IN SELECTING two lame ducks and an investment banker to administer the Surplus Property Act, it appears quite obvious that this action by the President is almost certain to make a political football out of the one hundred billion dollars worth of government-owned war surplus. One lame duck and the banker have already been nominated by him and are under investigation by the Senate, which must approve or disapprove the President’s selections. The second lame duck is expected to be ready for the Senatorial plucking after January first. And the American people do not like political footballing by lame ducks.
Or can it be that in making this selection, the President is showing his resentment and defiance toward Congress because it would not approve a one-man czar to handle the gigantic task?
We have heard very little criticism of Will Clayton, who for months has labored under executive order as the surplus war property administrator, and who has an enviable reputation as a business executive. Months ago he started the wheels turning in the various government agencies designated to handle certain classes of commodities. It has also appeared that Mr. Clayton has been trying to maintain some equilibrium in the release of goods, so that the industries which produced them would not be drowned out in the process.
Our whole-hearted feeling behind these statements is that the job is the biggest peacetime task in history. Trying to salvage the taxpayers’ dollars and to protect the economic stability of thousands of big and little businesses is not a job for professional politicians or even investment bankers. It is a job for a super-merchandiser and practical economist of the first water. Twenty-four thousand dollars a year for two lame ducks, not to say anything about the banker’s wage, is paying too much, taxpayers’ money for political poultry.