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Doctor HILL. We only get the mortgage debt on the farm that is owned and operated by the same man. It must be admitted that we do not get the mortgage debt on tenant farms; we do not try to do it.
Mr. THURSTON. But if there was cooperation with the local record office, this data could be supplied in fairly accurate form?
Doctor Hill. I do not know whether that could be done or not. Mr. AUSTIN. The census definition of a farmer is a man who operates and actually works the farm, rather than one who works on his own farm, with or without hired help. Now, we call a man a full owner who owns and operates his farm himself.
Mr. THURSTON. Who has title to it and operates it?
Mr. AUSTIN. Now, the different classes of tenants we report as farmers, because they are operating the farm.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. But on those operated farms you do not get the full indebtedness?
Mr. AUSTIN. Unless a man owns and operates his own farm, we do not get that.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. When the farms are operated but not by the operators, you do not have accurate information in the census.
Mr. AUSTIN. We do, with the exception of farm mortgages.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. That is what I mean. In trying to get a picture of this farm organization in the United States, we can not use the census data, inasmuch as it relates exclusively to tenant operated farms?
Mr. Austin. The tenant himself does not know anything about the mortgage on the farm.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. I am trying to show you how incomplete our data is on agriculture.
Mr. SELVIG. Could you not do this? If he refused to let it be known what was the amount of his indebtedness, would you not be able to arrive at a plan whereby some paper with the inquiries on it could be left with the farmer, to be sent by the farmer direct to the Director of the Census, so that that information would be confined to himself and the Director of the Census. Could you not do that? Mr. AUSTIN. Perhaps that could be done.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you use the offices of record for the purpose of ascertaining those mortgages?
Mr. AUSTIN. We do not, because that is a matter of considerable cost; and because if you want to get a record of the mortgages in the county clerk's offices, that would have to be done through special agents and canvassers, men sent directly to those offices.
The CHAIRMAN. Would it not be a complete census of those mortgages or loans if you did get a record in that way?
Mr. AUSTIN. It would have to be a record of mortgage loans. That would be more nearly a complete census.
The CHAIRMAN. It seems to me that would be a complete census. If I go to the county clerk's office I can ascertain the amount of mortgages on that property as a matter of course.
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Mr. JACOBSTEIN. It seems to me that that data should be included in the census.
Mr. THURSTON. To supplement what Mr. Jacobstein has said, I will say that some 30 or 40 per cent of the farms which are occupied are occupied by tenants; so that probably 50 or 60 per cent of the replies could be informative.
The CHAIRMAN. I know a man in Connecticut who owns a large farm in Kansas, 30,000 acres, or something of that kind; and it is divided up, I presume, into various small farms which he leases. He may have mortgages on that property, or he may not; but we will assume that he has. Now, it would be difficult for the census to find out—those tenants do not know anything about the mortgages on that property and could not tell the census about that. But if there is a mortgage on any part of that property, it is recorded in the county clerk's office in the county in which the property is located. Now, the census enumerator or the special agent in Kansas making inquiry of these tenants or these lessees could not ascertain what the burden or encumbrance was upon that particular property; and they could not very well hunt up the man in Connecticut and ask him about the farm in Kansas, because they know nothing about him.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. Why is it not possible to get the actual owner of every farm in the United States, regardless of who is operating his farm, whether he is living in California or in Florida and his farm is located in Kansas or Connecticut? You have got the owner's name and address; and you can make him fill out the schedule so that you would get the land value and the amount of his indebtedness on every farm in the United States, regardless of who is operating it. Now, that is the information that we ought to have. I think agriculture has been more depressed than we realize, and that the picture is incomplete because of the lack of information on that very question.
Mr. AUSTIN. Here is the difficulty about that: In taking the census, every schedule has a blank for name and address of the owner of the farm. Now, we do not get those schedules here in the Census Bureau until the canvass is completed, because the enumerator sends them to his supervisor and the supervisor goes over them and checks them up and any corrections are made in the field before they get to the Washington office. And when they get to us, it is a question of correspondence with various supervisors scattered throughout the United States. I do not believe we could get over 50 per cent of replies of that kind.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. Well, if you could get 50 per cent I think it might be of some value.
Mr. AUSTIN. If that was done, my opinion would be that it would pay to make a special agent canvass through the county clerk's office, or wherever the mortgages are filed.
Mr. DE ROUEN. Well, the Federal land bank could certainly furnish this data on the investments made in the various districts; and the New York Life Insurance Co., the Prudential Assurance Co., and corporations of that kind I believe would not hesitate to furnish the information.
Mr. AUSTIN. I do not know whether you would cover the mortgage question even if you were to get that information.
Mr. DE ROUEN. You would not so far as the small loans made by private individuals are concerned. But you could get that through individuals or from local sources; and then by adding that to the other you could get the total indebtedness of the farms of the United States. I think we should make an effort to get somewhere near the exact indebtedness of the farmers. And by that system I think you could come very near doing it. I believe the large corporations would be in favor of it, because, to a certain degree, they are worried themselves in making those investments.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. I think the Census Bureau would be subjected to criticism at this time if they did not themselves recommend a system, and then let this committee or Congress reject it if it involves too much expense. But agriculture is now in a critical position. And I think the Census Bureau should consider a plan for gathering statistics showing land values and amount of indebtedness in the United States.
Mr. AUSTIN. We have figures. as to land values. Mr. JACOBSTEIN. But you do not have as to land indebtedness? The CHAIRMAN. Would you have that incorporated in this bill? Mr. JACOBSTEIN. Yes. Mr. AUSTIN. Yes; but if that is to be done, we should consult the county records in the various counties.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. But your office ought to present a plan and present it to us.
Mrs. Kahn. I would like to ask whether you have the last say in regard to these schedules?
Mr. AUSTIN. Yes, we have the final say-so. Mrs. Kain. You have not only the final say, but you have the entire handling of it?
Mr. AUSTIN. Not the entire handling, but we have the final determination; because the schedule is made up when we get it.
Doctor HILL. Theoretically, we have a free hand; but practically we do not have a free hand. The schedules have come to be largely standardized and we would not take the responsibility of making any radical changes.
Mrs. KAHN. But whether you add to or subtract items from them is really in your discretion?
Doctor HILL. Practically.
Mr. MOORMAN. While these gentlemen from the Census Bureau are here, and reverting to what the gentleman from New York said about the importance of ascertaining the status of the farmers, I just want to add this: That I live in a rural community and am a member of the credit committee of a country bank.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Mr. MOORMAN. And I know the condition of the people of my community; and I know that it is very much worse than anybody on the outside realizes; and I believe that the suggestion made by the gentleman from New York, and acquiesced in by several other members of the committee that are interested in agriculture, is vitally important; and I am interested to know if there will be an effort made to furnish the particular data suggested.
Mr. SELVIG. Mr. Chairman, I wish to add my indorsement to what the gentleman has just said.
Doctor Hill. I am very much impressed with the importance of that subject. It is only a question of what is the best means of doing it. Now, I do not believe it can be done very well directly through the census. I do not believe it can be done very well while the enumerator is making his canvass.
Mr. JACOBSTEIN. Perhaps not.
Doctor Hill. And just how it should be done I am not prepared to say at this time. Perhaps the Department of Agriculture could do it better than we could.
Mr. DE ROUEN. Well, we would like to have you think it over.
Mr. RANKIN. Mr. Chairman, I would prefer to have the Census Bureau do it.
Mr. MOORMAN. Yes, I think the Census Bureau should do it. Mr. RANKIN. Because this bureau seems to be more efficient in furnishing statistics than the Department of Agriculture in regard to crops.
The CHAIRMAN. As a matter of fact, the bill in regard to that got out of this committee, and got over to the Committee on Agriculture-I am referring to the matter of cotton estimates.
Mr. RANKIN. Yes.
Mr. MOORMAN. Mr. Chairman, to the end that those of us who are specially interested in this matter
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). Well, every one of us is interested in it.
Mr. MOORMAN. Well, I say especially so. I am asking for myself and perhaps the other members would like the same thing; I would like to have copies of those two schedules in order to study them. Mr. RANKIN. Suppose you mail copies to us, Doctor Hill? The CHAIRMAN. To each member of the committee. Doctor HILL. I shall be very glad to do that. Mr. JACOBSTEIN. May I ask, Mr. Chairman, that before we have our next committee meeting some one of these experts be prepared to tell us to what extent the Federal Census of 1930 is going to be comparable to the State censuses that have been taken, so that comparisons may be made? That is one question. And then, to what extent the Federal Census of 1930 can be made an ideal census, to supersed'e the State censuses. Now, Governor Smith, of my State, has advocated that we take no more State censuses. And I would like to have these experts give us information on those two questions.
The CHAIRMAN. I think they will be glad to give us the information in full.
(Thereupon, at 12 o'clock noon, the committee adjourned until Tuesday, January 17, 1928, at 10.30 o'clock a. m.)
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
January 17, 1928. The committee this day met at 10.30 o'clock a. m., Hon. E. Hart Fenn (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. We will proceed now, gentlemen. We have representatives of the Civil Service Commission here who desire to speak. STATEMENTS OF FREDERICK W. BROWN AND HERBERT E.
MORGAN, UNITED STATES CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION
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Mr. Brown. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I will call your attention to page 3, lines 11 to 18.
The commission has asked for an opportunity to present its views to the committee, and that was very graciously granted.
On this provision for special agents, supervisors, enumerators, interpreters, I have to say that as far as enumerators and interpreters are concerned we are not interested. They are only employed for a few days. Thirty days is the limit and we are not interested. Supervisors should be allowed to select those in the field without regard to the civil service law.
The supervisors, it seems to us, are rather a different proposition. Those men are very important cogs in the machine. They are men who must have administrative ability, organizing ability, and the commission has had 45 years' experience and naturally think that they are prepared to select men of that type, as we are doing constantly for other departments, and we are prepared to do it for them.
It is true those are temporary jobs. I understand they will not run more than six months, most of them a shorter time than that.
Mr. REED. Have you estimated how many of those there would be?
Mr. BROWN. I think the Census told us there would be 375, approximately.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that supervisors? Mr. BROWN. Supervisors.
We believe thoroughly that we can have lists ready of competent men when the Census wants them, and wherever they want them. We have our 13 districts scattered over the country. We can provide local men for those jobs without any difficulty whatever, using the regular machinery of the commission. We are prepared to do it.
As far as supervisors' clerks are concerned, there is no reason why clerks should be taken except from our registers. We have the registers established throughout the country. We can furnish them with local eligibles; take them off our list and employ them, and drop them when they are through.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you them on hand now?
I am particularly interested in the special agents. This provision of the bill is exactly, I believe, as it has always been. These people have been outside so far as I know always, and we have a great deal of difficulty with the special agent situation.
The Census people will tell us, I have no doubt, they are temporary jobs, and most of them are. They are selected for short periods, most of them, but I can cite you one case where the Census kept a woman on a job as a special agent for 13 years continuously, never was off the pay roll a minute.
The CHAIRMAN. A woman for 13 years? Mr. Brown. Yes. We announced an examination and made her take the examination when we discovered it, but she was there 13 years before we discovered it. We have no inspection service.
The special agent situation has been a thom in the flesh for years, and our protests have served no purpose whatever, although I am told that they have stopped the practice which they have continued