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you want it to take place in the way in which it has taken place in the past, with nobody caring what happens to the people involved, leaving it to take care of itself “automatically”, with starvation and hunger the inevitable result; or do you want to lead it, and have industry be logical about it, and do it in the most efficient way? : * Industry cannot act intelligently unless it knows the facts. The investor does not know whether he should go into this industry or that, and play his part in its expansion, unless he knows what is happening to the various industries in terms of production, in terms of consumption, in terms of employment, and in terms of whether or not the industry is furnishing more and more purchasing power by giving laborers employment, thus enabling them to consume the products of other laborers in other factories. That is essential if we are going to do the job in a proper way. If you are not going to do it in that way, but are going to let it go on as it has before, you will have readjustment at a terrific cost to civilization. The CHAIRMAN. Is it no true that for a hundred years the energies of people not only in the industrial world but in the agricultural world have been directed toward increasing production, and the question of distribution has been practically ignored? In the future, will not the question of distribution become more and more important, because we have overemphasized the productivity of agriculture and industry? Dr. LUBIN. Exactly. The CHAIRMAN. We have devoted nearly all our energies toward increasing production and have not given much consideration to the distribution of the products of the mills and the factories. Dr. LUBIN. Yes; that is true. Mr. FIESINGER. Dr. Warren says we are having less per-capita production, I think, since before the war. What do you have to say about that? Dr. LUBIN. Do you mean per capita in terms of the total population or in terms of those actually working? Mr. FIESINGER. In terms of the total population. Dr. LUBIN. Since before the war? Mr. FIESINGER. Yes. Dr. LUBIN. I would say not. In talking of production, I think of more than physical things, like shoes and coats. If you include services—that is, where the growth has been in the past decade—such as the distribution of gasoline, automobile repair shops, dry-cleaning shops, hotels, and so forth—if you include those services—which are also productive services, then the per-capita production has gone up. Mr. ColMER. I came in late, and it may be you have answered this question already. But what is this census going to cost? Dr. LUBIN. I would rather have the Director of the Census answer that question. I am interested in the unemployment aspect of it. Mr. AUSTIN. The amount is $7,540,000. Mr. ColMER. Is not it a fact that there is unemployment in every line of endeavor? Dr. LUBIN. That is a question I would hesitate to answer dogmatically. There are industries in the United States that are employing today more people than they were in 1926.
Mr. ColMER. Even so, are there not roughly between 10 and 15 million unemployed now? Dr. LUBIN. I would hate to guess, but I would say a little less than 10 million. But my guess is no better than anybody else's. Mr. ColMER. Is it not your guess that there is unemployment in every line of endeavor? Dr. LUBIN. Yes. Mr. ColMER. Then you already know, before you take a census at a cost of seven and a half million dollars, that there is unemployment. So the question is, What are you going to do with it after you find the information? Is not that the question? Dr. LUBIN. There are certain industries where there is unemployment in the sense that there are people who would be glad to go into an industry if you had a job for them. On the other hand, there are industries where they are actually employing more people than they were in 1926. Mr. ColMER. Quite so. But the point I am getting at is this: When you have found these statistics, and you find that these people are unemployed, are you going out to compel or force industries to employ them? Dr. LUBIN. We have had, I think, remarkable success already through the N.R.A. in getting certain industries to take on a given number of people. In the coming months one of the important problems is going to be to find out how many people an industry should be held responsible for. We are coming to some conclusion as to how many people they should be responsible for, and the basis of that is not ours, but the adjustment which will enable them to absorb that number. We cannot assume that we are going to sit by and let these people remain unemployed. We have to assume that we have to do everything we can to stimulate their employment. The problem is: Where would they best fit in? What are they most fitted to do? What is their training? What is their age? And that we do not know. I believe we shall continue to find ways of getting people employed, and one way to do that is in connection with the public-works program. We should determine what kind of public works we want, so we can absorb the largest possible number. Mr. Coj,MER. But assuming we have 10 million unemployed now, without having all the definite statistics, how would this help, if we know that we have 10 million unemployed? Is it not rather a laudable undertaking to undertake to get these people employed now rather than bother about taking a census of them? Dr. LUBIN. But as I say, we will save a lot of time and money if we know who they are and where they are. We shouldn’t just go ahead blindly and try to do this without taking into consideration what the labor supply is like, what it can best be fitted for, and what you can train the workers to do. If you do not do that it will be tremendously wasteful. I believe that the expenditure of $7,500,000 will lead to the saving of many times that amount, if we get the information to formulate the best policy for our program. Mr. FLETCHER. In replying to a question, by the chairman, you indicated in your answer that we have a choice of two propositions, one, chaos, going back to the old system, letting them take care of themselves; and the other scientific social direction. Do you think that we dare leave it to the old method without risking social chaos that might eventually cost more than it would cost to make this investigation and secure this information? Dr. LUBIN. You mean without the information, letting the thing go on, and doing nothing about it? Mr. FLETCHER. Yes. You said we have the choice of one of two propositions, the old method of letting every fellow look out for himself, with the devil taking the last one over the fence. If you attempt that, under the changed conditions of today, which are quite different from previous conditions, so far as the problem confronting the individual is concerned, would we not be inviting a very great social disaster that might cost far more than this whole program is costing us? Would not that be a possibility? Dr. LUBIN. I think it is a possibility; whether it is a probability, I do not know. I would not want to commit myself on that. You know how far the American public would permit their Government to go without doing something about this thing. The evidence of that is the farm strikes and mortgage-foreclosure riots. They prove that the American people will not let the old way go on. They were sick and tired of that way, and they wanted a change. We made a change through various rules, regulations, and laws. Some States provided for moratoria on mortgage foreclosures. There is a bill now pending in Congress making it possible for cities to readjust their finances, because the taxpayers say that there is a limit beyond which they will not go. How far that spirit prevails I do not know, but I think the fact that we have had that sort of thing among the most conservative portion of the population is evidence of the fact that the American people want some change in the planning of industrial activity. I have a lot of faith in the intelligence of American business and American agriculture. I think American business and American agriculture, if given the facts so they will not have to go on blindly but can see what the trends are, will be intelligent enough to solve the situation in a way which will inure to the benefit of all. Mr. DUNN. And it is up to the men who have been elected by the people, to represent the people, to pass legislation to keep a revolution from coming to pass. Dr. LUBIN. Exactly. Mr. KERR. How long have you been connected with the Department of Labor? Dr. LUBIN. Since last July. Mr. KERR. It is a fact, is it not, that there have always been anywhere from 4 to 5 million people in this country unemployed, even when industrial activities were all in full swing. Dr. LUBIN. I should not say it was quite that number. I should say 2,000,000 were always unemployed in the sense that they were casual workers, or workers who had odd jobs. In addition to that, there has been seasonal unemployment, when large numbers of people were employed at a particular season in a particular industry and unemployed in other seasons. I would say 4 million would be large; I would put it closer to 2% million. Mr. FLETCHER. Those figures include the unemployable?
Dr. LUBIN. Yes. Mr. KERR. Of course, that is the case, more or less, but there have always been 4 or 5 million who could be classified, according to your standard of classification, as unemployed? Dr. LUBIN. I would not put the number that high. Mr. DUNN. Would not that include people who are incapacitated, such as the blind and crippled? Mr. KERR. If they would come within the standard of his method of determining who are unemployed. What is your method in the Department of Labor of determining whether a man is an unemployed man or an employed worker? Dr. LUBIN. That is an arbitrary thing. What you attempt to do is to find out whether a man who is out of employment is actually seeking employment. Mr. KERR. Suppose a man has 3 days work in a week; suppose he was employed on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, would you call him unemployed because he did not have a job on Monday and Wednesday? Dr. LUBIN. We list them as partially employed. Mr. KERR. Do you classify them as employed who have partial employment? Dr. LUBIN. Yes. Mr. KERR. What did you mean a while ago when you spoke of there being 10 million unemployed? Did you include those people in the 10 million? Dr. LUBIN. I would say the total actually unemployed. Mr. KERR. And not those classified as partly unemployed? Dr. LUBIN. I want to go on record as saying that I did not say 10 million; I said “less than 10 million.” The CHAIRMAN. We will now hear Mr. Epstein. Will you give your name and occupation, and then make such a statement as you care to present to the committee?
STATEMENT OF RALPH. C. EPSTEIN, REPRESENTING THE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT STATISTICS
Mr. EPSTEIN. My name is Ralph C. Epstein; I am representing the Committee on Government Statistics. Mr. Chairman, in order to save the time of the committee, I have prepared a short statement which I would like to present. The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, you may so proceed. Mr. EPSTEIN. Mr. Chairman, the Committee on Government Statistics is especially interested in the proposed census of unemployment, employment, and occupations for many reasons. One such reason is that the census would afford an opportunity to obtain comprehensive information about the annual earnings of workers as well as data on employment and occupations. One of the biggest gaps in our economic knowledge today is information about the distribution of small incomes derived from labor. We have estimates of total national income (see S.Doc. No. 124, 73d Cong., 2d sess.). We have fairly adequate figures for the distribution of incomes above $2,500 (see statistics of income published annually by the Treasury Department.) But we have almost no information at all about the distribution of earnings among the industrial wage earning population that receives below $2,500 a year. We simply do not know how many persons earn $500 to $750 a year, $750 to $1,000, and so forth, and it is the people with small incomes or none at all who require relief—not those with incomes above $1,000 or $2,500. Such information is vital to Government agencies in planning relief measures, and to the Congress in deciding what appropriations to make therefor. It is valuable to students of the business cycle in arriving at a better understanding of the forces that make for prosperity and depression. It is indispensable to analyses of the mass market for goods of various kinds. Such information, for the entire country and by States and geographic regions, would aid enormously in both State and Federal planning of relief and public-works expenditures over the next few years. I ought to add, Mr. Chairman, two things. The Committee on Government Statistics, which is purely an advisory body to the Secretaries of Commerce, Labor, Agriculture, and the Interior, has not approved this bill, because they have not seen it, but is in sympathy with the objectives which have been discussed here. Mr. DUNN. You say it has not approved it? Mr. EPSTEIN. No; it has not seen Mr. Lozier's bill, so I speak as an individual. In the second place, I have no authority to speak for the Director of the Census. I do not know that the Census Bureau is going to ask questions of the sort I am interested in, but the taking of this census would provide an opportunity at least for the consideration of such earnings data, to be coupled with data on the number of weeks worked. If the census is taken, as has been stated so well by the chairman of this committee and others during the last 2 days, the determination of the character of questions to be asked on the schedule would, of course, be something to be left to the Director of the Census, who will consider all types of useful questions later. Mr. FochT. I would like to ask whether that sort of a census is not now being taken in Pennsylvania. A man was in my house in Pennsylvania not long ago asking a lot of questions in regard to my business. It seems to me there would be enough unemployed that you could use until you got through with it, and then you could find some more, instead of having a big army of these officers running around the country to get this information. Will you answer the question, are you not now making that kind of a census? Mr. EPSTEIN. I do not know. Mr. FochT. They have been doing it up there. Mr. FLETCHER. That is a business census, is it not? Mr. FochT. They are getting the statistics you want, as to who lives in your house, whether they have 10 cents left with which to buy milk, and asking a whole lot of impertinent questions. I am making a statement of fact, and I wanted to know whether you are going to have another bunch of those fellows going around the country. There is a good deal of complaint now about having too many officeholders, and they are Democrats. Mr. DUNN. You say they are Democrats?