SEPTEMBER 11, 1947
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—In an article about one of the important leaders of the Republican Party, he is quoted as saying that the high prices of food are the result of over-export of foodstuffs. It is curious that, over quite a period during the war, we must have been exporting as much as we are today, yet we managed to keep prices down under a system of price control and rationing.
I have been doing a good deal of thinking as to what was meant by that phrase "over-exporting of foodstuffs." It must be that this elder statesman, who feels that the United States has done its full share on foreign relief, would have had us handle the price situation by flooding the home market with goods, thereby reducing prices.
In order to do this, we would have had to keep from starving people in other nations the actual pittances on which most of them have lived during the past two years, because this over-exporting of ours has not supplied them with plenty. It has just barely given them enough to keep them alive. It somehow does not seem to me that that is really the answer to our problems.
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Somebody else has suggested that we will be forced back to control of prices and to rationing of certain essential foodstuffs. Nobody is going to like that. The Democratic Administration is not going to be happy if it is obliged to do something of this kind, and if Congress has to acquiesce in it, Congress is going to be most unhappy.
Perhaps the time has come for telling the people some of the truths that they need to know. What groups brought pressure in Washington to remove price controls? What groups are against rationing? What groups would have us forget how we came to the depression and how we stayed in that depression under a Republican Administration?
We need to be economy-minded these days, but the trouble is that the people who hold the majority power in our country at the moment are not simply economy-minded. They want economy for the many, but they want plenty for the few—and those few can exert a vast amount of pressure.
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A boy who spent two or three years in a hospital as a result of an Army accident is living in a little house not far from us here. I keep wondering how, on his Army pension, he pays the present prices. He will never be very active again, I fear, though he has great hopes of walking again. Hence, I doubt if his income can be greatly raised. It remains the same while the prices for the food that he has to eat soar day by day. How many similar cases there must be throughout our country!