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and that those homes come under different valuations and are used for different kinds of families.
These families, at six persons to a home, represent one half of the population of the United States.
In the best period of prosperity, which we are striving to restore by such measures as this bill, the heads of 10,000,000 families bought homes, and now a large majority apparently owe money on those homes.
I will state here as an economist and having made surveys and having been to the different departments of the Government, that there is no such a thing as exact figures as to the number of homes of different classifications, or as to the percentages of homes occupied by one, two, and three families, as to the values, the amount of mortgages on each class of homes, or the relation of the value of the homes to the amount of the mortgages. I have found that each organization that supplies figures supplies a different kind of figure.
The importance of accuracy in statistics in such a vital subject is self-evident. It is vital.
Therefore, that is one of the purposes that I will mention where the bill can be improved. I suggest an amendment to provide a
coordinator " in this bill to obtain accurate statistics and make such information available to the United States Government hereafter, and to the Nation generally. However, I mention this only in passing at this time. I shall submit a written amendment to the consideration of the committee to provide for a coordinator."
Now we have, then, distributed over 42 States comprising 3,072 counties and 10,598 municipalities, a population of 123 million, with roughly 30 million homes, of which ten million three hundred and some thousand, are apparently owned by individual owners or by two or more families, or have been leased; somebody else has them, perhaps under a mortgage, perhaps by contract, perhaps because it was convenient to the owners to let somebody else occupy them.
They involve, apparently, $20,000,000,000 in mortgages with from 6 to 10 percent interest, taxes, and charges. Nobody knows exactly what it is. No one knows whether the $2,000,000,000 provided by this bill would cover the interest and charges due or overdue. I can state I have had 3 years of trying to find out, and nobody has been able yet to produce such figures.
I will add further that I have sought such statistics from the different Government departments and from different public and private organizations and that I went, for instance, for the first time to the United States Treasury to make an analysis of the income tax returns of the different years from 1914 to 1932
Senator COUZENS (interposing). You testified once before.
Mr. WOODHOUSE. Yes. I testified to finding that I discovered a discrepancy of over $400,000,000,000 per year in the national income. But I did not testify as to what I found about homes
Senator Couzens. What have you got to say about the bill?
Mr. WOODHOUSE. I am familiar with the bill. I have studied its purpose, its mechanics, its possible benefits, its shortcomings. I
have tried to figure out whether the home owner will benefit or lose from the bill.
Senator TOWNSEND. Is it workable ?
Mr. WOODHOUSE. It is workable, with amendments, and it is a worthy purpose at this time. But basic amendments are necessary, as I shall show. I will go back to the figures. Out of the 48,000,000 gainfully employed of 1929 and their dependents you now have probably 10,000,000 destitute and starving, and you have about 20,000,000 who are partly employed on such a small income as to be reduced to bare necessities. Lack of food is added to the danger of losing their homes.
Senator TOWNSEND. What amendments do you suggest ?
is intended to safeguard against plunging the home owners into a loss of $10,000,000,000 from reduction of their investments and savings. It is to make available to the home owners and to the holders of mortgages and to the 48 States, 3,072 counties, and 16,508 municipalities, means with which money may be available, which will benefit those home owners and their communities and the Nation as a whole. In other words, with which people may have something to meet their obligations if the other provisions of this bill work adversely.
I propose to do that by an amendment which would read as follows:
The Reconstruction Finance Corporation is authorized and empowered to make available out of the funds of the Corporation to each State an amount equal to not more than $20 for each individual residing in such State as shown by the report of the census of the United States of 1930, and to each county, municipality, and other political subdivision of each State an amount equal to not more than $20 for each individual residing in such county, municipality, or other political subdivision, as shown by the report of the census of the United States of 1930.
I would provide further that that money shall be made available to each State, county, and municipality upon their application by their executive authority made to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation upon their own credit, the credit of those States, counties, and municipalities borrowing, without their showing that they are in distress otherwise.
I would not require them to show that they cannot raise their funds otherwise, because that involves a great deal of investigation, which is not possible under the present pressure from the distress of over 10,000,000 men, women, and children who are starving.
I would grant it to them on the same basis that the United States borrows on the credit of these same States, counties, and municipalities when it borrows for any purpose required for the Budget. They have, collectively, assets representing a total national wealth of about $350,000,000,000. Therefore, they will not be borrowing more than a fraction of the amount represented by their resources.
As to that, if you prefer I will just let it go in the record as it is written in the amendment which I submit, and the explanations which I have prepared to show the benefits to be derived.
Senator BULKLEY. Yes. I will have to say, Mr. Woodhouse, that as to witnesses that we have arranged with in advance I have to keep a very strict time.
(The matter submitted by Mr. Woodhouse is as follows:)
AMENDMENT PROPOSED TO THE HOME OWNERS' LOAN ACT BY HENRY WOODHOUSE
The Reconstruction Finance Corporation is authorized and empowered to make available out of the funds of the Corporation to each State an amount equal to not more than $20 for each individual residing in such State as shown by the report of the census of the United States of 1930, and to each county, municipality, and other political subdivision of each State an amcunt equal to not more than $20 for each individual residing in such county, municipality, or other political subdivision, as shown by the report of the census of the United States of 1930.
(a) Each State, county, municipality, and other political subdivision of a State may, from time to time, by its executive authority, make application to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation for an advance under this act on a form supplied by the Reconstruction Finance Corporaticn. Such form shall contain a list of possible work to employ unemployed, prepared by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation of 100 or over suggested purposes (nct inconsistent with subsection (b) of this section) for which sums advanced may be used, in making civic improvements, replacements, and renovations, and each such application shall show the purposes for which sums applied for are intended to be used and the amcunt in each case, but the failure to designate any such use or the amount of the advance to be applied thereto shall not be grounds for denying the application.
(b) Advances shall be made by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation solely on the credit of the State, county, municipality, or other political subdivision, as the case may be, upon the application to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation by the executive authority of the State, county, municipality, or other political subdivision and upon the certification by such executive authority of the agreement of such State, county, municipality or other political subdivision to accept advances made under this act and to repay them according to their terms, the sums applied for, if not in excess of the amount authorized to be advanced under this act, shall be paid to such executive authority cr such agency as such 'executive authority may designate.
(c) Advances shall be made for a period of not more than 20 years, shall bear interest at the rate of not exceeding 4 per centum per annum payable annually, and the principal of the advance shall be payable in installments of not less annually than that proportion of the principal which one bears to the number of years of the term of the advance.
(d) All advances shall be subject to the following conditions:
(1) Sums advanced shall be used for the purpose of making improvements, replacements, and restorations calculated to provide work that will employ needy and distressed people, particularly home owners in distress, and create purchasing power tending to relieve the hardships resulting from unemployment, and from reduction of purchasing power, and no part of the sums advanced shall be used by the borrowing States, counties, and municipalities for the payment of debts, the purchase of securities, or for direct charity or contributions to charity; and
(2) No part of the sums advanced shall be used by the borrowing States, counties, or municipalities for the purchase of materials or articles grown, produced, and manufactured in a foreign country.
(3) The borrowing States, counties, and municipalities shall endeavor to employ, as much as possible, the said funds in giving work to owners of homes and to local industries employing owners of homes and/or their dependents and in any other way that shall tend to carry into effect the national policy expressed in the presidential message dated April 13, 1933, which declares that “ the broad interests of the Nation require that special safeguards should be thrown around home ownership, as a guaranty of social and economic stability and that to protect home owners from inequitable enforced liquidation in a time of general distress, is a proper concern of the Government."
(4) It is the intent of this act that the Reconstruction Finance Corporation shall act speedily upon all applications for advances that may be made under this act, and that such advances shall be promptly made when the application is duly made, on the form supplied by the Corporation, and the amount of the advance requested does not exceed the sum of $20 per capita of the population of the applicant as recorded in the report of the census of the United States for the year 1930, and in the event that the application shall exceed the amount of the advance to which an applicant is entitled, the application shall not be rejected, but the amount of the advance shall be reduced to the amount to which the applicant is entitled at the rate of $20 per capita of the population as recorded in the census of the United States.
CHECK LIST OF BENEFITS AND ADVANTAGES AFFORDED BY THE PLAN TO MAKE LOANS
TO STATES, COUNTIES, AND MUNICIPALITIES UP TO $20 PER CAPITA OF THEIR POPULATION
The proposed plan to make loans to the 48 States, 3,072 counties, and 16,598 municipalities up to $20 per capita of their population has numerous benefits and advantages. The author, Henry Woodhouse, first proposed the plan in 1930, and from the discussions that have resulted has made the following check list:
1. It will rid the Nation, and if followed by other nations may rid the world, of the tragic paradox now existing, heretofore expressed by the author as follows:
“The country is paralyzed by the tragic paradox of industries idle for want of capital while central banks have billions of dollars of idle funds; millions of people in forced idleness when there is work to keep them busy for 10 years to come; millions suffering from want of food, shoes, and clothing and having to deprive themselves of home comforts while food, shoes, and clothing and things that make for home comforts fill idle factories and storehouses; and of the thinking world dreading the possible outcome of employing the idle labor to produce more goods, for which there are no markets, as much as the possible harm that may come to society if the millions are not employed.”
2. It will bring into being an agency that will receive and utilize the funds of the thousands who are willing to lend to the Government for the States, counties, and municipalities, who express their desires somewhat as follows:
“ I would gladly invest part of my income toward lessening unemployment if I could only find an organization or something to which I can contribute part of my income whenever I can spare it, with the assurance that it will not be employed to create some other difficulty by producing additional goods for the competitive market, clogging the avenues of industry and commerce with additional products, for which markets must be found, or creating other objectionable problems."
3. It will enable the Nation to put the unemployed to work at one third of the present cost of the bread line and insure the Nation against repetition of such calamities as being suddenly paralyzed or affected by events that impair confidence by increasing the percentage of working capital in business, which is now so low that over 90 percent of the business is done on credit, which credit is affected when confidence is affected.
4. The plan would undoubtedly have prevented the sudden drop of $50,000,000,000 in the market value of American stocks listed on the stock exchange in the fall and winter of 1929 and would have minimized the causes of the waves of depression that followed, which paralyzed the Nation's industries.
5. It is self-financing and self-extending in accordance with the will of the people of the States, counties, and municipalities, thereby supplying a solution based on the fundamental principle of public determination established by George Washington and those associated with him in the framing of the Constitution of the United States, and will extend in proportion to the desire of the people to participate in it.
6. It improves the national morale by providing permanent antidotes against national concern and collective worry over contingencies, by supplying assurances for the employment of possible surplus labor and utilization of possible surpluses of industries in all of the 48 States, 3,072 counties, and 16,598 municipalities of the United States.
7. It affords a plan that can be adopted and endorsed without fear by every Government official and Member of Congress, irrespective of political parties, and can be participated in by people of all classes, conditions, creeds, political affiliations, anywhere and wherever they may be.
8. The plan provides for benefiting all parts of the United States alike, on the equitable basis of population distribution, affording self-determining means of distribution of the funds according to the judgment of those elected by the people to administer established institutions in the 48 States, 3,072 counties, and 16,598 municipalities of the United States.
9. Will provide a medium for temporary or permanent investment of idle funds affording the assurance to the investor that his funds, made ayailable through the Federal Government, will be employed for the broadest form of national welfare, aiding all the established financial and industrial institutions. 10. It will not disturb existing investments, as the funds are quickly put into circulation, and will return to the banks within from 10 to 30 days after the payments, so that there will never be large sums outstanding.
11. Provides an economic system that may be used henceforth for reducing property and wide economic inequalities and prevent their reoccurrence.
12. Provides funds for State, county, and municipal, civic, and social improvements that have suffered heretofore from inability on the part of States, counties, and municipalities to obtain appropriations or to borrow for such purposes.
13. Provides for utilization of idle resources of the Nation to solve national problems of unemployment.
14. Will increase buying power of all classes throughout the Nation and benefit all industries and professions.
15. Relieves the United States of necessity of resorting to paying dole to the unemployed, as England, Germany, and other countries have been obliged to do to prevent social, economic, and political evils that may arise from allowing millions to face total destitution without actual relief.
16. Provides an elastic institution for taking care of unemployment caused by seasonal depression, industrial readjustments, etc.
17. Supplies a means for people to save themselves from destitution by working.
18. Stimulates national prosperity by placing and keeping capital in circulation geographically and through all the units of economic and social fabric of the United States.
19. It is capable of being extended in volume by public subscriptions, increased Federal appropriations, or by contributions by the States, counties, cities, organizations, corporations, and individuals, either as investments or as donations.
20. The plan is a constructive one, simple and capable of immediate application, since the States, the counties, and the municipalities are duly organized and can act instantly.
21. It is entirely nonpolitical and does not create political preferments or political distinctions.
22. It is operated through established institutions, thereby avoiding objectionable features of widespread bureaucracy, or similar evils arising from abuses of power.
23. It does not add to the evils that have arisen from overstimulating competitive activities, as there will not be any competition except in excelling in beautifying and improving States, counties, and cities, solving social and economic problems and removing vast economic inequalities.
24. While solving problems that perplex classes of people and sections of the country, it avoids the evils of class or sectional legislation.
25. Relieves the established channels of trade and commerce of such obstructions as unemployment, surplus stock in hand, etc., hy putting the unemployed to work and making them consumers of products.
26. It provides self-regulating means for the equitable distribution of the funds throughout the United States.
27. Is free of the objectionable features of pork-barrel measures.
28. Will aid all businesses in every part of the country by creating consumption of commodities and necessities.
29. It avoids the abuses that crop up through arbitrary withdrawing or granting of support to favored sections or friends of officia is in charge of Federal or State officials in charge of administration of funds and awarding of contracts by providing for the widest geographic distribution according to population.
30. Aids in maintaining the high standard of living that has prevailed in the United States.
31. Removes the conditions that have threatened the lowering of the high standard of living.
32. Avoids the possibility of decreasing prices by artificial stimulation of production that would come if the measure provided for the employment of the millions of unemployed in producing goods.
33. Avoids the evil of employing the unemployed in increasing exportable surpluses at a time when the world is burdened by surpluses.
34. It affords the opportunity of concentrating on activities requiring the maximum employment of labor when labor is most plentiful, and to shift to activities requiring minimum amount of labor when it is scarce.