The US President Who Nearly Destroyed Property Rights in America
The United States has generally been viewed as a model country due to its respect of property rights and free enterprise. However, at certain points throughout its history, that image has been tested. One of the more notable examples took place during the administration of Harry S. Truman. Truman was president during the Korean War (1950–1953), a time when the government imposed controls on prices, production, raw materials and wages to help with the war effort.
The wage and price controls were particularly controversial. Unions, which were traditionally part of the Democratic Party coalition, were particularly annoyed by these policies. This resulted in a collective-bargaining dispute between various steel workers unions and their employers. The steel workers threatened a national strike due to them not being able to come to an agreement with leading steelmakers. Truman was watching these labor disputes with great interest. In his view, a protracted labor dispute between steel workers and steel companies would likely deprive US troops of the necessary armaments and vehicles to fight in the Korean peninsula.
The lack of progress in this labor dispute prompted Truman to have his Secretary of Commerce, Charles W. Sawyer, carry out the seizure of most of the nation’s steel mills. Truman made this order under the pretext of keeping the production of strategic munitions intact. Truman invoked similar justification to seize several industrial properties in labor disputes during previous “national emergencies.” The New Deal that Truman’s predecessor Franklin Delano Roosevelt spearheaded had the federal government assume vast powers. Truman felt confident that the New Deal established sufficient precedents for further power grabs.
From April 1945 to August 1946, Truman confiscated 28 other industrial properties in labor disputes. In the case of the conflict that engulfed the steel sector in 1952, Truman felt confident that he could repeat the same power grab. However, this time his property grab was met with great resistance. The owners of the steel mills were able to fight back and obtain a court injunction against the Truman administration’s move. The Truman administration responded by appealing the injunction to the US Supreme Court.
In the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. et al. v. Sawyer decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Truman’s actions were unconstitutional, dealing a major blow to a key aspect of his presidential agenda. Truman would not run for re-election after it became clear that the Korean War and the host of domestic policies his administration were wildly unpopular with the American population. The succeeding Eisenhower administration took a much more moderate approach to economics and maintained restraint on regulatory affairs. This allowed for America to boom throughout the 1950s, a place in time when the consolidation of America’s famed middle class took place.
However, those halcyon days of prosperity appear to be long gone now that the US economy is so heavily regulated and its monetary policy is out of whack. While Truman’s attempt to expropriate private property was stopped in its tracks, one can only imagine how low things can go in the US given its present state. History has taught us that anything is possible when it comes to politics. Even the most stable of polities things can take a turn for the worse when their ruling classes become too drunk with power and are not held in check by the population.
The good news is that the US still has a relatively federalist system of government that gives people the freedom to move to jurisdictions with the country where they are treated best. Yes, there are several state governments that will try to infringe on property rights and other aspects of economic freedom. There will be areas that are more business friendly. In fact these same states will also have policies that are more favorable to landlords.
The same dynamic can be applied on a global scale, where there are countries that are much more friendly to investing and other forms of business activity than others.
Jurisdictional competition is a god-send for income property investors. The last thing you need is for bad tenants and even the government breathing down your neck. You’re already having to deal with many issues as it is when you get into the income property game.
Don’t add further complications to this process.
We’ll go over this and several other topics at the Recession-Proof Investing Summit taking place online from October 7 to October 8.
At this summit, Jason Hartman and his team of veteran investment counselors will be answering all of your questions about your income property portfolio. In addition, they’ll give you actionable advice that you can implement instantly to gain greater control over your income properties and grow your cash flow.
From October 7 to October 8, the Recession-Proof Investing Summit will be the event where the most ambitious income property investors will learn how to bolster their income property portfolio so that they can have the best hedge against inflation.
Forget what the so-called experts say, income property investing is still the best way to obtain financial freedom and secure your personal retirement in the long-term.
Join us at the Recession-Proof Investing Summit to become financially sound and resistant to whatever the political elements throw at you.
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