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these buildings give employment to thou- world,” using the midnight hour of a clossands of American workingmen.” “We ing session to rush through an omnibus wish to make these appropriations,” said building bill in time to receive the signaMr. Burnett, "in order that the people in ture of a retiring President. One change the small cities may see something of this dignified assembly has made. As the where their money goes. If you want to measure came from the House, it carried economize why don't you stop building appropriations of $25,000,000; Senators, battleships?”
however, have added so many items of
their own that the finished structure asMONUMENTS OF EXTRAVAGANCE
sails the taxpayers to the extent of Other remarks indicated that Congress, $45,000,000. Most of the items merely in spending these millions, was not really represent “honest graft”; there are a building post offices and court houses at few, however, especially appropriations all; it was really erecting shrines. “This for large departmental buildings in Wasbis the greatest Government on earth to ington and a $3,000,000 appropriation for day,” said Representative Clark, of Flor- a court house site in New York City, that ida, chairman of the House Committee on the service really needs. But the House Public Buildings, who had charge of the “conferees” absolutely refused to admit bill. “This Republic should not occupy the latter item.
the latter item. Congressman Burnett, of the position of tenant anywhere within the Alabama, one of the “conferees," had confines of its great domain. These already secured a $188,000 building for his buildings inculcate a spirit of patriotic own town of Gadsden-a town with a pride which is not measurable in dollars population of 10,000—and had even seand cents. We can unite the affections of cured an extra appropriation for mural the people all over this glorious land in a decorations in the court house-a room closer bond of union by rearing in their where justice will be administered perhaps midst an edifice for the transaction of the three days in the year. But Mr. Burnett public business which, while being useful, vetoed the appropriation for a court house will at the same time remind them of the in New York City, where, as already said, glory, the majesty, and the power of this the Government has to rent space in a great Republic."
skyscraper. Senator Warren, of Wyoming Similarly, Senator George Sutherland, another “conferee,” indorses this attitude. of Utah, who, under the Republican Wyoming, he informs his brother Senators, régime, headed the Senate Committee on is entitled to four new buildings and sites Public Buildings, also believes that money in towns of 700 or 1,000 people, although squandered on architecture is a sure inspir- New York City gets nothing: "Wyoming. ation to patriotism. In defending the Senator Warren informs the Senate, “is, in right of Jasper, a town in Alabama with a acreage, several times as large as New population of 2,509 and postal receipts of York.” And so, although Senator O'Gor$9,303, to a post office costing $107,000, man denounces the whole measure as a Senator Sutherland said: “I think it is a "public plunder bill,” the Senate passes it. little bit important to the Federal Govern- For the final act of this drama the scene ment in a town like this, where it is holding changes to the White House. The Presiits courts, to be represented by a building, dent now becomes a part of this general with a flag flying at the top of it.” Prob- log-rolling scheme. As his signature is ably Mr. Sutherland was not so interested necessary to make the bill a law Mr. Taft. in having the flag flying at Jasper as he in accordance with American legislative was in planting the same emblem over methods, is entitled to a “slice of pork." marble buildings in Richfield, Nephi, Indeed, his power is greater than that of Vernal, Spanish Fork, and Eureka, all any Senator or Congressman-as great as sage-brush towns in Utah which were that of both Houses combined. Mr. Bur
recognized" in the pending measure. nett and Senator Sutherland accept this And so we find the United States Senate
, situation. This is pure Congressional "the greatest deliberative body in the logic. Mr. Taft in a few hours will leave
the White House and become a professor house, although the court holds session at Yale, in New Haven, Conn. New there only two days a year; Anderson, in Haven, the President's future home, de- South Carolina, gets a $70,000 court house, mands a new post office and court house; although court is not held there at all! in fact, to be entirely fair, it sadly needs Indeed, Congress,
Indeed, Congress, over-enthusiastic in one. A previous Congress has set aside the cause of justice, has provided for court $800,000 for this enterprise—a sum large houses in fourteen towns where court has enough to supply all this city's legitimate
. 12 requirements. I tell the rest of the story in
United States post office at Allus, Oklahoma, $82,500. Congressman Burnett's words, from the
United States post office and courthouse at Woodward, Oklahoma, Congressional Record: “President Taft $110,000.
United States post office and other Government offices at Shavngo, stated to us," said Mr. Burnett in a Oklahoma, $125.000
United States post office at Durant, Oklahoma, $80,000. speech to Congress, "that he would stand United States post office at Chandler, Oklahoma, $55,000
United States post office at Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, $80,000. for a bill of a certain size and that he was
United States post office at. Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, $100,000,
United States post office and other Government offices at State Cole interested in a building he would very lege, Pennsylvania, $75,000
United States post office at Pittston, Pennsylvania, $100,000 much like to have us make an appropria
United States post office at Lewistown, Pennsylvania, $75,000
United States post office at Indiana, Pennsylvania, $90,000 tion for, which, as I recollect, we had al- United States post office at Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, $80,000.
United States post office at Berwick, Pennsylvania, $80,000 ready agreed upon, which building was in a United States post office at Franklin, Pennsylvania, $100,000
United States post office at Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, $75,000. city where he was expecting to be professor United States post office at Donora, Pennsylvania, $75,000
United States post office at Olyphant, Pennsylvania, $65,000 in a college.” To which Mr. Austin, of United States post office at Monessen, Pennsylvania, $90,000
United States post office at McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, $80,000 Tennessee, another member of the com- United States post office at Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, $75,000.
United States post office at Sayre, Pennsylvania, $80,000. mittee, added: “I said, 'Let us offer
United States post office and customhouse at Beaufort, South Care
olina, $50,000 him something and get him interested in
United States post office at Clinton, South Carolina, $55,000.
United States post office at Lancaster, South Carolina, $50,000. it and get as large a bill as we can.'” So
United States post office at Bellefourche, South Dakota, $75,000. the New Haven appropriation is increased
United States post office and land office at Chamberlain, Soutb
Dakota, $60,000. from $800,000 to $1,200,000.
United States post office at Franklin, Tennessee, $55,000.
United States post office at Tullahoma, Tennessee, $50,000. This is the American system of appro
United States post office at Athens, Tennessee, $50,000.
United States post office at Dentôn, Texas, $75,000. priations; a more detailed glance at this United States post office at Gallatin, Tennessee, $50,000.
United States post office at Pittsburg, Texas, $55,000. building bill, "the crime of 1913," as it
United States post office at Gilmer, Texas, $55,000.
United States post office at Mount Pleasant, Texas, $55,000. has been called, shows the kind of public United States post office at Honey Grove, Texas, $50,000.
United States post office at Orange, Texas, $60,000. improvement it gives us. This measure United States post office at Commerce, Texas, $50,000.
United States post office at Vernon, Texas, $50,000. itself sets up the standard that should United States post office at Cameron, Texas, $55,000.
United States post office at Comanche, Texas, $50,000. govern the construction of public buildings. United States post office at Eureka, Utah, $50,000.
United States post office and other Government offices at Vernal, It provides that, in future, no town that Utah, $50,000.
United States post office and other Government offices at Spanish does not have postal receipts of $10,000 a Fork, Utah, $50,000.
United States post office at Saint Johnsbury, Vermont, $100,000. ytar shall have a public building. While it United States post office at Farmville, Virginia, $60,000. virtually makes this provision for future
A PAGE FROM THE CRIME OF 1913” bills, the Congress of 1913 blithely ignores
As the Public Buildings Bill for that year has been
That its own standard sixty-two times.
called is, although this act declares that a post office in a town that has less than $10,000 not been held in recent years. Pikeville, of postal receipts is a waste of public Ky., is not legally entitled to have court money, this same act provides for buildings sessions, but that did not prevent Conand sites in sixty-two towns that do not gress from appropriating money to purmeet this requirement. The Congress of chase a court house site there! There are 1913 took all precautions that future bodies 508 cities in the United States that do a should not violate this stipulation-and greater business than $10,000 a year that then goes on and violates it itself. Ken- do not have post office buildings at all. tucky obtained seventeen buildings or These places have to worry along as best sites, in towns only two of which have this they can in rented buildings. When there amount of postal receipts. Georgia ob- are so many towns that, according to the tained ten sites in towns not one of which edict of Congress, are entitled to have post took in $10,000 a year. Marianna, in Flor- offices, but which have to go without, why ida, gets a $70,000 post office and court should Congress provide for sixty-two buildings in places that annually fall below our legislative prophets figure, the post the required mark?
office at Jackson, Ky., will need shelter All these buildings in little towns in- for six employees. A $90,000 building volve an annual loss. Here, for example, for their occupancy is under construction is a town with a population of 1,000, in Gorgeous as these buildings are, the which we put up a $50,000 building. At localities that possess them are not en4 per cent. that involves a fixed charge of tirely uncomplaining. They have wide $2,000 a year. Janitor, light, heating, dark corridors, oak paneling, bronze and other incidentals will cost, say, $1,500 chandeliers, and sometimes mural decoramore. The total fixed charges, making no tions. Not infrequently, however, the allowance for depreciation, will, therefore, custodians call upon Washington for help be $3,500 a year. In such a town the These harassed gentlemen send letters to Government readily rents space at about the Treasury Department asking that $300 a year—an amount that includes fences be built around their buildings to light, heat, and janitor service. We have, keep the cattle out. therefore, exchanged a fixed charge of $300 a year for one of $3,500 and have not
ENVOYS FROM THE “BOOSTER" CLUBS improved the service. A post office ex- The Congressman's activities do not pert who has analyzed the 303 buildings end when he gets an authorization. They and sites provided for in the bill of 1913 only begin. He simply transfers them finds that 250 of them constitute an abso- from the capitol to the Treasury Departlute waste of the public funds. Most ment, which has charge of the construction. people are familiar with these little towns. Congress "authorizes” buildings whose The post office is usually found on one side cost is not to exceed a stipulated amount; of the central store; the service given is the Treasury Department decides how all that the place requires. In many places much it is to spend. Until recently the the post office has no difficulty in renting Secretary has almost invariably spent the quarters at a purely nominal sum. Most full authorization; Mr. Bryon R. Newton, wide-awake business firms would regard however, the present Assistant Secretary, this as an advantage; not so the Congress who has this work immediately in charge of the United States. Apparently it takes has introduced a new idea. This revoluparticular pleasure in raising Uncle Sam's tionary "bureaucrat” regards it as his rent. There is, for example, a small town duty to purchase sites at market price and in Oklahoma known as Chickasha. Our erect buildings as inexpensively as possible rented post office there costs the American This businesslike policy is not popular people just one dollar a year. But Con- with the lawmakers. The pork barre gress has authorized the erection of a build- system really makes Congressmen and ing here for $150,000! In this case we Senators commercial attachés from their exchange a fixed charge of $1 for one of districts-envoys from the local "booster about $10,000. We similarly pay one clubs. If Congress authorizes the Treas dollar a year for a post office in Kalispell, ury Department to construct a building Mont., but our lawmakers have authorized “not to exceed” $100,000, these Congress here a $115,000 marble building. Congress men regard it as their first duty to see that is not only lavish, but foresighted. Not the full amount is expended. The carved finding sufficient justification for its build- oak, bronze fittings, and mural paintings ing enterprises in the present, it is making that so frequently embellish these strucpreparation for the future. It has calcu- tures are the consequence. In one Westlated that Park City, in Utah, will have ern city, the bronze chandeliers were goldfour postal employees hard at work in the plated-merely that the full authorization post office ten years hence-how many it could be used up. And so the supervising has at present is not stated. With wonder- architect's office and Treasury Department ful forehandedness the Government is entertain a constant procession of Reprenow erecting a $23,000 building for their sentatives and Senators. The purchase prospective comfort. Ten years hence, of the site is an all-important point. This
MR. BYRON R. NEWTON
Copyright by Harris & Ewing
CONGRESSMAN KENT Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, who is doing excellent work in curbing extravagance in the
The Progressive member of the House from construction of federal buildings. He angers Con
California. In the 1913 Public Buildings Bill he segressmen by spending much less than the authori- cured a $75,000 building for Willow, a town in Calizations” permit
fornia with a population of 1,139 people is frequently selected on political grounds “There are two factions down there,” -almost invariably so in small places. one Senator frankly says; "one has the
Copyright by Harris & Ewing SENATOR SUTHERLAND Of Utah, who had charge of the 1913 Public Buildings Bill in the Senate. In its waste of the public money this was one of the worst bills ever put through Congress. Vernal, a town in Senator Sutherland's state, with a population of 836, got a $50,000 post office
Copyright by Harris & Ewing
SENATOR SWANSON Of Virginia, a state that has twenty-six federal building projects under way. In most of these places the Government now rents quarters for from $300 to $400 a year. Towns with a population of 1,000 and two or three postal employees are to have buildings costing from $50,000 to $75,000
FEDERAL EXTRAVAGANCE IN NEW HAVEN, CONN. New Haven needed a post office, but it is doubtful whether it needs this $1,200,000 Greek temple built
of pink marble postmaster- I want the other to have this “It's a very close county,” says ansite. It will make better feeling all other; "the welfare of the party de around.”
mands that our new post office be put "I was elected on that site,” another on that corner." Congressman pleads. “Won't you help What the pleaders mean is that certain me out by buying it?"
"influential" people, or factions, control
BIG STONE GAP's "SLICE OF PORK" The population of this little town in Virginia is 2,590, but its court house and post office cost $100,000 Senator Kern characterized the Public Buildings Bill of 1913 as "the boldest and most audacious raid on the Public Treasury that has been attempted in recent years".