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Letter to Heads of the Nation's 500 Largest Corporations on the Anti-Inflation Program

November 15, 1978

As the leader of one of our country's major businesses, you are fully aware of the grave problems caused by the inflationary pressures we are now experiencing. You are also in a position to do something to reduce those pressures. I am, therefore, writing to ask you for your support.

I intend to do my part. I will do everything in my power to combat inflation. Our fiscal policies will give top priority to containing inflationary pressures. I will rigorously hold down Federal expenditures. I will cut Federal employment. I will achieve significant reductions in the Federal deficit next year and thereafter. I believe that the Congress will cooperate, but if necessary I will veto inflationary spending measures. I will subject special interest legislation to severe scrutiny; and I will undertake an intensive systematic effort to ensure that actions of my Administration, particularly in the area of regulation, do not raise costs and prices unnecessarily.

Carrying out such a policy of austerity will not be easy; but the task of fighting inflation requires real sacrifices from all of us.

No matter how much I do with Federal fiscal policy and through other actions, we cannot begin to deal successfully with the problems of inflation without your active support.

Our price standard requires your business to hold its average price increase over the next year to one-half of a percentage point below the average annual rate in 1976 and 1977. If uncontrollable cost increases make such deceleration impossible, it requires that you not expand your profit margin.

My anti-inflation program is designed to avoid imposing excessive hardships on any segment of our population. It provides allowances for special situations, where they are really needed. I will not try to mislead you; complying will not be painless. It will take a major and continuing effort on your part. But I believe that effort is worth making for the good of the country—and for the economic health of your own business as well.

This program needs more than a general pledge of support. I am asking your company for an explicit statement of your commitment to comply with the price standard. I recognize that you may have questions about how the price standards apply to your firm and may want answers before you can conscientiously declare your intention to comply. The Council on Wage and Price Stability is developing additional guidance you may need to help you determine how you can comply. Staff of the Council will be contacting you very soon to give you this information.

I urge you to send me your personal response to my request as soon as possible.



Note: The text of the letter was released on November 17.

Jimmy Carter, Letter to Heads of the Nation's 500 Largest Corporations on the Anti-Inflation Program Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/244236

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