We are still unable to understand why some of the regulations incorporated in the Surplus Property Act of 1944 have not been amended. We have consistently criticized its restrictions and limitations with respect to business, because they have impeded disposal.
With the exception of the veterans’ priority, which has been sadly abused, the present priority system is ponderous and impractical. Congress did not take into consideration that most state and local government agencies as well as non-profit institutions have never produced anything but berths for political goldbrickers and patronage recipients. The backbone of our economy is the production of consumers’ goods, which automatically produces jobs.
The latest monkey wrench in the surplus disposal machinery is the reported addition of so-called government priority holders which we refer to as the international group . . . the UNO, UNRRA, the Pan American Union, etc., and puts the American businessman back another notch.
The basic idea behind the Surplus Property Act was to set up regulations by which the U. S. Government could salvage the maximum dollar for the taxpayers and to protect our economy by preventing the dumping of surplus war materiel. We all knew that before the end of the war there would be billions of dollars worth of surplus machinery and goods of every description to be sold or scrapped. All of this materiel represented labor in some form. It was up to Congress to determine how we were going to switch this pent-up economic force back into civilian use without putting practically everyone in industry out of business.
If Congress did not miss the boat with the existing priority set-up then why are there so many complaints from potential users of production equipment who are unable to purchase machinery which is lying idle in government stocks?
The present day shortages could be alleviated if the priority system were thrown into reverse and the guy who can produce more jobs by turning out more building material, refrigerators, motor cars, railroad equipment and the other thousand and one civilian necessities given a chance to purchase capital-producers goods ahead of the governmental groups now slowing up the parade.