Poring over the draft of his daily newspaper column on Feb. 23, 1931, Calvin Coolidge settled on a topic always near and dear to his heart – taxation. And his comments again seem strangely timely even today:
One of the most astounding spectacles is the complacency with which people permit themselves to be plundered by extravagant government expenditure under the pretense of taxing the rich to help the poor. The poor are not helped but hurt. Taxes have to be collected by the rich before they are paid. They are collected from all people. A higher tax means real wages are lower. The cost of living is higher. The chance to work is less. Every home is burdened. Its value is decreased. The quality of the food, clothing and shelter of the children is reduced.
The Congress and the legislatures know these results of extravagance. The people may not fully realize them but they suffer from them. Legislators do not want to be extravagant. Minorities drive them to it. The people who pay and suffer give little vocal support to economy. They make no threat of political retaliation against those who are taking their money, increasing their cost of living, removing their chance to work. Those who demand appropriations inspire all the fear. Aggregate state and town debt, national and local taxes are increasing enormously. Unless the people resist vigorously and immediately they will be overwhelmed.