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The Militant, 28 September 1946

Warren Creel

Government Aids Profiteers’
Price Gouging

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 39, 28 September 1946, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The present rising cost of living is an attack by the government against the workers. The government is doing this to make profits for the employers.

This becomes plain when we sum up the situation:

  1. Prices are rising from currency inflation. The currency is inflated by the government.
  2. Wages are held down by government wage freezing.
  3. Economic controls were supposed to freeze both wages and prices. Yet in the case of prices the control turned out to be government price-raising through the OPA.
  4. No longer can unions bargain with employers. The corporations control the government, and they push forward the government to deal with labor. In every serious struggle today the unions directly face the government, which fronts for employers.

Two Ways

The government has two ways of acting for the employers against the workers. First, by wage control it openly holds wages down. Second, through currency inflation and price regulation it causes concealed wage cuts, by raising prices so the employers get more for their goods, and the workers can buy less with their wages. Every time the government controls wages down, it is controlling profits upward for the corporations.

The whole maneuver is carried out under the conditions of a rising price level due to currency inflation. This comes from the stream of false purchasing power created by government printing presses to pay war profits to the great corporations.

Since the start of the war the printing presses have turned out over a hundred billion dollars worth of artificial buying power. Part of it is ordinary printed money; the rest is printed government bonds which are used by banks as an artificial basis for bank checks. Both are artificial buying power; both are cheapening the dollar, so the employers can pay off workers in dollars which have become worth only about 65 cents even by official figures, and actually are worth less.

Attack on Wages

This cheap money, which served the employers first as a basis for war profits, now serves for a concealed attack on Wages, if only the workers can be held to wages frozen to the number of dollars they received at the old value of the dollar.

The government is used for this many-sided attack on the labor movement even though organized labor today is at the peak of its strength. Yet that strength, so far, has been used only in economic struggles. Labor has set up no defenses in the political field.

The unions have no party of their own to put genuine labor representatives in office. The bosses monopolize the political field. That is an open invitation to them to use the government to the limit against labor.

Let us see what representatives elected by labor’s own party could do in this situation. They could do a lot.

Even as a minority, labor representatives in Congress would be in position to fight the anti-labor drive at its very source, the government. They could present labor’s program, expose the anti-labor maneuvers and bring out the truth.

Labor Program

They would offer a program to stop the government’s inflation of the currency and would support a sliding scale of wages to meet the rising price level until wages and prices have adjusted to the lowered buying power of the dollar caused by past inflation.

They would demand an end to government strikebreaking; they would expose the OPA fraud. They would lay bare the government’s support of profiteers like the meat packers and timber trust who are making fortunes by withholding food and building materials to force up prices.

They could upset the Big Business political maneuvers even as a minority. And presenting such a program in labor’s interests, a program that goes to the heart of the problems facing the workers and farmers, the labor party would, quickly rally the majority of the people behind it and become the majority party. The empty capitalist programs of the old parties couldn’t compete with it.

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Last updated on 28 June 2021