Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Government and Taxes

The following is a speech given by President Calvin Coolidge in 1924.

"The country needs every ounce of its energy to restore itself. The costs of government are all assessed upon the people. This means that the farmer is doomed to provide a certain amount of money, out of the sale of his produce, no matter how low the price is, to pay his taxes. The manufacturer, the professional man, the clerk must do the same from their income. The wage earner, often at a higher rate when compared with his earning, makes his contribution perhaps not directly, but indirectly in the advanced course of everything he buys. The expenses of the government reach everybody. Taxes take from everyone a part of his earnings, and force everyone to work part of his time for the government. When we come to realize that the yearly expenses of the governments of this contrast the stupendous sum of about 7,500,000,000 that is needed by national government. And the remainder, by local governments. Such a sum is difficult to comprehend. It represents all the pay of five million wage-earners receiving five dollars a day, working 300 days in the year. If the government should add 100 million dollars of expense, it would represent four days more work of these wage-earners. These are some of the reasons why I want to cut public expense. I want the people of America to be able to work less for the government, and more for themselves. I want them to have the rewards of their own industry. This is the chief meaning of freedom. Until we can restablish a condition under which the earnings of the people can be kept by the people, we are bound to suffer a very severe and distinct curtailment of our liberty. These results are not fanciful, they are not imaginary, they are grimly actual and real. Reaching into everyhousehold in the land, they take annually an average of over 300 dollars and taxes must be paid. They are not a voluntary contribution, to be met out of surplus earnings, they are a bare necessity. They come first. It is only out of what is left, after they are paid, that the necessities of food, clothing, and shelter can be provided and the comforts of home secured. Are the yearnings of the soul for a broader and more abundant life gratified. When the government affects a new economy, it grants everybody a life pension, with which to raise the standard of existence. It increases the value of everybody's property, raises the scale of everybody's wages. One of the greatest favors that can be bestowed upon the American people is economy in government."

-Calvin Coolidge, 1924

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