Statements Giving Reasons Why Certain Groups Were Excluded From Social Security Act

I. Excerpts from House Committee hearings
II. Excerpts from Senate Committee hearings
III. Excerpts from House debate
IV. Excerpts from Senate debate


Hearings before Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, 74th Congress, first session on H.R. 4120, a bill to alleviate the hazards of old age, unemployment, illness, and dependency, to establish a social insurance board in the Department of Labor, to raise revenue, and for other purposes. January 21-31 and February 1-12, 1935.

(Page 112)

Mr. Witte (Executive Director, Committee on Economic Security):

"... If you cover domestic servants, you would probably have to have a stamp system. You might adopt one system for collecting the tax for one group of employees and another for another. This leaves it entirely within the discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury."

Mr. Vinson:

"Referring to the persons domestically employed, assume that they would be excluded from the operation of the act; what effect would it have upon the cost to the Federal Government?"

Mr. Witte:

"There are about 4 million persons engaged in domestic service in this country. It is a large group. It is a group of employees whose wages are small. Many of them will be in need when they reach age 65. It will materially increase the pension costs, but I cannot give you any definite figures."

Mr. Vinson:

"Have you any figure that approximates that cost?"

Mr. Witte:

"They represent approximately 15 percent of the total number of employees."

(Page 113)

Mr. Vinson:

"Then in regard to those casually employed, it occurs to me that almost any method we might adopt would be hard to administer so far as those who are casually employed are concerned. Would there be added costs eventually if the casually employed were excluded from the operation of the law?"

Mr. Witte:

"I think in the long run practically none. Their contributions would be slight. They would never build up much of an annuity."

Mr. Vinson:

"What about that situation in respect of those employed in farm work?"

Mr. Witte:

"Again, a large group Of People, earning rather low incomes, many of whom will need assistance at age 65. But you cannot estimate the net cost in the end. I think that under the Plan set forth, while there will be an additional pension cost, there will be that much less cost in the annuity."

Mr. Vinson:

"Do you think that in respect of those three classes, the domestically employed, the farmer, and the casually employed, the cost would substantially balance itself?"

Mr. Witte:

"If you make the annuity system self-sustaining, there would be a lesser cost."

Mr. Vinson:

"Under the plan as suggested in this bill, what would be your judgment?"

Mr. Witte:

"My judgment is that it would not make any great difference. If, in your judgment, you wish to exclude those costs initially, it will not materially affect the cost either way."

Mr. Hill:

"Just what class do you have in mind?"

Mr. Vinson:

"The domestics, farmers, and the casually employed. Do you not think it would tend to better administration and be particularly beneficial in respect of the removal of the nuisance feature if these three groups were excluded?

Mr. Witte:

"It certainly would be easier of administration initially, there is no question about that. On the other hand, if you wish to solve the problem permanently, you will probably bring them in at some later date. But initially certainly it would be much easier of administration."

Mr. Vinson:

"But when you say 'to solve the problem permanently,' do you have in mind a self-sustaining plan?"

Mr. Witte:


(Page 244)

Mr. Brown (J. Douglas Brown, Director, Industrial Relations Section, Princeton University):

". . . The inclusion of domestic and farm labor, while socially desirable, may increase the problem of administering the plan at the outset."

(Pages 421 and 422)

Mr. Jolly. (Robert Jolly representing the American Hospital Association, Houston, Texas)

"Representing a joint committee of the American Hospital Association, the Catholic Hospital Association of America, and the Protestant Hospital Association of America, we wish to present to you the following reasons why the hospitals of this country feel that hospitals should be exempted from the provisions of said bills.

Hospitals are not industries, but they are charities, organized and operated for the common weal, without thought of profit and with the only purpose of affording, to the maximum limit of their resources, adequate hospital care for all our people when and as needed.

A lot of people try to put us in industries. We are not an industry. Most of the hospitals of the United States are not profit hospitals at all. They are not organized for that purpose. The great majority of our hospitals, outside of the Government hospitals, are hospitals organized not for profit. If we have money over the actual operating expenses it goes to take care of charity patients and in most of these hospitals we have let our debts go for the last 4 or 5 years to take care of charity patients and the people who own our bonds, and hold our notes have gone without payment.

In other words, we do not want to be classed as an industry. We are not; we are a charity.

Hospitals are not like industries in that they do not experience heavy fluctuation in employment of personnel during periods of depression, but with the increase of hospital care given, particularly in assuming the increased load for the care of indigent and unemployed, hospitals maintain a rather definite standard of numbers of employed personnel; the ratio of employed personnel to patients remaining practically the same during all periods.

We cannot decrease the personnel in a hospital, because we have to have a certain number of people to take care of patients, and in times such as we are having now, our patients increase in number; that is, the number of indigent patients increases, so that instead of decreasing our personnel, we must keep it as it is, and sometimes increase it. We reduce salaries, not personnel."

Mr. Hill:

"May I ask a question, Mr. Chairman? You have said something about being exempt from something, Mr. Jolly. Do you mean exempt from the provisions of the old-age-annuity section of the bill or the unemployment-insurance section of the bill? Is that what you are talking about?"

Mr. Jolly:

"Yes, sir; both."

Page 436.

From statement of Mr. Jolly submitted for the record:

"The joint committee of the American Hospital Association, the Catholic Hospital Association of America, and the Protestant Hospital Association of America, referring to R.R. 4120, respectfully submit to the consideration of the Committee on Ways and. Means the following which we suggest be adopted as amendments to R.R. 4120:

That all hospitals organized and operated "not for profit" and no part of whose earnings accrues to the benefit of any private person or individual be totally exempt from the payment of any taxes imposed by this bill.

2. That no provision of this act be ever interpreted as prohibiting or preventing the use of funds made available under this act for disbursement to a public or private nonprofit charitable institution for any service rendered to any person who is a beneficiary of this act and that no person otherwise a beneficiary of this act be deprived, by reason of being an inmate of a charitable institution, of benefits provided by this act.

Follows a brief memorandum in support of our suggestions:"


Pages 436 and 437.

"1. The three hospital associations represented by the joint committee speak for a total of 6,437 hospitals in the United States. Of this number 1,776 are Government hospitals, leaving 4,661 hospitals not Government owned. Of these 4,661 hospitals, approximately 4,500 are nonprofit hospitals. The others not being organized "not for profit' are excluded from our recommendations. These nonprofit hospitals are truly public-service corporations and as such have a partnership with the Government in providing for the general welfare and in the execution of the plan embodied in the bill for the relief of indigence and distress in the interest of greater social security.

Nonprofit hospitals a-re not industries but they are charities, organized. and operated. for the common weal, without thought of profit and with the only purpose of affording to the maximum limit of their resources adequate hospital care for all our people when and as needed.

3. Nonprofit hospitals are unlike industries in that they do not experience heavy fluctuation in employment of personnel during periods of depression, but with the increase of hospital care given, particularly in assuming the increased load for the care of indigent and unemployed, hospitals maintain a rather definite standard of numbers of employed personnel; the ratio of employed personnel to patients remaining practically the same during all periods.

Heavy withdrawals from the income of nonprofit hospitals for the purpose of this or other taxes reduces by the amount withdrawn the financial ability to give hospital care to the indigent and unemployed.

5. Nonprofit hospitals have no opportunity through the increase of their rates for service to cover the costs incident to unemployment insurance, as industries and commercial enterprises have.

6. Unemployment in hospitals has not been a serious factor in hospital problems.

Employment in hospitals is dependent upon the amount of sickness and not upon the condition of industry.

The hospital load tends to increase during periods of general unemployment.

9. Nonprofit hospitals in such periods meet their financial problem not by the discharge of employees but through the reduction of salaries and wages, and that as a consequence an enforced payment into an unemployment pool would result in a reduction in the salaries and wages of employees in hospitals without their ever being able to draw any appreciable result.

The annual pay roll of the nonprofit hospitals of America amounts to $121,500,000. The pay roll of hospitals constitutes about 30 percent of the total cost of operation.

11. Hospitals have had an increased burden of indigent sick without Government relief, except in three or four States. Relief agencies have fed and clothed and housed the indigent but the moment they need hospitalization the relief agencies have taken the attitude that the hospitals always have cared for the indigent so let them do so now, ignoring the fact that in addition to an increase of free patients the hospitals have had a falling off of earnings from pay patients and a falling off of donations from philanthropically minded people to about 40 percent of what such donations were in 1929 and 1930.

Nearly 400 voluntary nonprofit hospitals ceased operation in the past 5 years because the financial burden became too heavy.

Any statistical information the committee may desire will be gladly furnished."

Page 559.

Mr. Epstein (Abraham Epstein, Executive Secretary, American Association for Social Security, New York City):

"Now there are several suggestions concerning the bill that I would like to make. There is one thing I want to call your attention to, and that is this; and it is a very important thing: It is that the present provision in the act concerning contributory pension takes in everybody in this country; small employers, farmers, and everybody else.

. . . I do not want to have Congress do something that will come back and plague us a year from now and may antagonize the country two years from now so that another Congress will come in and repudiate the whole business.

... Start modestly. You will have time enough to make increases a year from now.

Do not try to collect now from the farmers. Do not try to collect from the domestic servants. You cannot collect money from farmers. You cannot collect money from domestic servants. If you try to do that, you are going to have to spend more money in administering the act than you will ever collect. And when that leaks out they will come to me and say, 'You are a hell of an advocate of social insurance. Look what you did; you made a mess of it.' I am standing here before you, and I appeal to you, do not, for God's sake, ruin this legislation by overdoing it at first and undertaking things that you cannot possibly do.

You cannot make collections from farmers at this time. You cannot collect contributions from domestic servants. You cannot collect contributions from push-cart peddlers and small-store proprietors. It will cost you twice as much to collect as the amount of money that you will collect.

So, for God's sake, start mildly, start modestly. Let me tell you that no other country on earth--not only the big countries like ours, but other countries that are not spread out as ours are--no other country dared to try to include the agricultural workers and the domestic servants at first. And if that is so, why should you, with such an immense country like ours, with such a problem of administration to tackle, why should we undertake all these things and then fail in the administration of them so that it will all come back to us to plague us for the next generation.

I do not want to see that done. Include those employers from whom you can collect. You can collect from an employer of three or more people. That will not cost so much. But you cannot collect from farmers. You cannot collect from domestic servants. You cannot possibly do it.

. . . Why give us all of this extra trouble by including the farmers in addition? After this has been tried, after it has been experimented with, and the farmers see what great benefit it is to everybody, the farmers then may want to come in. We will see. When they do, we will say 'Amen,' and we will welcome them with open arms and say, 'Yes; please come in. We will be happy to have you.'

But do not let us undertake too much now. Do not let us undertake a fight that will defeat us. Do not try to take a bite that will choke us in trying to swallow it. We just cannot do it."

(Pages 571 and 572)

Mr. Buck:

"The gentleman has indicated his dissent from inclusion of farmers and domestic servants under the terms of the old-age pension. Does your dissent also go to the unemployment insurance as far as farmers and domestic servants are concerned?"

Mr. Epstein:

"Certainly; not because I do not believe they should not be in, but I know that pragmatically, for the present, we are not ready to take in that group of people. We just cannot administer it."

Mr. Buck:

"Is that because of the difficulty of collection, largely?"

Mr. Epstein:

"The difficulty of collection, largely, and the general opposition that you, create of new elements that do not want to belong."

Mr. Buck:

"Is there also an element of difficulty there, due to the fact that there are largely transient, itinerant laborers involved?"

Mr. Epstein:

"That may be so. In your State, especially, I think that would be a problem; I mean with agricultural workers. We are just simply not equipped in this country on a national scale to enforce contributions on those groups. I do not think we are capable."

Mr. Vinson:

"Would you include casual employees in those excluded; the farmers and domestics?"

Mr. Epstein:

"I would have casual workers; very much.

Mr. Vinson:

"For the same reason that you have given?"

Mr. Epstein:

"Yes; that is right ...."

(Pages 901 and 902)

Secretary Morgenthau (Secretary of Treasury):

"The national contributory old-age annuity system, as now proposed, includes every employee in the United States, other than those of governmental agencies or railways, who earns less than $251 a month. This means that every transient or casual laborer is included, that every domestic servant is covered, and the large and shifting class of agricultural workers is covered. Now, even without the inclusion of these three classes of workers, the task of the Treasury in administering the contributory tax collections would be extremely formidable. If these three classes of workers are to be included, however, the task may well prove insuperable -certainly, at the outset.

I want to point out here that personally I hope these three classes can be included. I am simply pointing out the administrative difficulty of collecting the tax from those classes."

Mr. Reed:

"The British Government had that difficulty, exactly along the lines you mention, and those people were eliminated from the provisions of their security act." (Reference is to domestic service.)

Secretary Morgenthau:

". . . But we should like to ask the committee to consider the question whether it is wise to Jeopardize the entire contributory system, as well as, possibly, to impair tax-collecting efforts in other fields, by the inclusion under the system of the necessity for far-flung, minutely detailed, and very expensive enforcement efforts.

In view of the great importance of our objective, we should greatly regret the imposition of administrative burdens in the bill that would threaten the continued operation of the entire system. After the system has been in operation for some years, more inclusive coverage may prove to be entirely practicable; but we should like to see the system launched in such fashion that its administrative as well as its financial provisions contribute directly to the assurance of its success.

(Pages 910 and 911)

Mr. McCormack:

"Mr. Secretary, referring to the casuals, and the domestics, and I assume, those engaged in agricultural pursuits, they are the ones you have in mind in connection with your expression of doubt conveyed to the committee of the feasibility of practical administration of the provisions of the bill as applied to them, is that right?"

Secretary Morgenthau:

"Yes, sir."

Mr. McCormack:

"How many are involved in number?"

Secretary Morgenthau:

"I am told an approximate estimate would be about 7,000,000, all told.

I tried to make clear, and I am glad to have the opportunity again, that I do not suggest that anybody be excluded. I simply point out that the Bureau of Internal Revenue feels that a plan has not yet been devised which will make it practical to collect this tax.

. . . I feel that it is up to us to find a way to collect that tax, and the Internal Revenue Bureau should do that. But we have not been smart enough yet to do it. I want to make it very clear that we are not recommending that any group should be excluded.

(Pages 919, 920 and 921)

Statement submitted by George A. Huggins, representing the Church

Pensions Conference:

"I represent a group of workers who have not been a social care on the communities in which they live in their age or disability for the reason that they have been cared for by groups whom they serve. I refer to the Protestant clergymen and preachers.

Without depriving anyone of the right to be cared for under the Federal Plan the amendment we propose will enable the Church Pension F-and, which can demonstrate to the Social Insurance Board their ability to do so, to make provision for larger age annuities for their beneficiaries than the Federal Plan. For these reasons the members of the Church Pensions Conference respectfully request the attached amendment to the bill.

Amendment Suggested by Church Pensions Conference Tuesday, February 5, 1935.

"Amend S. 1130, section 307, subsection (5), page 20 of printed bill (Jan. 17, 1935) by striking out the period in line 24 and inserting a comma, and adding the following: Excluding every individual for whom a provision is made and maintained through an organization for the purpose, which provision is at least equal to the provision made under this act for such individual, as found from time to time by the Social Insurance Board."


Hearings before the Committee on Finance, United States Senate, 74th Congress, first session on S. 1130, a bill to alleviate the hazards of old age, unemployment, illness, and dependency, to establish a social insurance board in the Department of Labor, to raise revenue, and for other purposes. January 22 to February 20, 1935.

(Page 16)

Senator Hastings:

"Will you explain the reason why the Federal employees and the railroads were left out of this?

Senator Wagner:

"Because they both have retirement systems."

(Page 205)

Mr. Witte:

"In the contributory annuity plan, we exclude all public employees, and we also exclude. . ."

Senator King (interrupting):

"That would include the State and municipal employees, I suppose?"

Mr. Witte:

"Yes, for the reason, Senator, that not only do they very often have their own systems, but also that the Federal Government cannot impose a tax on State governments. We also exclude the people that are covered under the Railroad Retirement Act, which you passed at the last Congress, because you have set up a special contributory annuity system for railroad employees. You have now, in the Federal Government, two contributory annuity systems: A system for Government employees and a system for the railroad employees."

(Pages 504-505)

Mr. Epstein:

". . . but I would insist that you cannot possibly include the domestic servants or

the farmer. Not because I do not think they need it; they do need it. Farmers need it just as badly, and agricultural workers; but there are two or three problems that I would urge to go slow on, for this reason:

First of all, you have a problem of collecting the contributions. If you are going to try to collect even this tax from every farmer. you are going to have a difficult time, although it is not as difficult as the wage tax before, but it is difficult. Furthermore, the farmers have not yet learned the need of that thing. They are going to be opposed to it. Let us wait till we have a decent administrative system and we feel that we can undertake that thing, and the farmers will get educated and see the benefits; they should come in as soon as possible. But I would say that in the beginning, at least, let us leave them out and avoid a lot of trouble and difficulties, both political and administrative. I think it is safer to do it at the present time."

(Pages 514-515)

Mr. Epstein:

"I want to say again when I say that the farmer should not be included or the domestic servant should not be, I hope I will not be understood to mean that I do not believe that the farmer does not need this or the domestic servant. They need to have it as much and even more so than the industrial workers, but there is the problem of administration. You are not going to collect it. We have no administrative machinery. The administrative machinery on a program like this is a terrifically difficult thing. I do not want to see this country saddled with an administrative problem which will become a fizzle and therefore react ultimately against the whole plan.

We are too big a Nation, it is too big for us and we have no training in administration of this type. Let us wait at least a couple of years and we will see if the administration can really properly take on the job, and we have acquired some experience, and the farmers themselves see that it is good for them and then we will take them in, but for the first few years I do not think it is advisable to take on too much that will crush us in administering it. We would have to spend twice as much money trying to collect the contributions from the housewife, even to the stamp business--even if it is only stamps."

(Page 915)

Mr. Harriman (United States Chamber of Commerce):

"The second suggestion that we would make is that there be exempted from the operation of the fund agricultural workers, domestic servants, and casuals. I should think that it would be, as a practical matter, practically impossible to collect the tax on, for instance, the casual worker--the man who comes in and works in your garden for a day or two, or he shovels snow. I think the burden of setting up an organization to collect such taxes would be substantially impossible; and I believe that, certainly at the start, it would be very much better to remove those three classes."


Congressional Record, Volume 79, Part 6 (April 17, 1935) 74th Congress, 1st session, Pages 5902-5903.

Mr. Vinson of Kentucky:

" . . . there were real reasons why those exemptions were made. ... The farmer, the casual and the domestic were not taxed in this bill, because we knew that the House and Senate would not keep it in the bill. Nobody would want a farmer to pay a dollar a year for 45 years, with all of the nuisance features attached thereto, with all of the cost of administration. Suppose a man plowed for a farmer for a day, and he paid him a dollar a day, the employer would have to take out a penny and give him 99 cents for his day's work.

Then at the end of the road he would not have accumulated enough money to have paid for any substantial old-age benefits.

This bill exempts the farmer, exempts casuals, and exempts domestics, because the amount of the tax would be inconsiderable and its collection would be such a nuisance and cause such a clamor that the very ideal of the structure - the ideal to which the President refers - would be endangered. It would be too ambitious; no comparable benefits would come from it. No Member on the floor of this House, seriously understanding the bill, is going to complain about not taxing the farmer, the domestic, and the casual and the others exempted under the bill.

Mr. Lewis of Maryland:

"Did not the administrative authorities, in fact the present Secretary of the Treasury, appeal to us not to extend it into those fields at this time because he felt that its administration would break down?"

Mr. Vinson of Kentucky:

". . . He said that in his opinion it would be very difficult if not impossible of administration. ... If you had put it in there, it would have been analogous to the situation that obtains in regard to the ambitions of certain folks under the NRA legislation. You would have such confusion and such clamor that the good in the legislation well might be destroyed."

Mr. Buck:

"Will not the gentleman add to his statement also that for the same reasons seamen were exempted?"

Mr. Vinson:

"They were exempted in unemployment insurance because there is no power under State law to collect the tax from them. They come under maritime or admiralty jurisdiction, and the State sovereigns have not the power to collect the taxes.

Mr. McCormack:

"Seamen are exempted under the employment-compensation title because of constitutional reasons that do not apply to the contributory annuities."

Mr. Vinson:

"That is what I just said. They were exempted under title VIII because of administrative difficulties."

(Page 5992)

Mr. McCormack:

"When we come to the contributory provision, there is an entirely different situation. The administrative cost enters into the picture. Furthermore, whether or not farm laborers and domestic servants receive a salary so that when they reach the age of retirement they will receive an earned annuity above $10 a month is also a matter of consideration. We have also excluded those employed in educational and religious activities and in all kinds of charitable activities. The committee has tried to draft a contributory annuity provision which will not only meet the purposes desired but do so in a manner that can be administered without any great difficulty.

Mr. Wadsworth:

"I am seeking information. Is it not a fact that it is hoped title II will grow and expand if soundly managed to such a point at which title I will cease to be an important obligation to the Government?

Mr. McCormack:

"That is the purpose as I understand it".

Mr. Wadsworth:

"All right. Will the gentleman tell the House, if that is the case, why domestic servants are exempt from carrying their part of that burden, which is eventually to relieve the Federal Government of a major part of the straight-out old-age pensions?"

Mr. Vinson:

"The tax levy in title VIII is upon wages. Taking as a basis the total wage of the domestic servants, then 1 percent of that, and l.5, finally a maximum of 3, then if you multiplied it by 40 you would not have money in the account sufficient to purchase a substantial annuity. You would have a nuisance feature, such as a person being paid $1 wage and taking out 1 penny and having at the end of the road a small sum that would purchase a very small annuity. The same thing applies to agriculture, and the same thing applies to other occupations."

Mr. Wadsworth:

"On the ground that the wages are low?"

Mr. Vinson:

"On the ground the total wages over a period of years taxed would be inconsiderable."

Mr. Wadsworth:

"That is not true in the field of domestic servants."

(Page 14761)

Mr. Cooper of Tennessee:

". . . Under leave to extend my remarks in the Record I include the following of the provisions of the Social Security Act, prepared by the Committee on Economic Security:

It has been necessary because of the nature of their employment, to exclude the following groups... Agricultural labor, domestic servants, casual labor, officers or members of crews documented under the laws of the United States or any foreign country, employees of the United States Government, employees of a State or subdivision, employees of institutions operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary or educational purposes and which are operated for nonprofit."


Congressional Record, Volume 79, Part 9 (June 18, 1935), 74th Congress, 1st Session.

(Page 9518)

Mr. George:

"From this bill are already excepted State employees and Federal employees, as the Senator from Missouri said, perhaps the largest class of employees working for one concern or one corporation or one political subdivision or one sovereignty in all of the United States. Already they are excepted from the bill. They do not pay any tax. Of course, the Government does not, as a tax, nor do the employees who work for the Government or for the States or for the municipalities, nor does agricultural labor or domestic labor. I am not saying that those exceptions are not properly granted; that if it were a mere matter of classification they would not constitute a proper basis for classification. I am not asserting that at all; but I am saying that the bill is already open to the constitutional objection which I candidly concede may be emphasized by further exceptions of classes on whom it does not operate. At the same time the question is there, and the act may go down before the decision of the Court; and if it does, then we shall have, after some one or two years of trial, all that has been gained by the efforts of private employers to set up their own systems."

(Page 9519)

Mr. Harrison:

"The Senator from Missouri will recall that the bill especially exempts Government agencies and Government employees, also such persons as are employed by a national bank."

(Page 9527)

Mr. Clark:

"I should like to invite the attention of the Senator from Maryland, and the Senate, to the fact that the Federal Government itself is exempted under the provisions of this bill. It is the largest employer in the country, and it is exempted. I should blush, I am sure every Member of the Senate would blush, if he thought the Federal Government was requiring from industry or from other employers advantages which it was not willing to grant to its own employees. The Federal Government is exempting itself under the operations of this bill for the reason that we have already in effect a better retirement and annuity plan than is provided in this bill for general labor.

Certain religious bodies, notably the Presbyterian Church, are exempted under the provisions of this bill by reason of the fact--and it can be the only reason--that they already have in effect a much more liberal and more meritorious plan.

If the Federal Government, the Presbyterian Church, and other religious bodies are to be exempted, why should not other employers who desire to do the same thing be exempted?"

Mr. Tydings:

"In my judgment, the Senator's argument is unanswerable."

(Page 9528)

Mr. Barkley:

"Of course, the object of this bill is to levy the tax on organizations which are set up for profit. The Presbyterian Church or any other organization under it is not a profit-making institution, and, therefore, the Government does not desire to tax it in order that it may set up a fund of this sort. It would be utterly inconsistent for the Government of the United States to tax itself in order to raise funds in a way similar to the way the tax is levied on private industry. It is not a question of whether there has already been established a retirement system which is better than the one we are setting up for private industry, or whether the Federal Government plan will be better than the plan which some private institution or agency already has in operation.

It seems to me there would be no logic in undertaking to put the Federal Government, or a church, or even a State, which is a political division of the Nation, on the same basis as that on which we would put a corporation which is employing men, out of whom it makes a profit. It seems to me there is no analogy between those situations.

Mr. Tydings:

"Mr. President, I do not altogether agree with the Senator from Kentucky. The purpose of the bill, as I understand, is to declare a new policy in this Nation; namely, that when people arrive at the age of 65 years they shall have, in effect, the right to retire. It does not make any difference whether they are preachers, or doctors in a hospital, or workers in a steel mill, or conductors on the street cars. If our general policy is to take people off the work list when they have arrived at 65 years of age there is no earthly reason why the Federal Government or the Presbyterian Church or any other body should have an exemption, unless every other concern which is already providing age retirement should have an equal right, particularly when it is maintaining a better system or pays more than is proposed to be paid by the Federal Government.

Mr. Barkley:

"Mr. President, if we were establishing a general old-age-pension system applicable to all when they reach a certain age, of course we should have to provide the money out of general taxation. We could not tax a church, we could not tax the Federal Government, because neither has anything upon which to levy a tax. If we are ever to embark upon a general old-age pension system applicable to everybody, we may have to abolish any special taxes to raise funds on the part of employers, and pay the pensions out of money in the Treasury raised by general taxation.

However, this bill does not contemplate any such step as that, though it may come some day; but it has been felt that this is as far as we can go now in undertaking to make employees and employers contribute to a fund for old-age pensions."

Mr. Tydings:

"I see the point of the Senator from Kentucky; and, as I have said, I do not wholly disagree with him. I think, however, the Senator from Kentucky will be fair enough to say that the main purpose of the bill is not to levy a tax on anybody. The main purpose of the bill is to provide retirement for people who have reached the age when they can no longer work. If that is the case, there is no reason why anybody should be exempted; and if exemptions are to be made for the Government, or for the Presbyterian Church, or for an organization which has provided its own retirement agency, then it strikes me that the concerns which have provided retirement agencies comparable are superior to that which is envisaged by the bill should receive an exemption, at least temporarily, until the fruits of the bill can be tested in the light of experience."