A DOCUMENT THAT WILL TELL THE TALE AUSTIN In Texas, a governmental budget, containing as it does awesome assiarttnents of figures, rarely receives much analytical newspaper attention. The working press, harboring probably a greater antipathy for mathematics than even the general public, almost habitually disposes of budget stories with a dozen or so superficial paragraphs generally listing raw totals with a few mayor breakdowns and a comparison or two with similar budget totals of other years. These stories are run on the front pages with appropriate headlines and then forgotten as personalities and events occupy the stage. The budget somehow gets lost in the shuffle. This is too bad, for budgets are, in essence, what the whole game of political democracy is all about, a translation into figures of political philosophy in its most nakedly greedy or alternately responsible forms. The tax battles for revenues to meet the budget only carry philosophy to a further :xtension, with conservatives favoring selective or general sales taxes and liberals plumping for taxes based on ability to pay. However this question is won, lost or compromised, the prior question of the government’s willingness or unwillingness to fulfill its ob ligations to the people is decided by the scope of the budget itself. In this context, the 1960-61 “Legislative Budget Estimates” compiled by the Legislative Budget Board and released in Austin this week is one of the most cynical public documents ever offered, unashamed, by the corporate powers who preside over our House and Senate. The ten-man budget drafting committee, headed by Ben Ramsey, spent months surveying the state’s needs, hearing first-hand reports from the top administrators in education, mental health, industrial safety, migrant labor, and literally a hundred other fields. Their response was a budget that ignores the facts as they exist, with mindless callousness to thwarted hopes, unrealized potential and wasted lives. Ramsey, Fly, Seeligson, Hardeman, might be permitted to plead hypocrisy ; they cannot plead ignorance. IF ENACTED as written, their budget would codify into the laws guarantees of the rights of Texas children to a mediocre education, the mentally ill to rot within a hospital system vainly trying to emerge from an era of medieval neglect, Texas workers to continue to kill and injure themselves in record numbers in Texas plants. In short, the committee’s budget would reduce the forthcoming well publicized consumer-versus-corporate tax search to a cruel farce resolving not whether the people win or lose but simply the extent of their loss. The budget baldly ignores school and health reforms and contents itself with requiring the state to putter along in a sort of provincial insistence on the right to be ignorant and indifferent. It says there will be no improvement ; in the elementary and high schools and colleges, there may even be further deterioration as a situation already aggravated is further ignored. A most striking feature of the document is its admission, on the one hand, of some obvious areas of need, and its refusal, on the other, to do anything about them. It tacitly admits the mental hospital system is fair for hotel accomodations but poor for rehabilitation by dwelling on the “discouraging element” of the large number of geriatrics such conditions inevitably produce. As for the TB program, the budget acknowledges “the state’s case finding program is not nearly adequate. More cases need treatment than are found. Too many new cases are being found after in of other members of the family.” But, having stated the problems, the board’s response is to cut mental health requests by $10 million, slash requests for new facilities by 500 percent, and deny pay boosts for nurses and case workers, the very areas where immediate action could produce tangible rehabilitative results. The Industrial Accident Board, headquartered in Austin and hamstrung by lack of contact with injured workers scattered across the state, requested funds for six regional offices to expedite compensation claims. The legislators, acknowledging the board’s efforts to train employees for the regionlal offices, nevertheless turned down the requests for funds for the offices themselves. The Governor’s program to cope with spreading juvenile delinquency through an expanded Youth Council program of parole supervision and new facilities was savagely reduced, the parole system eliminated entirely. THE LIST goes on and on ; to itemize would be to reiterate unnecessarily ten men’s exercise in studied blindness. They would spend a total of $285 million. In effect, they suggest the state spend roughly the same in 1961 as -in 1958, although what we spent in 1958 was tragically inadequate and the number of people to be educated, hospitalized, rehabilitated, will be larger in 1961. L.G. How Did the Senate Liberals Let It Happen? MARSHALL If we could take an Olympian perch and observe apart the magnificent manipulation of public opinion and support by Senator Johnson, no doubt we would be entranced by his unbelievable skill. As things are, we cannot pause in our entertainment as spectators and halt thought but must jar awake repeatedly with the realization that we are not watching masterly mummery, but a dramatic segment of our own political life. We are all in the charade, only the performance. is for real, and we must be a part of the act, willy nilly. For six years our country has drifted in a leaderless fashion, with its only lode stars expediency and compromise. As our captive hero approaches the anticlimactic close of his career, we see slowly emerging the opportunist who has on so many occasions proven himself the “master of the immediate.” Government by committee may be the result of the inevitable, but what are we to say of the conception of compromise as the master rather than as the tool of true leadership? Personal power is heady stuff, and wholly capable of becoming the end rather than the means of government. It is a glorious thing when put on the line to advantage an ideal, or to forward a principle. It is something quite different if harbored for its own sake and permitted to grow on deception and in ruthless disregard of any duty to take ,a stand that might diminish it in the least. In this character, it becomes the monster so loved in the horror films, and which will surely destroy us all. D URING THE OPENING DAYS OF CONGRESS, the reader of the Dallas News must have gained the impression that t ricks were trumps. “Johnson Catches Liberals Flat-footed,” was the description of his first maneuver, and “Johnson Outslicks Liberals,” that of his last. The Bubbling glee of the News was not unjustified in its reports, and so much did it glory in the devious ways of our King Compromise that it all but published the bans of its betrothal to his campaign for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. On the first Sunday of the new congressional session, the News gave its beloved an eight column spread just a. hair’s breadth below the masthead, and for a good quarter of the front page. We learned from it that in addition to wearing many masks, the leader wears many hats, economizing greatly on government expendi tures by cutting down on the distribution of party and governmental functions. It is all very simple ; instead of spreading the party posts of honor, he simply retains them in his person. To quote some of the things he is: Democratic leader in the Senate, chairman of the Democratic Policy Cornmittee, chairman of the Democratic Conference Committee, chairman of the Senate Preparedness Subcommittee, chairman of the Senate . Space Committee,. and chairman of an appropriations subcommittee. There may be more, but from these listed, and the senator’s base allowance for staff pay, he has available annually $382,805 of government money to advantage his position. Small wonder that he can return some $101,066 to the Treasury from this allowance. The liberals have not been overlooked in his overall setup. He has even employed “one of them perfesser fellers,” Dr. Walter Prescott Webb, WASHINGTON What was U. S. Senate Leader Lyndon Johnson’s first official act, on the first day of Congress ? It was to shut off debate on a proposal to limit the filibuster. And what was his major political operation? To ensnare the new Republican Senate Leader, Everett McKinley Dirksen, into a deal to back his so-called “compromise” on the filibuster. This posed quite a dilemma for Dirksen. He agreed to be a co-sponsor of the Johnson resolution. At the same time his aides informed the office of his Illinois colleague, Sen. Paul Douglas, that he was for a real curb on endless talk in the Senate. But, of course, for Dirksen and for Johnson the “real” problem in the forthcoming Congress is not .civil rights, not the filibuster, and not reopening the schools. Those are secondary matters. What’s real for them is whether it will be possible to re-establish the old coalition of Dixie Democrats and right wing Republicans which has for so long dominated the Senate. For these two estimable gentlemen the “real” enemies are those liberals who insist that the pledges the politicians promised the voters last November must lx’ carried out. To Johnson and his associates, senators like Douglas, Javits, C:ase of New Jersey, and Morse of Oregon are dangerous men. who will have a position assisting the Senate in forming a water program with a rate of pay based on a $16,000 a year salary. The correspondent accurately reports that the power of Johnson is reaching a new plateau, and that he is expected to steal the initiative from President Eisenhower in the days ahead, although this would be a case of petty theft, if one ever was on the books. There are those who say that the senator has run the country so long, the Twenty Third Amendment may prevent him from succeeding himself. S OMEHOW, we wonder how the liberals in the Democratic Party let it happen. Was the desire to continue at whatever cost the mas querade that the party was a cohesive whole responsible ? What has become of the Humphrey of 1948? Was he, as Doris Fleeson said, merely a “glib J OHNSON HIMSELF insists that the Senate was only reflecting the popular will on the filibuster issue. What is that will, presumably as reflected in last November’s election ? In Johnson’s opinion: “That will is a will, in all sections, for progress, for unity, for reason, and for courage. All these high goals have been served by the Senate’s course.” What “unity” is Johnson talking about? It could be he was referring to his new arrangements with Dirksen. As new Republican leader he could have swung 15 to 20 Republican votes toward the civil rights side of the argument. That would have marked Dirksen’s independence and cost Johnson his victory. But Dirksen is already making it clear that he hopes, wants, and expects to be Johnson’s partner \(and by no means silent partsen-Johnson “unity” has clearly been achieved. Of course, there are some 17,000,000 Negroes excluded from this new unity. Where do they go for leadership and help? Certainly not to Dirksell or Johnson. Then there arc the innocent white school children of Little Rock, Norfolk, Charlottesville. Front Royal, all 1 wing deprived of an education, because Arkansas and Virginia politicians believe it is politically expedient to pander to the prejudices of their eral”; is Kennedy really a conservative under his mussy hair ; are there none but eunuchs in the Democratic membership of the Senate, save Johnson ? Paul Douglas, Wayne Morse, Estes Kefauver, Ralph Yarborough, and Joe Clark belie this thought, but look to what extremes the worshippers of compromise and expediency have brought them ! On the Texas scene, there should be some among us who are entering a state of shock over the realization that we cannot drift along on the assumption that Johnson doesn’t have chance for the nomination. He learns: fast, and he will not make the same mistakes he made in 1956. Remember, it took him only one race against Pappy O’Daniel to learn how to count. the Valley vote. We may expect the same degree of improvement come 1960. Anyway, hold your hats, kiddies, here we go again. FRANKLIN JONES elders. They must be impressed by Johnson’s talk of “progress” and senatorial “courage” in retaining the status quo. They will certainly remernber it when they are barred entry to good colleges because they are under-educated. At one point near the end of the ‘debate Johnson was running roughshod over the Senate liberals, and Sen. HuSenator from Texas “to be a little tolerant in this, his moment Of . triumph.” Johnson listened, but he did not hear. The result is that he has succeeded in alienating sonic 25 senators, many from the most populous sections of the country. That, I believe, may prove his big mistake. He had to choose between them and the 18 senators from Dixie \(not all of them -admade his choice. But to think the American public is enchanted with the way Negroes are being treated in Dixie, Or with the closing of public schools. is an error of major dimensions. In the weeks to come Johnson is likely to find that the price for his triumph is Much higher than he ever suspected. ” ROBERT G. SrivAcK THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 5 Jan. ?if, 1959 AN ERROR OF MAJOR DIMENSIONS
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