AUGUST 28, 1942
NEW YORK, Thursday—One of the things a great many of us are worried about today is the possibility of inflation. We are told that if we deny ourselves as many things as possible, we may be able to divert the production power which would ordinarily flow into the making of consumer goods, into the production of things which are vitally needed in the war effort.
There are certain things, of course, which are needed for the preservation of health and morale by the civilian population. However, the more we learn to do without, the quicker the war will be over and the less inflation we shall have. If we are fortunate enough to have an income which covers more than our needs, so that we may buy War Bonds and Stamps, we shall be able to spend at the end of the war and help our country back to a peacetime economy.
Some figures are before me, which I think may be of interest to you. In the war period of April 1917, to September 1917, the cost of living rose 10.4 percent, compared to the preceeding six months, from October 1916 to March 1917. This time we have done better from January 1942 to June 1942. The cost of living rose only 5.6 percent compared to the previous six months from July 1941 to December 1941.
According to these figures, we have also done better in keeping down corporate profits. In 1917, the profits of 68 leading industrial corporations were only 7.7 percent less than in 1916, according to reports published by Standard Statistics, Inc. The profits of 290 leading industrial corporations in the first half of 1942, were 34.6 percent less than in the first half of 1941, as reported by the National City Bank. Some of this decrease may be due to the fact that corporations have made excessive allowances for taxes.
The true picture of 1942 profits cannot be seen, however, until after the passage of the new tax bill and the start of the new year. Still, it looks hopeful. If the people throughout the nation, as well as our industrial leaders, can remember what it means to us now to save in every possible way to prevent inflation and to tide us over the period after the war, we shall help our government very substantially.
The United States Office of Civilian Defense has issued "A Citizen's Handbook for War." In it there is much valuable information for anyone who is asking the question—"What can I do?" But just for entertainment, glance through the illustrations in this little book. I am sure you will have many laughs, and laughs are needed at this time.
Miss Thompson and I left Washington yesterday afternoon by the 4:00 o'clock train with my niece and a friend of hers, who spent the last two days in Washington. I went to International House immediately on arrival for a meeting of the advisory committee of the American Federation of Negro College Students.