Monday, October 5, 2009

Howard Buffett: A Man of the Old Right

Mises Daily by Noah M. Clarke | Posted on 10/5/2009 12:00:00 AM

Wearing a pair of round eyeglasses, and with his hair slicked and combed to one side, the thirty-nine-year-old securities trader from Omaha, Nebraska, searched for something to say. Reporters pressed him for a reaction.

His name was Howard Buffett,[1] and he had just unseated Democrat Representative Charles McLaughlin in the 1942 elections. The young man's surprise was evident. After digging into his pockets for a pencil and paper, he finally admitted that "all I fixed up was [a statement] conceding my defeat."[2

Upon arriving in Washington, DC, Buffett was appointed to serve on the House Banking and Currency Committee. It was not long before he took issue with one wartime creation in particular: the Office of Price Administration (OPA). Its job was to impose price controls to stabilize retail consumer prices. By 1946 the war was won but the office remained in operation. Buffett demanded hearings to look into its elimination.

He argued that the OPA had created a "spreading condition of industrial and social chaos." In particular, Buffett noted that the government's price fixing had contributed to

the lumber shortage and the dismantling of mills, accentuating the housing shortage; a steady decline in butter production and its virtual disappearance from normal distribution centers; general disappearance of soybean, corn and other grains from normal trading channels.[4]

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