The Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. president’s seizure of the steel mills was unconstitutional, thus giving support to the most basic premises of a free-market economy devoid of government intrusion.
During times of war, wages tend to rise, and prices often go up in a spiral of inflation caused by panic buying and resource scarcity. During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt dealt with these dual economic issues by establishing central authority over both prices and wages. He did this by extending the power of his office into the marketplace.
However, the American public was not as convinced of the need for the Korean War as they had been of the importance of World War II. President Harry S. Truman was under political stress, having received a record-low public approval rating for a sitting president. His plans for central control of the economy produced no similar public support. Recognizing this, Truman began the Korean War with the clear intention of not fixing prices and wages by decree. He was a friend of labor politically and was confident that he could negotiate agreements between industry executives and labor leaders to ameliorate any economic hardships. However, he found that he was unable to solve labor and management wage disputes in the militarily essential steel industry.
President Harry S. Truman announces the government seizure of the steel industry on April 8, 1952.
When large labor unions made it clear that they were going to
Not surprisingly, the steel industry filed suit, and the case reached the Supreme Court. In
Dallek, Robert. Harry S. Truman. New York: Times Books, 2008. Marcus, Maeva. Truman and the Steel Seizure Case. 1977. Reprint. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1994. Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr., ed. The Election of 1948 and the Administration of Harry S. Truman. Philadelphia: Mason Crest, 2003.
Air traffic controllers’ strike
Sit-down strike of 1936-1937