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President Kennedy & Advisors Discuss Steel Prices - Part 1

This clip is an excerpt from a much longer White House recording made on April 10, 1963. The prior year, President Kennedy attacked the steel industry for raising prices and forced a price rollback. See: The president viewed steel prices as important for inflation generally and important to maintain the U.S. dollar exchange rate and gold price commitments under the Bretton Woods exchange rate system of that era. He had helped foster a modest union contract in steel in 1962 and viewed the price increase as a betrayal. However, the confrontation upset the business community and in 1963, the president was reluctant to have a repeat. In addition, the industry had learned not to announce a general price increase and instead to announce selective increases on particular steel products. Participants are JFK, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and advisor Clark Clifford. Secretary of Labor W. Willard Wirtz is mentioned in the discussion and may have participated in part of it. Concern is expressed that if steel raised prices, the Steelworkers union would demand a pay increase and others unions would follow. Increased steel prices, directly and indirectly, were viewed as inflationary and threats to the U.S. balance of payments. This is Part 1.
Length: 09:16


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