On 14 October 1946, US President Harry S. Truman decided to lift price controls on meat in the United States. In the autumn of 1946, Americans faced a shortage of this vital product. On that day, Truman outlined the situation in a radio address at 9 p.m. ET and then announced to his listeners:

"There is only one remedy left – that is to lift controls on meat. Accordingly, the secretary of agriculture and the price administrator are removing all price controls on livestock, and food and feed products therefrom – tomorrow".

The campaign to lift controls was supported by US Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson and many other influential members of the Truman administration.

These measures were prompted by the need to normalise the situation on the food market. Consumers lacked basic foodstuffs and the resulting shortages enriched the mafia, an entire industry almost falling into the hands of organised crime. The Office of Price Administration (OPA) abandoned the price ceiling and meat prices doubled.

The benefits of the free market economy became apparent a year later when meat production doubled and prices levelled off, and the mafia structures lost influence in this sector. The events of that year were reflected in American literature, including Rex Stout's novella "Before I Die", in which the great detective Nero Wolfe confronts black market tycoons.


"Memoirs By Harry S. Truman", 2 Volume Set, Doubleday & Company, Inc. First Edition (January 1, 1955-56) / Translated from English, Moscow: Principium, 2021