Herbert Hoover photo

Address in Newark, New Jersey

October 31, 1932

My dear friends in Newark:

I well remember the reception which you gave to me 4 years ago, and no man has the eloquence or could find words sufficient to express appreciation of this reception from my friends in this city. It is heartening. It is encouraging, and it is evidence of the support which Newark will give on the 8th day of November.

I could not wish to pass so near the home of my great friend, former Senator Dwight Morrow of this State, without paying a tribute to his memory. The loss to the Nation of his single-minded, farseeing statesmanship, at the very hour when new emergencies disturbed the country, was one of the severest losses that could have come to our Nation. He was my great friend. His death was a personal loss to me as a friend, and a greater loss to me in my public duties because of his rare talent and his unique ability to find that common ground for action through which we must find national solutions. His service as Ambassador to Mexico, his splendid development of friendly relations with our sister republic to the south, his part in the Naval Conference, and above all his distinguished service in the Senate, to which you honored him, gave assurance of a most important contribution to American life. Senator Morrow was an unusual man. With a mind of intensity and clarity quite unique, a restless energy for service, and a simple directness in his search for truth which he never feared to express, he gained the confidence of his fellow men throughout the world to a degree seldom equaled by any individual. He set an example of high character to all in private and public life. Perhaps nothing that he did was as important to his country as what he was.

I have but a few moments to be with you. I am making an extended address at New York in a few hours which through the magic of the radio will be available to many of you. This meeting presents an opportunity, however, in which to emphasize one or two of the most fundamental things that face our country and the State of New Jersey to a unique degree. Our opponents have stated that they will call a special session of the Congress. They have stated that they will, perhaps, reduce the tariffs. There is no State in the Union, the maintenance of the welfare of whose workers, farmers, and manufacturers is more dependent upon the continuance of the Republican protective tariff than is the State of New Jersey. The Democratic platform, candidates, and speakers assert that they wish to reduce it to a competitive basis for revenue.

It happens that in this city 4 years ago, I spoke on this very question. At that time I presented to you a table, using as common denominator the amount of bread and butter which could be purchased in each of the principal countries by the wages of different groups of workers. I have had those countries resurveyed, that I might have this table reprepared to present to you. I will hand these two tables to the press of your city. If you will study them, you will find that the differences between your standard of living today and those of foreign countries have been more greatly widened than they were 4 years ago. That additional widening has been due largely to the depreciation of currencies of foreign countries by the collapse of one nation after another during the past 18 months. It raises an entirely new problem in the maintenance of the protective tariff. You will find if you inspect these tables that whereas 4 years ago the weekly wages of the workers of different groups were equal to purchase an amount of that useful mixture of bread and butter--in the country which most nearly approached us--they were able to purchase rather more than one-half as much as could be purchased at your rate of wages. You will find that that has diminished to less than one-third of what you can purchase, and that in some countries they can purchase only one-eighth of the amount which
you can purchase from your weekly wage.

Thus, we face a new problem in your protection brought upon us by the collapse of foreign countries with which we have had nothing to do. And yet the Democratic Party proposes, in the face of this, to reduce your tariff protection, and the Democratic candidate has pledged himself to a special session of Congress in which through him this pledge will be introduced, and through which, if the Government is entrusted to them, beginning with the 8th day of November the whole business fabric of your community must stagnate until that question is determined. They further propose to call an international convention in which tariffs are to be lowered by international action which must take the nature of trading. In other words, the determination of your future and that of our other States is to be participated in by nations whose only ambition is to secure our market. Again there must be a prolonged disturbance to business and to progress. Further than this, they propose reciprocal tariffs. Reciprocal tariff can mean only one thing, and that is that the tariffs on certain industrial products from certain localities must be lowered in exchange for some hypothetical value to some other community. In other words, the question of the fate of your community is to be held in the balance. That threatens continuous revision and a continuous disturbance.

On the other hand, we have builded up an authority in the bipartisan Tariff Commission, whose obligation is to examine the tariffs on different articles and different schedules from time to time to see whether there is maintained a proper margin between the cost of production at home and abroad. They propose to destroy this agency and transfer the determination of tariffs to logrolling and vicious greed which exhibits itself always in action in the Halls of Congress. Today, that Commission is reexamining the protective duties to determine whether we can offer relief to your pottery and other industries.

And I would call your attention to another matter of vast importance to all of you. We have passed, in the last 3 years, through a national crisis greater in its effect than many of the wars in which we have been involved. That crisis arose out of the inability of European nations to longer stand the ravages and the undermining of the aftermath of the Great War. The Republican administration has built up a series of unprecedented measures through which we have warded off disaster and chaos which would have spread to our country. We have turned these agencies to the problem of reconstruction and recovery.

During the past few months, since the adjournment of the Democratic House of Representatives and their destructive action, we have begun to see positive and practical results through the return of men to work, through the increase of prices, through increased car loadings, and in many other fundamental indications of recovery in our national life. We are in the midst of a great economic battle. We have carried the first-line trenches. Any hesitation, any halting of the battle for changes of policies cannot do otherwise than to stagnate progress and bring disaster to the fireside of every home in this State, indeed in this country.

There are many other subjects which I could discuss with you if time permitted, that are of equal importance to you. I will mention only one more, and that is the proposal of the Democratic Party which has always been their proposal in time of economic disturbance, and that is to tinker with the currency. They passed a bill in the last session of the Congress to issue $2,300 million of unconvertible paper currency, which is the old greenback come again. They threatened to do this despite all the lessons of history in the earlier years in this country and abroad in recent years. Anyone who wishes to know what the effect of such action can be upon the welfare of every man and woman in this country have only to ask what the experience has been in the European countries that have tried this experiment since the Great War. More particularly, you are asked to inquire of your friends who are familiar with the results of it in Germany.

The Republican Party has had over all these years to fight staunchly for the protective tariff, the maintenance of the stability of our currency, the soundness of Federal credit, true economy in Government, to hold for the independence of our institutions, to insist that the future of the United States can be built up on the experience and foundations laid by our forefathers over 150 years.

The commercial and industrial history of this city has been built upon the attributes of the Republican Party--the protective tariff, sound money, maintenance of governmental credit, the conduct of government with sane economy. And above all to sustain the principles under which this country has grown to the greatest Nation in the world. We propose to maintain and advance that development, of which you are so justly proud. Whether it shall be maintained and advanced depends upon the votes you will cast a week from tomorrow.

Note: The President spoke to an audience of 6,000 people assembled in the Mosque Theatre.

In conjunction with the address, White House aides made available the "Bread and Butter Memorandum," which follows:

The President, speaking at Newark, N.J., September 17, 1928, said:

"Our real wages and our standards of living are the highest in the world. And I am again speaking of the real buying power of wages. To compare ours with foreign wages we must find a common denominator, because translation of foreign currencies means but little. If we say that 5 percent of butter and 95 percent of flour form the basis of that useful mixture called 'bread and butter,' then the weekly earnings in each country would buy at retail in those countries the following total of this useful compound. Please note these figures carefully.

(Each pound 95 percent wheat flour and 5 percent butter)

Railway Carpen- Elec- Coal Day
Engineers ters tricians Miners Weavers Labor
United States 717 731 778 558 323 259
United Kingdom 367 262 267 267 136 160
Germany 217 173 158 133 106 112
France 269 94 123 136 73 68
Belgium 150 96 76 94 94 65
Italy 166 151 152 95 75 110
Sweden 261 256 224 180 155 162
Japan 164 125 96 60 83 65


"Of course the American employee does not use his higher income to buy unnecessary pounds of bread and butter. He uses it to diversify and expand his consumption of all things."

Speaking at Cleveland, Ohio, October 15, 1932, the President said:

"In order to show you what the rates of wages are in the United States compared with other countries I have this week secured through the Department of Commerce a calculation on a basis which I have used before for purposes of illustration. The actual wages in terms of the currencies of other countries are difficult to compare. We must find a common denominator.

"If we say that 5 percent of butter and 95 percent of flour form the basis of that useful mixture called 'bread and butter', then the weekly earnings in each country would buy at retail in those weekly wages if applied to the purchase of 'composite pounds of bread and butter as of October, 1932.

Railway Carpen- Elec- Coal Day
Engineers ters tricians Miners Weavers Labor
United States 1,069 1,064 1,300 734 565 393
United Kingdom 342 253 276 223 161 184
Germany 271 176 169 162 120 106
France 246 183 164 123 86 86
Belgium 288 228 240 180 199 160
Italy 275 118 149 70 67 85
Japan 131 86 90 57 31 55

"Let no man say it could not be worse."

Herbert Hoover, Address in Newark, New Jersey Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/208068

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