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A COMPARISON OF THE CONSUMER PRICE INDEX-ALL ITEMS WITH THE CONSUMER PRICE INDEX FOR RENT
The following units were not controlled by Federal rent controls:
• Units owned by a landlord who owned no more than four rental units
HUD-FHA housing Each unit had a base rent which was to reflect the approximate market level rent for that unit before the Freeze began. • The base rent for leases of one month or shorter was the last rent paid
before the freeze (August 15, 1971). On leases of greater than one month the base rent was either the rent being paid as of August 15, 1971, or the rent determined by the rent computation
method (see explanation in tenant's guide). The rent on a given unit could increase by 2.5% annually. The rent on a given unit could increase to reflect a pass through of increases in
state and local taxes and municipal services. The rent on a given unit could increase to reflect a capital improvement, with
the increase not to exceed more than 1.5% of the previous rent. On leases of greater than one year, the total of all increases in rent could not
exceed 8% annually.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Economic Stabilization Program was the necessity to build from scratch an organization to administer the Program, to manage it effectively during a period of major policy change when the workload was greater than available resources, and then to terminate it in an orderly and humane fashion.
Unfortunately, as a part of the historical analysis project, it was not possible to develop a comprehensive study of organization and management issues. However, certain issues related to these subjects are presented throughout the working papers in this compendium; this paper will offer some observations which might be useful to those interested in the administration of a wage and price controls program.
This is divided into two sections. Section One offers some subjective thoughts by one of the senior line-managers who served throughout the Program, Bert M. Concklin. Section Two recaps the intensive efforts mounted during the Spring of 1974 to place Stabilization personnel in other jobs, once the Program was terminated. It was prepared by Joseph L. Kirk, formerly Executive Assistant to the Deputy Director of the Cost of Living Council.
OBSERVATIONS ON PROGRAM
by Bert M. Concklin
From the outset of the Economic Stabilization Program, the operating philosophy was that wage and price controls were a temporary, emergency measure. Accordingly, the agencies resp for its administration should be kept as small as possible; in any case, the creation of a permanent bureaucratic organization was to be avoided. In addition to the austere manning levels adopted by the participating organizations, there was an implicit understanding that because of the short life and small size of the Stabilization agencies, they should be nonbureaucratic in organizational form and in their approach to the development and execution of policy.
During the Freeze, an organization had to be put in place and functioning in a matter of days. An initial leadership cadre was assembled under the overall leadership of the then Assistant Director of the OMB, Arnold Weber. Middle-management and professional levels within the Cost of Living Council were assembled from agencies which had the primary economic and statistical functions within government, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census and similar agencies. The Office of Emergency Preparedness, working · in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service and the Agricultural Conservation and Stabilization Service of the Department of Agriculture, provided the operating structure for the Program. The most significant aspects of the Freeze organization were:
(1) a near instantaneous start-up; and
proven quality in performing in positions of similar scope
and complexity. This may seem inconsequential; however, few government programs enjoy the luxury of a high quality staff at the outset. Its accomplishment is attributable to the fact that it was the most important policy program of the Administration at that time, hence support from the Cabinet principals and lower level officials who had to give up people to support the Stabilization Program.