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In my statement before the House Committee on Agriculture I referred at length to the nuisance, waste of time, and waste of margarine involved in home coloring. That goes for the squeezing business, too. This is very important, but it has been so completely discussed that I will not dwell here on it.
Gentlemen, I know you must have the interest of the consumer at heart. How can we continue this type of discriminatory food control which penalizes the American people so unjustly.? Must we continue to pay for the butter producers' dogged self-interest?
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much for coming.
, The CHAIRMAN. Our next witness is Mrs. Robert Lamkin of the American Association of University Women,
STATEMENT OF MRS. ROBERT LAMKIN, LEGISLATIVE CHAIRMAN
OF THE ARLINGTON BRANCH OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY WOMEN, REPRESENTING THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY WOMEN, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mrs. LAMKIN. Mr. Chairman, I am Mrs. Robert Lamkin, legislative chairman of the Arlington Branch of the Association of University Women and I am representing the American Association of university Women located at 1634 I Street, Washington, D. C.
As a representative of the American Association of University Women and as a consumer I should like to go on record in opposition to the discriminatory taxes on oleomargarine.
Under the legislative program voted by delegates to the 1948 biennial convention of the American Association of University Women, and according to its established procedures, the association supports the repeal of the Federal tax imposed on margarine and the licensing requirements imposed on manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers of margarine, and wishes to submit this statement for the record.
The association has long supported repeal of this legislation, and in 1943 appeared to urge that such action be taken. It is our hope that a repeal measure will be passed by the Eightieth Congress, and that its enactment will set an example for those States which have imposed additional restrictive legislation on margarine.
Current Federal legislation on margarine violates the basic principles of a freely competitive economy; it imposes an unnecessary obstacle to the manufacture and distribution of one product, while granting an unnecessary privilege to the manufacture and distribution of another product. More important, it denies to the American citizen his right to take full advantage of the market-to buy the lowest-priced product which meets his needs, to buy what he wants to have and what, given his budget, he feels he can afford.
Legislation which carries special privilege for one industry or restricts the scope of another should not be permitted to stand on the books indefinitely without careful reconsideration by Congress, even where such legislation may have been justified originally by consideration for the public health or welfare.
When Federal margarine legislation was enacted in 1886, the consumer—the homemaker from whose numbers a large proportion of the membership of the American Association of University Women is drawn—was not protected by the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, nor by the Administration which that act established. Consequently, the standards now specified by the agency for margarine did not exist. Nor did the labeling requirements which make it possible for the consumer to know exactly what he is buying. Today, all that has been changed, and in buying margarine the consumer buys a nutritious product, meeting established standards.
The consumer can see no justification for penalizing a product which has proved nutritious, palatable, and economical, and has served us well in two wars when butter was either unobtainable or to expensive for general use. Nor so long as proper labeling measures are retained can we find any justification for the licensing fees which practically prohibit the coloring of the margarine by the manufacturer. Wellestablished custom has conditioned the consumer to a yellow product, and homemakers resent time and energy spent in working color into margarine, where butter's golden color is often supplied by the producer.
The mechanics of complying with licensing requirements frequently prove too much for the small retailer. In these circumstances, the removal of taxes does not of itself bring relief to the consumer. Not only the Federal tax imposed, but the licensing requirements which, applying in equal dollar amount to all retailers, necessarily bear most heavily upon the small storekeeper in the low-income community.
The American Association of University Women, composed of approximately 96,000 members, is organized in 1,044 Íocal communities in all States of the Union. The membership includes homemakers and professional women, all of whom are consumers. Consequently, most of our members have a personal interest in this matter and for these reasons urge repeal of all restrictions on the manufacture and sale of margarine.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. Our next witness is Mrs. Ella H. McNaughton, of the American Home Economics Association.
STATEMENT OF MRS. ELLA H. McNAUGHTON, NATIONAL CHAIRMAN
OF LEGISLATION FOR THE AMERICAN HOME ECONOMICS ASSO-
Mrs. McNAUGHTON. My name is Mrs. Ella H. McNaughton, the national chairman of legislation for the American Home Economics Association.
At the request of the association's executive board and the national legislative committee, I am pleased to present to you and your committee the attitude of the American Home Economics Association concerning the removal of all Federal taxes on margarine, both colored and uncolored.
The members of our organization are women who have had specialized training for work in foods, nutrition, family economics, home management, textiles, clothing design, and household equipment. Many of our members combine all of these fields in their jobs as homemakers. Those who are employed in business firms, teaching, hos
pitals, or social welfare organizations work directly with families. We share the interest of the group of almost 40 million consumershomemakers who make up the Nation's largest occupational group. Collectively, the consumers of this country spend billions of dollars for the essential needs of families. When they buy intelligently they are helping to shape the markets for better farm products, as well as conserve the country's material resources.
As members of the American Home Economics Association we work to raise the living standards of American families by assisting them to use their resources to best advantage. Discriminatory taxes, such as those imposed on margarine by the Government, make it difficult for many families to derive the best value from their resources and thus tend to lower standards of living for them.
We are all appreciative of the good qualities of butter. Our association is interested in and advocates the use of butter. We do not consider butter as a competitive product of margarine; both are good foods, good fats. I believe I can make myself clear with an example. Margarine is to butter what the Ford is to the Lincoln. Some consumers, of necessity, use the Ford; it is within their budget income. There are some who prefer the performance of the Ford. Others use a Lincoln; they enjoy its prestige. And, lastly, some consumers use both cars for different purposes.
The butter industry and the margarine industry are constantly improving the quality and uses of their products. We consider these two products valuable for table purposes, as well as for cooking. The recent use of liquid fats offers the homemaker another “new look” for shortening purposes. We are looking forward to greater production and improved qualities in both fats to supply the demands of families who use them. Both butter and margarine are good foods. Taxing margarine is a misuse of the purposes of taxation.
Another reason why we are interested in removing this tax, is that it would afford a further aid to the consumer in combating the high cost of living. One of the desirable and commendable features of margarine is that the retailer has been able to sell it at a lower price than butter. To remove the tax should mean a further substantial saving to families of low incomes because the tax and license fees now charged are passed on to the consumer. By removing the tax we should also be able to lower the price and thus be able to make the product available to many who have not been able to obtain it. A decreased price per pound for margarine would mean more cash for purchasing other foods, such as milk. Taxing margarine, a nutritious food which sells for less than butter, is particularly unfortunate in a time of high prices such as the present when American families do not have incomes sufficient for purchasing adequate diets.
The American Home Economics Association herewith urges the removal of all Federal taxes on margarine in order that the American family may have this nutritious food tax-free.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mrs. McNaughton.
Mrs. McNAUGHTON. The price of butter sometimes is 89 cents, sometimes it is 95 cents, sometimes it is less, and sometimes it is 98 cents. I have not paid higher than 98 cents for butter.
Senator Lucas. What do you pay for margarine ?
Mrs. McNAUGHTON. The prices for margarine range between 39 cents to 45 cents a pound.
Senator LUCAS. Do you know why there is that difference between the price of butter and the price of margarine in one community?
Mrs. McNAUGHTON. In one community?
Mrs. McNAUGHTON. You mean in Washington or anywhere in the United States ?
Senator Lucas. I am talking about what you pay here in Washington for margarine. I understood you to say there is a difference.
Mrs. McNAUGHTON. Yes.
Senator Lucas. The question is, Can you tell me why there should be a difference here in Washington of 39 cents and 49 cents on margarine?
Mrs. McNAUGHTON. I presume there are many reasons why that is true. I believe it would take us a long time to go into that.
Senator Lucas. That may be so, but it looks as though somebody is making much more profit than the other on both the butter and margarine.
Mrs. McNAUGHTON. I think both of them are making considerable profit on their product.
Senator Lucas. That certainly must be true if there is that much difference in your own community. That is one of the things I thought might be investigated by the Congress with respect to this high cost of living when I see the difference in price that you pay for butter and which goes with all the other things that the housewife has to buy for the family. You can find one price in one store and you can go down the block and you will find an entirely different price.
Mrs. McNAUGHTON. There is a great deal that goes into that.
The CHAIRMAN. The next witness is Mrs. E. G. Chamberlain of the National Federation of Settlements.
STATEMENT OF MRS. E. G. CHAMBERLAIN, MEMBER OF THE BOARD
OF DIRECTORS OF GEORGETOWN HOUSE, REPRESENTING THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF SETTLEMENTS, INC., NEW YORK, N. Y. Mrs. CHAMBERLAIN. I am Mrs. E. G. Chamberlain, of Washington, D. C. I am a member of the board of directors of Georgetown House, one of eight settlement houses in Washington, and am here in a volunteer capacity.
I am representing the National Federation of Settlements, an organization consisting of 211 settlement houses located in 66 cities in 25 States, and serving many thousands of lower-income families. I appreciate this opportunity to restate the strong opinion of the national federation as a whole, and of the consumer interest committee of the federation in particular, in regard to the Federal taxes and restrictive legislation presently imposed on margarine. My remarks today are largely a reaffirmation of those made before the House Agriculture Committee several months ago.
The National Federation of Settlements has a vital interest in and responsibility toward the lower-income family. Many of the houses conduct nursery schools, day-care centers, and summer camps, where costs are an important factor, especially as the parents of the children served bear a portion of the cost. These families are in the lowerincome bracket and they are having increasing difficulties in maintaining adequate nutritional standards in the food budget.
Fortified margarine is one of the foods of high nutritional value which might be secured at lower cost if taxes were removed. The settlements use margarine in the nurseries and camps and encourage its use in the homes of the families they serve.
The tax on margarine is, in our opinion, a tax on the cost of a staple and necessary food item. It is a tax which works particular hardship on lower-income groups who are among those most in need of adequate caloric nutrition afforded by an economical table spread. It is an artificial tax on today's food budget to demand 10 cents a pound for the privilege of buying a commodity colored to suit the user's taste, when hundreds of other foods, including butter, are artificially colored and yet untaxed. It is a serious imposition on lower-income neighborhoods to demand that small independent grocers pay $48 to offer margarine colored and a $6 fee to offer it uncolored.
Today butter is high because it is scarce. Official data indicate no relief in sight; quite the reverse. Facts show a decline in butter production since the war. On closer examination, this butter decline is not such a hardship, for it has been accompanied by an increase, since before the war, in the supply of milk. I need hardly tell this committee how important milk is to the families we serve, as indeed to the whole Nation. Doctors tell us that when milk drops out of the diet, there occurs a marked diminution in many vital nutrients of which milk is an essential supplier. Butter, however, supplies nutrients available from other sources at lower cost. A decrease in butter in the diet results in nutritional loss made up by margarine, and the saving so effected enables the purchaser to add other foods and farm products to the market basket.
In closing, I should like to quote a portion of a resolution adopted by the delegate body of the National Federation of Settlements at its annual meeting, April 20:
At a time when from 40 to 50 percent of the low-income family dollar must be spent for food, every inexpensive but highly nutritious commodity should be made available to the consuming public as readily and cheaply as possible. The continuous attack of the butter interests on oleomargarine should be exposed for what it is: The effort of a monopoly to destroy a cheaper and equally nutritious substitute for butter, masquerading as an effort at consumer protection.
It is the opinion of the National Federation of Settlements that from a nutritional as well as economic standpoint, the tax on margarine is against the best interests of a great majority of the American people and we urge repeal of all taxes and restrictions on its sale.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.