The president is not the only American citizen who had been holding his breath until congress adjouned.
The usual rule that a good congress is no congress never had so many verifying illustrations as it has had since March 4. No one can possibly calculate the profit the country could have taken if congress ha adjourned soon after passing the bill for the reduction of government costs. If, having authorized the billion dolaar reduction in federal expenditures requested by Mr. Roosevelt and, having passed the beer bill, the two assemblies on Capitol hill had been scattered to the four winds the United States might be now much further along to recovery and moving with a freer and quicker stride.
The session, viewed in the close foreground, cannot be interpreted accurately or confidently. Observent citizens know that never before in the history of the republic were so many revolutionary changes made in the American scheme. What the effect of these changes will be upon American law, customs, habits of thought, and social relations cannot now be fully estimated. The people have seen a rush toward state socialism which might have Fascism or communism at the end of the road.
There can be no doubt that the country now has commissars. Although the days of the farm board were ended the government took on Mr. Wallace not as secretary but as commissar of agriculture with a program of price fixing and process taxing that has no precedent or perceivable end. Mr. Wallace is now an impossible figure in American government. Other commissars are in the picture of the American soviet, commissars of industry, of transportation, and of power, the latter emerging out of the misty wastes of the Tennessee valley.
The industrial control act confronts the nation with an uncharted industrial future. It is a strong dosage of the Mussolini precept, and no alarm is quieted because some industrialists find it agreeable. The railroad bill is som more of the same, although many railroad operators are inclined to take it as a release from the evils they know too well, accepting the alternative of possibilities they hope will not be so bad. The railroads represent private enterprise in its last gasp in the government clutch, a desperate illness in which almost any change would be for the better. Even six months ago no citizens interested in public affairs could have been made to believe that by now their federal government would be commited to the guaranty of bank deposits, the licensing of all industry, the acceptance of farm, home, and building mortgages, the rentin of uncultivated farm lands, the taxing of food processing to pay farm subsidies, and have become the general creditor to public and private borrowers, with virtually everything in its control and nearly everybody in its debt.
The legisalation has been bewildering and revolutionary. Whatever offset there may be must be found in the administration of the acts which have overturned American principles and political practices. The people are asked to believe that these departures from every tried and proved method are emergency acts; that when the industrial, social, and political exigencies have been met and dispersed, the country can retrace its steps to its old ideas of government and the place of the individual in it. Such may be the case.
Just at present the American citizen sees that within four months he has been lifted out of one scheme of government and put in another, and he knows that this has been done without a submission of any of the revolutionary changes to his determination and consent. It has just been done. There has not been any red shirt, black shirt, or brown shirt march, but within the processes to which the citizens have been accustomed these strange things have happened.
Whatever has been done and whatever is yet to happen, the country's greatest blessing is that coingress has adjourned and for the present can do no more.