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C H A IR M A N O r

i h e . B O A R D O r " G O V E R K 'C r ^ S '

FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM
W A S H IN G T O N . D. C . 2GSb!

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Dear Herb:

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I 'm enclosing a M e m o r a n d u m for ihe P r e s i d e n t
which, as I unde rs tand the p r o c e d u r e , will go to the
P r e s i d e n t a f t e r you have m a d e such use of it as you
d e e m fit.

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Sincerely yours,

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Arthur F .

The Hono ra ble H e r b e r t Stein
Chairman
Council of E c o n o m i c A d v i s e r s
E x e c u t i v e Office Building
Washin gton, D. C.
20503




B ur ns

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GOVERNORS

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A r t h u r F . Pv fh S

SUBJECT:

Agenda for a.

I.

Economic P r o g r a m

MAJOR E C O n O U

r< NATION NOV.r F A C E S

T h e nation i-i in A;: :;rip of a dangerous inflation.
a r e continuing to s u r g e

v /.v + v z

Prices

r \ pr oductivity is falling off, a n d w a g e

Photocopy fro Gerald R.
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F RO M :

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r a t e s a r e e sc al a ti ng in

;ast i n c r e a s e s m tne c o s t 31 living

s

and w id e s p r e a d w o r k e r dif content.

c?

Jbari/eiy bcc%u.*: c of the debilitating effects of inflation on
family" budgets, on c o r p o r a t e re al e a r n i n g s , and on the na ti on 's c r e d i t
m a r k e t s , the e c o n o m y is slu ggish and m a y well b e c o m e m o r e so in the
months ahead.

The p r o s p e c t is that the unemployment r a t e will r i s e ,

poss ib ly to 6 pe r cent or m o r e ■7 next w i n t er .

The outlook for h o m e -

buflding is p a r t i c u l a r l y poor, and t h e r e have al &o been n u m e r o u s
s t r e t c h o u t s or c a n c e l l a ti o n s *n b u sin e ss cap ital

spending

plans.

In th e iinanc.5 ai snhei e, both we and other nations fa ce
unusual difficulties.




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S.
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a1

The quadrupling of the p ■ ce of oil has g e n e r a t e d

/

- 2 -

a flow of cap it al to the oil exporli'iy cou t r i e s <> a
•
ban kr up tcy for s r 3^e f ore ig n nati oil's.

r3 c

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c thr. . *:r re a t en s

F : nan eras. rnarp eCs,' bei.i -in the

United State s and inter nat io nal ly , a r e n e r v o u s ;«i d un - c l t l « d ; f i r m s of
les s-than-top-quality a r e having difficulty in obtciai-iv-_: lands;. ai;d the
sta t e of confidence is such chat m any f ina nci al i n s t : tutions, both h e r e
and a b r o ad , a r e viewed anxiously by d e p o s it o r s and othe r c r e d i t o r s .

/

s*

In the U. S. , th r i f t institutions a r e losing deposit iunds, \ /
v
and m a y f a c e a liquidity squ eeze.

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n

Manv a r m s m the ouoiic u i i h t i e s

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3

i n du st r y and the building indu stry a r e in r a t h e r poor n n a n c i a i shape;

q

t h e i r condition m a y d e t e r i o r a t e f u r t h e r in the months 10 co m e in the

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a b s e n c e of i m p r o v e m e n t in the financial a t m o s p h e r e .

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o.

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or

P r o g r e s s in curbing inflation has b e c o m e b a s i c to an
i m p r o v e m e n t in the p e r f o r m a n c e of the e co no m y - - to a be t t er public
mood, to a g r e a t e r willingness to plan ahead and m a k e co m m i t m e n t s
for the future, to an easing of the tensio ns and u n c e r t a i n t i e s in d o m e s t i c
fi nan cia l m a r k e t s .
The r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s that follow outline a policy for
dealing with inflation and its c o n s e q u e n c e s .
maintaining a f i r m anti-in fl at io n policy.

They s t r e r s the need for

But they r e c o g n i z e the

i m p o r t a n c e of alleviating, ciij.iiculi.ies ti.al m e v i t a s l y a c c o m p a n y
restrictive m easure




and a l s o the need to plan ag a i n st co.ntinge.ncie;

3




A. v i a b .:

a

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ti-in flatio n ary

--i ' ;,vr[op: ;. ry D i s c i p l i n e .

p o licy

The effort to r e s t r a i n

:>j Las thus f a r r e l i e d a l to ge th er too m u ch on m o n e t a r y
f r o m other public policy m e a s u r e s is e s s e n t i a l .

/

In

• o mini true nt to bring inflation under co n t r o l r e q u i r e s
j -—edible e ffo rt s to c u r t ail F e d e r a l expenditur e .

Without

on your Dart, F e d e r a l spending m a y ea si l y r i s e by o v e '.vcoil f i s c a l 1974 and f i s c a l 1975.

No single ac ti o n could

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a
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p.'vverful i m p a c t on public p e r ce pt io n of your s i n c e r i t y in

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causes

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a.

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inflation than to cut down sign ifica ntly on this

m mcnds-tions
Announce pr om ptl y a sp e c i fi c sum - - a t l e a s t
$5 billion and p r e f e r a b l y $10 billion - - that
m u s t be cut out of ongoing budget p r o g r a m s ,
and s e t up the m a c h i n e r y to do this. I s u g g e st
that you cal l on the l e a d e r s h i p in C o n g r e s s to
es t ab l i sh a b i p a r t i s a n c o m m i t t e e to work with
you in developing the list of p r o j e c t s that will
have to be c u r t a i l e d or t e r m i n a t e d .
P i e * e nor.
'1
a ba lan ce d
• i c e

m

e

" at your A d m i n i s t r a t i o n will submit
get ne: Janua *y for f i s c a l 1976.

/

Rostra'

The i

' ion that we a r e suffering is too

us:

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. x-scal and m o n e t a r y r e s t r a i n t .

-

^ ------

- -

*

------

- — 4 -

T r u e , the eco no m y should not be subjected again to the s t r a i t j a c k e t
of m a n d a t o r y v.age and p r i c e c o n t r o l s , and this need s to be explained
to the public.

But you need al so to take actio n evidencing your c o n c e r n

^

about p o s s i b l e a b u se s of e c o n o m i c po w er .
R e c o m m e n d a t io n s
a.

Ask the C o n g r e s s to r e e s t a b l i s h the C o s t of
Living Council (or so m e s u c c e s s o r a g e n c y ) ,
for the pu rp ose of m on i t or i n g p r o g r e s s on the
inflation front. The a g e n c y should be e m po w e re d ,
a? the need a r i s e s , to appoint a_d h oc r e v i e w
b o a r d s that could delay for 30 days wage or p r i c e *
i n c r e a s e s in p a c e - s e t t i n g i n d u s tr i e s , hoi i h e a r i n g s ,
m a k e r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s , i s s u e r e p o r t s , and thus
bring the f o r c e of public opinion to b e a r on wage
or p r i c e i n c r e a s e s that ap p e ar to be e x c e s s i v e .

b.

3.

Announce that your A d m i n is t r a t i o n will a c t i v e l y
seek to str engthen the co m p et i t i v e e nvi ro nm ent ;
in p a r t i c u l a r , that you will pu rsu e a tough a n t i ­
t r u s t pol icy, with s t r i c t e n f o r c e m e n t and
s t r o n g e r pe n alt ie s for vi olations of the law.

Possible Export Restraints.

The w i d e s p re a d drought in the m id - W c

p o s e s a t h r e a t of sharply hi g he r food p r i c ,
p r o b l e m for anti-inflation polic y.




/

Establish a Labor-M anagem ent Advisory Committee,
with y o u r s e l f a s C h a i r m a n , in o r d e r to pro vi de a
fo ru m at the hi g he st le ve l for continuing dialogue
on the i m pl ica ti o ns of l abo r and m a n a g e m e n t
p o l i c i e s for our national g o al s.

d.

1

R e e s t a b l i s h the C o n st r uc ti o n Industry Stabilization
C o m m i t t e e , in o r d e r to c h e c k the dange rou s
e s c a l a t i o n of c o n s t r u c t io n wag es now under way.

c.

The av-

, and thus p r e s e n t s a new
- family is especiu

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se n s i t iv e to sh ar ply r i s i n g food p r i c e s .

Higher food p r i c e s , m o r e

than anything el se , will -lead, to4i n s i s t e n t demands for lmmecHa4^ a
c o m pe ns a ti n g i n c r e a s e s in pay.
R e c o m n i e n d a 11on
a.

Im proving W o r k e r P r o d u c t i v i t y .

inflation is lagging pro duc tivity.

Photocopy f o Gerald R. Ford Libraiy
rm

4.

If the drought continues and the sh o rt fa ll in
c r o p yields p r o m i s e s to be l a r g e , I would
u r g e that c o n s i d e r a t i o n be given to t e m p o r a r y
r e s t r a i n t on ex p o r t of g r a i n s . To be s u r e ,
this is a d is ta s te f ul expedient f r o m a f o re ig n
policy viewpoint. But the public will not
u n de rs ta nd or tel??rate a d o m e s t ic s h o r t a g e -.hat
a p p e a r s to r e s u l t f r o m heavy ex p o r t ship men t j
A m a j o r underlying c a u s e of

Output per manhour in the pr i v a t e

n o n - f a r m eco no m y g re w v e r y little during 1973 and a p p e a rs to have
declined in the f i r s t half of 1974,

c o m p a r e d with a l o n g - r u n growth

t r e n d of about 3 per cent per y e a r .

The nation needs to r e c o g n i z e

the i m p o r t a n c e of im pr ov in g productivity for both our s ta nd ar d of
living and the g e n e r a l p r i c e lev el .

Such i m p r o v e m e n t should b e c o m e

a m a t t e r of national pride and a c c o m p l i s h m e n t.




R e c o m m e nd ati o n s
a.

b.

Announce a new p r o g r a m of pro ductivity i m p r o v e m e n t
as a m a t t e r of h' ' national p r i o r i t y , to be pr o m ot ed
hy a r e v i t a l i z e d
onal P r o luctivity C o m m i s s i o n .
As k C o n g r e s s to
for e 31ah 1 i s hing
and pl a n t- l e v e l
to be given for

a sm all appronrictio

/
/

5.

Stimulating New P r o c1 nc 1~
\

v h

Investment.

- One l e s s o n of the

pas t s e v e r a l y e a r s is that the productive ;capa'ei'i;y of t h e United S t a t e s :
has been expanding at an inadequate pace .

A g r e a t e r output potential

would go fa r to r e d u c e the inf lationary p r e s s u r e s g e n e r a t e d in m a r k e t s
w h e r e supply is inadequate to m e e t the demand.

It is d e s i r a b l e to

e n c o u r a g e a shift of our national output to wa rd m o r e in v es tm en t , so
Additional inv es tm en t

in plant and equipment will r e q u i r e additional financing, and we m u s t
t h e r e f o r e give m o r e attention to the function of r i s k - t a k i n g and enlarging
the pool of capital av ailable to indu stry.




R e c om m e n da t i o n s
a.

Ur g e C o n g r e s s to change the s t r u c t u r e of the
capital gains t a x , scalin g down the ta x r a t e
as the period of holding the a s s e t b e c o m e s
lo ng er . This would help to r e v i t a l i z e our
equity m a r k e t s .

b.

Ur g e al so that the allowance for chargi ng capital
l o s s e s a g a i n st o r d i n a r y in co m e be i n c r e a s e d
f r o m the p r e s e n t minim.a 1 SI, 000 per ■'■ar.
This would e n c o u ra g e m o r e r i s k - t a k i
'y
smaller investors.

c.

R e c o m m e n d that the r e du ct io n in t a x r enues
r esulting f r o m t h e s e changes be offset by
’ n c r e a s j n g the p r e s e n t m i n i m u m t a x f r o m
10 per cent to 20 per cent. ( L would u r g e
this change in tax law in any event. Nothing
s e e m s m o r e unjust to our citizens than to
r e a d of people with huge i n c o m e s who pay
v e r y little ta x in support of t h e i r Go vernment. )

Photocopy fro Gerald R. ford Library
m

that we can provide b e t t e r for our future nee ds .

d.

Roque;-;: ',]\e T i e
b y i n d u ^ vi:;s (

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f .. -ebilitv of

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c, t c ' some re/pen.

III.

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N E E D FOR A L L E V IA TIN C KARST IMP
POLICIES

policy

f i r m e r budg eta ry disc ipl i ie, is

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is

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e v ci 11 e cl hv
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d eficien t.

J " OF ANTI-INFLATIONARY

rie . e l a r y r e s t r a i n t , along with

’

tv f o e ...

_nd a si z ab le effec t* in

s o m e of our i n d u s t r i e s and perha ps in .. ^iplc'j mont conditions gen r a l l y .
T h e s e p r o b l em s need attention.
6.

A s s i s t a n c e to Housing F i n a r.-:.e.

TV - hcn..;V-aiding indu str y -

v/hicl}

had a l r e a d y been suffering f r o m the e r o s i o n c l - . o r k e r s ! pu rch asi ng
power, f r o m r i si n g c o n s t r u c t i o n and In. d cos':", f r o m f e a r s cf a gasoline
s h o r t a g e , and f r o m overbuilding in s o m e a r e a s - - is now ex p e r i en ci n g
added h ar ds h i ps b e c a u s e of s o a r i n g intc d«st r a ce s and r ed uce d availability
of m o r t g a g e c r e d i t at savings in- eituticn'£ and co/ran e r c i a l banks.

Housing

s t a r t s a r e in a phase of substantial dec: in c ; r --any bu ilders ap p ea r to be
in a shaky financial condition; and n o
cutting back s h a r p ly on new comnetm."

‘ ?c l e r d i n ;; institutions a r e
,

*J h- situ, at ion justi fi es

G o v e r n m e n ta l c o n c e r n .




Re c o m m ere

-.s

a.

-port and a
of fb? liou--

In die a
transrm

e o m u t Congr e s s i o n a l
.>. which ha s lust

Photocopy f o Gerald R. Ford Library
rm

The continuation cf

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e

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6

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b-e'i
a r t :• out of C on fe r en c e. This bill
a • =.* '
hr do] 1^7 l im its or FH A and VA
i.
o':
.
io.:,
.» well a.r o th e r m e a s u r e s that
: ful to the housing i ndu str y.
;

A i.no- nee a -oolicy of* pr o m pt adjustment of
FIIA a vd VA r-'ortga: o lending r a t e s to l e v e ls
that a r e r e a s o n a b l y co m p et i t i v e with other
capital m a r k e t i n s t r u m e n t s . Move promptly
to have F H A and VA m o r t g a g e loan i n t e r e s t
r a t e s ex e m p t e d f r o m s t a t e us u ry c ei li ng s.
Continue the F e d e r a l Home Loan M o r tg a g e
C oro c: aiior? p r o g r a m providing for m o r t g a g e
lending on new n odera!‘e - p r i c e d housing at
subsidised i n t e r e s t r a t e s . Additional budget
outlays of perha ps $ 5 0 0 m illion m a y be
required.

d.

R eq ue st the C E A , T r e a s u r y , HUD, and the
F e d e r a l R e s e r v e B o a r d to submit within 30 days
a plan for f u r t h e r housing a s s i s t a n c e , if needed.

P u bl ic Utility F i nancing P r o b l e m s .

The public utility ind u str y is

one of the m a j o r v i c t i m s of the r ap id e s c a l a t i o n we a r e e x p e r i e n ci n g in
c o s t s and p r i c e s .

F o r the e l e c t r i c ut il i t i e s, c o s t s have g e n e r a l l y r i s e n

m u c h f a s t e r than the a dj us tm en ts in r a t e s that r e g u l a t o r y a g e n c i e s have
permitted.

Utility ea rnings have plum m et ed; many co m p a n ie s have

b e c o m e doubtful c r e d i t r i s k s , and they have found it n e c e s s a r y to
c a n c e l or s t r e t c h out th ei r cap ital expan sion p r o g r a m s .




■(iati on
a.

A THt :
Feder
and b:

House m e e t in g , including State and
r e g u l a t o r y a u t h o r i t i e s and ind ustry
.*v r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s , has t e n ta ti v el y
.

:ocoP fro Gerald R. Ford Libi
y m

b,

c.

7.

••

- 9 -

. : ' : .

8.

been scheduled for August 16. I u r g e that
this C o n fe r e n c e go f o r w a r d , and that it
r e c e i v e your p e r s o n a l e n d o r s e m e n t and
support. The end r e s u l t of the C on fe r en c e
should be a vi g or o us p r o g r a m for prompt
I r a t e a d ju s tm e n t, so m e m i n o r t a x ad j us t ­
m e n t s , and a s s u r a n c e of m o r e adequate
p r i v a t e financing.

Contingency Planning for Un em p l o y m en t .

The f e a r of r is i n g
To

c d : : \ such f e a r s , plans should be put into p l ac e for additional as sis tc. ne e
if unemployment r i s e s signi fi can tl y f u r t h e r .




R e c o m m e n dati on s
a.

U r g e l e g is la ti on , on a contingency b a s i s ,
for an e n l a r g e d Pu bli c S e r v i c e E m pl o y m e nt
P r o g r a m . The p r o g r a m would be t r i g g e r e d
when and if the un em plo ym ent r a t e r e a c h e s
an a v e r a g e of 6 pe r cent for a 3 -mon th
pe riod. A sum of $4 billion would p e r m i t
the em p l o y m e n t of as m any as 80 0, 000
w o r k e r s in public s e r v i c e jobs for a full
y e a r , at an a v e r a g e wage c o s t of $5, 000
per annum. The p r o g r a m I have in mind
would be s t r i c t l y t e m p o r a r y in c h a r a c t e r ,
provide substitute e m pl o y m e n t when pr iv at e
jobs a r e widely unavailable, and focus on
a r e a s of h e a v i e s t une mplo ym ent . The
l e g i s l a t i o n would provide for phasing out
the p r o g r a m when the un em p loy m en t r a t e
drops below the 6 per cent lev e l.

b.

E n d o r s e and re n e w the r e q u e s t for e na ct m en t
of pre vi ous A d m i n is t r a t i o n p r o p o s a l s for an
expanded and str en g th en ed p r o g r a m of
une mp loy me nt i n s u r a n c e .

Photocopy fro Gerald R. Ford Library
m

u - i i p i o y r o e n t is a m a j o r o b s t a c l e to ef fective inflation c o nt ro l.

17.
N.-H?D TO r.IIDUCK rTNCZ.UTAINTI.ES SURROUNDING T H E
**i * fin a n cli l

Ccnr «.-rn with r e g a r d to the stability of the financial s y s t e m ,
both in the Uni Led States and a b r o a d , has s p r e a d in r e c e n t m ont hs.

The

f a i l u r e of a numb er of fore ig n financial institutions, the difficulties of

of funds and in the av aila bility of c r e d i t , have tended to i n c r e a s e the
disquiet.
9.

Dealing with Inter nat io nal F i n a n c i a l In st a b il i t y .

The m o s t i m po rt a n t

s o u r c e of instability s t e m s f r o m the financial im p l i ca t i o n s of the exo rbitant
p r i c e of oil.

This is f o rc i n g m an y c o u n tr i e s - - m a j o r i n d u st r i a l nations

as w el l a s the l e s s developed c o u n tr i e s - - t o run sub sta nti al deficits in
t h e i r ba l a n c e of paym ents and to build up f o re ig n ind eb te dne ss , with no
end in sight.

We , as the m a j o r e c o n o m i c power in the f r e e world,

ha ve an obligation to bring m a x i m u m downward p r e s s u r e on the s t r u c t u r e
of oil p r i c e s .

If a significant r e d u ct i o n ca n be brought about, it will

help g r e a t l y to c a l m fi nancial m a r k e t s and m a k e in te rn a ti o na l c r e d i t
a c c o m m o d a t i o n a viable s o u r c e of ad ju s t m e n t once again.




R e com m e nd t ' o n s
a.

Cali for a national c o m m i t m e n t to effective
c o n s e r v a t i o n in the u s e of e ne r g y . This
effort ha s slipped badly in r e c e n t m ont hs. /

- 7'-'

Photocopy fro Gerald R. Ford Library
m

the F r a n k l i n National Bank h e r e at h e m e , and l a r g e shifts in the flow

-

-

r.Iuvc- f r o m the r h e t o r i c of P R O J E C T
•i 1 2 1 D ]'.4
<CE t q a p r o g r a m of r e a l
; -vr h j : i $ . h b e .
Once the o i l- e x p o rt i n g nations
'.*om to r e l i e v e that wo m e a n b u s i n e s s ,
1 : by will s e e the danger to t h e m s e l v e s of
Keeping the p r i c e of oil at .anything like the
p r e s e n t le v el .

......
‘.

c.

Have the United States a s s u m e a strong
l e a d e r s h i p r o l e in bringing the oil imp ortin g
co u n tr i e s to g eth er on a c o u r s e of e co n o m ic
and po li ti ca l a c t i o n s . We need to coo rd ina te
our po l i ci e s j u s t at the exporting cou n tri es
do through O P E C .

Butrreg si n" Confidence in the Banking S y s t e m .

T h e r e is now

c o n s i d e r a b l e public c o n c e r n about the soundness of banks.
aboun
of par

Photocopy fro Gerald R. Ford Libi
m

10.

1 1

Rumors

;th r e g a r d to the quality of bank lo ans, and the r i s k e x p o s u r e
~r banks involved in the E u r o - d o l l a r m a r k e t , r e a l e s t a t e

lendin .. or other a c t i v i t i e s .

F o r the m o s t pa rt , t h e s e s e e m to be

idle r u m o r s , but the poss ib il ity of significant lo ss of confidence in
our banks is a g r a v e m a t t e r indeed.




R e c o m m e n da ti o ns
a.

Indicate that the F e d e r a l R<- r v e B o a r d is
fully cog nizant of its r e sp o n si b i l it y as the
n a t i o n ’s lende r of l a s t r e s o r t , and that
e s s e r i a l liquidity will be provided on a
t e m p o r a r y b a s i s to any solvent institution
that cannot obtain needed funds in the
private m ark et.

I

v

I
b.

Indicate that whi
our banking s y s +
a r c re q u e st i n g ....
to a p p r a i s e the ■
re g u l a ti o n and
as m a y be nee-

ou a r e confident that
, e nt ir e ly sound, you
Je ra l R eserve Board
-nt s y s t e m of bank
. g e s t such i m p r o v e m e n t s
by the end of the y e a r .

>
w.

V.

CONCLUDING COMMENT • 1 • ;

5

; •

A concerted, national ef fort to end inflation r e q u i r e s
e x p l i c i t r e c o g n i t i o n of g e n e r a l p r i c e stability as a p r i m a r y objective
of public policy.

This might best be done pr om ptl y through a.

c o n c u r r e n t r e s o l u t i o n by the C o n g r e s s , to be followed l a t e r by an
Such

ac t i o n s would her'ghten the r e s o l v e of the C o n g r e s s and the
E x e c u t i v e to deal thoroughly with the infl ati ona ry im pl ic at io ns
of all new g o v e r n m e n t a l p r o g r a m s and po l i c i e s , including those
t hat add to p r i v a t e co s t s as well as t ho se that r a i s e F e d e r a l
expenditures.




tocopy fton, O ct,, r F f Ubrary
,,
od

a p p r o p r i a t e a m end m ent to the E m pl o y m e nt A c t of 1946.


Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102