting that Lenin understood the economic implications of atomic power long before capitalists thought of it. That is very embarrassing for Bernal and Communism. The new survey on household spending will be distributed to households next week.
|Like the grandson of the 1st Earl of Sandwich|
The Private Papers of Senator Vandenberg leads off the column. It turns out that the Senator was a sex maniac and a dope fiend, and was in the pocket of Big Mustache Wax while acting as a deep cover Communist agent for the Nazis. Or he was the middleman explaining bipartisan foreign policy to his fellow Midwest Republicans, but I prefer my version. Edward Hughes' North Country Life in the Eighteenth Century: The North-East, 1700--1750 gets the subtitle "Lords of Coal." Fascinating considering that the Founder's father was a lord of coal, while the Founder came out of the colliers. Although Hughes looks further north than Yorkshire to County Durham and, sees the "coal lords" as upstarts replacing a decadent Catholic gentry. And there are too many quotes. Former President of the Rockefeller Foundation, Raymond Fosdick, explains that in 1908, Frederick T. Gates, who was a colleague and a Baptist minister, told John Rockefeller that now he was enormously rich, he had to do nice things for everyone on Earth, and so he founded the Rockefeller Foundation, which has been doing that ever since, as detailed in Fosdick's The Story of the Rockefeller Foundation. David Stafford Clark's Psychiatry Today is an excellent summary of psychiatry and what it can and cannot do for you, except for the part where he agrees with Freudian psychoanalysis but disagrees with Freud's view of God, which seems unscientific to The Economist, which broadly implies that it should be the other way around. There's not much to say about the new edition of Chamber's Twentieth Century Dictionary or the 1952 Statistical Year Book, which are both very worthy references.
"Citizen Truman" Truman's departure has been anticlimactic --the magazine even refers to "undoubted pathos." His last interview as President was typically contentious, and, for his critics, even typically mendacious, as he denied that the Soviets have an atomic bomb. The latest version of a Bill to give ex-presidents a pension doesn't seem like it would pass, which is unfortunate since Truman would rather give speeches to schools and colleges than take a job, and wants an additional $1.5 million for a presidential library in St. Louis. On the other hand, his flurry of last minute initiatives are a good foundation for a future Democratic campaign. Speaking of last minute action, it looks like the constitutional amendment banning poll taxes and property qualifications for voting is going to go through, now that the committee is headed by Senator Langer and not McCarran. The Southern anti-civil rights bloc seems to have written the poll tax off as a lost cause, anyway. The rules for President Eisenhower's press conferences are in the works, and we get some idea of what they will be. The Economist points out that they have become a pretty important part of the way that American government actually works, so that's good.