AUGUST 3, 1946
CAMPOBELLO ISLAND, New Brunswick, Friday—An old friend of mine who has a great interest in India has written me about the Food for India campaign conducted under the auspices of "The Caravan of East and West." Many of us, I think, have felt that the problem of famine in India, which keeps recurring and has been augmented by war conditions, is too great for much of a dent to be made by any private organizations. However, something was said to me recently by a French woman which I think may apply in other places and even in India.
She said that a word of encouragement, a message of appreciation of the rehabilitation efforts being made within a devastated country, and token gifts showing the goodwill of individuals in faraway lands—these meant a lift to the spirit of French people. I am sure this is so in countries all over the world. And so, even if the Food for India campaign is but a small effort, I hope it will be supported by many individuals.
The India Supply Mission has agreed to ship food free of charge, and ships with available space are leaving at frequent intervals. Soya-bean flour, powdered milk and oatmeal have already gone. Perhaps some of my readers would like to send "The Caravan of East and West" a little added bit to help stem the tide of the river of famine engulfing India.
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On July 12th, the National Committee for a Fair Minimum Wage urged us as citizens to ask our Congressmen to sign a petition to discharge the 65-cent minimum wage bill from committee so as to bring it onto the House floor for debate. This petition required the signatures of 218 Representatives, but this number was not obtained.
It seems to me that the subject was important enough to warrant debate on the floor. Though the bill might have been defeated, at least the people in this country would have known what the arguments were on both sides and how their representatives finally lined up. Now, with Congress adjourning without debating this bill, the last chance to do anything this year has gone by the board.
According to information from the National Committee for a Fair Minimum Wage, there are 4,000,000 workers now receiving an average of $16, $18 and $20 a week. These, of course, are unorganized workers and they are the ones who are suffering most as the cost of living rises.
Over and over again, it has been proved that better conditions in the lower-income brackets mean more profit at the top, and yet it is hard to convince many people in our country that this is actually so. They fear that our economy would crash under the weight of a 65-cent minimum wage law. As a matter of fact, more money in the hands of the people who actually spend all that they get means a greater demand for goods produced and a greater profit at the top, as well as all along the line.
Even though we have OPA functioning again in a limited way, there are bound to be increased costs, even for some things which can be classed as necessities for the average American family. Buyers strikes may be the answer where the increase is unreasonable and means too great a profit in whatever the goods may be. But a higher minimum wage would have an effect on the stability of our economy.