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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Albert Gore, March 13, 1976. Interview A-0321-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Gore develops specific economic and social concerns

Bernard Baruch, prominent Wall Street financier and influential political advisor, also influenced Gore's political views. Gore describes the various economic and social concerns that grew out of that relationship as well as the limitations he had as a representative that could only be overcome by becoming a senator.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Albert Gore, March 13, 1976. Interview A-0321-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

During World War II, you seemed to be quite interested in price controls and that sort of thing. I believe Bernard Baruch influenced you to some extent. What sort of policies did you propose and what was your . . . ?
Well, my interest in this, I think, stemmed from my committee assignment. I was then, as I've said, on Banking and Currency and this had to do with price controls, economic controls in World War II. I could not see how we could successfully have price controls without wage controls. Plummeted into a world war, I felt it absolutely necessary that there be some rigid controls and regulations on our economy. Or else we would have rampant inflation, perhaps economic disaster. And I thought it was necessary to have overall control. Those who slapped something down on the right side would substitute and prop up on the left side or to the rear and to the front. So I had expressed some views along this line, and then as a witness before the committee, Bernard Baruch was invited. He had some generous things to say about some of the things I had said. Maybe this was policy on his part, but I was very greatly attracted to the views he expressed. I agreed with the views he expressed. He too was an advocate, far more sophisticated than I, of overall control of our economy in time of war. This led to a personal equation. We had dinner together several times and had rapport on economic views. I think that was perhaps the extent of it, but he was a sophisticated advocate of the things I believed in.
Pursuing the matter of war controls, mobilization controls, could you elaborate a bit about the kinds of things that Congress did, the kinds of issues and concerns that came before you and your colleagues that had to do with mobilization and the war effort generally?
My experiences were largely limited to the matters of, the subject matters of, within the jurisdiction of my committee. As I've said, on the Banking and Currency Committee, this led me into an active role in the economic controls. I advocated them at least a year or so before Roosevelt did. I was in the vanguard of the economic controls on our economy at that time. After going to the Appropriations Committee, I maintained my interest in economic controls, continued an active debate and advocacy, but added to my responsibilities as a member of the Appropriations Committee: the military, atomic energy, nuclear weapons, TVA, the energy and weapons side of war mobilization and the war effort. So as a result of my activity and interest I showed in the jurisdiction of these two committees, I was broadened in my knowledge and in my experience of economic matters, and developed a keen interest in tax policy, but was unable to do anything about it. As you doubtless know, the House of Representatives follows a gag rule in the consideration of a tax bill. It has been that way for many years, whether the House was under Democratic or Republican leadership. They have a closed rule. That is, a tax bill is brought out upon the recommendation of the House Ways and Means Committee. And then no amendments are permitted. Therefore, in all those years in the House feeling anxiously the desire to offer amendments, to fight for tax reform, I just never had an opportunity as a member of the House, and this brought about considerable frustration.
So you really had to wait until you got to the Senate to pursue the matter of tax reform.