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President Truman's Economic Goal

President Harry S. Truman's paramount goal in the beginning of his administration was to stabilize the economy by ending the boom-bust cycle that had brought the nation to the brink of chaos in the Great Depression (Truman, 1973, p. 305). From the beginning, he insisted that this could only be achieved if both labor and management exercised social responsibility. He did everything in his power to persuade both sides to do so. In November, 1945, he convened a labor-management conference to work out machinery for dealing with major labor disputes. On December 3, 1945, in a special message to Congress, he outlined a fact-finding program which would have established by impartial investigation how much money workers deserved to get, based on their productivity, and how much money the company could afford to pay, based on its profits. Truman specified that this was a program that should be used sparingly and only when the national interest required it. The company would be required to open its books to the fact-finding board, and for 30 days, while the board investigated, it would be unlawful to call a strike or a lockout.

Both labor and management, however, denounced Truman's plan. Philip Murray, the head of the CIO, believed Truman was catering to management. George Meany, secretary-treasurer of the AFL, declared that his union would never accept legislation that compelled workers to work even for a minute against their will (Truman, 1973, p. 305). The General Motors Corporation withdrew from the jurisdiction of a special fact-finding board, appointed by the White House, when the board attempted to consider its ability to pay. With their treasuries full from five years of wartime wages, the unions were almost eager to take on management in a test of strength. The corporations refused to yield unless all controls were lifted from prices--something Truman refused to do.

Truman, who believed that leadership was the art of p...

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President Truman's Economic Goal. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:03, May 28, 2020, from