OF THE forty-odd bills introduced into Congress with sections pertaining to the disposition of government-owned surplus war properties, those bills sponsored by business groups emphasize the importance of routing surplus goods through regular trade channels. Business men know the effects that various kinds of distribution will have on our economic structure and they feel a responsibility to protect their– trade channels and that structure to the fullest possible extent.
To the vast number of large and small enterprises which give employment to millions of people, the long drawn-out delay by Congress in deciding through exactly what channels surplus goods shall be distributed and in the passing of the necessary laws to govern such distribution has been and still is exceedingly serious. Some ten million people are employed in retail and wholesale establishments alone. Manufacturers employ many millions more. Are the jobs of all these Americans going to be fully protected? Or will millions of these employees be forced to look for other jobs, because of dislocations resulting from any attempts to distribute surplus goods through other than the regular channels of trade? And will manufacturers have to face obvious competition bound to arise if other trade channels are used? The so-called small manufacturer employing less than one hundred persons cannot compete with a larger manufacturer if he is unable to modernize his plant in the same manner as the larger concern.
Attempts to distribute surplus war property through other than regular trade channels not only will disturb and endanger the jobs of millions of people now employed, but will also prevent the opening up of many thousands of new jobs that distribution through regular trade channels would be certain to create. And we must not forget that after the war ends some nine to eleven million more jobs will be needed than existed before Pearl Harbor.
As for pricing the surplus goods, the policy announced by SWPA for surplus machine tools (page 47) appears to be fair enough but we fail to see any differential between single and quantity purchases. This point plus other considerations, such as the operating condition of the individual machines, are determining factors in the pricing of used machinery.
We are still convinced that the federal government needs the fullest advice and cooperation of the most experienced people in the various industries to be affected by war surplus and that the government should seek their assistance at every turn. And we are more convinced than ever that the men who have been distributing used industrial machinery and equipment for years are best fitted to advise in planning legislation on surplus property of this kind.