This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Gabe Pressman hosts. Congressman Emanuel Celler answers questions about the work of the government and his ideas for changes.
Panelists: Sue MacMahon of Hunter College, Martin Birmingham and Jim Corrigan of Washington Square College, and Fred Goldsweig of Columbia University.
Questions: Assessment of 83rd congress (92%). Public Housing Program. Texas is dominated by the oil magnates. Government regulation of oil profits. Predictions for the Senate's reaction to McCarthyism. Predicts more Democratic wins in this election: considerable discomfort will lead to considerable change. Doesn't think Eisenhower's popularity will keep things from changing. Influence of labor.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71919
Municipal archives id: LT3002
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
Congressman sellers do you think either Congress did a good job how do you think the Democrats will say or in the congressional election what do you think will be the chief issues in the National Congress on what you think will happen in New York state this fall but the answers to these and other questions listen out of a W N Y C campus press conference a transcribed program in which college editors interview persons in the new and here and I'll to introduce his panel of college editors is Gabriel Pressman staff writer for The World Telegram and so. Good afternoon and welcome to another edition of campus press conference our guest this afternoon as representative a man you will sell a Democrat liberal of from. And here to interview Congressman Some are our editors of Cork college newspapers so McMahon of Hunter College Park in Birmingham and Jim Clark in the Washington Square College and friends goals wise of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism Now the first question from Martin Birmingham the Congress is about to get right down into what do you think of the eighty there Congress of Frankly I don't think very much of it and I would give the following reasons I would say the disloyal going to the Republican Eddy's that Congress should reign he that have shown have more on this Republican give away Congress you yielded already national heritage to the big oil companies with a show called Title and. Last year sharpen creation interest rates in an effort to bring about hard money gave the manager millions of dollars to the large banks President Eisenhower a lot of the Atomic Energy Commission against the wishes of the majority of which members and against the wishes of the majority of the members of the body of the Tennessee Valley Authority to give away a twenty five year contract for the part about them to the notorious G G H injection you're told to combine without public notice of public betting. The contract for example entails a loss of many millions to the taxpayer it will lie in the pockets of public utility magnets. The Republican Congress approves of this form of contract this contract must be investigated. The Republican tax bill is a giveaway to big business and stock owners will benefit the dividend and coupon clipping can also reduce taxes off on the average man income taxes only in a minuscule amount but we did we asked for example at the big rate exemptions to married man or to the wife of the family that was denied primarily. The most and the reduction was go to corporations and those who offers ss of stock and for the first time in our history. Allowances are made now very sharp allowances are made by way of reduction of income tax returns and in connection with with income received from dividends on stock and it's interesting to note that only eight percent of the American families own stock ninety two percent of the families do not and six tenths of one percent of the families own eighty percent of all the stuff that's not type relate goes for leave primary goes to the rich it doesn't go to those who earn their income as for example from wages he goes to those who have undermined income namely get it and I would say as I said at the outset the slogan of this Congress should be he that hired shall have no congressman while we're looking at man well while we're thinking of the other ninety two percent what do you think of the public housing program of the a third Congress Well the public housing program of this part Congress is or is it involves a measurable performance either Republican administration and President Eisenhower submitted a ridge or a program for one hundred forty thousand public causing units from. Period of four years thirty five thousand a year but this program was socialized and hedged around with all manner manner of conditions and considerations that if we get five thousand in total we'd be doing a great deal and because of the conditions but almost nontransferable off five thousand for the whole country and to my mind that is a complete failures far as public housing is consigned and the bill really sounds the death knell of public housing and yet we know eight million families still live in homes unfit for human habitation and there are slums in all the binaries that must be cleared and unless there is a real change in the administration's attitude and I don't sense that well bait. As I said before there will be no real program of public housing and that's most I'm going to go with what Congressman you charge that the oil measures taken by the aisle are ministrations were a different giveaway program actually though it is the oil being given away or is it being the right given to the state and the different I think the rights are and nominally given to the stage but unfortunately in some of those states their companies are so powerful that they can almost write their own tickets the SO and trolls and in fact and in effect. Companies are receiving this wonderful heritage or bars that is the island they mineral reserves along the off shore of our land particularly in Texas and California and Louisiana that you know the conditions down checks if you know that whole state is dominated by the other magnums However they will have to pay taxes in Texas eventually will benefit. Only small amounts and I've nowhere near the amount that they would have to pay if the government were in control when that raised the price of oil at the government charged higher taxes. I don't think it should have raised street price or to well of course that's an epic question and it does entail the company don't are not obligated to the government but there's so much I would I don't think that it would have been essential or necessary for their companies up the price but congressman has every government the federal government ever sold our rights to private industry hasn't always been a policy it was not the purpose of the government to sell rights it's that this belongs to the government just like our national parks and our farmers preserves belong to that belong to the government you wouldn't say for example this is the last agreed your land we have for example a farce they had a right to act region should be changed over to private interests with you and that's part of our as I said before our national heritage Mr Carr going to. Take you back to how he and some yesterday i moment ago you said that any more housing and depend upon a change in the mood of the administrations don't you feel like the current housing scandals might make rural congressmen and went directly affected my housing less prone to develop funds to assets that may have that effect I I can't say but I. Know this that the Democratic members of the law house of which I'm a member almost uniformly. Indicate a desire to have a decent an appropriate public college and. I don't think that their attitude would be changed by the show Corwin for those that we get now on to the operation of the Federal Housing Administration. But the money the relations one to the other is all but the Birmingham. Do you think the Democrats won control of the conversation. Well maybe the wish is father to my SO I but I don't believe that damn the lower house and out early will turn and the Democrats will get control for example as it is only a difference in a few votes if you know between the two parties Aloha is presently and there are three I think there are three Republicans opposing each in Virginia Well they're not going to go back. With by convention when Kerry at least two of the Republican seats in New York will carry one in New Jersey and Kerry will probably three or four in California we probably carried to a majority well at that rate we'll have more than a majority I think there and the best known prognosticators about may put it that way well I wouldn't say the crystal ball gazing is but men like Louis bean. Have indicated that there will be a majority of the least twenty five in the Lower House who are Democrats in the Lower House and the on the Democratic side so the Democrats will be in control as to the Senate I don't want to hire the gas now that's going to be a pretty tight race for Congressman don't you think the Republicans have cleaned house in one respect and have taken the fodder from the Democratic I mean ashen and that they've gotten rid of the McCarthy situation pretty well but we don't know whether they've got really not yet the what can use Committee has not yet dared given us its report I saw them feel my bone use a to the Watkins committee and I will and censure Senator McCarthy But what will the Senate do after it gets the recommendation of the Watkins committee will a Apolo Watkins Committee recommendation I don't know I don't think that there will be the end of McCarthy on McCarthyism Well it will do you think the Senate. Fail to act or you just don't know I can't or I can't say at this juncture what the Senate will do you think I'll be going back to day running I hope a day will. Show a poll and the Watkins committee more particularly of that committee censure him he certainly in my book is entitled to be entitled to Condamine censure you think of any action before the election on by I think the responsibility lies with the Republican Party and they will be severely condemned unless they bring in a report before election because a charge will be made that they're trying to skirt around the issue want to wait until after the election I think that would cost him more votes than they would gain from a practical matter there in all of the in all likelihood they would they all or some of the Senate back for action on the Web can judge Committee report before election why do you think the Democrats don't want all the seats in the Lower House. Why because I sort of sniff Democratic victory in the air and I think in view of the issues and I brazen I spoke I'm open about the inception of my remarks that the change will occur I think we have a great deal of unemployment and it is admitted today we have three and a half million of unemployed that doesn't take in probably five hundred thousand or seven hundred fifty thousand more of new people to weather the labor market I have been to the ER station that I run applied is probably above four million Way above for me again well. One million people out of work is is a mighty good barometer of what's going to happen to the party in power when there's not much employment the party in power are usually is placed on the skids. In addition that to their about a hundred and one hundred thirty five what we call slump areas where there's a labor surplus is areas like Scranton Pennsylvania Evansville. Rome Utica Buffalo where there is a roster amount of unemployment and those slump areas. Will recover the get the denizens or the owners of those slump areas will refer will reflect that disapproval of general conditions by voting against the administration part because you've ministration powers always blamed for the bad economic conditions under which the voter labors I think the general economic conditions good all the whole country taking it overall I don't think that is true at all you know your view ask your mother or you are still those are in charge your household and tell you that in general that the cost of living has gone up from the Take own players less than the take home pay as rational cost of living has gone up that creates considerable discomfort and. For that reason I think that term is going to be a considerable change in addition that truly know that the farm income is down about a billion dollars from last year and the farmers are complaining to considerable the glee that degree and a lot of very high level no I don't crawl economy is not a very high level I don't think so you could be near some of the actually tell us that and the best way to judge that is to get the figures as to our. Opera duction. Our economic production is as below for example like which was the economic production of the national output and nineteen forty seven gone back otherways we're not producing as much as we produced I last year or ten years ago although I'm not ten years ago I am one hundred forty seven and that that figure to keep up with national production. And a cage to my mind that there's something wrong with our economy don't you think President Eisenhower's personal popularity might well set this. These conditions that you describe I think if you go I love them I think his back is not broad enough to to be able to withstand all over shocks that are created by these this economic dislocation that we speak of I don't think guys knowledge as popular as he was I think people have to mention you realize that President Eisenhower. Who spent forty Asian in the military is ill suited because of his name change from I say wistfulness to unravel the problems a very intricate process and trick and problems of civil government I think that's more and more made manifest that the president. We rely too much upon those in the lower echelons For example he saw me he approved that direction the age contract despite the fact that it was you know there was no public letting There was no public vetting it was shown the bill of goods by the B. or the budget and he had reliance and faith on the members of the bureau the budget and he accepted it. I think the last to realize you made a grievous blunder in that regard and made many other blunders not true and I have to change his attitude not rely too much on those who are under. Assault by Congress not according to the original charter by Democratic Chairman Mitchell it was because. President Eisenhower was a friend of golfer Bobby Jones and he gave this contract away not on the advice from his a sulk I don't say there aren't making a surcharge in our eyes. I think you'll find that Chairman Mitchell modified that charge. Was one of your objects and it was not public but it's right in the contract was just tailored to fit the decks me H. outfits and there was another combine that were willing to do the job far less it would cost one hundred seventy million dollars to wreck that plant the Tennessee Valley would have done it far cheaper and other complex operations and I said public operation all right but there were others who would who had indicated a willingness to build that plant at a cost far less than a hundred and seven million dollars But remember this contract so by it's for the supplying of power for a period of twenty five years there's a guarantee against losses at the end of the twenty five year period the plant belongs to the sticks in the Age combine I'd like to get I'd like to get a contract like Mark like that myself and show what you've been guaranteed Ganges against any lost in the plant blong belongs to you at the end of the gun drawn that's what that contract involves in the public d