1920: Banks Are Forcing Price Reductions
In celebrating the 125th anniversary of The Aspen Times, we are printing a story or two from each year the newspaper has existed – 125 historical selections in 125 days. This series is in conjunction with the Aspen Historical Society.NEW YORK – Food prices will soon join clothing and other commodities in the downward sweep of prices.Although the food slump has not yet become general, many southern cities report food prices are dropping. Leading wholesalers in the north, and government officials, predict that food quotations soon will be lowered throughout the nation.The contraction of credit by the banks will force on to the market goods now being held by speculators.The New York stock exchange today continued to show a drop in prices of all stocks due to the tight money situation.United States Steel common, regarded as the stock exchange barometer, is now 20 points below the high market of the year.Another important factor in the slumping prices is the decreased exports. The department of commerce at Washington today announced that exports for April were $135,000,000 less than in March. (May 20)Up Hunter CreekYesterday was just right for an open-air picnic and outing, and most all our people took advantage of the opportunity. They went in all directions, some up the Roaring Fork, some up Maroon and Castle creeks, and some away up Hunter.It was up to the Hunter Creek Dam Lake that we went as members of the party of which Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Tagert were hosts. In the party were nine, comprising Mr. and Mrs. Albert Lathrop of California, Mr. and Mrs. Dailey senior and junior, Miss Nellie Tagert.Of course “Tag” held the ribbons over the prancing steeds and he also held the rod and line that got the most fish, but he isn’t in it with his wife who served two of the best meals that anyone ever had the pleasure of enjoying at any place or at any time. The party just stuffed and stuffed until there was mighty little stuffing left – and we just had to quit, that’s all. (June 7)Prohibitive Sugar PricesConfectioners, fruit canneries and housewives are menaced by sugar prices that will be restrictive on industries and increase living cost.Owing to his illness and being with international matters the President failed to ask Congress for authority to buy the Cuban crop of 1919-20 when it could be had for 6 1/2 cents. The Sugar Equalization Board appointed by the President asked for authority to buy the 1919-20 Cuban crops which would have insured sugar to the consumer at about 11 cents a pound. The Food Control bill, known as the Lever Act, under which the Cuban crop of 1918-19 was bought, is in force until peace is declared and promulgated by the President.The McNary bill passed Congress last December and extended the life of the Sugar Equalization Board until December, 1920, and under that half the Cuban crop could still have been bought.That alone would have enabled the government to control the price of sugar and insure an equitable distribution, but the administration believed sugar prices had reached the peak and would decline.On top of this the legal department of the government informed the Louisiana sugar planters that they could charge 18 cents a pound for their cane sugar without running the risk of being prosecuted.The Cuban cane sugar producers at once decided that if we were willing to pay 18 cents for American cane sugar there was no good economic reason why we should not be willing to pay as much for Cuban cane.This is not a political argument but a statement from the records in Washington and ought to satisfy anyone why our industries and the consuming public must pay prohibitive prices for sugar. (June 11)
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