JANUARY 22, 1948
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—Sometimes one wonders whether, because this is a Presidential election year, there is no hope on either side of facing impartially problems which require a completely nonpartisan approach. For instance, one reads that the Republicans will still press their tax slash in spite of Bernard M. Baruch's statement that, if we hold the line for two years, we will be safer at the end of that time. They cannot say that he is not as conversant with the financial situation as is Rep. Harold Knutson, author of the tax-reduction bill.
They really believe, apparently, that the American public will respond to a tax slash and vote for the party that hands it out, regardless of whether or not in the long run it will make us more secure. Mr. Knutson states that his bill will benefit the small taxpayers more than those in the higher income brackets. But the man who feels inflation the most today is the little man, and his savings on the tax will be swallowed up by the costs of inflation so that he will never even notice the saving. On the other hand, while the man with a larger income does not get as much relief on a percentage basis, he will not actually feel inflation quite so much, because he is buying more than just necessities and there are many things which he can do without.
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I am encouraged to see that the Secretary of Agriculture is negotiating for a continued curb on the use of grain in the brewing industry. But I am even more encouraged that he is going to negotiate with men in the cattle and poultry business. If he does it on the basis suggested by Mr. Baruch—of feeding livestock in the most economical manner, using the land to the best advantage, reducing prices but holding them stable for the next few years—he will have really dealt inflation a body blow.
And he will have earned the right to say to labor: "Here is a real saving which will stabilize your situation and give you greater buying power. Will you in turn guarantee two years of full production without strikes or raises—except, of course, in cases where wages are so low that they should have been raised long ago?"
The achievement of these things, plus the acceptance by industry of a return to 50 percent of the wartime excess-profits tax, would be an all-out effort to benefit the people through curtailing inflation and to benefit our nation's credit through reducing our national debt. If the people of this country could fully understand what this would mean to them in years to come, I think they would make themselves heard and would oppose a cut in taxation, which would only add to the uncertainty of the future.
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I must tell you that we have a new member of our household—an 8-months-old black Scottie, Fala's grandson. His name is Tamas McFala and he is already a personality—though not very happy as yet because I am afraid to let him off the leash when we go walking, for fear he might not know his surroundings well enough and might get lost. On the whole, he and Fala seem to be getting accustomed to each other very easily and pleasantly, and I think the two little black dogs are going to be more fun for each other as well as for us.