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Jack Ranger

Tapping the Wall Street Wire

(30 September 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 39, 30 September 1946, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

At the suggestion of several readers, this column for a period will keep tab on the price boosts that pass through the OPA sieve. For the week of September 11–18, check the following:

In addition, the OPA wiped out all ceilings on razor blades, baby carriages, fountain pens, dry batteries, lawn mowers, grass and fibre floor coverings, and comforters.

There, in a nutshell, is the extent to which every reader of this column had his pockets picked by OPA during one week. Never did the American people so desperately need a heavy-handed agency to crack down on the profiteers. Instead, the Democratic and Republican parties and Big Business offer the present OPA.

* * *

On the subject of auto prices, here are some figures quoted by C.E. Wilson, president of General Motors Corporation, at his recent press conference, figures not generally published in the daily press:

The Chevrolet Master Sedan was $748 list price in 1941, and is now $1,005. Chevrolet prices are approximately 34 per cent over 1941, approximately 21 per cent over 1942.

The list price in 1941 of the Buick 51-C was $1,105, is now $1,567, a 41.8 per cent increase. The ’40 series was priced at $985 in 1941, and is now $1,346.

A Ford car which in 1941 sold for $753 was selling at $1,093 BEFORE the recent further increase. A Plymouth which in 1941 sold for $774 is now $1,142; a Nash that was $765 is now $1,206.

Here are comparative figures on Ford’s line for 1942 and today:





New ceiling

Ford de luxe

$ 885


Ford super









To the question, How much further price advance do you think you should have, Wilson of General Motors said: “If you want a nice round figure, about $100 an automobile.”

How many workers can afford new autos at nice round prices like these?

* * *

Scores of corporations, including the largest in America, are resorting to the use of carryback tax credits, so thoughtfully provided them by a boss-minded Congress that wouldn’t dream of granting tax relief to the people.

Westinghouse Electric reduced a loss of nearly $43,000,000 to $340,000 by using credits in the first half of 1946. General Motors, with an operating loss of some $120,000,000, set up tax credits of $80,000,000. U.S. Steel, through the transfer of $28,300,000 of strike costs to its reserve and the use of $7,300,000 credits, was able to show a net of $24,100,000 for the half year. Under the tax carryback plan, the U.S. Treasury refunds to corporations some of the taxes paid to the government in the war years as taxes on large profits. This single governmental action has poured billions of dollars into the laps of Big Business. Life is so pleasant when it is

YOUR government that is running the nation.

* * *

The factor of relatively lower wages in Puerto Rican factories has given birth to a new enterprise, Willis Air Service, which will fly a four-motored freight cargo plane between New Jersey and San Juan, with a capacity pay load of 16,000 pounds. On its shuttle flights it will take raw textile materials and leatherwork goods to Puerto Rico, returning with dresses, negligees and underwear. An estimated $1,000,000 worth of textiles and leatherwork will be moved each month.

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