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Republicans Recycle Sludge From 1935

Charles Eaton (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Those old Republicans, and their rich friends who brought on the Great Depression, hated the ideas of the New Deal with a bloody passion, and they said so. Apparently, a certain kind of political speech is in their gene pool. Here is Congressman Harold Knutson of Minnesota in 1935, railing against the Social Security Act:

Mr. PERKINS. How is this so-called “9 percent on the pay roll” figured? I have not quite understood that.
Mr. KNUTSON. The gentleman should not ask a member of the committee too many embarrassing questions because there is not a man on the committee that really understands this bill. It was drawn by members of the “brain trust,” many of whom, probably, had never earned a dollar in their lives and they are not earning anything now–theorists, college professors, young whippersnappers, some of them not dry behind the ears. [Laughter.]

Mr. KNUTSON. Well, they are given here in the report. They are a lot of college professors [Interruption]
Mr. McGROARTY. I refuse to talk to college professors. Give me the names of some practical people. [Laughter.]
Mr. KNUTSON. Well, go down and talk to William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor. He is a good, level-headed man.
Mr. FITZPATRICK. Mr. Chairman. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. FITZPATRICK. What is the gentleman’s plan to take care of the unemployment in this country?
Mr. KNUTSON. What is my plan?
Mr. KNUTSON. Reassure Industry.
Mr. KNUTSON. By removing all the uncertainty that you folks have created. Let us assure Industry and we will end unemployment in a short time.
Mr. FITZPATRICK. You had the opportunity from 1929 to 1933 and you did not remove it under the previous administration but increased it.
Mr. KNUTSON. As I have told you on previous occasions, this depression is due to the war–the war that you folks promised to keep us out of. [Laughter and applause.]
Mr. FITZPATRICK. Why did you not cure the situation in 4 years?
Mr. KNUTSON. Because during the last 2 years of Mr. Hoover’s administration we had a Democratic House and you folks were determined that there should be no recovery until after the election of 1932.

1935 Congressional Record at 5541. And here is Congressman Charles Eaton of New Jersey, doing his best Savonarola impression:

There is nothing wrong with America except that the people have gone wrong morally. … While adversity has never yet been able to destroy us, with prosperity we plunged into a condition of extravagance, self-indulgence, materialism, and bye and bye wild speculation which carried us like the swine in the scriptures over the precipice, and now we are wallowing in the gloom of a great moral and intellectual collapse, and nobody can reasonably expect to see any permanent relief or solution of our problems until the people themselves, from center to circumference in this country, have acquired the practice and power once more of sound moral judgment….

Mr. Chairman, I think we stand today in this country at the crossroads of a great decision which transcends all parties, all sections and all interests; and this decision is whether we are going to choose American organized industry as the instrument for the solution of these tremendous, far-reaching problems, or whether we are going to resort to some modified form of Russianism and attempt to solve these problems by government. … [Congressman O’Connor of New York] made some statement to the effect that political parties were responsible for depressions and for recovery. If we ever get out of this, no political party will do it, especially no Democratic Party, because we have none any more. …You have been acting as the representatives, the tools, of a non-American institution known as the new deal…. And the ultimate aim of the new deal is to place all American industry, business, and individual liberties under the control of Government here in Washington.

Mr. Chairman, the first thing we would do, or will do, when we come in power next year, is to take an ax and chop out the upas tree* of bureaucracy which has been overlaid on the industry of the Nation by the new deal to an extent never equaled in its history.

Id. at 5580-1

As to Social Security? If we don’t do something, the dreams of Congressmen Knutson and Eaton will come to pass, thanks to Republicans, still frothing at the mouth, with the craven assent of a Democratic Party that is in fact no longer democratic.

*Upas-tree or Poison-tree of Macassar. Applied to anything baneful or of evil influence.

Here’s a link; it’s worth a look.

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