Carlos Hudson Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Jack Ranger

Tapping the Wall Street Wire

Mr. H and His $10,000

(6 January 1947)

From Labor Action, Vol. 11 No. 1, 6 January 1947, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Today we continue our cavalcade of modern American tragedy, with the epic story of how Mr. H, a $10,000-a-year executive of a medium-sized manufacturing company in Chicago, “can live well on his salary but ‘can’t save a cent’.” Like last week’s story of Mr. $45,000-a-Year-X, this one is taken from the columns of the >Wall Street Journal>.

At $10,000 per, Mr. H is far from the ranks of the Big Bourgeoisie, but still a stalwart junior officer in the army of exploiters that occupies the United States.

“A young 42, he is earning 40 per cent more than he did in 1940 ... owns his own home just outside Chicago ... leads the life so, often depicted on the advertising pages of the slick paper magazines ... and generally enjoys all the pleasures of living.’ Mrs. H is a member of three women’s clubs.”

Like Mr. X, our current hero hasn’t “saved a cent in 1946. My bank account is still hovering between $1,000 and $1,500 where it was five years ago and I haven’t bought a share of stock or a bond in the past 12 months, let alone any new furniture or household appliances.”

Back in 1940, Mr. H was making $7,000 a year, including $1,000 in bonuses. He lives in a $12,000 house which will be his in 17 more years ... IF the coming great depression doesn’t declass him.

The war was kind to Mr. H. The recruiting posters and the military services were not for him. From 1942 to 1945 he increased his security holdings from $5,000 to $12,000 (more than half in government bonds). He is insured for $45,000. He pays $1,200 a year for this, but, like Mr. X, doesn’t feel that this constitutes savings. He pays federal income taxes of $1,900, it says in the Wall Street Journal. His securities net him income of $360 a year.

Mr. H keeps a sharp eye on household expenses, and no doubt he and Mrs. H have well-bred spats about this subject. “Our biggest outlay is for groceries,” he says. “Before the war we were struggling – and failing – to keep the weekly bills under $20. Now we are lucky if it is less than $37 for our family of three.” The H’s always enjoy the best cuts of meat and plenty of vegetables, and little Mary has the juice of six oranges every morning. Payments on their home and other household expenses total $150 a month. When their house needed redecorating last year, Mr. H bought some paint and did the work himself.

Mr. H is a snappy dresser. In 1946 he bought four suits at $75 per. Five years ago he had never bought a suit over $35, “and they were as good if not better than the suits I have today.” Mrs. H spends about $500 yearly on duds, and little Mary’s $300 a year for clothes doesn’t bring her sneers from her classmates.

Mr. and Mrs. H are popular, it says, and they do a lot of entertaining, costing about $75 a month.

Mr. H belongs to three clubs and a church, all for business reasons. The church doesn’t receive the Biblical tithe, but only $250 a year. That is Mr. H’s contribution toward supporting superstition and prejudice among the population. His country club monthly bill runs around $65 a month, and his company pays his expenses in the other clubs.

But by God, there is one place where the H’s save money. Mrs. H gets along without a maid by having a woman come in to clean and wash one day a week. “We have a real bargain there,” says Mr. H proudly. “She charges only 40 cents an hour, carfare, and her meals on the job.”

Mr. H is a careful shopper but at the same time he wants to keep up with the neighbors. He’s got his name on the lists for a new Oldsmobile, and also a Buick. At present he drives a 1941 Ford. In 1947 he also wants to buy a deep freeze box, a washing machine, a piano and a television set. He’d like also to take a vacation, and Mrs. H is planning a trip to Europe to visit relatives there.

I don’t pass on information about the X’s and H’s just to interest you, though I know it does that. Few things about people are as interesting as how they earn and spend their money. That is what we like about the novels of writers as far apart as Horatio Alger and Theodore Dreiser. They tell us how their characters earn money and how they think about it. I consider information about how the bourgeoisie live as an important element in the political education of the American people. It is not the X-Y-Z of Marxism, but only the D-E-F. All of us should know all we can about the economic, social and political aspects of every type in society – of the Catholic priest and the Catholic layman, the cotton farmer and the cattle rancher, the doctor and the atomic physicist, the preacher and the major, and so forth. The more we know about these people the more will we be able to influence them, or to combat them, with our scientific program to revolutionize society. Trotsky, I know, all his life long was a keen student of every social type that the world breeds It aided him immeasurably in his mastery of politics. We cannot match Trotsky’s knowledge but we can all strive to do so.

Carlos Hudson Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers’ Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 27 November 2020