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Former US Treasury Secretary & FDIC Chairman Joe Barr '39 on "Security and Inflation"

Former US Treasury Secretary & FDIC Chairman Joe Barr '39 on "Security and Inflation"

December 16, 1981

December 16, 1981, Greencastle, Ind. - For the remainder of this decade, "two issues will dominate our thinking and our action -- survival and inflation," predicts former U.S. Treasury Secretary Joseph W. Barr.  The 1939 DePauw University graduate was back at his alma mater today speaking to students.

"By survival, I am not suggesting that we will be successfully invaded or that we will be hit by a nuclear attack," Barr stated. "I am suggesting that our survival as the free world's leader will be severely challenged in Central and South America, in Africa and the Middle East, even in Europe.  I am suggesting that it is not impossible for an aggressive Russia to effectively 'Finlandize' Europe.  And I am suggesting that in this decade -- especially the next five years -- the U.S. could be dealt a frightful blow by the cut-off of our Mid-East or Central and South American oil supplies."

The Democrat also foresees "a shift, at least partial, from an income tax to a transaction tax, such as a value added tax.  God knows it is ludicrous to use an income tax if we cannot define income, but there also seems to be increasing evidence that a transaction tax may be well encourage more savings than an income tax and thus help attack inflation from the supply side."Joe Barr Captain 39.jpg

Barr added, "The value added tax will be a scorcher of a battle, but mild compared to some of the other issues we will have to debate in the '80s if we are to get inflation under control." (at right: Barr, who was captain of DePauw's football team, with the Monon Bell)

 Barr, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1942-45, was a congressman from Indiana for one term and was chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. He served as the Undersecretary of the Treasury from 1965 to 1968, during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson. His term heading the Treasury Department lasted from late 1968 to early 1969. Barr was later the president and the chairman of American Security and Trust Company and the chairman of Federal Home Loan Bank in Atlanta, Georgia.

US Capitol abrHe stated, "Our American institutions have shown amazing resilience in perilous times ... I can say with great reassurance that when we have once again been confronted with danger, we have started acting responsibly.  We are getting control of our money supply, worrying about our budget deficit, looking at our tax problems, and finally facing up to our energy shortfall ... it gives me hope that by the end of the decade we will have a large portion of our national destiny back in our own hands."

In a 1959 television segment, then-Congressman Joe Barr welcomed Tommy Mont to DePauw as the new head football coach.  Video is embedded below.