November 29, 1973
GAS RATIONING WILL BE NECESSARY
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President, the
latest figures on un.:mployment are at
4.5 percent which I l'1ink is the lowest
in 3 years. These .tlgur~ go back a month
I believe. Since that time, there hav~
been statements made that unemployment,
in view of the energy crtsis will
possibly reach 8 percent. '
I note that the administration, in the
person of the Chairman of the Council of
Economic Advisers. Mr. Stein, said he
saw no basis for projections of a possible
8 percent unemployment rate in the next
year if the Arab oil embargo is not lifted ..
That statement is taken from the Oil
Daily under date of Thursday, November
However, I note tha t United Airlines,
American Airlines, and Frontier Airlines
are either laying off pilots, stewardesses
and stewards, and some ground
crews, or will be in the process of doing
I note also that a private plane concern,
the Cessna Manufacturing Co., I
believe located in Kansas, at the present
time has indicated it will be forced to lay
off 25 percent of its personnel and perhaps
more in the months ahead because
of the prohibitions on fuel laid down so
far as general aviation is concerned.
I note also that on yesterday it was
announced the armed services are shipping
to Vietnam and Cambodia 22,000
barrels of aviation gasoline every day.
It is known, of course, that because of
the drawdown in Mideast oil, something
on _the order of 600,000 barrels a day, I
believe, have been diverted from domestic
use for the use of our armed services.
That is understandable. I do not know
whether they need that much. but certainly
the armed services should have a
priority. But I cannot understand 22,000
barrels of oil a day going to Cambodia
and South Vietnam at this time; because
I want to say to my associates in this
Chamber that we are facing a crisis
which I do not think we even yet realize
1s as serious as it is going to be.
Mr. President, the resumption of oil
CONGRESSIONAL- .R. ..E..C .O RD-SENATE
shipments from the Mideast would make
no difference in the immediate future-and,
I would say, up to 2 years-In the
difficulties which confront this Nation In
an energy sense today.
We have been profligate with our resources.
We bave been wasteful with our
energy uses. We have, I understand, over
the past several years, wasted between
40 percent to 50 percent of the energy
We are not going to be able to overcome
that deficiency through lowering
thermometers in our homes or offices to
68 degrees. We are not going to be able
to overcome that deficiency by establishIng
a rate of 50 miles an hour for automobiles,
a rate, Incidentally, which I note
In the last day or so has been raised to
55 miles an hour for trucks.
Chilly homes and reduced speeds on
our highways will be among the least
serious of the difficulties which confront
us at the present time.
What I am worried about is not the
minor sacrifices, but what the economic
effects of the shutdown on imports on
the one hand and the wastage on the
other by this country will cause, because
what we will have will be an increase In
fuel prices--whether we like it or not;
what we will have will be increased unemployment,
and the signs are there
already-whether we like it or not; and
what we will have will be increased inflation,
now running about 8 percent a
year-whether we like it or not.
If we are not careful and do not face
up to this problem as we should, I think
that the danger of a recession neltt· year
is not only apparent, but very likel:freal.
I would point out further, Mr. President,
that the petrochemical ·industry
will be hard hit, as well as the_plastics
industry, the synthetic rubber industry,
and the fertilizer industry. At the present
time, General Motors, I think, is shutting
down 16 of its plants a week or so before
Christmas. Whether they will reopen
after the first of the year is unct._etermined
at this time, but that means that
thousands of men will be out of work, and
consumer goods and food will be affected,
because, after all, if we are going to produce
the surpluses we need In order to
feed ourselves and hungry countries
throughout the world, we are going to see
that the farmers get enough gasoline.
Thus, Mr. President, with all these factors
to consider; namely, unemployment,
shortages, increase in prices, I woUld
hope that the administration woUld give
the most serious consi~·ation not to an
increase from the present 4-cent national
Federal sales tax on gasoline to something
on the order of 30 or 40 cents,
as has been mentioned, but to rationing.
That is not popular, but at least it is
equitable. The poor and the middle-Income
groups will be treated on that basis
just as fairly as the rich who can afford
increased Plices and who woUld be able
to afford increased taxes.
All I want to do is to raise, once again,
warning flags as to what confronts this
Nation at the present time, and to point
out that so far as Importation of fuel
from the Middle East is concerned, It will
not make a bit of difference so far as the
crisis which confronts us at this present
time is concerned, even If it is resumed.
So it is time to face up to the facts and
to do what can be done, and also to recognize
that there Is such a thing as
equality insofar as the distrlbution of fuel
oil supplies is concerned. That would be
far better than any kind of inequitable
system whic hseeks to raise more revenue
through increased taxes on gasol!ne.
Mr. President. If that is ever done-and
I shall oppose it all the way
through-it will mean that the poor and
the middle-income groups, who now bear
the greatest share of the burden of taxation
in this country-and they have no·
tax loopholes--will be the ones who will
have to carry the added burdens.
Accordingly, Mr. President, I wouJd
hope that while the administration, t~
President, and his counselors are mee~
ing, they will be able to come up with
solutions which will allow us to confront
this problem on an equitable basis.
~ want to assure the President that If
he does, the Senate will be prepared to
support him because we, too, are aware
of the emergency which exists in th18
country today and we are well aware of
what this crisis--this potential crisis-can
do to us in tbe years ahead.
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 49, Folder 36, Mansfield Library, University of Montana
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