On April 27, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented to Congress
a program of ration banking: "Since those who can afford to pay
more for a commodity should not be privileged over those who cannot,
where any important article becomes scarce, rationing is the only Democratic,
Part of Byrnes' job was to enforce the rationing or fixed allowance
of certain goods for every family. Rationing affected fuel oil, gasoline,
rubber and food industries. Americans received ration tickets allowing
them to buy certain quantities of scarce commodities. Money alone was
not enough: no tickets, no purchase.
In the cartoon below, Byrnes is portrayed as a gas station attendant. Uncle
Sam, the driver of the car, represents America and the American people.
America is asking for more gasoline and, of course, as Director of
Economic Stabilization, Byrnes cannot give out extra gas or authorize
an improvident use of any commodity which is in short supply. The cartoon
shows Byrnes pondering which gadget would be best to measure the "extra
gas:" the eyedropper, the spoon or the thimble. All of these gadgets
are useless for holding or measuring gas of any large quantity. The
point is that Uncle Sam will get no more gasoline than to which his
ration tickets entitle him!
Notice the patched right front tire on Uncle Sam's car. Rubber also
The cartoon is by political satirist Jim Berryman, who presented Mr.
Byrnes with a signed copy (see the bottom left corner) in October 1943.
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