Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Day 80, April 16

Following the First World War, the federal debt was ten times higher than before the war.  It was accepted that the debt burden would become unbearable if interest rates rose.  (Does this sound familiar?)

The top income tax rate was over 70 percent, veterans were having difficulty finding work, prices had skyrocketed, while wages lagged, and disgruntled workers were talking revolution.  (Once again, familiar.)

The Wilson administration had nationalized the railroads at the end of the war and had encouraged stock exchanges to shut down for a time.  Progressives were pushing for state and federal control of water power and electricity.  (At the risk of repeating myself, familiar again.)

The outlook for businesses was grim, with one of the biggest underlying problems being the lack of a sensible budgeting process.   Congress brought proposals to the White House, and they were usually approved.  (At last, something different from our own times.)

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