NOVEMBER 4, 1943
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—I was told a curious story yesterday. A congressional official, on being asked by a farmer in his audience what he was going to do to obtain feed for his chickens, replied that he did not know there was any trouble in obtaining feed and demanded to know why he was not informed of this difficulty.
If the story is true, the gentleman must have been burying his head in the sand! There will be no excuse for anyone not to understand the whole food situation if he reads the complete text of the message on food, sent to the Congress of the United States by the President and reprinted in our papers of November 2nd.
In the first place, the message shows the difference between the achievements in food production during this war and during the last war. In addition, it shows how many things outside the farmer's direct interests are involved in food production. There is the question of machinery, of labor, of producing the right things in the right place and distributing them after production in the proper manner.
There is the effect of the cost of living on the whole life of the nation with all its ramifications. One thing stands out—one of the great increases in consumption is among a group of people many of whom have had most inadequate diets in the past. The statement, that while we may have to change some of our food habits, on the whole, the nation will not be hungry, is one that I think any sensible person will agree to and stop worrying about.
I am particularly glad of the part in the message which points out that there are great numbers of our people whose wages or incomes have not risen in this period. The message says: "Obviously, too, the millions of people with incomes fixed long before the war—salaried white-collar workers, clergymen, school teachers, other state and county and city officials, policemen, firemen, clerks, old age pensioners, those living on insurance policies, dependents of men at the front—all had to be protected against the rise in the cost of living which was eating steadily into the buying power of their unchanged incomes." We need to remember this when people talk as though all our population was receiving greatly increased wages.
The danger of inflation is also pointed out and I think made extremely clear. I hope this message will be read by every citizen, since it seems to me a clear statement of facts which we all need to understand.