SEPTEMBER 14, 1949
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—Some weeks ago I read an editorial that was written by a businessman, Henry Cobbs of Little River, Fla., and published in the Miami Herald on July 17. It carried a message that, though valuable in July, is just as valuable at the present time. The subject of the editorial is business depression, about which I have written before. So, Mr. Cobbs is not the only person who has come across the talk about a depression that supposedly may engulf us at almost any minute.
At first I thought I was listening to communistic propaganda, since I know that one of the Communists' strong beliefs is that a nation such as ours, working under a capitalistic-democratic system, must have a depression. And when the depression comes they are counting on using it to spread their ideas of economy and government.
Then I thought possibly certain special interests might be trying to frighten our people, to keep us from going ahead, and to depress wages. In the long run it would seem obvious that a depression would hurt the big man almost as much as the little man. Still, if you were shortsighted, you might believe that you could profit by a depression as long as you were strong enough to weather it.
Now I am beginning to think that this idea is spread by people who without much thought repeat something they have heard somebody else say. Mr. Cobbs' editorial bears out my idea and that is probably why I wish everyone would send for it and read it.
One of the things he says is "a dollar spent is a dollar earned." He goes on: "Money is the lifeblood of our economy and, like the lifeblood that flows through our body, must have free circulation. If consumer buying stops, manufacturing plants must curtail production and eventually shut down. Employment dwindles and buying power is even further reduced. The inevitable result is large-scale unemployment and business stagnation.
"You must not confuse the adjustments of prices to lower levels with depression. Lower prices must come when production catches up with demand. This is not depression.
"It is the time to buy the things you need and have wanted. It is the duty of all of us, for our own good, to stop those who talk of their personal apprehension while at the same time admitting that they personally have nothing to worry about.
"We are a courageous people. The American way has made us the greatest nation on the face of the globe. Now is the time for us to manifest courage and to show the people of the world, who are looking to us, that we have faith in our ability to maintain and strengthen our economic condition."
There is much more of interest that Mr. Cobbs says to prove the soundness of his observations and ideas. I think it would be well for us to follow his advice.