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Mr. HUSSEY. Senator Aiken, I cannot discuss the bill in detail. I have not read it thoroughly enough to do so. I read it rather hastily. I am sorry I did not go into it in more detail.
I would question the set-up of the National Advisory Council. I do not recall the exact wording of that provision.
I would like to see it set up on the basis of operating in an advisory capacity rather than in an administrative one.
Senator AIKEN. It would be advisory, except in case of emergency, where it would have authority from the Secretary to deal with various support-price levels.
Mr. HUSSEY. I think the Council has a great deal of merit from the advisory standpoint. I would not be prepared to go further than that; but I want to be sure that we do not, in creating that Council, replace, in effect, the Secretary or the present Department of Agriculture.
We have a great deal of faith and confidence in the Department of Agriculture, as set out, and they have been doing a grand job for agriculture. We do not want to see any more changes than are absolutely necessary.
Senator AIKEN. You do not want to have divided authority there? Mr. HUSSEY. Yes; I do, Senator.
Senator AIKEN. Dr. Case has just suggested that, as the bill is written, any community could, on its own initiative, probably elect a local committee. That, however, is something that we will have to explore.
Mr. HUSSEY. I cannot discuss that very intelligently, except to say that I have been convinced, as a farmer and as a member of the State committees, that our present system is basically sound. I am not so much concerned with what you call it as much as I am with the continued farmer-elected community and county committees. That is basic to me.
The name of AAA is immaterial to me. The CHAIRMAN. That practice has been pretty generally followed in your part of the country; has it not?
Mr. Hussey. Yes. It has not been a matter of politics, but has rather been a matter of carrying out a program in the interests of agriculture by the farmers themselves cooperating with the Federal Government, so far as is desirable, to assure uniformity over the entire country.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you gotten good results ?
Mr. HUSSEY. We certainly have. It has been a grand program. That may be somewhat of a surprise, coming from the State of Maine, but nevertheless we firmly believe in it.
Senator AIKEN. It would be pretty difficult to be partisan in Maine.
The CHAIRMAN. We are very much obliged to you, Mr. Hussey, for a very interesting statement.
Mr. HUSSEY. Thank you, gentlemen.
The CHAIRMAN. We have additional witnesses scheduled for next Monday, starting at 10 o'clock. We will adjourn now until 10 o'clock Monday morning.
(Whereupon, at 12:15 p. m. the subcommittee adjourned, to reconvene at 10 a. m. Monday, April 19, 1948.)
AGRICULTURAL ACT OF 1948
MONDAY, APRIL 19, 1948
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C. The committee met pursuant to adjournment at 10 a. m., in room 324, Senate Office Building, Senator Arthur Capper (chairman) presiding.
Present: Senators Capper (chairman), Aiken, Bushfield, Young, Thye, and Ellender.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
Our witness this morning is Dr. John Black, professor of economics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
STATEMENT OF DR. JOHN BLACK, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS,
HARVARD UNIVERSITY, CAMBRIDGE, MASS. Dr. BLACK. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I have brought along for members of the committee this morning some preliminary material which has been developed by a group working with the agricultural committee of the National Planning Association.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you tell us what the National Planning Association is? Dr. BLACK. It is an organization that has been in existence for about The CHAIRMAN. Where are its headquarters ?
Dr. BLACK. The headquarters are in Washington. Its method of organization is this: It has three subcommittees, one on agriculture, one on labor, and one on business.
The CHAIRMAN. How long has this organization been in existence!
Dr. BLACK. Fifteen years, but in its present form only about 8 years.
These committees work independently of each other on problems, each in its own field. But the essence of their procedure is for all three of them to get together and work out a program upon which they can all agree.
The CHAIRMAN. Are they making some progress?
Dr. BLACK. Very definitely, yes. I expect this Association had as much to do with the congressional Reorganization Act as any other group in this country.
The CHAIRMAN. The Reorganization Act? Dr. BLACK. I am referring to the act which Congress passed to reorganize itself a year or so ago. The reorganization plan that was
adopted in this act was more nearly the plan that was suggested by the National Planning Association than any other one plan.
I want to say that this material that I am presenting today is preliminary material. It takes the form of a review of the various proposals and of the various bills that have been introduced with respect to agriculture, and that are under consideration now, with comments on each, plus a final summary which undertakes to put all these different comments together.
Now it is my idea that it will be worth your while to refer to this material if you become interested in any one of these different proposals. For example, there is discussion in this material of the Senate bill which we are now considering and also of the Hope bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Is the general purpose and the objective of those two bills pretty much along the same lines?
Dr. BLACK. I will present my ideas on that in my discussion following The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Dr. BLACK. This report is entitled “Federal-State Relations in Agriculture” because this is at least half of the problem at the present time. About two-thirds of what I am going to present to you this morning deals with Federal, State, and local relations.
This material of the National Planning Association entitled, “Federal-State Relations and Agriculture,” is for the use of members of the committee and off the record.
It will be revised after consideration by members of the National Planning Association committee on agriculture and a dozen or so others who are reviewing it.
The revised form will be distributed-several hundred copies of itaround the United States to interested persons over the summer.
Although I have been working with the agricultural committee of the National Planning Association on the analysis of all the different legislative proposals for agriculture, my statement today is confined largely to Senate bill 2318. The statement is also my own, no other members of the National Planning Association group having had a chance to review it as yet. A revised statement that has been viewed by the agricultural committee of the National Planning Association will be available within a few weeks.
First, I wish to applaud the Senate Committee on Agriculture for its hard and effective work on a long-range policy and program for agriculture. The bill which it has produced is high credit to its understanding of the problems of agriculture and to the high sincerity of its efforts. If some of my suggestions depart measurably on some points from it, I hope that its members will take them as those of another sincere student whose background and approach to problems differ somewhat from theirs.
I note in reading S. 2318 that it is not intended by itself to be a fullscale agricultural program. The declaration of policy is intended to be full scale, but several of its declared objectives have no implementation provided for them in later sections. Senator Aiken has told me that this implementation was intentionally omitted at this time because the members of your committee did not believe that now was the best time to attempt legislation for some purposes. I am sure that to attempt now to obtain all the legislation that agriculture will need in the next 10 years would be unwise. There is little chance that such legislation can be passed so far in advance of the acute need for it.
Nevertheless, there is one serious danger always present in passing piecemeal legislation. It is that an organization will be set up,
suited to administering this piece of the total agricultural program which is not suited to administering other parts of it that come along later,
and another organization is set up for these others later and we end with the kind of overlapping and conflict that we have now.
It was by this process that the present confusion of conflicting and overlapping jurisdictions in agricultural programs was brought about. The AAA in 1933 set up an organization primarily pointed at crop control and general production adjustment. Then the SCS set up one in 1935 pointed at erosion control. Then in 1936 the AAA broadened out its production adjustment to include conservation. Credit is an important adjunct of production and conservation adjustment, but the 1933 and subsequent FSA legislation made no provision for this connection. By this time the confusion was almost complete.
There is also the danger that any group that deals with a single phase of agricultural program building will not only fail adequately to relate its proposals to the whole program, but will see the whole problem as in large measure solved by a one-phase approach. Some of the legislation now proposed clearly illustrates this danger.
It is important, therefore, to look forward now to the kind of further legislation that will be needed later, and the kind of an organization that will be needed to implement it, and be careful not to set up an organization now that will not serve this purpose. Later on, I shall speak of the kind of organization that is needed for a full-scale program, but perhaps I shall make my point clearer if I say here and now that a program of support prices needs to be accompanied by one for shifting production out of surplus lines. Also a program of distribution of food surpluses to schools and low-income families needs to be tied to one of reducing surplus production. Finally, a program of soil conservation needs to be tied to programs both for preventing and for disposing of surpluses. Now looking at this whole problem from an organization standpoint, surely no one would say that a soilconservation district was a suitable local organization for administering surplus-food distribution, or even to assume responsibility for shifts in production out of surplus lines.
The kind of organization and administration that a really full-scale agricultural program will need is outlined in chapter 21 of a book due from the press any day now, called Future Food and Agriculture Policy. I thought I might get one from the publishers this morning in Senator Aiken's office, but all I got was another copy of the page proof.
The publishers have been promising it for several weeks. The book is only half as large as this because page proof prints are only on one side. The subtitle of this book is, A Program for the Next Ten Years.
The CHAIRMAN. Who is the author of this book!
Dr. BLACK. Black and Kiefer-myself and another person. The subtitle of this book is, A Program for the Next Ten Years. The authors of this book expect that it will take the American people at least 10 years to develop such a program. I fear that we shall have to go through not only a major agricultural depression but a major business depression before we shall understand the full needs for such a program.