APRIL 3, 1946
NEW YORK, Tuesday—It is a little hard for me to become adjusted to a new name at the head of the Office of Price Administration, but what the new administrator, Paul Porter, says sounds very much the same as what Chester Bowles has said right along. He emphasizes the fact that we started to accomplish an anti-inflation job four years ago and that we can finish it successfully, but that it will require intelligence and courage on our part to succeed. Where there are real hardships for big or little business people, prompt price adjustments must be made so as not to impede production. But to prevent inflation, we must keep present prices and rent standards with as few major changes as possible.
Business, in some cases, would like to have controls come off more quickly perhaps than the OPA deems wise, but I think OPA is going to be anxious to remove these controls just as soon as production begins to relieve the pressure in the major commodity fields. Anyone who lived through the lack of control which existed during and at the end of the last war will acknowledge, I think, that things are being handled better this time, in spite of the many inconveniences and some actual hardships which at times amount to injustices in certain fields.
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I feel that the next few years are very critical years. We in this country who believe in democracy and in a free-enterprise system will have to justify, not by lip service but by actual accomplishments, the claims which we make for our system of government and our political and economic way of life. There are two strong contenders in the world today for the backing of the people—communism and our form of democracy—and the proof of the pudding is in the eating!
What everyone is going to look at is results, not the speeches which are made about the virtues or the failings of our respective ways of life and thought. Also, it will not be what suits this small group or that small group, but what really benefits the great majority of people, which will be the deciding factor in the judgment rendered—some ten, fifteen or twenty years from now—by the generation which has fought the war and now must try to build a peaceful world.
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Of course, if we fail in building a peaceful world, we may all be annihilated and there will be no opportunity for either form of economic and political thinking to prove its value. But I'd like to quote the words which one of my favorite members of Congress, Mrs. Helen Gahagan Douglas, used in a speech before Congress on March 24th:
"I don't think we value democracy highly enough. The great mass of the American people will never exchange democracy for Communism as long as democracy fulfills its promise. The best way to keep Communism out of this country is to keep democracy in it, to keep constantly before our eyes and minds the achievements and the goals which we, a free people, have accomplished and intend to accomplish in the future under our own democratic system. I am jealous for democracy."