This might surprise you. It surprised me.
Harry Truman said the state of the nation worried him. The Republicans and a number of southern democrats were trying “to fool the people with poppy cock.” Truman urged Congress to reconvene, in the heat of midsummer, and pass legislation “that deals with eight critical areas.”
1. Control skyrocketing prices. Sirloin steak had reached $1.10 a pound.
2. Provide housing to ease the present shortage. Home construction had stopped during World War II. Now, three years after the war, couples were crammed in with parents and grandparents.
3. Increase federal aid to education.
4. Provide a national health insurance program. Doctors were charging more and more; surgical fees were getting ridiculous. The medical monopoly hooted at national health insurance as “creeping socialism.”
5. Guarantee civil rights. The Jackie Robinson experience was echoing through America.
6. Increase minimum wages. How else could you afford $1.10 a pound for sirloin steak?
7. Broaden social security coverage. Large numbers of small businessmen and independent contractors were unprotected.
8. Fight the utility monopolies by providing more low-coast public power “through quasi-government agencies like the Tennessee Valley Authority.”
“The Democrats clearly are desperate,” began a statement from the Republican National Committee. “They know that this President is sure to be voted out of office in November” [when the Republicans would run mustached Tom Dewey.]
— From Roger Kahn’s The Era. 1947-1957: When the Yankees, the Giants, and the Dodgers Ruled the World