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STATEMENT OF MISS MARION WEIR MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF

DIRECTORS OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CONSUMERS, NEW YORK, N. Y., AND CHAIRMAN, ST. LOUIS CONSUMER FEDERATION

My name is Marion Weir and I am a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Consumers. I am also speaking in behalf of the St. Louis Consumer Federation, of which I am chairman.

The National Association of Consumers is a politically nonpartisan, nonprofit, noncommercial organization devoted to the advancement and protection of the economic welfare of Americans as consumers.

Its board of directors, members, chapters, and affiliated groups represent a fair cross section of consumer interests of the Nation. Its monthly publication, Consumers on the March, goes to readers in 950 communities and in every State of the Union.

In testimony before the House Committee on Agriculture, which is to be found at page 210 of the printed record of the hearings, we developed fully the reasons why the National Association of Consumers opposes the imposition of taxes on margarine. In our testimony today we want to confine our remarks to points which require emphasis in the light of developments during the past 2 months.

There is one consideration that is of controlling importance, namely, that margarine has the same right to be freely sold as any other legitimate product. Alternately, consumers have the same right to buy margarine, colored as they prefer it, as they have to buy other products in the form in which they prefer such products. Other considerations must not divert attention from this central fact.

The danger that margarine might be passed off as butter is a case in point. Speaking as the representative of a large number of consumers, it is my conviction that there is no danger that such misrepresentation will develop on anything more than a trivial scale. The greater dangers are two in number: First, that in attempting to prevent such misrepresentation, the cure will prove worse than the disease and will defeat the main objective of this legislation; and second, that this matter will be magnified beyond the minor place which it deserves to hold.

In our view this legislation must continue to be essentially the uncluttered measure, without any restrictive taxes or license fees, which is now before this committee.

American consumers are increasingly confronted with developments which darken their future. We have witnessed no important developments in which consumers have been given the increased protection against inflation, which they deserve. The prospect of margarine tax repeal is the first and only clear and definite ray of hope of immediate relief that we have before us.

The needs of low-income consumers are of paramount importance. These are the people who from a nutritional point of view require more table fats. They are not butter consumers at today's butter prices. As margarine consumers they are confronted with the nuisance of home coloring and with the limited distribution which the Federal license fees entail.

We want more margarine, and we want it at the lowest possible price, effected by the repeal of the taxes which will be passed on to the consumer.

The way to achieve these objectives is to open every phase of manufacturing, distribution, and sale of margarine to free competition. Only then will every grocer know that there is a demand for margarine in volume, that his price must be right if he is to keep his customers. Only then will the full potentialities of efficient manufacturing and distribution be realized.

Every American is a consumer. Yet, unfortunately, it is in this capacity that the interest of every American has been repeatedly sacrificed. Here is an important opportunity to reverse this trend.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
Miss WEIR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. Is Mrs.. Elizabeth Christian in the room? (No response.)

Mr. J. Roy Jones of the Southern Commissioners of Agriculture. STATEMENT OF J. ROY JONES, COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE

FOR THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND VICE PRESIDENT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN COMMISSIONERS OF AGRICULTURE, COLUMBIA, S. C.

Mr. Jones. Mr. Chairman, I am J. Roy Jones, commisioner of agriculture for South Carolina, also vice president of the Association of Southern Commissioners of Agriculture.

I filed a brief and I am going to summarize what is set out more fully on page 5 of my statement.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you wish your statement included in full ?
Mr. Jones. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. The statement in full will be placed in the record after and immediately following Mr. Jones' remarks.

Mr. Jones. The Association of Southern Commissioners of Agriculture is a good-will organization, composed of the State commissioners of agriculture in 13 of the principal cotton-growing States.

Each commissioner functions under constitutional authority and statutory regulations and serves all the people of his State.

Margarine is an important market for the vegetable and animal oils and fats produced in the States.

Years ago the association resolved that the existing taxes and restrictions, whether State or Federal, imposed on the sale of margarine should be removed and it has since been consistently and continuously working with that end in view.

The said association contends that taxes on margarine are discriminatory and class legislation.

The association declares, in its discussion of margarine taxes, that it is as much interested in the success of the dairy farmers as in the success of the cotton and peanut farmers and livestock raisers.

The association declares that butter and margarine are both needed in the market basket of the food program of our Nation and both should be available on their respective production merits.

The association contends that the taxes on margarine deprive many consumers of an accepted wholesome food.

The association contends that the coloring of margarine and butter neither detracts nor injures its quality, that margarine should not be singled out and penalized for the same color that goes into butter.

Some dairy products are used in the manufacture of margarine and the association has faith in both the butter and margarine.

The association contends that the taxes on margarine have long since served their purpose and therefore are urging the removal of said taxes from the State laws of the Nation.

Senator Lucas. Do any of the 13 States which your organization represent have State laws which would more or less nullify what we are trying to do unless they were repealed?

Mr. Jones. I do not know of any State that has.

I might say this, Senator, that South Carolina was the first State to require the enrichment of margarine, the enrichment of flour, the enrichment of meal, the enrichment of bread and grits.

I would also like to add, too, that the Farm Bureau of South Carolina and the Grange both endorse the things expressed here today.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. JONES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
(The statement of Mr. Roy Jones is as follows:)

STATEMENT OF ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN COMMISSIONERS OF AGRICULTURE, BY

J. ROY JONES, VICE PRESIDENT, FILED WITH THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON FINANCE, MAY 17, 1948, ALSO SUPPLEMENTARY STATEMENT OF J. Roy JONES AS COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE, STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, COLUMBIA

STATEMENT FOR SOUTHERN ASSOCIATION

The Association of Southern Commissioners of Agriculture is a nonprofit, membership organization comprising the commissioners of agriculture of the States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Said association was formed many years ago for the express purpose of furthering and protecting the interests of all the people of the aforementioned States.

For the most part, the member commissioners are elected by the people of their respective States, the others are appointed by the Governors who are elected by the people and, as such represent, under constitutional authority and statutory regulations, the consumer, the farmer, the businessman, and, in general each of the inhabitants of their States.

The principal occupation of the people living in the entire area encompassed by the membership of the association is agriculture, and the predominant agricultural crop is cotton. Besides those primarily engaged in the production, processing and distribution of cotton and its byproducts, many of the remaining people are engaged in business directly dependent upon the cotton farmer.

The cotton farmer, in turn, when acreage is curtailed, joins, in a large measure, with the peanut farmer, the soy bean farmer and the livestock grower in producing their various crops on his curtailed acreage. Throughout the South and Southwest we find large areas devoted to the raising of peanuts and soy beans. and many acres of land devoted to the livestock industry. The entire welfare of the South is bound up with its agricultural economy.

The most valuable byproducts of the agricultural commodities raised in the South are fats and oils. This being so, the Association of Southern Commissioners of Agriculture has constantly and carefully watched the fats and oils. situation in our country with the end in view of protecting the welfare of their constituent population whose whole economy is largely dependent upon a favorable market outlook. In this connection the association has from its very inception encouraged the increased consumption of American fats and oils.

Margarine (legal term "Oleomargarine”) is one of the most important consumers of American fats and oils. Several hundred million pounds of American fats and oils are consumed annually in the production of margarine in the United States. So important a market for one of the major products produced by the people represented by the Association of Southern Commissioners of Agriculture cannot be ignored, and it was for this reason that the association adopted as one of its principal objectives the removal of existing taxes and restrictions (whether Federal or State) imposed upon the sale of margarine.

The ingredients utilized in the manufacture of margarine are not only wholesome but are well-known articles of food and are consumed in some form every day.

The southern association's record show that its members are unanimously opposed to both Federal and the State taxes levied on margarine made out of our domestic vegetable and animal oils and fats.

At the last formal hearings of the Senate Agriculture Committee on these tax problems, the southern association appeared and filed briefs and arguments, which were executed by Hon. Harry D. Wilson, our president now deceased. The briefs and arguments were extensive, and in view of the fact that the conditions today are the same as they were when these briefs and arguments were filed, we will rely on them and not burden you with further details.

STATEMENT FOR THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA BY J. ROY JONES, ITS COMMISSIONER

OF AGRICULTURE

As commissioner of agriculture for the State of South Carolina I am representing over 150,000 farm families and over 2,000,000 food consumers in the State.

It is my privilege to say that we are unalterably opposed to the Federal tax now imposed for the coloring of margarine.

We contend that this tax is discriminatory. It is class legislation that penalizes free enterprise and readily brings forth the question, "Why should such a law remain upon the books of a free nation?”

In preparing this statement I have purposely avoided statistics on tax collection, production, and consumption of butter and margarine or any reference to the charts commonly used in comparing the two products; here in the Congress you have all this information at your immediate command.

There is one misconception that creeps into margarine discussions which I want to correct now: We are just as much interested in the success of the dairy farmers as we are in the success of the cotton and peanut farmers and livestock raisers. We believe that the producers of domestic oils and the dairy farmer should both have their share in the Nation's economy.

The farm leaders with whom I am privileged to be associated are just as anxious that the dairy farmers of this Nation enjoy equitable markets as they are anxious that all other segments of agriculture share in a fair standard.

It has been my privilege to see the growth of the dairy industry in South Carolina. I am proud of this progress not only in my State but throughout the entire Southland. Would it be sound economy for the farm leaders not only of the oilproducing States but the Nation as a whole to impede the growth of the dairy industry to protect some other branch of agriculture? I think the answer is obvious.

We are interested in butter and margarine. Both are needed in the food programs of our Nation. In the direct words of a well-known businesswoman and mother in my State, I would like to quote a few words from her statement before the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee that visited Columbia, S. C. She said, and I concur, “There is room for both butter and margarine in the market basket.”

Butter and margarine have their own merits and the consuming public is demanding the privilege of recognizing these merits free from trade barriers.

In this Nation of ours and among representation here in our Congress are men who are interested in butter alone. To them I want to pass this warning. Beware that your selfish zeal may not be the tool to destroy instead of to protect.

Sixty years ago, or more, there may have been some foundation for the margarine tax but that was years before our drastic food laws had been enacted for the purpose of correcting practices inimical to the welfare of the consuming public. As these practices were eliminated the laws should have been revised and the taxes removed but that has not been done, so today we face another era in our progress when the coloring tax on margarine has reached the point that it ill becomes its place on our tax books.

It has been said that early margarine manufacturers made their product from objectionable animal fats and foreign oils, and that the early product was inferior. A parallel statement can be made about butter because much of the early butter was made of rancid milk fat and was an inferior product.

The hypocrisy of the whole question is that margarine in its manufacturing process has the natural color properties desired by the consumer and its color must be bleached out. Butter on the other hand must often be colored to meet the requirements of the trade.

The problem facing butter is not margarine. A continuation of the Federal tax will not solve butter's problem. No, the age-old law of supply and demand is still the hurdle that butter or any food product must face.

The short supply and the present prices are the influences behind the declining consumer demand for butter. Butter, like any other product, can price itself out of the consumers' market.

To those who see only one side of this argument, let me leave this warning-do not try to solve your problem by continuing trade barriers; the pendulum can swing back.

There is a growing tendency, urged by the consumer, that oil-producing States should sponsor retalitatory taxes. I have always fought trade barriers in South Carolina and I will continue to do so and I can state that the consuming public wants something done about the margarine-tax barriers. There is no doubt the tax is discriminatory. It is class legislation and punitive and succeeds in only one thing and that is to deprive the consumer of an accepted wholesome food at its market price.

I do not agree with the alarmist of the dairy lobby who says the repeal of margarine taxes will destroy a large part of the dairy industry. In the first pace, separating fat from milk to make butter takes much whole milk from human consumption and the production and sale of whole milk is much more profitable to most farmers than is the production of fat for butter making. There is a shortage of whole milk for human consumption now.

Margarine is now an accepted food product. Dietitians recommend it to the Nation's food program. The consuming public has learned to enjoy it for its own properties and the price places it in the purchasing market of all groups. Since it is not the only food product that needs coloring and this color neither detracts nor injures, why should margarine be singled out and penalized for the same coloring that goes into butter?

The days of deception are over. Our pure-food laws are much more drastic and far more efficiently administered to prevent any product of national consumption from being falsely marketed.

The tax on margarine, if ever necessary, has served its purpose. It cleaned up the “House of Margarine,” it forced the production of another wholesome food product; it branded this product for what it is; it denied margarine the privilege of parading under false colors and made it stand on its own merits or die in the market places.

Today margarine is proud of its name, the manufacturers show absolutely no reluctance in advertising the ingredients and the public wants it. They want it yellow. They can have it yellow, fact is, it is naturally yellow, but Congress says, “No, if you want it yellow, you must pay a fine."

Congress said this tax was not a revenue-raising law but to protect the public. What protection does it or can it now afford ?

Let me reiterate our stand. We have faith in both butter and margarine. Dairy products are used in the manufacture of margarine and the oil producers find a ready market for their cottonseed, soybean, peanut, and other meals on the dairy farms of the Nation.

Let me again reiterate that the tax on margarine has served its purpose, it has no further use and has no further right in our system of free enterprise.

On behalf of those I am privileged to represent and on behalf of the margarine consumers, I ask that you lend your every effort to see that this discriminatory trade barrier is removed from the tax laws of our Nation.

SUMMARY

The Association Southern Commissioners of Agriculture is a good will organization, composed of the State commissioners of agriculture in 13 of the principal cotton-growing States.

Each commissioner functions under constitutional authority and statutory regulations and serves all the people of his State.

Margarine is an important market for the vegetable and animal oils and fats produced in the States.

Years ago said association resolved that the existing taxes and restrictions, whether State or Federal, imposed on the sale of margarine should be removed and it has since been consistently and continously working with that end in view.

Said association contends that taxes on margarine are discriminatory and class legislation.

Said association declares, in its discussion of margarine taxes, that it is as much interested in the success of the dairy farmers as in the success of the cotton and peanut farmers and livestock raisers.

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