s 9240 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD- SENATE May 30, 19'1"-
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President, infiation
is the No. 1 economic problem
confronting this N..1.tlon and the world
Inflation was not caused by Watergate
; it is worldwide.
Offhand, the Inflation figures for the
United Kingdom, as I recall them, is
around 15 percent; France, 18 percent;
Denmark, 25 to 30 percent; J apan,
around 25 percent, and so forth.
In the United States :
Inflation is around 12 percent;
Production is declining around 6 per-cent;
Wages are lagging behind prices for
the 13th consecutive month;
Workers' families have approximately
6 percent less to spend than a year ago;
The stock market is down;
Prime interest rates are up to 11 3~
If present trends continue, we will
have to make twice as much in 1980 as
we are making today, just to keep even.
What are we doing about the situation?
The answer is nothing.
That applies to Congress and the
executive branch of the Government.
What is the answer? I do not know
definitively but I believe consideration
should be given to a proposal known as
indexing. It would provide for annual
adjustments to reflect increases in the
cost of living. The basis for adjustments
would be the cost of living Index.
Ii has been estimated that, taking all
social secw·ity payments into considera tiOI'I,
about 50 million Americans have
:ncomes directly tied to the Consumer
Price Index, and the increases are automatic
as the cost of living goes up.
Add wage escalator agreements in
union contracts now in being and they
cover, as I understand it, around 5 million
workers. Furthermore, almost every
new wage agreement covers this particular
escalator clause at the present time.
Add Government pensioners, both civilian
and military, and that must include
several million more who are "indexed."
Will it stop inflation? I do not know
but it will at least allow millions to keep
even. If we cannot stop or reduce infta~
ion-and the Government, the adminlStration
and the Congress, are unwilling
to do so-then let us try this proposal
and at least endeavor to keep even.
It is my intention, Mr. President, some
time next week, to Introduce legislation
seeking to establish an index on wages
and salariez so that somethin! at least
can be attempted to bring about a h alt
or at least an alleviation to the high
cost of living which is rampant throu:!hout
the Nation anu throughout the world
Mr. ALLEN. Mr. Pr esident. w!ll the
Senator yield to me after tLe distmguished
minority leader has spoken?
Mr. MANSFIELD. I will be glad to
yield now, on my time.
Mr. ALLEN. I thank t he Senator very
I should like to ask the dist inguished
maJority leader if it would not also be
helpful in the battle against Inflation to
balance the Federal budget?
Mr. MANSFIELD. It certainly would.
Mr. ALLEN. Are any efforts being
made in that regard by the Congress?
Mr. MANSFIELD. By neither the Congress
nor the administration. We are
both to blame, I think, in large part, for
the fix in which we find ourselves today.
The only stabilizing element is, in my
opinion, the Federal Reserve Bank where
Arthur Burns is trying to do a job and
has been a Cassandra for months trying
to warn us that something must be done
before the economic condition of the
country breaks down and becomes more
horrible than it is now.
Mr. ALLEN. Does the Senator think
t here is any possibility of balancing the
Federal budget for the next fiscal year
starting in July? '
Mr. MANSFIELD. I would not say.
That would be up to Congress and the
I would point out, so far as Congress
is .concerned, in the first 4 years of the
present administration, if my memory
serves me correctly, that we reduced the
requests of the President by about
$22 billion to $23 billion. During that
period •. the deficit was increasing, conservatively
speaking, by $100 billion. The
House, just the other day, by a one-vote
margin, passed a substantial Increase in
the debt limit, which is now approachin
~': the $500 billion mark.
Mr. ALLEN. I thank the distinguished
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 49, Folder 80, Mansfield Library, University of Montana
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