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we found only 238 operating coal mines-72 mines abandoned-mined more coal with 13,306 less workingmen.
Here is the present situation told in cold facts without any attempt to probe into the human element of suffering, the pain of degredation, and the misery of hunger and want.
H. R. 8555 is a start in the right direction. However, much more must be done, and accomplished quickly, if we are to relieve at least to some degree this unnecessary unemployment in our land of plenty. As an illustration, many of these coal miners have been without the opportunity for gainful employment for 1, 2, and 3 years. As they exhaust their unemployment compensation, they are left without an income with which to support their families. I strongly feel that unemployment compensation payments should continue until such time as each unemployed miner should have an opportunity to go to work.
If you are a coal miner past the age of 40 and lose your job— through no fault of your own-say your mine mechanizes or closes down, you have no chance to return to your life's work. Unfortunately, this is rapidly becoming a fact in other industries too.
The Federal Government must push forward and assist these local communities in their effort to obtain new and diversified industries. Unemployment anywhere should be of as much serious concern to the Federal Government as it is to local officials and leaders.
The Federal Government should immediately and aggressively pursue to the fullest possible extent a thorough research program for discovery of additional byproducts of coal which will result in its greater use.
Mr. Chairman, the responsibility for recommending to the Congress an effective and workable program rests with you and the members of your committee. I feel privileged to offer any small help that I may be able to contribute. The American citizens are anxiously looking to this Congress for the assistance they rightfully deserve.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN J. DEMPSEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO
Mr. DEMPSEY. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, your in-. dulgence in hearing me, despite the enormous load of work your committee is carrying, is deeply appreciated. Were it not for the very great concern I feel over the privation and want that is being suffered by the people in New Mexico's depressed areas, a concern that is indeed impelling, I would be most reluctant to impose upon your courtesy even to a limited extent.
The people of New Mexico are a proud and courageous people, possessed of that fortitude and resourcefulness which are essential qualities for all those who over the years have led the march of civilization westward. For four centuries-in fact, since before the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock-have these people or their forebears self-reliantly coped with an often antagonistic Nature and other adversity. Theirs have been the experiences, the vicissitudes, the successes of virtually all American pioneering people, who have blazed the path to our Nation's present strength and greatness.
The progress made by New Mexico since statehood in 1912 has been gradual, understandably less rapid than in many other parts of the
United States, due in greater part to the lack of such requisites as industry, adequate transportation facilities, proper conservation and utilization of limited water resources and sufficient density of population. An all-important factor in that retardation of the State's economic advance in comparison with many other parts of the Nation has been Federal ownership and control of about one-half of its area and its natural resources.
Because of their self-reliance and pride the people of New Mexico have always been most reluctant to seek aid from the Federal Government. The records will show that, despite the vast holdings of that Government in the State, the assistance it has rendered those people under the various aid programs over the years has been a mere pittance compared to that provided on a national scale. They have not asked me, as one member of their congressional delegation, to complain about that. Rather they are seeking now only to have presented to your committee the facts, being confident that you will be able and willing to make a fair appraisal of those facts and reach a sound and just determination of the assistance necessary to permit the depressed areas to take the proper steps to cure their own economic ills, all of which have been caused by circumstances beyond their control.
Over the years that it has been my gratifying privilege to serve the people of New Mexico as Governor or Representative in the Congress, I have been afforded the opportunity to observe rather closely the State's economic situation and its fluctuations. Because it does not have a widely diversified industrial structure it has been dependent to a great degree upon the basic industries of agriculture and livestock. When they are in distress the State as a whole feels an adverse impact, which curtails employment and the volume of business seriously. Drought and the resultant shortage of water, therefore, deals a staggering blow to the entire New Mexico economy.
The present existence of depressed areas in the State, at a time when the national economy and employment generally are at a comparatively high level, can be traced directly to the fact that New Mexico has been experiencing drought of more or less severity for more than 5 years continuously. A current report by the Bureau of Reclamation says the condition will continue this year in the State-the only Western State facing that dim outlook. The entire State, or the greater part of it, has been included in the Presidential designation of a drought distress area throughout those years. It has been eligible for emergency drought relief under various programs set up for FederalState administration and has been helped to some extent. It is evident, however, to those of us who have kept in close touch with the situation, that neither the legislation we have enacted nor its administration has been as effective as the Congress intended. Otherwise two of New Mexico's principal basic industries-agriculture and livestock-would not still be experiencing a steady drop in income and other attendant economic ills. Many employees of those industries have been forced the past few years to seek other employment, to move into the towns and cities in vain quest of jobs-of anything to feed, clothe and shelter their families. For the most part they have had to remain jobless. That is one main cause of the situation in the communities in which your committee is interested-the reason why you are contemplating the enactment of some sort of legislation which will help these people and these communities to help themselves.
I have studied the bills before your committee as well as S. 2663 and am firmly convinced that in general they make an essentially sound approach to the solution of the problem of depressed areas, not only in New Mexico but in other States as well. As in all legislation of this character the unanswered question will always be whether it will be properly and vigorously administered. In view of past experience I feel that all of us are justified in entertaining some misgivings about that. I would urge, therefore, that your committee be absolutely certain that any bill you recommend for passage contains provisions that will retain for the Congress-most surely for your committee-the closest possible control over any program authorized. I know it is not necessary for me to recount here the many times that all of us have discovered that the authority we have delegated has been abused and misinterpreted and that authority we did not intend to delegate has been usurped.
There have been wide gaps created in many programs that the Congress has authorized. This very legislative proposal is made necessary in some degree by administrative gaps and deficiencies. It is still one of life's mysteries to me why the existing law covering some of the ground this bill encompasses, has been curtailed in its effectiveness because of an administrative ruling that any community with a work force of less than 15,000 cannot be considered as a critical unemployment area. To my mind men, women, and children in a town of 1,000 population can become just as hungry and wretched as can those in a city of a million souls. This bill recognizes and seeks to correct that administrative fallacy.
I have imposed upon your generosity far enough. You have been most gracious to me. Let me say in conclusion that I have the fullest confidence in what you will do and that you will not delay in taking such action as you deem necessary. The days, even the hours, grow very long indeed to the people in these afflicted areas. Undue delay means disaster to them.Time is of the essence in what you do.
So that I shall not consume more of your valuable time I ask your permission to include in my statement certain documented evidence provided through the cooperation of Gov. John F. Simms, of New Mexico, which I feel will be of value to you in making an informed and accurate appraisal of the situation in my State.
(The documents are as follows:)
THE WELFARE PROBLEM IN DESIGNATED "DEPRESSED AREAS" IN NEW MEXICO (Presented by Murray A. Hintz, director, New Mexico Department of Public Welfare)
Welfare administrators are vitally concerned with the proposed legislation to alleviate conditions of excessive unemployment in depressed areas through the promotion of business and industry and through retraining of the labor force. The staff of the New Mexico Department of Public Welfare has been talking about our depressed areas for 10 years. We find that the depressed areas of our State as measured by welfare standards include the areas designated as depressed according to the measurements set forth in the proposed legislation under discussion. In addition to the defined depressed areas covering 10 counties: Colfax, Guadalupe, Harding, Mora, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Socorro, and Taos, welfare standards would include 2 other counties, McKinley and Sierra. They may not qualify by the unemployment ratio measurement but, rather, would be termed underemployment areas because a large portion of the population while employed, as the Navaho Indians in Mc
Kinley, are not profitably employed because the area is not suitably developed to support the population. For this reason, Sierra County has had a 23 percent decrease in population since 1950 and its situation is exactly the same as that found in adjacent Socorro County.
It is a truism that unemployment and underemployment are accompanied by low income and lack of purchasing power which create a spiral of economic decline and depression. This, in turn, is accompanied by a high incident of economic dependency and social maladjustment.
I have several charts which locate New Mexico's depressed areas and illustrate the relationship of the three measures of depressed areas-unemployment, percapita income, and economic dependency. The 10 New Mexico counties designated as depressed areas by the standard of unemployment contain 18 percent of the total population of the State, but 36 percent of the recipients of public aid. The average per-capita income in the 10 New Mexico counties is slightly more than one-half (58 percent) of the per-capita income of the State. If business activities and agricultural production in these counties could be improved and the public aid recipient rate reduced by even one-third, we estimate that this would mean an annual savings of approximately $2 million to the Department of Public Welfare. In other words, reduce our annual budget by more than 10 percent. This is a practical but narrow point of view. The economic gains and the intrinsic values which could grow out of the proposed legislation are much more important. However, I am immediately concerned with the practical aspect of welfare needs.
The increased demands for public assistance and welfare services where productivity is low and tax resources correspondingly limited present an irreconcilable situation. Prior to this year, New Mexico has not had sufficient State tax resources to allow the Department of Public Welfare to provide for the various service programs, including hospitalization for tuberculosis, and pay 100 percent of need for a minimum subsistence standard of living for public assistance recipients.
Our general assistance program provides for a residual group of unemployable persons who cannot meet eligibility requirements for the special categories in which there is Federal financial participation. We have no program of relief for families of unemployed wage earners able and willing to work but in need after exhausting unemployment compensation benefits. This situation has resulted in the exhaustion of local public and private resources available for welfare purposes where mining operations have been discontinued, or in the drought areas. To partially meet this situation in March 1954 the Department of Public Welfare reestablished, after 10 years, a program of direct distribution of commodities. For a large group of what we term "unemployed employables," surplus food from the Agricultural Marketing Administration is the only form of public aid, but these people do not want relief. They want work. Therefore, the concerted efforts of the New Mexico Economic Development Commission, the Unemployment Compensation Commission, Vocational Rehabilitation, the Department of Public Welfare, and all other Government agencies, are directed toward economic development, rehabilitation and retraining of the labor force, which for at least 2 generations, has been handicapped by an inadequate economy.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON DEPRESSED AREA, 1956
In December 1955, there were 36,983 persons on the public assistance rolls and 21,576 in families of "unemployed employables" receiving commodities only. Thus, a total of 58,559 persons or 7.3 percent of total population received public aid. In the 10 depressed counties there were 20,835 persons receiving public assistance and commodities, or 36 percent of total recipients of public aid in the State, or 14 percent of the total population in the 10 counties.
Data compiled by Vicente Ximenes, Bureau of Business Research, University of New Mexico. 2 Estimated by Bureau of Business Research, University of New Mexico. Data from Public Welfare Statistics, December 1955.
4 Data compiled by New Mexico Unemployment Compensation Commission, April 1955. Not available.
STATEMENT OF FRED C. BARRON, CHAIRMAN-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EMPLOYMENT SECURITY COMMISSION OF NEW MEXICO
The population of New Mexico is estimated to have increased over 20 percent since the 1950 census. During this period nonagricultural employment has increased 29.9 percent. A large part of this increase has been dependent on Federal Government policy and activity in locating special weapon installations, laboratories, and testing grounds in the State. The migration of technical, professional, and highly skilled workers to man these installations created a housing shortage and stimulated trade and service employment. The discovery of uranium and new gas fields has greatly improved economic conditions in several areas. Labor force participation in these sections of the State has increased as has per-capita income.
The Bureau of Business Research of the University of New Mexico, in its January 1956 issue of New Mexico Business, published a summary of its study of personal income of residents of New Mexico. Its estimates were based on all employment income which accounts for the total being about 5 percent higher than the United States Department of Commerce figure. This study estimates per-capita income for the State during the year 1954 as $1,473. The range is from $2,636 in Los Alamos County to $513 in Rio Arriba County. The average for the 10 counties showing unemployment of over 6 percent of the civilian labor force for over 3 years is $570. These counties and the percent of labor force unemployed in February 1956 are: San Miguel, 19.3 percent; Rio Arriba, 18 percent; Sandoval, 15.8 percent; Guadalupe, 12.1 percent, Taos, 11.7 percent; Harding, 11.3 percent: Colfax, 10.7 percent; Santa Fe, 9.7 percent; Mora, 8.9 percent, and Socorro, 7.6 percent.
During the war years these counties provided a large proportion of the 48,000 workers who left the State for defense work. After the war many were laid off and returned to their homes. The dearth of job opportunities has caused about 12,000 of these workers to leave the area since 1950. All these counties except Rio Arriba show a decrease in population. The 153,000 citizens remaining in these counties would enjoy the higher standard of living which the average American has become accustomed to.
With the exception of Santa Fe County the key industries have been agriculture, coal mining, and lumbering—all of which are seasonal activities and money