It being the season for Cabinet members' annual reports, the following were announced last week:
Navy. Secretary Curtis D. Wilbur announced that the enlisted personnel of the Navy during the last fiscal year averaged some 4,000 below the required 86,000; that the present regulation allowing each Senator and Representative to appoint three midshipmen to the Naval Academy ought to be changed back to the old basis of five for each member of Congress; that limited appropriations make it necessary to concentrate on repairs rather than alterations to keep the Navy ships in shape; that the flight of Lieutenant Commander Richard E. Byrd over the North Pole was highly commendable.
Postmaster General Harry S. New has been doing his job efficiently. During the last fiscal year he cut the postal deficit in half, even after salaries had been raised $70,000,000. The deficit was approximately $20,000,000 on a total expenditure of some $680,000,000. Every man, woman and child in the U.S. spent an average of $4.97 for postage; this would mean that people over 15 years of age spent about $6.50 each. To the dead letter office went 24,056,028 undeliverable letters containing $5,530,256.
The Postmaster General recommended that the death penalty be imposed on any armed man who attempted to rob the mails; that the rate of one cent be restored on private mailing and postcards; that the payment of a differential be authorized for night work.*
Treasury. No one can read the mighty columns of figures and the voluminous report of Secretary Andrew W. Mellon or gaze at the graphic charts where a jerk of the pencil means a hundred million dollars, without marveling at the brain of this shy, little man who, in public, looks so tired. Important items:
1) A summary of the Debt Commission's work to show that it has been fair to both the U.S. taxpayer and Europe.
2) A picture of the world movement of gold, showing that last year gold again flowed into the U.S., after several years' movement in the other direction.
3) Indorsement of the McFadden Branch Banking bill to place national and Federal Reserve banks on an equality with state banks in the matter of branch banking; condemnation of the Hull amendment which would partly nullify the bill.
4) Recommendation that the charters of Federal Reserve banks, which have less than eight years yet to run, be immediately renewed by Congress.
5) A belief that the U.S. "can look forward to another satisfactory year."
Herewith a summary of Secretary Mellon's accounting of Government receipts and expenses for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1926:
RECEIPTS IN PER CENT
(1% = about $40,000,000)
Income tax....... 50.00%
Other internal revenue..... 21.59%
Foreign debt payments .... 4.89%
Income from securities.... 1.79%
Sale of surplus property... . 63%
Panama Canal tolls..... . 60%
All other.... 5.88%
EXPENDITURES IN PER CENT
(1% = about $36,000,000)
Interest on public debt.......... 23.17%
Debt retirement....... 13.58%
Legislative .... .41%
Executive proper... .01%
Department of State.... 44%
Treasury Department........ 3.79%
War Department.... 9.09%
Navy Department.... 8.70%
Interior Department... 8.39%
U.S. Veterans' Bureau.... 11.21%
District of Columbia..... . 94%
War Finance Corp...... . 53%
Shipping Board..... . 64%
All other..... 18.22%
For example: the actual figures show that the Shipping Board spent $23,043,032.04 during 1925-26, while the entire legislative machinery of the Government consumed $15,776,230.41; that the War Veterans' Bureau needed $404,692,185.22, while the War Department was limited to $355,072,225.92.
Labor. Secretary James J. Davis said in his report: "Industry is, for the most part, at peace. Except for conditions in the coal and textile industries which still call for adjustment, the workers, with little to complain of are very generally employed under satisfactory conditions...."
The Secretary was pleased: 1) because the habit of conciliating and mediating labor disputes is growing stronger; 2) because the selective immigration laws are working smoothly. He repeated his 1925 recommendation that Congress allow the importation of skilled or special labor, under careful restriction, when U. S. industry needs it.
Attorney General John Garibaldi ("Rustic") Sargent, the President's closest friend in the Cabinet, asked for a law to make it a crime to escape from a Federal prison. Cynics wondered why he did not ask for more and better guards. Most significant in the Department of Justice report was the recommendation of his assistant, William J. ("Wild Bill") Donovan, for an amendment to the Clayton Anti-Trust Act to permit small corporations to combine, so that they may "compete more successfully with an already existing larger unit in the same line."
* Two days after publishing his report, Postmaster General New announced a new Air Mail rate of ten cents per half ounce, over all lines, regardless of distance. This flat rate will go into effect Feb. 1, 1927.