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Mr. Osmers. In the first place, I want to point this out: We are not discussing small business here, or large business. We are just talking about competition with free enterprise and free labor.
Mr. KARSTEN. I think actually you will find your competition affects small business much more so than it does large business.
I might say during the 20 years or so I have been around here I have handed complaints at the Small Business Committee, and they actually do handle these types of cases on an individual basis. Many of them have been resolved satisfactorily for businessmen in my area. They speak very highly of this Committee on Small Business.
There is one further question I would like to ask: On page 3 you say:
We want the Federal Government to reembrace the philosophy which has made our country great.
What philosophy is that, sir?
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. My feeling is that the people are governed best who are governed least. I don't think the Government should do anything for the people that the people can do for themselves.
Mr. KARSTEN. Do you feel this administration has embraced that philosophy or not?
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. I am not prepared to comment on that.
Mr. KARSTEN. You have had an observation of about a year and a half here to study the thing or watch it in the papers. Has it never occurred to you at all?
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. Well, it could have done more. Everyone could.
Mr. KARSTEN. Do you think they have reembraced this philosophy you are talking about?
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. In a measure, yes.
Mr. KARSTEN. If they have reembraced it, what is the purpose of this legislation?
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. Perhaps not fully.
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. Well, that would require some careful study. If you will give me your questions I will write them down and answer them for you.
Mr. KARSTEN. I would like to know that.
Mr. KARSTEN. Just what direction is it going in and what do you want to reverse?
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. Well, I said a few moments ago the Government was in hundreds of businesses. I would like it to get out of many of those businesses, and I assume you gentlemen, here in your wisdom, after you have had your hearings, and you have given this problem the study it requires, will determine what business they should get out of and act accordingly.
Mr. KARSTEN. We would be very grateful for some suggestions from the witnesses we are hearing rather that these wild, general statements.
I think this is a very fine statement, but actually it isn't very constructive, I must say.
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. Let me say this to you: If I was here representing an industry or a specific business, I would come with a bill
of particulars. I come here today representing an association of taxpayers, representing all segments of our human society. If I come here and start to represent one segment, then I will get in dutch with the other segment. I come here to make a general statement of the association policy and philosophy.
Mr. KARSTEN. But you made the statement at the outset of a hundred widely spread activities of the Government.
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. Is that not a fact?
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. I would be glad to give you the list of that hundred.
Mr. KARSTEN. Then you do have specific information?
Mr. KARSTEN. We would be happy to have that, very happy to have it.
Mr. OsMERS. Are there any further questions?
Mr. KARSTEN. One further question: I would like to ask Mr. Stringfellow if he is in business himself or just what is his means of livelihood?
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. I am in business.
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. I am senior vice president of the Thomas Edison Inc., West Orange.
Mr. KARSTEN. Is that considered a small business or a big business? Mr. STRINGFELLOW. Well, our sales are about 50 million a year.
Mr. KARSTEN. Would you classify that as small business or big business?
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. I would prefer to leave that to you, sir.
We are trying to write legislation. If you don't want to cooperate
The CHAIRMAN. Why press it? It depends on where you live. It would be big business in my community. In yours I assume it is just a drop in the bucket.
Mr. KARSTEN. I am just asking the witness to tell me whether he classifies that as big business or small business.
The CHAIRMAN. Ask General Motors, or some of them, how it compares.
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. I would assume Dun & Bradstreet might classify us as a medium business.
Mr. KARSTEN. Medium business. Are you being severely affected by any Government competition with respect to your activities in this business, yourself, that you know of?
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. I didn't come here today, sir, as representative
Mr. KARSTEN. I am asking you. You are here. I am asking you. Will you answer my questions or not?
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. I came here as a representative of the taxpayers' association.
Mr. KARSTEN. I am asking you as a witness who takes the time to come before this committee, Mr. Stringfellow
I am trying to find out whether your $50-million company is suffering by reason of Government competition. Can you tell me that, sir?
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. Not directly that I know of.
Mr. KARSTEN. Are you or are you not suffering?
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. We make dictating instruments, known as the Ediphone Voice Writer. We make alkaline storage batteries. We make juvenile furniture.
The CHAIRMAN. Don't you buy parts for all of those things from other businesses ?
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. Sure.
Mr. CHUDOFF. You sell some of that to the Government, too, don't you?
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. Yes. We make airplane instruments.
Mr. KARSTEN. You sell some of those to the Government, don't you?
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. And the Government makes some, too. So, they are in competition there.
We can continue this thing for a week or two, if you want to.
Mr. KARSTEN. I am trying to find out if the Government does make these voice writers, storage batteries, airplane instruments, and baby furniture, or whatever his company does manufacture.
Is the Government competing with you on those?
The CHAIRMAN. You don't know of any small business that is in competition with you that pays no taxes, do you?
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. No.
Mr. CAUDOFF. Then you have no complaint as far as the present system is concerned?
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. I told you I came here as a representative of the Taxpayers' Association, and my statement is predicated upon the platform of the Taxpayers, Association.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you know of any way by which the Government can continue in business if the taxpavers, individually, that is, those who pay on personal income or who pay in any way, are put out of business?
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. No.
The CHAIRMAN. I gather, then, you want us to commit national suicide, Mr. Karsten.
Mr. KARSTEN. I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman, at this
Mr. WILLIAMS. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Just an observation: I want to commend Mr. Stringfellow on what I consider a very thoughtful statement.
I want to particularly point out it appears to me there is a restraint in this statement that hasn't been in the statements of all of the witnesses. We have had many witnesses, all very enthusiastically applauding our efforts to get Government out of business, and it seems to me--I got the impression--that too many of them think it can be done overnight, and with one sweep of the broom we will have the Government liquidating business enterprises that it might be in, I notice in Mr. Stringfellow's statement an understanding that that is impractical and won't happen, and I want to commend that restraint and understanding of the practical problems we do face.
Mr. STRINGFELLOW. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Opoliner, before you start to testify, several members of the committee have expressed an interest in knowing how long your statement will take.
Mr. OPOLINER. I could probably do it all in 10 minutes. Rather than read this, I would prefer to speak extemporaneously, and I think I could cover it in 10 minutes. It depends on what questions you gentlemen have.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you want your statement, as handed in, printed in the record?
Mr. OPOLINER. Yes, sir.
Mr. OPOLINER. I don't know the procedure on that, sir; but what I have to say orally would modify-I shouldn't say modify, but might clarify some of the printed matter.
Mr. OSMERS. If there is no objection from the committee, will you start your statement, Mr. Opoliner?
Mr. OPOLINER. Yes, sir.
STATEMENT OF ALBERT G. OPOLINER, REPRESENTING THE
TILLMAN-LENNETT DISTRIBUTING SYSTEM, INC.
Mr. OPOLINER. Yes, sir.
My name is Albert Opoliner. I am employed by the TillmanLennett Distributing System. That company is in the business of distributing advertising matter, house to house, and there are companies in that field throughout the country.
What we do specifically is this: A local merchant, wishing to advertise a promotion or a sale of some type, prints circulars. He engages a company like us to distribute those circulars to the consumers in the immediate vicinity of his store.
It is an industry of small businesses.
I doubt that there is any company in the field doing more than & half million dollars a year volume. : In New York, where we operate, I would say New York represents about one-twentieth of the whole industry.
We have been directly hurt by Government competition.
A little less than a year ago the Postmaster General issued a regulation permitting the post office to just about go into our business.
Mr. KARSTEN. What Postmaster General was that?
This regulation permits the post office to take circulars, without a specific address, and blanket a specific area designated by the advertiser.
Mr. HOLTZMAN. Excuse me.
Mr. OPOLINER. Yes, sir. The way it works in an apartment house: We go up to the top floor, go in, and proceed on down, putting one circular under each door.
We are not permitted to use the mailboxes.
Mr. Postman walks into the house and just sticks one circular into each mailbox.
Mr. KARSTEN. Let me ask you this: You don't have any address on this thing at all?
Mr. OPOLINER. I would like to show it to you, sir.
Mr. OPOLINER. Yes, sir. That regulation came out in August, and it took us a few months before we found out how it was affecting
We have lost close to 50 percent of our business to the post office. I have here a batch of circulars which show the type of address that is required by the post office, namely, no address. They just print on it Patron, Letter Carrier Route, and designate the area, and the post office distributes it.
Mr. CONDON. That is this same Postmaster General who has been asking for an increase in third-class mail?
Mr. OPOLINER. Yes, sir; may I continue for about 2 or 3 points and then answer your questions?
Every one of the circulars which you gentlemen are receiving now is from an advertiser who, up until recent times, used a house-to-house distributing company.
I see Mr. Osmers is holding one from his neighborhood.
Mr. OPOLINER. That one was distributed by Federal Distributing Co., who is joining with us in an attempt to save our industry.
Mr. CHUDOFF. Mr. Chairman, I can refer to the Park Distributing Co., 400 block, Spring Garden Street.
Mr. OPOLINER. Mr. Seidman is cooperating with us, and you will find his name on the title page of that letter you have.
Mr. CHUDOFF. He is the one who has been complaining to me.
We have taken this matter up with the post office, and we have asked them, “What do you fellows want from our lives? Why are you taking our business?
They have a stock reply. “We're doing this to save money. We're saving the taxpayers money."