Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 50, Folder 2, Mansfield Libary, University of Montana
s 9984 CONGRESS! ON AL RECORQ-SENATE June 7, 1974
By Mr. MANSFIELD:
S. 3600. A bill to stabilize the economy
and mitigate the effects of in.fiation by
providing for minimum annual increases
in wages. Referred to the Committees on
Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and
Labor and Public Welfare, by unanimous
THE WAGE AD.JUSTM:ENT ACT OW' 1974
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President, I introduce
a bill entitled "The Wage Adjustment
Act of 1974" and ask unanimous
consent that it be referred simultaneously
to the Committee on Banking,
Housing and Urban Affairs and the Committee
on Labor and Public Welfare.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without
objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. MANSFIELD. Last week, Mr.
Pre.sident, on the Senate floor, I reminded
the Senate of what every Ben- .
ator knows only too well-that the No. 1
ec~c problem confronting this
Naton and the world today is inflation.
In Europe and Asia national inflation
rates run from 15 to 30 percent. In the
United States the most recent monthly
inflation rate is 12.4 percent. For the first
quarter of this year the inflation rate
was 14.2 percent. For the most recent 12-
month period the rate is 10.2 percent.
Production in this country is declining
at an annual rate of 6 percent. Wages
are lagging behind prices for the 13th
consecutive month. Workers' families
have approximately 6 percent less to
spend that a year ago. The stock market
is in a steady decline. The interest rates
are at record highs. As I said last week,
if the present trend continues Americans
will have to make twice what they are
ma.lting today in 1980 just to keep even.
But there are no solutions forthcoming.
I think it is time to put a primary focus
on this most severe problem. I do hope,
however, that it will provide a vehicle
upon which a national dialog can commence
so that this most pervasive national
problem can be given the attention
at the highest levels that it so
The bill I have introduced today would
r(!(luire every employer whoae employees
are presently covered by the social !lecurity
laws to give that employee a costof-
living increase each year comparable
to the Government-determined 1nfiation
rate for the previous 12 montha. Presently
there are approximately ii.4 mill1on
orga.nized workers who ha.Ye contract
provisions for a cost-of-living increase.
However, there are 85 million other workers
in the United States and they, too,
are a.f!e<;ted by inflation. It was through
the social security defln1tion that I felt
we could reach the work force we hope
At present these is a cost-of-living increase
for social security beneficiaries
and Government pensi®ers. Provisions
of this bill would also include a cost-ofliving
increase and adjustment in the
I had contemplated Including a similar
indexing and cost-of-living Increase in
U.S. Government savings bonds and Govennment
securities. I think that this
would be a mechanism whereby there
would be an inflation-free return of principal
on these Government securities. It
was my thought that this feature would
provide a source of investment for private
pension funds or other people who
would rely upon the fixed income to have
a similar compensation for an inflationary
rate. However, I think such a provision
would under the existing climate offer
such an attractive investment that it
would dry up the already almost nonexistent
available funds in the marketplace
and add to our economic woes
rather than solve them. I believe it is
almost imPQ68ible now to get mortgage
money and as a result homebuilding is
grinding to a halt and aggravating the
economic ills of this country.
For this reason, I deferred inclusion
of such a provision in this bill.
There have been other bills introduced.
Senator BucKLEY has introduced
a bill which would adJust the tax rate
to . compensate for a rise in inflation
thereby providing a comparable spending
income to those who pay taxes. I
think that that approach should be considered
along with this particular approach
so that our energies can be devoted
to this most serious and potentially
disastrous nation and worldwide
problem. I am hopeful that the appropriate
and Urban Affairs, the Labor Committee.
and perhaps the Joint Economic Committee-
can give this proposal immediate
consideration and hopefully It can provide
the vehicle for a most needed national
In conclusion, Mr. President, may I say
that the bill I am introducing today Js
not offered as a panacea, but only as a
base from which other thinkintJ can develop
and, perhaps, some ctrres for Inflation
I ask unanimous consent that the text
of the bill and the statement I made
In the Senate on May 30 be inserted at
the conclusion of my remarks.
There being no objection, the text of
the bill and the statement were ordered
to be printed in the RECORD, 8.8 follows:
Be it enacted by the Senate and 1IousP oj
RepresentaUves O/ the United States of
Amloyment, including the cash value of all
remuneration paid in any medium other than
OTJD:Jl AD.J t18TMZNTS
SEc. 3. The President shall Issue such rules
and regulations as may be neceeaary-
(1) to provide far tbe pe.sathrough of cost
lncre- Incurred by any person who ls subJect
to any maxln)um limitation on prices or
other slmUar transfers ln complying with the
provisions of section 2; and
(2) to provide for the elfectlve administration
and enforcement of this Act.
AD.J118TMENT IN THZ MINIHUM WAGE
SJ:C. I. In addition to any other Increase ln
the Jnlntmum wage under section 6 of the
Palr Labor Standards Act of 1938 provl<1ed
!or by law, the President shall annually
Issue an order elfectlve January 1 of each
year Increasing the mlnlmum wage by the
same percentage by which wages are Increased
under section 2, rounded to the next
highest multiple of 6 cents.
WAGE AND SALAaY CONTROLS
SEC. 5. I! the President or any other omcer
ot the Federal Government, acttna pursuant
to authority under an Act of Congreu, 188ues
an order or regulation et&blllzlng wages In
the private aector, he shall Include In such
order or regulation a provision whereby the
stablliEIId wage levels shall be subject to
perlodlo adjustments to retleot changes In the
cost or living as required by section 2.
SEC. 6. Whenever It appears to the President
that any person has engaged, Is engaged,
or Is about to engage In any acts or
practices constituting a violation of any
order 01' regulation under this Act, he may
request the Attorney General to bring an
action In the appropriate district court of
the ·united States to enjoin such acts or
practices, and upon a prop41r showing a temporary
restraining order or a preliminary or
permanent Injunction shall be granted without
bond. Any such court may also Issue
mandatory Injunctions commanding any perfiOn
to comply with any such order or regulation.
SUITfl FOR DAMAGES OR OTHER JlELIEF
SEC. 7. (a) Any person sulferi.JI.g legal
wrong because of any act or practice arising
out of violation of this Act, or any order or
regulation Issued pursuant thereto, may
bring an action In any district court of the
United States, without regard to the amount
In controversy, for appropriate relief, IncludIng
an action for a declaratory judgment,
Writ oi Injunction, or damages.
(b) In any action brought under subsection
(a) against any employer who Is found
to have failed to Increase the plalntllf's wage
under section 2. the court may, in Its discretion,
award the plalntllf reasonable attorney's
fees a.nd costs, plus whichever of the
· following sums Is greater:
(1) an amount not more than three times
'the amount of the increase upon which the
-aotlon Ill besed, or
(2) not less than $100 or more thai). $1,000;
except that In any case where the !lefendant
establishes that his action was not t.n~ntlonal
and resulted from a bona ftde error
notwithstanding the maintenance of procedures
reasonabl;!' adapted to the avoidance of
such error the liability of the defendant shall
be limited to the amount of the Increase.
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President, lnfiatlon
Js the No. 1 economic p~;oblem confronting
this Nation and the world today.
Inll.atlon was not caused by Watergate;
It Is worldwide.
Olfhand, the Inflation figures far the
United Kingdom, as I recall them, Ill around
16 peroent; France, 16 percent; Denmark, :;til
to SO percent; Japan, around 26 percent, and
In the United States:
Infiatlon ls around 12 percent;
Production Is decllnlng around 6 percent;
Wages are lagging behind prices for the
13th consecutive months;
Workers families have approximately 6
percent leas to spend than a year ago;
The stock market Is down;
Prime Interest rates are up to 1%, percent.
If present trends continue, we wlll have
to make twice as much In 1980 as we are
mak:lng today, just to keep even.
What are we doing about the situation?
The answer Is nothing.
That appllee to CongreBB and the executive
branch of the Government.
What Is the answer? I do not know definItively
but I belleve consideration should
be given to a proposa.l known as lndexlng.
It would provide for annual adjustment6 to
reflect Increases In the cost of living. The
basis for. adjustments would be tbe cost of
It has been estimated that taking all social
security payments Into consideration,
about 50 mllllon Americans have Incomes
directly tied ·to the Consumer Price Index,
and the Increases are automatic as the coot
o! living goes up.
Add wage escalator a11reement.s In union
contracts now In being and they oover, as
I understanc1 It, around 6 mllllpn workers.
Furthermore, almost every new wage agreement
covers this particular escalator olause
at the present time. Add Government pensioners,
both civilian and mllltary, and that
must t.nclude several mllllon more who are
Will It stop Inflation? I do not lulow, but
It wlll at least allow millions to keep even.
I! we cannot stop or reduce lnfiation-and
the Government, the administration and the
CongreBB, are unwllllng to do so-then let us
try this propOI!al and at least endeavor to
It Is my Intention. Mr President, some
time next week, to Introduce legislation seekIng
to establish an Index on wages and salaries
so that something at least can be attempted
to bring about a halt or at least an
e.llevlatlon to the hlgh cost of living which
is rampant throughout the Nation and
throughout the world today.
Mr. ALLEN. Mr. President, will the Senator
yield to me after the distinguished minority
leader has spoken?
Mr. MANSFIELD. I Will be glad to yield now,
on my tlme.
Mr. ALLEN. I thank the Senator very much.
I should like to aalt the dlatlngulshed majority
leader It It would not also be helpful
In the battle agal.mt t.nflatlon to balance tbe
Mr. MANSFIELD, It certe.lnly would.
Mr. ALLEN. Are a.ny elforts being made In
that regard by the Congress?
Mr. MANB:nELD. By neither the CongreBB nor
the administration. We are both to blame.
I think, In large part, for the fix In which we
lind ourselves today.
The only stablllzlng element Is, In my opinIon,
the Federal !Userve Bank where Arthur
Burns Is trying to do a job and has been a
Cassandra 'for months tryln~ to warn us thn.t
110methln~ must be done before the economic
condition of the country breaks down and
becomes more horrible than It 1s now.
Mr. ALLEN. Does the Senator think there
Is any possibility of balancing the Federal
budget for the ncrt fiscal year, starting In
Mr. MANSFIELD. I would not say. That
would be up to Congress and the administration.
I would point out, so far as Congress Is
concerned, In the first I years of the present
administration, If my memory serves me correctly,
that we reduced the requests of the
Pres.ldent by about e22 billion to e23 billion.
During that period, the deficit was IncreasIng,
conservatively spealdng, by $100 blll!On.
The House just the other day, by a one-vote
margin, passed a substantial increase In the
debt limit, which Is now approaching the
$600 billion mark. 7
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