Eric Johnston gives 10-point post-war plan (5-2-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (May 2, 1944)

Eric Johnston gives 10-point post-war plan

Expanding economy possible, he says

Washington (UP) –
Eric A. Johnston, president of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, today urged Congress to guide the reconversion of industry to a peacetime basis with a 10-point program “grounded in boundless confidence in the free enterprise system.”

In a statement prepared for delivery to the House Special Committee on Post-War Planning, he declared that business, labor and agriculture, under favorable government policies, can provide a high expanding economy assuring a high level of post-war employment.

He emphasized the need for a favorable atmosphere for business, including decreased taxes, relaxed government controls and favorable legislation for post-war expansion.

Favors rationing

He said, however, that elimination of priorities, allocations, rationing and price ceilings should wait until raw materials and finished products approximate demand, and that even then their abandonment should be cautious but complete.

Mr. Johnston’s 10-point program follows:

  • Establishment of government policies favorable to business.

  • Enactment of laws setting policy for reconversion.

  • Immediate legislation for prompt and equitable settlement of war contracts.

  • Early establishment of policies governing disposition of surplus war plants and supplies.

  • Maintenance of some war controls for a temporary period after the war to check inflationary tendencies and assure fair distribution of raw materials and consumer goods, but their elimination as soon as possible.

  • Modification of “oppressive” laws and administrative regulations to provide an adequate flow of investment capital to sustain an expanding economy.

  • Congress should encourage a return to state and local financing of public works and should take steps to strengthen the financial independence of states and communities.

  • Federal and state governments should correlate their expenditures for public improvements with private capital expenditures to insure the maximum practicable stability in construction work.

  • Business through individual companies and activities of local, state and national organizations “is doing its part” to promote post-war employment.

  • The House Special Committee On Post-War Economy Policy “might” examine present laws and their administration to determine what factors are acting as a brake on job-creation in our war economy.

Specific proposals

Among his specific proposals were: The creation of a demobilization agency to establish policies for disposition of surplus property and supervise demobilization of servicemen and war workers; the immediate organization of “settlement teams” of government negotiators to supervise the termination of war contracts; and the establishment of overall budget committees in both Houses to improve control over appropriations and increase Congressional authority over creation and operation of government agencies.

He reiterated his belief that labor and management must work together in order to increase their efficiency to meet post-war conditions, and said both must work with agriculture to provide an economy of abundance “under favorable government policies.”

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