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The CHAIRMAN. He could not go contrary to law. Mr. JACOBSTEIN. Here is a suggestion coming before Congress involving this census taking. We have a $40,000,000 proposition and before we get through with it, including the census of agriculture and distribution it may run up to $50,000,000.
Mr. RANKIN. I do not doubt it. The CHAIRMAN. I think that it is proper to say Mr. JACOBSTEIN (interposing). Suppose that the Director of the Budget says that $30,000,000 is enough. Are you going to drop the census of distribution, and the census of agriculture?
The CHAIRMAN. There is not a word in that bill that would give them authority to do that.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. I am trying to get that information before we attempt to perfect the bill. The time to work on that is before you pass the bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Why? Mr. JACOBSTEIN. So as to know where you are going. I would like to know what the difference is going to be in the cost.
The CHAIRMAN. That is what this statement shows. Mr. RANKIN. You are certainly going to permit us, as an authorized committee in the House, to bring out the information that we want in connection with that bill.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. Suppose that the Director of the Budget should say to the Census Bureau, “Well, we will allow your bureau, for the purpose of taking the census, $30,000,000. Now, you have got to lop something off, Mr. Census Director. What are you going to lop off?” Suppose that he said he was only going to allow the Director of the Census $30,000,000. What are you going to do? What would you suggest? What would you suggest eliminating?
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Jacobstein, do you not think that it probably would be the other way--that the bureau, or the department goes before the Budget fully equipped to answer any questions that are raised by the bureau or the Director of the Budget in regard to the items which they desire to present to the bureau? The Bureau of the Budget does not start in and say, “You have got to cut that $5,000,000.”
Ít is for them to say, "Can you get along with less; and where can you get along with less?" And I think that the department, perhaps, will be able to answer that; furnish that information. Then, if they are not satisfied and do not get what they think they should have, they can request of the Appropriations Committee for it.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. I am interested in everything that they have given here and I would like very much to see all of that stay in. But I think that quite frequently the Budget frightens the other officials of the Government.
Mr. RANKIN. But the House will not get frightened. The House did not get frightened yesterday when it stuck on $600,000 extra without the Budget's advice or consent.
After all, the Budget merely formulates estimates and the House and the Senate and the President are not bound by them. Now, if the Budget should protest againt any part of this expense it would be up to the House and the Senate, the law-making power, to either approve or disapprove the Budget's recommendations, but for us to go to the Budget before we ever bring out a law, or even start out on the theory that the Budget is going to hedge us in here, throw limi
ng of the cbureau andarticularly my
tations around us, that is not my idea as to the authority of the legislative branch at all. Mr. JACOBSTEIN. May I ask a second question, Mr. Chairman? The CHAIRMAN. Certainly.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. How is the Federal Census Bureau organized with reference to taking the State census; to what extent do the States and the Federal Census Bureau cooperate? To what extent does the State of New York, for instance, cooperate with the Government, in taking their own census? You know a number of the States, or a few of the States, particularly my State, take their own census.
Does your bureau and the bureau in our State cooperate in the taking of the census in the State of New York. Some people feel that there is perhaps a duplication of effort that would be involved in that proceeding. Have you considered that at all?
Mr. GOSNELL. No; we have not given any consideration to that, Mr. Jacobstein. Doctor Hill may have.
Doctor Hill. I may say, as Mr. Gosnell says, that that is a problem that has never come before us, but we do at the present time cooperate in the taking of the local census of cities. We make this arrangement with the city, that the city shall pay all expenses for the census and we will send a man there to supervise the census who is paid from our salary roll, but they simply pay for the census, and that is substantially the arrangement. Mr. JACOBSTEIN. How is that handled, Doctor Hill?
Doctor Hill. We send a man there and they take the census under the supervision of the Federal Bureau of the Census.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. Does that pay include all of the expenses, including overhead, what might be considered as overhead?
Doctor HILL. They pay for everything except the supervisor's salary. The representative we send there is on our pay roll and he gets his traveling expenses and his per diem from the city; everything is paid.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. Have you got authority now to cooperate with the State government, or would it be necessary to put that in this bill? We have had a census row in our State recently and out of it has come the constructive suggestion from Governor Smith that it may be advisable to have the Federal Government do all of the census work in our State (New York).
Mr. GOSNELL. We have that authority to cooperate with the States and cities and counties.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. And to make use of your staff for that purpose?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; Mr. Thurston. Mr. THURSTON. Is there any organization among the different States of the Union to have a uniform system of taking the census, so that the data or information collected in certain States will coordinate or be somewhat comparable to the same work in another State?
Doctor HILL. I should say, no; I do not think so.
Mr. THURSTON. Would not that be a good thing for your bureau to take up, and not dominate, but to influence, so as to bring about uniformity among the States?
Doctor HILL. To begin with, only a few States take a State census. Mr. THURSTON. How many States take a State census?
Doctor HILL. There are not very many. In a number of cases they take a rather limited census, such as an enumeration of the population. In some instances they take those through the tax assessors. There are only two or three States, I should say, that take a complete census. Massachusetts and New York, and what other States?
Mr. GOSNELL. Iowa takes an agricultural census.
We made an effort to cooperate with the State of Iowa three or four years ago in taking an agricultural census. They were taking a census the same year that our census was taken and the man in charge of the census came to Washington and discussed the matter, but nothing was ever done toward cooperating with the bureau. • We have worked out a cooperative agreement with some of the States, the laws of which require manufacturing census. Massachusetts is one of the States. They require a manufacturing census every two years, and Massachusetts has entirely dropped the census that coincides with ours.
Mr. Thurston. But, your bureau has adopted the policy of friendly relations, and renders such assistance as you can? Mr. GOSNELL. Yes. We do what we can.
The CHAIRMAN. The chair would like to suggest that these gentlemen are here and have been invited to come and bring these maps, and the chairman has solicited these statements that are here before you and I suggest that we take these and study them, and Mr. Gosnell will be here ready to answer anything in regard to them that we may want to ask him.
If it is the wish of the committee we can proceed with these gentlemen and then resume this informal discussion at some future time. I simply want to get these in the record so that the committee can study them and ascertain just what the situation is.
With that understanding I think that we can hear these other gentlemen.
Mr. GOSNELL. Mr. Chairman, I would like to make one explanation that will only take a minute.
Exhibit C, per capita cost and cost per farm is shown there by States. That is the average rate of compensation for enumerators for the entire State. It may be reduced slightly in urban districts and increased in the rural sections, in order to equalize the pay of the enumerators
The CHAIRMAN. Are you reading from these tabulated statements here? Mr. GOSNELL. Yes. The CHAIRMAN. Have you finished with that? Mr. GOSNELL. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. We will have those in the record so that we can read them when we read the hearings. I do not wish to cut you off, of course.
Mr. Gosnell. No, sir. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF NILS A. OLSEN, ASSISTANT CHIEF, BUREAU OF
AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS, AGRICULTURAL DEPARTMENT, ACCOMPANIED BY JOSEPH A. BECKER, C. L. HARLAN, AND CHARLES E. GAGE, OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Mr. OLSEN. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee The CHAIRMAN. Just give your full name to the reporter. Mr. OLSEN. Nils A. Olsen, assistant chief, Bureau of Agricultural Economics, Agriculture Department.
We appeared before your committee here about a week or two weeks ago and presented a certain amount of data illustrating our views on the whole census question.
We did not complete that testimony, and furthermore there were a good many questions raised which we could not answer at that time because we did not have the data with us. It was also suggested by the chairman of the committee that he would be glad to hear the gentleman who is in charge of our land economics division, and who has been the contact man with the census people for the Department of Agriculture.
Doctor Gray had to leave town, to be gone several days, so I appear again. I have brought with me, however, a number of gentlemen representing our crop and livestock divisions with a view to having them answer any special questions that might arise.
I would like to make it clear that we of the Department of Agriculture are interested in this matter of a census merely because we are required and authorized by Congress to do certain other lines of work and find that the census is absolutely indispensable for that work.
At the last hearing there were some statements made which seemed to minimize the importance of a census of agriculture as against the importance of a population census. And, with the permission of the committee, I would like to present a very brief statement as to why we think that an agricultural census is probably the most important, or one of the most important, documents for agriculture that we have. I think that the committee will agree that it is important.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; I think that we are all agreed that it is important.
Mr. OLSEN. The agricultural census is a veritable mine of information. In the first place it supplies at given intervals an inventory or cross section of our agricultural resources and development. It provides an actual enumeration of such data as contrasted with samples or estimates. It contains basic data on crop acreages, numbers of livestock, land tenure, land values, mortgage debt, animal and mechanical power and equipment, and similar factors which influence the production of food and raw materials, farm sales and expenses, irrigation, and drainage--all of which is exceedingly valuable in providing a cross-sectional picture of agriculture.
In the second place, one census compared with another supplies the best measure of agricultural development and progress. In order that comparisons between census periods may be made, it is of the utmost importance that strict comparability between the censuses be maintained.
In the third place, the agricultural census gives us basic data upon which additional research studies are made by the Department of Agriculture.
The CHAIRMAN. That information is given to you now by the agricultural census?
Mr. OLSEN. By the agricultural census; yes, sir; and particularly the 1925 census, which we have found very much more valuable than any preceding census.
The CHAIRMAN. It was satisfactory for your purposes? Mr. OLSEN. Yes; we were able to get more data and more agricultural information from that census by small geographic divisions than before, all of which made it possible to analyze in detail the data with reference to agriculture in the various sections of the country.
But, perhaps more important than anything else is that it serves as a basis for adequate crop and livestock reports on an annual basis. If the question were one of taking an annual census I presume that we would want an annual census, but as you gentlemen know, the time necessary and the expense required in taking an annual census, make an annual census out of the question. The census assists very materially in making the annual estimates.
The annual crop and livestock estimates of the department are based on comparisons with a previous base year. Farmers report to the department increases or decreases in their acreages, numbers of livestock and production as compared with the base year. It will be readily seen, therefore, that errors in crop acres or numbers of livestock made in the census or base year will be carried forward and exaggerated in the annual estimates of the department. An accurate periodical census is needed to check and control the accuracy of previous annual crop and livestock estimates and to serve as a starting point for new estimates.
The census and the annual crop and livestock estimates are both necessary. The Department of Agriculture must have accurate censuses at stated intervals if it is to make satisfactory annual estimates as required by Congress.
Now the value of the census and the collateral statistics gathered by the several Government departments is very great. In the first place, it serves as a guide to farmers in their production programs. All too often farmers in this country have not had adequate information in regard to competition and markets, both at home and abroad. The result has been periods of overproduction and ruinously low prices to producers alternating with periods of underproduction and excessive prices to consumers.
One of the important functions of the Department of Agriculture is to supply farmers the information which will enable them to adjust their production programs to existing and prospective conditions.
The same data are exceedingly important as a guide to marketing programs. Buyers and sellers need information as to supplies and consumption of farm products as a basis for intelligent action. Cooperative marketing organizations and other marketing agencies require the information for the systematic and effective marketing of crops.
Transportation companies need the information to determine how many cars may be needed to move the crop and where to place them.
Grain mills and elevators, cotton gins, and warehouses base their operations upon this information. Manufacturers need data in the supply of raw material available for their use.
The CHAIRMAN. Where do you get that data; from the census; the Bureau of the Census?