View original document

The full text on this page is automatically extracted from the file linked above and may contain errors and inconsistencies.

The Cleveland
BUSINESS
Prepared and Published by
The Cleveland Trust Co.

T

HE President said in his message on
the state of the Union that we ought
to have an annual national income of
at least 80 billion dollars. That is by no
means an excessive aspiration. We had a
national income of about 80 billions in 1929,
and now we have nine million more people
in our population than we had then. In order
to have a national income of 80 billion dollars
we should have to do about five-fourths as
much business as we did in 1937, and that
ought not to be too difficult an achievement.
There is nothing at all to prevent us from
doing five-fourths as much business as we
did in 1937 except the relative unattractiveness of taking business risks. For many years
before 1929 about 60 percent of all corporations doing business made profits. Since 1930
that proportion has been cut in two, and
only about 30 percent of the firms in business
have made profits. If the prospects for profits
could be restored to about their old proportions we could produce a national income of
80 billions with easy promptness.

If business men had a high degree of confidence in the future they would base their
policies on long-term expectations. They
would erect new factories and build additions, and then they would equip them with
new machinery. They would produce the
new products that have been developed in
the depression years. They would open new
agencies, hire more workers, spend more for
advertising, and do the other things that
characterize expanding enterprise. They
would do them if they thought they could
afford to take present risks in the hope of
making future gains, and if they believed
they would be allowed to keep a reasonable
part of the gains if they should succeed in
making them.
An 80 billion dollar national income depends on the expansion of business spending
which tends to be self perpetuating, and not
on increased federal emergency spending
which has to be self terminating. The means
available for inducing increased business
spending are many and varied, but they are
all related to one simple controlling factor.
That one central control is the attitude of
Digitized forthe federal government toward business
FRASER
profits.