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July 21, 1946 – Don Hollenbeck Commentary – ABC Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
July 21, 1946 – As America slowly readjusted to post-war life, there was still life on Capitol Hill. On this day the issue was over Wage and Price Controls and extending the OPA for another year. In case you were wondering: The Office of Price Administration (OPA) was established within the Office for Emergency Management of the United States government by Executive Order 8875 on August 28, 1941. The functions of the OPA were originally to control money (price controls) and rents after the outbreak of World War II.
During this session of Congress, OPA was allowed to lapse before being voted on to extend and to allow what was to be included in the extension in August by way of a three-member panel who had the power to override some price controls and impose others. What the issue was; the three-member panel could render OPA ineffective except in the area of controlling rent prices.
Since the OPA was allowed to relapse on June 30th before being voted on to reinstate on August 20th, the free market went crazy. Meat prices skyrocketed as did most food products in anticipation that prices would be controlled and in some cases rolled back after August 20th. The upshot was consumers; those people who were readjusting to life after a war and who were still facing housing shortages and a fluctuating job market, objected to the hike in prices. So much so, that in the case of meat, suppliers immediately dropped their prices since now with the anticipated boom, the supply far outreached demand.
All those were issues facing Congress as they contemplated and sculpted the re-worked OPA extension. On top of everything else, there was speculation all of this was going to lead to inflation and the boom would soon become a bust, it was feared.
This was what America was up to, July 21st 1946 – the long and sometimes bumpy road to recovery and the hope for a return to a normal life, and maybe a better one.
All of this as explained by Don Hollenbeck and his commentary, substituting for Orson Welles over the ABC Radio Network.
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