Thursday, November 6, 2014

Chicago Speculators Ask Government to Bail Them Out, 1917

“Egg Speculators,” from the Nov. 1, 1917, issue of The French Broad Hustler. Reprinted from the Nashville Banner.

The Chicago egg speculators are said to be discomfited because of their underestimate of the egg supply. To guard against loss they are appealing to the government to make eggs an army ration.

Eggs are a wholesome food, and the soldiers are entitled to be well fed. Looking to the good of the army, the proposition is entitled to consideration, but in so far as the egg speculators are concerned, they deserve no sympathy, and it is in an exhibition of rare nerve that they should appeal to the government to help them out of trouble.

The Chicago cold storage houses, it is reported, are caught with a great surplus of eggs. Last summer they gambled on a shortage in eggs and expected a great rise in prices, coincident with the generally ascendant scale, but the industries then, under the stimulating care of the frugal farmer, has frustrated their schemes, and now it is alleged that they are losing $400 a carload under present and prospective prices. This situation, it is alleged, has caused an appeal to the government to take over their surplus stock for army rations and to fix a price that will insure them a profit. The public will be pleased with the fixing of the price of any food to the consumer but to fix a price that would raise the cost to the consumer and help the speculators would likely cause a storm of protest.

The present price of eggs may be too low to afford the expected profit to the cold storage speculators, but not for the public necessities. The retail prices in Nashville have been for some time considerably above the price that prevailed at this season in the days before the war.

If there is a great surplus of eggs in the cold storage houses, as reported, they should be forced on the market.

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