Dateline Northampton, Dec. 9, 1930

Well, this time I’m getting an early start! Eighty years ago tomorrow, Calvin Coolidge wrote his daily “Calvin Coolidge Says” column about a subject near and dear to his heart, and also somewhat pertinent to our day and age – taxation:

The Congress has before it two distinct problems which in their solution conflict with each other. One is the necessity of providing revenue to meet obligations already incurred, or any new commitments for relief. The other is to do what it can to encourage business. The obligations must be met. But that requires taxes and perhaps more taxes. That will retard business. The answer may lie in temporary borrowing to meet temporary emergency. The danger there is extravagance.

It would seem perfectly clear that business will not be improved by spending tax money. Taxes are already too high. With all the national reductions, states and municipalities have raised taxes until the grand total is about  $13,000,000,000.

Nothing would so encourage business than a reduction of this local and national burden. In 1921 it was particularly the drastic cuts in Federal expenses and taxes that brought economic revival.

While relief must be provided, those who now advocate higher taxes may be meeting the Treasury requirements but are postponing prosperity. Those who seek to improve our economic position by spending more tax money are going in the wrong direction. Rigid governmental economy would finally solve both problems.

Interestingly for those who now approvingly quote Coolidge (or Mellon) policies, it is clearly apparent that Coolidge was not of the “deficits don’t matter” school. As Joe Thorndike has only recently pointed out, Coolidge was for tax reduction when accompanied by rigid government economy, and certainly not in favor of extravagant borrowing – I’m positive he would be aghast at today’s levels of national indebtedness.

Coolidge Symposium, October 7, 2010

If you’re interested in what latest research and scholarship on Calvin Coolidge have to offer, and if you want to join in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of The Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation, mark your calendars October 7th, 2010:

Under the heading “Straight Talk”, a symposium and gala dinner will be held at the JFK Presidential Library & Museum in Boston. Please refer to the links or the uploaded information, or please refer back to this post as new information about scheduled speakers will be added (Amity Shlaes, Joe Thorndike, Jack Bogle, Michael Dukakis, David Pietrusza, John Van Til and Carl S. Anthony are among the authors and scholars invited to speak).

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