On February 1, Lyndon announced that he was launching yet another battle in the war on poverty. He said he had instructed his Secretary of Labor to use existing funds and laws for what he called his Job Development Program. Lyndon said that there is a labor shortage in employment areas such as domestic service, and he wanted Secretary Wirtz to do something to provide more trained servants for families which don't like to do their dirty work for themselves.
The Washington Post calls the new program "dignifying the service jobs that are necessary to running a modern home and meeting the needs of family life today." The Post did not explain just how you could inject dignity of any kind into a relationship which requires that one person, in order live, bind himself to the personal service of another. Nor did the Post explain what's to become of those families that can't afford to hire someone to run "a modern home" for them. But the Post did describe one of Lyndon's Job Development Programs which is underway in LaGrange, Georgia.
Lyndon's Office of Manpower and Training (OMAT) got together with a retired school teacher, Emmy Murray, in LaGrange. OMAT put up the money to redecorate an old roadhouse, and to equip it with various household appliances. Emmy is now teaching prospective household servants "cleanliness and work discipline", which is to say she's teaching Negro women how to address Miss Anne and Mr. Charlie with the proper degree of deference, teaching them how to shuffle their feet and tug their forelocks and convince the white folks of their profound satisfaction with a life of servitude.
The top wage available to the best-trained household servants in LaGrange — that is, the top graduates of Emmy's careful instruction — is $4 per day. If the servant works every day of the year (and this is usually the case) she makes $1,460 per year (equal to $10,600 in 2012). This is just half of what Lyndon says (out of the other side of his mouth) is necessary for a minimum subsistence, and about one fourth of what is really necessary for a decent standard of living. And this is being done with federal tax money from Lyndon, the Second Great Emancipator of Black America.
There are two kinds of people in LaGrange who will be employing Emmy's graduates. The first kind is represented by the Callaway family. They own Callaway Mills, a textile manufacturer which is LaGrange's largest employer, employing more than 3,000 persons in a town of 23,000. The Callaway family owns the mills in a peculiar way. They don't own the stock of the corporation personally. Rather they control tax exempt foundations, which, in turn, own the stock. In this way dividends paid by the mills to the foundations are free of federal income tax.
Callaway Mills received more than $600,000 of federal money last year as part of Lyndon's program of subsidizing the textile manufacturers. If they used all this to employ household servants for the various branches of the family, they'll be able to hire about 410 servants at the going wage. Thus the Callaway's could use the money Lyndon gave them which is tax free, to employ more servants than an Oriental Potentate, the servants having been trained to the peak of servile perfection with money supplied by Lyndon from the federal taxes from which the Callaway's are exempt.
The second kind of prospective employers for Emmy's graduates are the workers in the Callaway Mills. Diane McKaig, who works in the Atlanta office of Lyndon's Labor Department, explains that these Callaway employees don't make much money (she doesn't explain why, nor does she compare the amount they make with the amount the Callaway's make), so the servants — she calls them "homemaking aids", a bit of double-talk worthy of Lyndon himself — have to be "taught to make low-cost dishes, including surplus foods." She doesn't say whether the servants will be preparing surplus foods for themselves, or for the Callaway's employees — perhaps both, considering the general level of wages.
The white female Callaway employees, of course, can't work in the mills unless they can find Negroes to care for their children and homes while they're at the mills. Since the Callaway's don't pay their workers much the workers can't pay their Negro servants much. So the upshot of Lyndon's new job program, is to provide cheap and well-trained servants for the Callaway employees, at a price the employees can afford to pay without requiring a raise from the Callaway's.
The Callaway's exploit their white workers at low wages, and the white workers exploit their Negro servants at even lower wages. Lyndon lavishes hundreds of thousands a year on the Callaway's, in the form of textile subsidies, and provides federal money with which to train Negro servants for the Callaway's and their white mill employees.
It takes the guts of a burglar to call a sewer like this the "Great Society." But, whatever he's short of, Lyndon's always been long on guts.
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Lyndon's Secretary of Agriculture, Orville Freeman, announced that the Republic of South Africa's sugar quota is to be raised from 98,047 short tons to 100,018 short tons. This means that Lyndon is permitting the South African sugar producers to sell even more sugar at the U.S. Government supported high sugar prices in the U.S. Without this quota, the South African sugar producers would have to sell their sugar at much lower world market prices. Quotas for exporting sugar to the U.S. are a very real bonus to sugar producers of other countries.
At about the same time that Lyndon's man Freeman made the announcement about the quota bonus to South African sugar producers, authorities in Windhoek, Southwest Africa (today, Namibia), a protectorate of Republic of South Africa, announced that a South African farmer and his wife had been jailed for beating a Negro servant to death. The farmer and his wife were sentenced for "assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm." The man got three years and his wife got two, for beating a black man to death. But don't let this turn your stomach as you spoon the South African sugar into your coffee, because we have no evidence that the farmer and his wife are sugar-producers at all.
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Lyndon's Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, Anthony Celebrezzi, announced that the Mississippi State College for Women at Columbus, Miss., would get $7,855 for a war-on-poverty work-study program. Naturally, being in Mississippi, MSCW, is for white girls only. This, apparently, doesn't bother Lyndon, although his Great Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed the giving of federal funds to segregated institutions.
Hubert, whom Lyndon has given the responsibility of implementing the Civil Rights Act, said not long ago that the cut-off of federal funds would be used only as a last resort in enforcing the law. "Your Federal Government wants to walk the extra mile in the hope that people will observe the law," said Hubert recently. Three questions arise: (1) What about the extra mile Mississippi Negroes have been walking these past hundred years? (2) When is a last resort a last resort? (3) When does Hubert's hope become Hubert's humbug?
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Lyndon announced that Lou Leventhal, counsel for the Democratic National Committee who figured prominently in the engineering of the meaningless "compromise" with the MFDP at Atlantic City, has been appointed to a federal appeals court judgeship. Not long ago the Democratic National Committee made Joe Rauh, Jr., assistant counsel to the National Committee. Will Joe Rauh, Jr., now move up to the position Leventhal is vacating? Stay tuned.........
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Lyndon's Community Facilities Administration announced a grant of $43,740 to Pearl River Junior College in Poplarville, Mississippi for expansion of school facilities. Pearl River, of course, is a school for whites only. Lyndon and Hubert are "walking the extra mile" all over Mississippi, it seems.
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Lyndon has expressed repeatedly his concern over the loss of U.S. gold which results from more dollars going out of the country than are coming in. Here's why he's worried.
When someone in the U.S. spends money in a foreign country, the person he spends it with can't use it, until he exchanges it for the currency of that country. What actually happens is that the American exchanges his dollars for the currency of the foreign country, and then the person with whom he makes the exchange takes the dollars to a bank in the foreign country and the bank gives him the currency of that country for the dollars he got from the American. Then, when someone in that country wants to buy something in America, he goes to that bank and exchanges his money for the dollars, and makes his purchase with the dollars in the U.S.
But the bank, if it is in a country where there are a great many dollars being spent, will soon have more dollars on hand than the people of the country need for making purchases in the U.S. So the bank notifies the U.S. Treasury that is wants gold for the dollars it has on hand. When this happens, the U.S. Treasury has to put the proper amount of gold ($35 per ounce) on an airplane and fly it to the country in question, where it is delivered to the bank and the dollar holdings of the bank are surrendered to the U.S. Treasury.
This happens whenever some person or corporation from the U.S. spends dollars in a foreign country. If the U.S. did not guarantee that it would redeem all foreign-held dollars in gold, foreigners would soon stop accepting dollars in payment for their goods and services and international trade between the U.S. and other countries would come to a standstill.
One of the biggest causes of the drain of U.S. gold has been the investments of U.S. corporations in foreign countries. For example, General Motors has just announced that it's going to build a $200 million automobile plant in Belgium. Fifty million dollars of the money is going to come from General Motors in this country. This means that $50 million will be taken from this country to Belgium by GM, but it will be converted into Belgian francs before it is actually spent. The bank in Belgium which does the converting for GM will then have a $50 million claim for gold on the U.S. Treasury. Belgium, and the other countries which are with her in the European Common Market, have announced a new policy of converting all dollar holdings to gold. Therefore it is a sure thing that when GM builds this plant, one of the first results will be another $50 million gold drain.
Chrysler has just announced that it will invest at least $20 million in an automobile plant in Spain. Here is another $20 million drain on our gold. Incidentally George Love, Chairman of Chrysler, was one of Lyndon's strong supporters during the recent presidential campaign. Lyndon has said that he's not going to make the U.S. corporations stop their overseas spending, and thus stop the gold drain. He says he's going to ask American big business voluntarily to curb foreign spending. We supposed he got his answer when his good friend George Love announced Chrysler's Spanish spending plans.
The Rockefellers' Chase Manhattan Bank, one of the biggest overseas spenders, issued a special economic report last week, in which it said that American big business would comply with Lyndon's request, "as much as possible." The Chase report continued, though, saying that the big businessman "unquestionably wants to be a good citizen, but he must also defend his corporate interests."
We've already seen some evidence of which side big business comes down on when these two issues confront one another. We'll see more as we struggle through the swamps of Lyndon's Great Society.
Copyright © Jack Minnis, 1965