The Latest Dope from WAA
Last month we attended a spot bid sale held by a regional office of War Assets Administration. They had offered without very much publicity a large number of overhead electric cranes contained in a war plant. It was necessary to dispose of these cranes quickly because the former war contractor had repossessed the buildings in which they had been used.
The amateurish manner in which this sale was conducted is typical of the way which the entire surplus disposal program has been fumbled.
About the same time we saw by the papers that there were several steel jobbers in Chicago involved in litigation with WAA over a large quantify of steel which had been advertised at a fixed price and purchased by one firm. The litigation over this transaction became somewhat involved after the first law suit was started against WAA because, according to reports, a counter deal was made by the WAA Administrator accepting another offer at double the figure originally advertised. At this writing the matter is still up in the air.
According to the latest statement issued by WAA, there still remains some six billion dollars’ worth of property in inventory which consists of plants and other real property, and a large quantity of miscellaneous industrial equipment and consumer goods.
If now appears that despite the fact that WAA has sold, transferred and given away 23 billion dollars’ worth of surplus, that agency never has known what it had on hand. This is indicated in a recent report from WAA which stated that the sale of the remaining property depends on “solution of many long standing problems, particularly those relating to inventory.” (Whaddya know!)
So, after all of these years the WAA does not yet have a firm inventory. This comes as no surprise to us because they never did know what it was all about.
The surplus disposal program is one political football which never had very much kicking around by Congress. Just why remains a mystery to us because a good kicking around is long overdue. How long is Congress going to permit WAA to fumble the remaining surplus out of the picture? Or, does it intend to wait until everything has been practically given away and then start an investigation which will make the news headlines?
We gave up some time ago trying to figure the angles on the surplus program and of hoping that WAA would ever accept the methods commonly practiced in the business world. The latest dope from WAA is that it expects to clean up the remaining six billion dollars’ worth of inventory by the end of 1948.
Does everyone have to stand by and watch six billion dollars more fumbled away? Six billion dollars ain’t hay, even today.