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This message was originally submitted by rjensen@UIC.EDU to the H-DEMOG list at H-NET.MSU.EDU. The following biography is from the American National Biography, published by Oxford University Press. Copyright 1999 ACLS. Lubin, Isador (9 June 1896-6 July 1978), economist and government official, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the son of Lithuanian and Polish Jewish immigrants Harris Lubin and Hinda Francke. His father owned a store in Worcester that sold work clothes on credit. While attending high school and Clark University in Worcester, from which he graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1916, Lubin worked for his father as a bill collector. This experience showed him the vicissitudes of industrial labor and the need for unemployment insurance. Frequently, his father's customers could not pay because of seasonal mill layoffs. In college, Lubin became intrigued with the writings of Thorstein Veblen. Deciding he would study with him, Lubin, in 1916, on a graduate fellowship, entered the University of Missouri, where Veblen was then teaching. Veblen became his mentor, major influence on his economic thought, and close friend. In 1918 Lubin left the university with Veblen to work first as a statistician for the U.S. Food Administration and then as a special expert for the War Industries Board. Lubin found wartime Washington stimulating, meeting brilliant young economists and political scientists. Many became his friends and later colleagues in the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. With the war and his job ended, Lubin departed in 1919 for the University of Michigan to continue his graduate studies, and he became assistant professor of economics. In 1922 the newly established Brookings Institution lured him back to Washington with an offer to join its staff as an economist specializing in labor's economic problems. Lubin also taught at its Robert Brookings Graduate School and in 1926 received his Ph.D. in economics from the institution. He married a graduate student at George Washington University, Alice E. Berliner, in 1923. They had one child before divorcing in 1928. Lubin's research at Brookings convinced him as early as 1927 that although the American economy appeared robust, it had a hidden but growing unemployment problem. His study of this issue brought him to the attention of the U.S. Senate Committee on Education and Labor, chaired by Senator James Couzens (R.-Mich). In 1928, when the committee began hearings on unemployment, he served as its adviser. After the 1929 crash the ranks of the jobless swelled, and Lubin counseled New York senator Robert Wagner and Wisconsin's Robert La Follette, Jr., as they investigated depression suffering and suggested legislative remedies. These included unemployment insurance and major public works spending, which President Herbert Hoover rejected. In 1932 Lubin wed Ann Shumaker, editor of an education journal. The next year, on Senator Wagner's recommendation, President Roosevelt's secretary of labor, Frances Perkins, hired Lubin as U.S. commissioner of labor statistics. The soft-spoken, scholarly Lubin won respect from both labor and management for his meticulously compiled and analyzed figures on employment, wages, hours, prices, and other key indicators published in the Monthly Labor Review and for the Consumer Price Index, which he refined and popularized. However, Lubin's influence extended well beyond data collection. He had a hand in drafting the National Industrial Recovery Act and from 1933 to 1939 served as labor consultant on the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, advising on wages and projects. A member of the President's Economic Security Committee (1934), Lubin assisted in the creation of the unemployment insurance part of the Social Security Act, and he helped get the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act through Congress. Personal tragedy struck Lubin in 1935, when his second wife died shortly after the birth of their child. Lubin and other Keynesians in the administration believed that the 1937 "Roosevelt Recession" resulted from wages that were too low, a price structure too high due to monopolistic practices in business, and too much cutback in government spending. Working mostly through Harry Hopkins, who had the president's ear, they urged stepping up deficit spending (Lubin emphasized spending that stimulated private investment) and launching the Temporary National Economic Committee (TNEC) to investigate monopoly in the United States. Composed equally of congressmen and administration members, including Lubin, the TNEC between 1938 and 1941 conducted a thoroughgoing investigation of the economic and financial structure of American business but produced a final report with few legislative suggestions. Lubin and TNEC executive secretary Leon Henderson signed a minority statement pointing out monopolistic practices that ought to be outlawed, but the administration, preoccupied with World War II, had lost interest in trustbusting. Lubin, too, became increasingly absorbed in defense. In 1940 Roosevelt made him deputy director of the labor division of the Office of Production Management. The following year Lubin moved into the White House as economic assistant to the president, his job to keep track of, assemble, and interpret for Roosevelt the statistics on all war programs. Lubin's knack for presenting voluminous data concisely and clearly (Roosevelt once said "Lube's" statistical reports were the only ones he understood) led other executive officials to depend on him as well. He directed the statistical branch of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, headed the statistical staff of Hopkin's Munitions Assignment Board, and traveled to London, where he developed with his British counterpart a common statistical reporting system to facilitate planning between Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. In March 1945 Roosevelt assigned "his favorite economist" to lead the American delegation to the Allied Reparations Commission scheduled to meet in Moscow. President Harry S. Truman subsequently named his own political appointee, Edwin W. Pauley, chief of the delegation but asked Lubin to stay on as associate representative. After months of fruitless wrangling with the Soviets, Lubin prepared a final report to Truman on the commission's failure and resigned. As an assistant secretary of state for economic affairs in 1949-1950, Lubin advised on details of the Marshall Plan. Between 1950 and 1953 he served as American minister to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, where he advocated land reform and action against international cartels. In 1952 Lubin married Carol Riegelman, who had worked for the International Labor Organization. They had no children. They originally met when President Roosevelt named Lubin America's first representative to that body in 1935. Lubin's last government position was New York State industrial commissioner, 1955-1959, under Governor Averell Harriman. Through the 1960s and 1970s Lubin remained active. He was a member of the board of directors of the New School for Social Research and consulted for the Twentieth Century Fund and on programs in Israel for the Jewish Agency. He died in Annapolis, Maryland. Bibliography The Isador Lubin Papers are in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, N.Y. Two "Reminiscences of Isador Lubin" are in the Columbia University Oral History Collection. One dates from 1957 and covers his life and career to that point; the other, from 1965, is a part of the "Social Security Project" and concentrates on Lubin's role in the creation of the 1935 system. Monographs and reports written by Lubin include Government Control over Prices, with Paul Willard Garrett and Stella Stewart (1920); Miners' Wages and the Cost of Coal (1924); The British Coal Dilemma, with Helen Everett (1927); The Absorption of the Unemployed by American Industry (1929); The British Attack on Unemployment, with A. C. C. Hill, Jr. (1934); Report on German Reparations to the President of the United States, February to September 1945, with Edwin W. Pauley (1946); The United States Proposes United Nations Action on Cartels (1951); and Our Stake in World Trade, with Forrest D. Murden, Jr. (1954). Brief biographical sketches are in Forest Davis, "Minister to Moscow," Saturday Evening Post, 16 June 1945, pp. 17, 81-83; United Nations Bulletin, 11 Feb. 1947, p. 119, and 15 Feb. 1951, p. 171; and Spencer Calhoun, "Biggest Bill Collector," Collier's, 2 June 1945, pp. 17, 27. An excellent discussion of the Keynesian economists in the administration, including Lubin, and their influence on Roosevelt in 1937-1938 is in Joseph P. Lash, Dealers and Dreamers: A New Look at the New Deal (1988). An obituary is in the New York Times, 8 July 1978. Written by Barbara Blumberg Note: This email has been sent in plain text format so that it may be read with the standard ASCII character set. Special characters and formatting have been normalized. Copyright Notice Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the American National Biography of the Day and Sample Biographies provided that the following statement is preserved on all copies: From American National Biography, published by Oxford University Press, Inc., copyright 1999 American Council of Learned Societies. Further information is available at http://www.anb.org. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ To post to H-DEMOG, simply send your message to our *new* address: H-DEMOG@H-NET.MSU.EDU Questions to the editor not intended for posting should be addressed to: Dave Elliott: HDEMOG@SESCVA.ESC.EDU or J. 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