Beginnings of the Cold War Arms Race: The Truman Administration and the U.S. Arms Build-Up

By Raymond P. Ojserkis | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6

Actualization

FINANCING THE AMERICAN ARMS BUILD-UP

Two issues were paramount in the Truman administration’s decisions on financing the arms build-up. The first involved the appropriate mix of debt, taxation, and domestic spending cuts. The second involved the use of government controls.

The first issue revealed a split between the law-making branches. The president’s preference was obvious, given his dislike of debt, his attempts to raise taxes before the Korean War, and his interest in maintaining many of the post-New Deal programs that gave funds to farmers, the elderly, and other groups considered at risk of poverty. 1 Truman termed his attitude toward funding the arms build-up a pay-as-you-go stance. A majority in Congress preferred debt funding, as had been used during World War II. The result was a compromise: some taxes, some debt, and virtually no new major domestic spending programs.

Congress passed three small tax bills during the war but refused to pass Truman’s large one in 1952. 2 During the course of the war, the federal government went from having small annual surpluses to running small annual deficits. Certain Fair Deal programs that Truman wanted were stillborn.

One reason the Fair Deal did not expand was a lack of attention, as can be seen in Truman’s 1951 State of the Union address, which was devoted almost entirely to the war in Korea. Truman told a press conference that “first things come first, and our defense programs must have top priority.” 3 The Fair Deal may have been politically dead in any case, given the nature of the Eighty-second Congress, elected in November 1950. The

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Beginnings of the Cold War Arms Race: The Truman Administration and the U.S. Arms Build-Up
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface and Acknowledgments vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Demobilization 5
  • Chapter 2 - Consolidation 13
  • Chapter 3 - Reconsideration 47
  • Chapter 4 - Transformation 85
  • Chapter 5 - Globalization 107
  • Chapter 6 - Actualization 129
  • Conclusions 153
  • Bibliography 215
  • Index 231
  • About the Author 239
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