nomenon uniquely suited to price controls, and the administration immediately
reinforced controls with conservative monetary and fiscal policies. The net result
of these events and policies was a much-reduced inflation and a President who
seemed to be in charge of economic policy.
43 Truman emerges in 1951 as a man
who gave the nation an intelligent, comprehensive economic policy which
worked. This stands in stark contrast to his reputation in 1946.
Executive Order 9328, April 8, 1943. The Public Paper and Addresses of Franklin
D. Roosevelt, N.Y. 1943, Vol. 12, pp. 148-57. Hereafter cited as Roosevelt Papers.
The main elements in this compromise were the April 2, 1943 veto of the Bankhead
Bill, which would have raised farm prices significantly. This is a key element in price
stability because in early 1943 increases in farm prices were exerting great pressures on
wage rates; prices of principal food groups were rolled back and the food subsidy program
cancelled; price ceilings were placed on all goods which constituted significant items in
the cost of living; and the authority to grant wage increases was severely limited and
restricted almost solely to extreme hardship cases; and earlier on March 16, 1943, the
NWLB rejected the petition of the A.F.L. to change the Little Steel Formula, which was
the keystone in the wage stabilization program. Roosevelt Papers, 1943, pp. 135-43.
, "A Review of Wage-Price Policy," Review of Economics and Statistics 29
( August, 1949), 154-60. Federal Resume Bulletin 45:12, December, 1959, "Revised
Industrial Production Index," pp. 1451-74.
The primary objectives of the OPA can be listed as follows: (1) prevent, or at
least reduce, the wartime inflation, (2) equitably distribute the burdens of the price and
retaining programs in order that no one group in society should bear a disproportionate
share of the burden of the war, and (3) prevent a postwar boom in prices. In achieving
the first two goals the OPA accomplished an arduous task; it is only with respect to the
third goal where the agency floundered. For an analysis of the first two goals, see G. T. Mills
, "The Economics of Price Control: The OPA Experience 1941-1946." Unpublished
manuscript in author's possession.
Historical Reports on War Administration Office of Price Administration, General
Publication No. 15, USGPO, 1947, "A Short History of OPA," pp. 82-83.
of the Budget, The United States at War, USGPO, 1947, pp. 491-92.
The no-strike agreement reached in a labor-management conference in Washington
on December 17, 1941 was formally recognized by Roosevelt in Executive Order 9017
on January 12, 1942. It was this pledge and the government's ability to settle labor-
management conflicts during the war which aided high war production. Chronology of
the OPA, USGPO, 1947, p. 4. Roosevelt Papers, 1941, pp. 533-36 and pp. 592-93. Roosevelt Papers, 1942, pp. 42-48.
Executive Order 9250 was issued by F.D.R. on October 3, 1942 in an attempt to
halt the ever-increasing cost of living. At that time prices were advancing primarily due
to rises in food prices and wages, over which the government had no effective control.
On October 2, Congress had passed the Economic Stabilization Act enabling the administration to act in this fashion. Under this act low wage increases were theoretically subject
to the approval of the Director of Economic Stabilization, as were price increases. As a
practical matter the director exercised his authority here only in a few insignificant cases.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Harry S. Truman: The Man from Independence.
Contributors: William F. Levantrosser - Editor.
Publisher: Greenwood Press.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1986.
Page number: 276.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may
not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.