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crease the rate disproves any statement made that pressure might have any effect upon our rate-making activities. And the Postmaster General has publicly complimented our committee; because he made this statement concerning the bill; he said:
To enact this legislation would, in a measure, offset the effect of the prompt and able efforts of your committee, which have resulted in having recently passed the House of Representatives the several bills embodying the recommendations of the department to increase the postal revenues in the neighborhood of $15,000,000.
I want to say this in defense of Mr. Buckbee. And I want to say the same thing for Mr. Romjue and Mr. Kelly, who appeared here in behalf of their own bills. I am not personally and selfishly interested in any bill. But those men have worked hard and diligently and unselfishly in our committee; and in justice to them I wanted to make this brief statement.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, Mr. Harlan, if you will be here to-morrow morning, we can give you 10 minutes to conclude your remarks.
Mr. HARLAN. I am at your service, Mr. Chairman.
(Thereupon, at 11.55 o'clock a. m., the committee adjourned until Tuesday, May 24, 1932, at 10.30 o'clock a. m.)
REGULATE THE MANUFACTURE AND SALE OF
TUESDAY, MAY 24, 1932
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON RULES,
Washington, D. C. The committee met at 10.30 o'clock a. m., Hon. Edward W. Pou (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order.
Mr. HARLAN. Mr. Chairman, I understood some additional time was to be given to Mr. Romjue and to me both, in reference to H. R. 8576.
Mr. BANKHEAD. I think I am responsible for these gentlemen being back here. It seemed that they had such a limited time they probably did not have time to complete their statements.
Mr. HARLAN. I believe Mr. Romjue had concluded.
Mr. HARLAN. I had only gotten through one side. Of course, if the committee does not wish to spend any more time on it, it is satisfactory to me. I do not want to take up your time unnecessarily.
The CHAIRMAN. As I say, I think we have both sides.
Mr. HARLAN. There was one side of the picture I had not yet discussed at all. The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed.
STATEMENT OF HON. BYRON B. HARLAN, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OHIO
Mr. HARLAN. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, practically everything had been covered on this side, I think, except a couple of items on which I would like to comment.
Last year there were 20,000,000 letters that went to the dead-letter office out of the mail. That resulted from want of direction, from envelopes that were not up to the standard, that were not properly made, and from out of those 20,000,000 there were only 2,000,000 they were ever able to deliver any place because they could not find the address.
In those letters there was found over $4,000,000 in mony. Of the 20,000,000 letters there was not one of the Government printed and stamped envelopes and not 1 cent of valuable property was lost as a result of it.
It is because of that and because of the Government's requirement as to specifications and strength that this is especially valuable to people using the mail, and I submit this because these other envelope companies do not intend to live up to these specifications if they wish to get this business.
For years all the envelope companies in the United States bid for this business and the lowest bidder gets it, regardless of who he is. That was so for years.
That is changed; since 1900 it has changed twice and different companies have taken it, so the Government is not in this business any more than they are in any other business, where competitive bids are allowed.
It happens that the company now having this business is able to produce an envelop of the standard that the Government requires at a price that the people who are fighting this were unable to meet.
So, when these stamped Government return cards were removed, we assume the same percentage of those applied, but I submit that it would be a higher percentage than the rest of the mail-we assume that the same percentage of 1,640,000,000 would come into the deadletter office that now comes in from the general mail. The increase in the dead-letter office would be that figure.
Here is an item that is worth considering, and I would not speak of it, because it affects my district, but in so far as that balance which is on the other side of the balance sheet is concerned, I think it is worthy of consideration.
If this bill were passed there would be 600 people thrown out of employment, who have an average salary of $1,500 a year, or a total of $900,000, in order to put this money over into somebody else's pocket. These people are employed.
Another item has to do with conditions of labor. The company that employs them-a Senate committee went out two years ago when this was being agitated, and investigated, and found that labor conditions were ideal.
They employ nobody who is not a high-school graduate. Then they have insurance for the employees and they have very few losses on account of accidents. Their machinery is all so well protected that accidents are almost unheard of there. That would be one of the things we would lose.
Now, to balance that we have the picture that the present system does supply some country newspapers and job printers and mailorder houses of business which would amount to thousands in one year. But that money is not being made by anybody; it is just being taken out of the missionary societies and ministers and colleges and schools that are trying to get along. It is not an expenditure of any money; it is just taking it out of one person's pocket and putting it into another's. That is all there is to that.
It also deprives the envelope concerns fighting this bill--these printers who are speaking about this are just the mouthpieces for this organization, gentlemen. The people who manufacture the envelopes are the ones who are financing it. Their own magazineand I have some copies of it-shows where they are raising the money to agitate this, and as they said in one of their articles, this is just an entering wedge to knock out all the Government envelopes, not only the corner-card printed envelopes.
They desire to sell to the public an inferior envelope at an increased price, and what that would amount to, I do not know.
In addition to that, we would lose the time of the post office in selling small quantities of stamps.
Mr. BANKHEAD. You are skipping one item.
Mr. HARLAN. I just wanted to show what we are getting by this bill.
There are the time and property losses in the mail from envelopes coming apart, and the difficulty when you can not read the address; if the return is printed there they can always send it back to the sender. There is also the difficulty of procurement.
These envelopes are procured in lumber camps, back in little villages and in places where they have no printing establishments at all, and in little places miles away, on ranches in the West.
That was the basis of my contention that a higher percentage of these envelopes would go into the mail with no return printed on them, and also through general business.
What the balance, which is what the envelope printed with the corner card gives, would come to, and what it takes away in order to balance it, is what you get.
The main basis of that is to get the Government out of business. There are many things that the Government does in handling the mail, that it does in order to get the mail through, in order to keep the department efficient, that has to go into a little bit of the commercial line to carry it through.
For example, we send mail money orders in competition with express money orders, and in connection with the fourth-class mail we deliver all packages of mail.
The mail money order is very convenient in some places, when a man orders something in some small place, where they may not have checking accounts or an express company's office. There we have the money orders.
The Government also insures packages. All of that is designed to make our mails serve the people; that is what it is for.
I have noticed that whenever some crowd wants to get access to the finances of some other group that are indefensible, and the Government is standing in between, then the cry goes up to get the Government out of business.
A great many people who have been in favor of this bill have voted for the operation of Muscle Shoals by the Government.
I have not got the records in reference to the operation of barges on the Mississippi River, but certainly, if we are justified-I am not saying anything about one side or the other of that question; but if a man would vote in favor of the operation of Muscle Shoals on the one hand and then criticize this proposition for having the Gov. ernment in business on the other, it seems to me that sort of lacks sincerity.
The President of the United States has openly disavowed this project. As I said in the statement the other day, every Postmaster General from 1874 down, before whom this matter has been brought, has opposed the relinquishing of this proposition.
The fact of the matter is the United States Government began to print these in 1853. There was no law at that time authorizing the Government to do that, and the law was passed in 1865, and