Economic Problems of War and Its Aftermath

By Chester W. Wright | Go to book overview

NEXT STEPS IN FINANCING THE WAR SIMEON E. LELAND

WHEN Germany invaded Poland in September of 1939 the United States was deeply engrossed in the solution of domestic problems. Unemployment was extensive, idle plants were numerous, national income was relatively low.1 The nation was just emerging from the recession of 1937-38. It was interested primarily in problems of human security, including relief, and the improvement of economic conditions.2 Nevertheless, the President in his budget message for the fiscal year 1940 proposed an "enlarged national defense program," aggregate expenditures for which were to approximate $1,320,000,000.3 A moderate increase in tax rates was suggested in order to meet these expenditures. No such changes were made in revenue laws in 1939, but the Revenue Act of 19404 not only increased the rates but broadened the tax base, imposing special defense taxes in many instances, in order to defray these added costs.5

____________________
1
In 1939 the national income was $70,700,000,000 as compared with $76,000,000,000 in 1940, $71,400,000,000 in 1937, $69,000,000,000 in 1930, and $83,000,000,000 in 1929 ( Survey of Current Business, XXI, No. 6 [ June, 1941], 16).
2
Cf. Budget of the United States Government for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1940, pp. v, vi, ix, xi, xii.
3
Ibid., pp. xii, xvi. It should be remembered that this message was presented to Congress on January 3, 1939. The expenditures of $1,320,000,000 in 1940 represented an increase of $309,000,000 over defense expenditures in 1939 and an increase of almost $100,000,000 for continuing the then current program and $210,000,000 on account of a $500,000,000 program to be submitted later (ibid., p. xvi).
4
Approved June 25, 1940.
5
Cf. Annual Report of the Secretary of the Treasury on the State of the Finances for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1940, p. 21; ibid., 1941, p. 1.

-78-

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Economic Problems of War and Its Aftermath
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface ix
  • Table of Contents xi
  • War and the Early Industrial Revolution 1
  • Economic Lessons from Previous Wars Chester W. Wright 54
  • Next Steps in Financing the War Simeon E. Leland 78
  • Price Controls 112
  • The War State 126
  • The War and the Crisis Of Individualism 141
  • The Structure of Future Society 166
  • Index 191
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