The Permanent Problem of Relief

February 26, 1938

Report Outline
Senate Inquiry on Unemployment and Relif
Evolution of Federal Relief Policies
Demands for Return of Relief to States
Social Security and Emergency Relief

Senate Inquiry on Unemployment and Relif

Hearings begun last month before the special Senate Committee on Unemployment and Relief Problems are to be resumed on February 28. This committee, headed by Senator Byrnes (D., S. C.), was appointed in pursuance of a resolution of June 10, 1937, providing in broad terms for an investigation of the problems of unemployment, including technological unemployment, and relief. The Senate inquiry was sponsored by Senators Hatch (D., N. M.) and Murray (D., Mont.). The House failed to act on a joint resolution, likewise sponsored by them and adopted by the Senate in 1936 and again in 1937, which would have provided for appointment by the President of a non-partisan commission of “well-qualified and distinguished citizens” to conduct “a national study of the whole problem of unemployment and relief and make recommendations looking to a comprehensive, intelligent, and just policy for the future.”

The joint resolution carried a preamble stating that it was “evident that the problems of unemployment and relief have passed the emergency phase and these burdens now appear to be long-term charges against the national government.” While the separate Senate resolution contained no such declaration, it was presumed the Byrnes committee would seek to draw up the outlines of a permanent relief policy. Its hearings in January were confined largely to discussion of the current business recession. Various prominent industrialists, merchants, and bankers were questioned as to their views on the causes of the slump and on possible remedies. It is anticipated that at the forthcoming hearings chief attention will be directed to the relief problem itself.

When Congress in 1937 voted an appropriation of $1,500,000,000 for relief in the fiscal year 1938, it sought to erect a safeguard against any necessity for a future deficiency appropriation by attaching to the bill an amendment by Rep. Woodrum (D., Va.) requiring that expenditures be so spread over the twelve months as to make the fund last through the full fiscal year. Its efforts in this regard, however, were nullified by the increase in relief needs resulting from the business recession. When the situation became acute in December, a rise in W. P. A. rolls was authorized. Without additional funds, the Woodrum amendment would have necessitated substantial curtailment of such employment this spring.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
New Deal, Great Depression, and Economic Recovery
Feb. 20, 2009  Public-Works Projects
Jul. 25, 1986  New Deal for the Family
Apr. 04, 1973  Future of Social Programs
Nov. 18, 1944  Postwar Public Works
Apr. 12, 1941  Public Works in the Post-Emergency Period
Mar. 08, 1940  Integration of Utility Systems
Feb. 26, 1938  The Permanent Problem of Relief
Jun. 08, 1937  Experiments in Price Control
Jan. 05, 1937  Credit Policy and Control of Recovery
Nov. 27, 1936  New Deal Aims and the Constitution
Oct. 16, 1936  Father Coughlin vs. the Federal Reserve System
Sep. 25, 1936  Roosevelt Policies in Practice
Feb. 11, 1936  Conditional Grants to the States
Dec. 11, 1935  Capital Goods Industries and Recovery
Sep. 25, 1935  Unemployment Relief Under Roosevelt
Jul. 17, 1935  The R.F.C. Under Hoover and Roosevelt
Jul. 03, 1935  Six Months of the Second New Deal Congress
Jun. 04, 1935  The Supreme Court and the New Deal
Mar. 05, 1935  Public Works and Work Relief
Feb. 16, 1935  Organized Labor and the New Deal
Dec. 04, 1934  Rural Electrification and Power Rates
Oct. 26, 1934  Federal Relief Programs and Policies
Jul. 25, 1934  Distribution of Federal Emergency Expenditures
Jul. 17, 1934  Debt, Credit, and Recovery
May 25, 1934  The New Deal in the Courts
Mar. 27, 1934  Construction and Economic Recovery
Mar. 19, 1934  Price Controls Under N.R.A.
Feb. 15, 1934  Federal Promotion of State Unemployment Insurance
Jan. 10, 1934  Government and Business After the Depression
Jan. 02, 1934  The Adjustment of Municipal Debts
Dec. 12, 1933  The Machine and the Recovery Program
Dec. 05, 1933  Winter Relief, 1933–1934
Nov. 11, 1933  Power Policies of the Roosevelt Administration
Oct. 28, 1933  Buying Power under the Recovery Program
Oct. 19, 1933  Land Settlement for the Unemployed
Sep. 20, 1933  The Capital Market and the Securities Act
Jul. 18, 1933  Public Works and National Recovery
Jul. 01, 1933  The Plan for National Industrial Control
May 03, 1933  Economic Readjustments Essential to Prosperity
Apr. 26, 1933  Government Subsidies to Private Industry
Mar. 25, 1933  Rehabilitation of the Unemployed
Feb. 17, 1933  Federal Cooperation in Unemployment Relief
Nov. 16, 1932  Systems of Unemployment Compensation
Nov. 09, 1932  Policies of the New Administration
Aug. 18, 1932  Emergency Relief Construction and Self-Liquidating Projects
Dec. 28, 1931  Relief of Unemployment
Aug. 01, 1931  National Economic Planning
Jul. 20, 1931  Dividends and Wages in Periods of Depression
Feb. 19, 1931  Insurance Against Unemployment
Jan. 19, 1931  Business Failures and Bankruptcy Administration
Jan. 01, 1931  Federal Subsidies to the States
Dec. 08, 1930  Federal Relief of Economic Distress
Sep. 25, 1930  The Extent of Unemployment
May 16, 1930  Politics and Depressions
Dec. 20, 1929  The Federal Public Works Program
Jun. 08, 1929  The Federal Reserve System and Stock Speculation
Apr. 14, 1928  The Federal Reserve System and Price Stabilization
Feb. 25, 1928  The Federal Reserve System and Brokers' Loans
Retirement, Pensions, and Social Security
Social Security
Unemployment and Employment Programs