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Colloms will elaborate upon our recommendations regarding specific provisions to the Taft-Ellender-Wagner bill as recently passed by the Senate.
The cost to the Nation in human terms-the infant mortality, the increasing juvenile delinquency, crime and disease, the family breakups-although they cannot be measured in terms of dollars, cost this Nation infinitely more than an adequate housing program would cost. It is time we think in terms of an American recovery program in which housing must play a leading role-a genuine American recovery program.
Despite every Government aid to provide industry, it has completely failed to meet the need. Private enterprise continually has built only for the topmost income group. The other two-thirds of the Nation are still living in unhealthy, cramped conditions, in totally inadequate temporary shelter or in the outmoded hand-me-downs of another era. These conditions are the result of the restrictive practices of the industry which have limited production of homes, the monopoly control of building materials, the pre-industrial methods of construction, and the high costs of land and money. The Government shares a large part of the responsibility for these conditions.
In summary: America came out of World War II with the accumulated deficits of a housing shortage of a generation during which private enterprise consistently built only for the topmost income group. During this period there was little or no improvement of housing for the two-thirds of urban and rural families who represent the bulk of American people. The housing program for the future must provide for these two-thirds of urban and rural families, which private enterprise has not and apparently cannot serve.
The National Wallace for President Committee recognizes that conditions referred to in this statement are such that they cannot be remedied unless Congress declares a national housing emergency and the Government assumes the responsibility of providing every American family-regardless of race, creed, or color-with a decent home in a good community at a price or rent it can afford.
The responsibility of solving this housing crisis rests fully on Congress. It can no longer evade this responsibility. The National Wallace for President Committee maintains that any Congressman who opposes such a housing program will be held strictly accountable by the people at the polls on November 2.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Stern, in your statement you do not comment upon the attitude of the National Wallace for President Cominittee with respect to S. 866, which is one of the bills before us. What attitude do you take with respect to that?
Mr. STERN. Mr. Colloms has testimony to present regarding specific recommendations to the Committee with respect to that bill. I would be glad to answer any questions with reference to my testimony. I have statistical data with which to confirm these statements. The CHAIRMAN. Will you refer to your statistical data and tell us how you got this statement of 800,000 units the Government built in 1946?
Mr. STERN. I got it from the record.
The CHAIRMAN. What record?
Mr. STERN. This is taken from a Government analysis.
Mr. STERN. I took this out of a book. What was the name of it, Mr. Colloms?
Well, it is a matter of record.
The CHAIRMAN. Where is the record? We have never had this figure before, and you have rather surprised us.
Mr. STERN. Well, I am a little low on the 1947 record. I believe it was 853,000 units, as I recall.
The CHAIRMAN. I am asking about 1946, Mr. Stern.
Mr. STERN. I said 800,000. It is a little higher. 853,000, I think. The CHAIRMAN. 1946?
Mr. STERN. 1947.
The CHAIRMAN. What about 1946?
Mr. STERN. 1946 was 796,000 units, broken down
The CHAIRMAN. Where did you get that figure?
Mr. STERN. The National Bureau of Economic Research, the Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics, published in the construction industry in the United States Bulletin 76. Subsequent and current data are published in monthly releases. That is the source of these figures.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you leave that for the record?
Mr. STERN. Surely.
The CHAIRMAN. We have never seen those figures before. There is a difference of 160,000 units between those figures and the figures given to this Committee by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Mr. STERN. Well, this states 796,000.
The CHAIRMAN. We would like to check those figures.
Mr. STERN. Very well. I will leave that with you.
Are there further questions?
The CHAIRMAN. Where did you get the figures showing that onethird of the Nation are still living in poor housing units?
Mr. STERN. I do not have to confirm what President Roosevelt said
The CHAIRMAN. Now, you say, it is two-thirds?
Mr. STERN. That is changed by the 10 years of deterioration which has gone on. I have these figures.
The CHAIRMAN. If you will pardon the personal reference, my home was built in another era and I was wondering if I was living in a substandard home. I hope that you will not call my wife's attention to that.
Mr. STERN. I am sure you are among the one-third that is wellhouse, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. In the first place, according to the United States Census Report for 1937, in series P-20-11, of February 11, 1948, it is reported that there were 39,138,000 units in the United States. They are broken down as follows: 24,000,000 urban units; 8,600,000 rural nonfarm units; 7,000,000 rural farm units. These are the figures on which we are basing our estimate.
Three million dwellings for families now without homes or apartments that I referred to. We have a figure from the United States Census Report on Household Composition in 1947, based on an April, 1947, sample survey. This showed a total of 3,500,000 subfamiliesand these, I understand, are known as related, but separate family
units--and secondary families, living together, not related, 3,500,000. According to the United States Sixteenth Census of Housing of 1940, it showed a combined total of 9,000,000 rural and urban homes in need of major repairs or lacking private bath and toilet.
In 1939 the United States Housing Authority gave out a statement known as Facts and Principles of Housing. They stated that there were 10,000,000 homes which were substandard in 1939.
Now, I recognize that we said two-thirds. I corrected that on page 4. "Two-thirds of the Nation live in unhealthy, cramped conditions. We estimate that there are at least 15,000,000 families that are either doubled up or who are living in substandard dwelling units.
The CHAIRMAN. What does Mr. Wallace advocate, or what is his program with respect to this problem?
Mr. STERN. There is a general statement here on the program of the Wallace for President Committee. Primarily, under the Constitution, the Government is to take responsibility for the welfare of the people, and since private enterprise has failed, since Government housing to date has only helped a very small percentage, it is the position of the Wallace for President Committee that the Congress declare a national housing emergency and that the Government assume the responsibility of providing every American family with a decent home in a good community at a price or rent it can afford. That we have not spelled out in detail, and we are not prepared to at this time for various reasons.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, does your committee think the Government should build these houses? How is Congress to meet its responsibility? How is the Government to meet its responsibility?
Mr. STERN. Well, there are various methods. The housing authorities-there are some 800 of them over the country-shall be issuing bonds, as you well know, and have gotten some Federal guaranties. This is private enterprise in the sense that private builders have built the buildings, private banks have sold the bonds, and the land is bought from individuals. We do not think that this could be classed as Government operation in every sense, by any means. We think that
is one method which ought to be expanded, and in Mr. Colloms' testimony he is prepared to make specific recommendations to the TaftEllender-Wagner bill. Would you like to hear from Mr. Colloms
The CHAIRMAN. Are there further questions of this witness?
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Smith.
Mr. SMITH. The witness asked the question: if Great Britain can enter upon a housing program, why can not we; or words to that effect; is that correct?
Mr. STERN. Yes, sir.
Mr. SMITH. If socialism is so much better than private capitalism, why should we not go to Great Britain for help instead of her coming to us?
Mr. STERN. Are you asking that as a question?
Mr. SMITH. Yes.
Mr. STERN. Well, in the first place, do you assume that there is socialism in Great Britain?
Mr. SMITH. I am not assuming there is socialism in Great Britain. I am assuming that Great Britain has a Socialist government.
Mr. STERN. Do you mean why do we not go to Great Britain for help?
Mr. SMITH. You seem to extoll the virtues of socialism, and to say that England is doing so much more for her people than we are doing for our own. Why should England have to come to us for help in order to do those things?
Mr. STERN. I would like to take issue with you on the fact that there is socialism in England. I think that England has a tradition. of something around a hundred years-which is before even any of us would have accused a Labor government, such as they have in England, of being a Socialist government. But they have a farsighted housing program. After the last war, they had a slogan "Homes for heroes," and they built a very expensive program, with Government aid for the most part, for their returning heroes.
England has traditions that we do not have, in land planning, in community planning, in garden cities, all around the big urban centers, and any of you who have visited that country know of these traditions, which go much beyond the present government.
Mr. SMITH. Call the Government what you will, you are asking why can we not do what England is doing.
Mr. STERN. Correct.
Mr. SMITH. The United States is pouring a lot of wealth into England, is it not?
Mr. STERN. I believe so.
Mr. SMITH. If whatever they have over there is so much better than what we have over here, why do they have to come to us for those billions? Why do we not go over there for help?
Mr. STERN. I am not a specialist in international affairs. There are other branches of the Government which have decided the need for aid to England, which I am not discussing here. Certainly, it is well known that their economy has been weakened considerably, and that we are giving them aid. That has no relationship, however, to the point in question. My point was that we should learn something from a country to which we have decided to give aid, because in their traditions, and in their years of work on this problem, they can teach us a great deal.
Mr. SMITH. Let me ask you this question: Do you believe the United States has a system of private ownership of capital and property? Mr. STERN. Yes.
Mr. SMITH. That system is able to pour these billions into England and other countries, but you do not like it; is that right? Mr. STERN. I do not like what?
Mr. SMITH. The American capitalist system.
Mr. STERN. I did not get your question, sir. I do not like what? Mr. SMITH. By comparison you make out that the system which England has is better than our system.
Mr. STERN. I beg your pardon, sir. I maintain only that in relation to the planning and building, in communities, with an eye to longrange planning, that they are ahead of the United States, and have been for generations, and since we are sisters in many respects, that this country, as we have in the past, might continue to follow the example of a country which has greater economic handicaps than we have here. That is all I am maintaining.
Mr. SMITH. But you are not answering the question.
Mr. STERN. I do not believe the question comes within the purview of my testimony, sir.
Mr. SMITH. You are advocating public housing-socialized housing.
Mr. STERN. You are saying that. I am not recommending that. Mr. SMITH. In England they call it socialized housing, or nationalized housing, do they not?
Mr. STERN. I never heard of it referred to in that way.
Mr. SMITH. You are not opposed, then, to the American capitalist system?
Mr. STERN. No, sir.
Mr. SMITH. The American capitalist system now is being attacked by you on the grounds that it is not doing things that another country is doing which is avowedly a Socialist government.
Mr. STERN. Well, that is a labor government.
Mr. SMITH. Well, that is the first time I ever heard it disputed that the British Government is a Socialist government. We read it in the daily papers, and we see it referred to constantly by the British press, and both by the party in power and the opposition party as a Socialist government.
Mr. STERN. Mr. Smith, may I ask you a question?
Mr. SMITH. Not now.
Mr. STERN. All right.
Mr. SMITH. I am asking you to answer some questions.
Mr. STERN. Well, I would like to answer it in this way: If we have a capitalist system in America, which some of us are trying to make progressive, and make it serve the interest of the people to a greater degree than it now does-if England has the Socialist system which you are maintaining, then, I would ask: Why are we giving them the amount of aid we are giving them? If you consider them an enemy to our system.
Mr. NICHOLSON. Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Nicholson.
Mr. NICHOLSON. Do you own a house?
Mr. STERN. Yes, sir.
Mr. NICHOLSON. Where?
Mr. STERN. I have a house near Richfield, Conn.
Mr. NICHOLSON. A six-room house?
Mr. STERN. I do not recall exactly. I would assume it is about that.
Mr. NICHOLSON. How many rooms are there in your house?
I would say it is six or seven rooms.
Mr. NICHOLSON. Have you done anything personally to build a house for your neighbor who does not have one?
Mr. STERN. Have I personally?
Mr. NICHOLSON. Under this law you are asking me to build a house for somebody else as well as for myself.
Mr. STERN. Well, I do not believe that as an individual I should assume the responsibilities of a government.
Mr. NICHOLSON. The country is made up of individuals.
Mr. STERN. Well, we banded together here in a government to serve all of us, did we not, as I understood the basis of our system.