Saturday, June 2, 1962 . . . Page 10
Must Action for White House:
Dispel Doubt in the Market Place
By PAUL MILLER
Most subscribing newspapers printed routinely on editorial pages Thursday a William
S. White column that this swivel-chair second-
guesser contends was front page news.
It obviously was based on a personal interview with President Kennedy.
It reported that the President agrees "to
a degree" that some businessmen have "lost
confidence" in his administration — but
that he doesn't know why this should be!
How President Kennedy could fail to
know is difficult to understand. Columnist
White wrote that it's a fact which no one can
doubt "who talks long to the President himself."
. . . What Happened?
True, stock market prices were declining
before the President's attack on Big Steel.
Factors other than government hostility to
business figured importantly in this week's
slide. Many stocks long had been regarded
as "priced too high." Some observers think
inflation has been slowed, that a market adjustment was inevitable.
But if the President does not perceive
why business in general is uneasy he must
have stopped reading more publications than
the New York Herald Tribune. That much-
improved newspaper learned this week that
it had lost JFK as a subscriber.
And Kennedy must not have paid much
attention to recent meetings of business and
professional groups at Washington, Hot
Springs and elsewhere.
While White House acts and attitudes
did not trigger the big stock break of last
Monday, they surely contributed to the
"atmosphere" in which it occurred.
. . . Pressure Builds
Let's go back.
Businessmen were slow in becoming distrustful of the Kennedy administration. They
appreciate the enormous problems and pressures of the presidency. They admire John
F. Kennedy's youthful guts and vigor. They
even wrote off some of the flood of White
House-sponsored welfare spending proposals
to Congress as politics; lip service to special
interests without genuine presidential support.
They were unhappy when it became clear
that there would be no tax cut. Still there
was nothing new in this particular administration's failure to seek major relief.
Many businessmen began to take a sharper
look at Washington amid increasing and far-
reaching intervention by regulatory agencies,
a seeming tightening of control from Washington in all directions. Gradually, the feeling
seemed to spread that business' was up against
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
"From now on you will need all the
help you can get"
—Opening line of a promotional letter
sent from an investment counseling firm.
an anti-business bureaucracy.
Washington seemed to proceed on the
theory that business profits were automatic
and assured and that Big Brother government
had to keep a wary eye and strong hand on
business and its leaders.
The crackdown on expense accounts, although justified in the main, seemed to fit
into a picture. So did the move for withholding of the tax on interest and dividends.
So did the Federal Reserve Board's disapproval of the proposed New York State bank
combine. And so, again, did the President's
castigation of the steel men followed by his
contrasting cordiality with the auto workers union.
Well, all these and more have contributed
to a lack of confidence that business could
move ahead under this administration. The
profit squeeze was to get tighter. Government
was to interfere and restrict more and more.
. . . Farmers, Too
A reader wrote me this week:
"You may be interested in the following
from the manager of our farm:
"'We will have no connection with any
government program this year. I am not
sure how many years we can continue as it
looks like (Secretary of Agriculture) Freeman
wants complete control over all farm items.'"
The reader added:
"We never have accepted a government
subsidiary for our farm. The problem is to
switch production to things that the govern-
ment does not yet control Next fall we may
even switch to raising cattle in order to avoid
subsidies—and clutches. It appears that this
may be a hopeless race in the long run."
. . . Deficit Doom
While the Kennedy administration called
loudly for non-inflationary conduct by business and labor, particularly the former,
nothing seemed to be said around the White
House about cutting nonessential government spending.
Sen. Harry F. Byrd, the best informed
man in Washington on federal finances, complained:
"A prudent government would balance
its budget by stopping non-essential expenditures. This is not being done. The
hard fact is that continuing deficits ultimately end in bankruptcy."
. . . All Adds Up
Hesse, St. Louis Globe-Democrat
'I GET A DEFINITE FEELING I CANT WIN'
In short, everything seemed to point to
bigger and bigger government, more and
more "guidelines," further shrinking of
Although steel is No. 1, there is no
single factor or act that has affected business
confidence. It is a combination.
John F. Kennedy can extricate himself,
and the country, from this unhappy situation.
But not if he isolates himself from criticism by the New York Herald Tribune or
And not if he maintains that there is no
basis today for business distrust.
He has made some overtures to business
since the blowup over steel. Even Roger
Blough has apparently tried to return in kind.
But more important, there should be
deeds as well as words; clear evidence of
White House determination to dispel doubt
in the market place and, again, "move
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