The fight on the doorstep (Apr, 1944)

The fight on the doorstep

THIS WAR can’t be won on battlefields alone. One of the most critical campaigns of all must be waged right on the doorstep of every family in America.

This is the fight against higher prices and higher wages. It’s a fight that must be won… or victories in battle will be meaningless.

It’s like this. In America this year, our total income after taxes will be about 133 billion dollars. But there’ll be only about 93 billion dollars’ worth of goods to spend it on. If we all start trying to buy as much as we can, prices will shoot up.

As prices rise, people will ask for—and, in many cases, get—higher wages. That will put up the cost of manufacturing, so up will go prices again. Then we’ll need another pay raise. If we get it, prices rise again. It’s a vicious circle.

The Government has done a lot to help keep prices down. But the Government can’t do it all alone. It needs your help!

Your part in this fight won’t be easy. It may even mean doing without a few necessities. Tough? Maybe . . . but don’t say that where the veterans of Italy and New Britain can hear you!

You want to do your part, of course. So do we all… farmers, laborers, white-collar workers, business executives. And the way to do your part right now is to observe the following seven rules…

1. Buy only what you NEED. And before you buy anything, remember that patriotic little jingle: “Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do or do without.”

2. Keep your OWN prices DOWN! If you sell goods, or your own time and labor, don’t ask for more money than you absolutely must! No matter who tries to talk you into asking more … don’t listen!

3. No matter how badly you need something … never pay more than the posted ceiling price! Don’t buy rationed goods without giving up the required coupons. If you do, you’re helping the Black Market gang.

4. Pay your taxes cheerfully! Taxes are the cheapest way to pay for a war! The MORE taxes you pay now—when you have some extra money—the LESS taxes you’ll pay later on!

5. Pay off old debts. Don’t make any new ones! Get, and stay, square with the world!

6. Start a savings account. Make regular deposits, often! Buy life insurance. Keep your premiums paid up.

7. Buy War Bonds . . . regularly and often! And hold on to them! Don’t just buy them with spare cash you can easily do without. Invest every dime and dollar you don’t actually need . . . even if it hurts to give those dimes and dollars up!

Use it up… Wear it out. Make it do… Or do without.


  1. Dave says: November 30, 20095:33 am

    ‘New Britain’ – never heard that term before…?

  2. JMyint says: November 30, 20099:13 am

    I do this kind of stuff today. Even though it’s been a year and a half since I had a full time job, all my bills are paid up to date and we just bought a new 46″ flat screen and paid cash.

  3. Firebrand38 says: November 30, 200910:14 am

    @Dave: You should have… and it’s still there…

  4. rick says: November 30, 200911:30 pm

    Brings back memories of my mid-childhood during the war. I especially remember the “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” slogan which was repeated daily on the radio and on posters all over the place. When I ran grocery errands for my mother I had to take ration coupons and tokens as well as money to pay for the items we needed. I still have some of those lying around as souvenirs. We purchased War Stamps at school with our allowances for 10¢ each. We pasted those in a book until we had enough to exchange the books for war bonds. There were always shortages of various things so you couldn’t do a lot of discretionary spending and at Christmas time many of the toys we got were made of cardboard or wood. Plastic was not very common at that time and any kind of metal was not to be had. Those were very different times and yet I’m grateful for having experienced them.


  5. jayessell says: December 1, 200912:54 pm

    Supposedly kids were asked to turn in their comic books to be
    converted to wood pulp so the kids would feel they were
    contributing to the war effort.
    Wood pulp was not in short supply.
    The comic books, includding early issues of Superman and Batman,
    were destroyed needlessly.
    “Where are your old comix Granpa?”
    “Hitler burned them.”

  6. rick says: December 1, 20096:09 pm

    Hi, jayessel

    We did have scrap paper drives at school every couple of months. We kids brought newspaper tied up in big bundles and made huge piles of them in the schoolyard to be picked up and trucked away, presumably to be ground up and made into more newspaper. And of course I was an avid comic book reader in those days as was every kid. Very likely some of today’s really valuable issues passed casually through my and my friends’ hands. I actually don’t remember what I did with all those comics besides just trading them back and forth with other kids. Most likely they just ended up in those bundles with the newspaper but I never heard anything specific that kids should be urged turn them in.


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