[var rssXML]
The Times-Herald View Today's Print Edition

Lawrence Reed

Blogs

Angela McRae

Tea with friends

Deberah Williams

Everyday Finesse

Lorrie Lynch

Who's News

USA Weekend Tween Tribune - News For Tweens
Click Here

Lawrence Reed Columnist

Published Thursday, September 27, 2012

President who spoke sense

Who was the last U.S. president to write all of his own speeches and deliver more speeches than any of his predecessors? While serving in the White House, he also held a whopping 520 press conferences — eight per month —more than any president before or since.

The answer is Calvin Coolidge, who earned the nickname “Silent Cal” in spite of his prolific record at the podium. It was in social settings and parties when he tended to clam up. At a dinner event when journalist Dorothy Parker leaned over to Coolidge and said, “Mr. President, I have a bet with a friend that I can get you to say at least three words, “he famously responded, “You lose!”

When Coolidge spoke, he made more sense than many of the men who have held the highest office in the land, especially the one who holds it now. What he said about taxes in his inaugural address in 1925 you’ll never hear from Barack Obama: “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. That is the chief meaning of freedom. Until we can re-establish a condition under which the earnings of the people can be kept by the people, we are bound to suffer a very distinct curtailment of our liberty.”

The current president tells entrepreneurs “You didn’t build that” as he buys votes by expanding dependency on government. Contrast that with what Coolidge stood for, as expressed in this statement from his days as governor of Massachusetts: “In a free republic a great government is the product of a great people. They will look to themselves rather than government for success. The greatness of America lies around the hearthstone.”

In the 1920s, with Coolidge’s strong support, the top income-tax rate fell from 73 percent to 24 percent. Americans with the lowest incomes benefited even more when the rate at the other end fell from 4 percent to one-half percent.

Coolidge knew something today’s tax hikers don’t: Incentives matter.

In 1924, Silent Cal asked a large audience, “If we had a tax whereby on the first working day the government took 5 percent of your wages, on the second day 10 percent, on the third day 20 percent, on the fourth day 30 percent, on the fifth day 50 percent, and on the sixth day 60 percent, how many of you would continue to work on the last two days of the week?”

In the years that Coolidge was vice president and then president, the economy grew by nearly 60 percent, the national debt was reduced by a quarter and the federal budget was consistently in the black. If it hadn’t been for the wrong-headed policies of the Federal Reserve and Presidents Hoover and Roosevelt, the Coolidge prosperity could have lasted through the 1930s.

I miss Calvin.

(Lawrence W. Reed, a resident of Newnan, is president of the Foundation for Economic Education in Irvington, N. Y., and Atlanta.)

Comment On This Story

Times-Herald.com does not necessarily agree with the comments posted below. Responsibility of comments rests solely with the writer. Comments posted in ALL CAPS will be deleted.

Submission of a comment does not guarantee publication. Comments will be posted by a moderator after being scanned for abusive language, relevance, etc. See our Comments FAQ for more details.

Most Popular

  • Viewed
  • Emailed
  • Commented
  1. Obituary: Ms. Dawn Michelle Kraker, 41, of Newnan, GA, passed away Saturday, July 19, 2014. She was born on Jan. 26, 1973. She is preceded in death by her father, Raymond Roberts Jr. Dawn is survived by her parents, Billy and Carol Parmer of Concord, GA; daughter, Sabrina Kraker of Griffin, GA; son, Joshua Kraker of Fayetteville, GA; sister and brother-in-law, Kelly and Randy Moore of Concord, GA; niece, Hailey Moore of Concord, GA; nephew, Gage Moore of Concord, GA; grandmother, Wanda Bailey of Senoia, GA; and many other family members and friends. A visitation will be held on Wednesday, July 23, from 6-8 p.m. at Carmichael-Hemperley Funeral Home in Peachtree City, GA. The funeral service will be held in the funeral home chapel on Thursday, July 24, at 2 p.m. She will lie in state for one hour prior to the service.
  2. With GOP runoff over, Perdue and Nunn face off
  3. Obituary: Mrs. Janice LaVerne Jones Carter Cauthen departed this earthly life on July 21, 2014, at the age of 82, 31 days before her next birthday.
  4. Obituary: Ms. Rachael Marie Hamil, age 20, beloved daughter of Jeanne and Tom, passed away unexpectedly after a brief hospitalization on July 20, 2014.
  5. Deaths published on 7/23/2014
  6. Obituary: Kimberly Jean Melchiorre, 49, of Sharpsburg, Ga., passed away at her home surrounded by her loved ones on Friday, July 18, 2014.
  7. Arrest Log for 7/23/2014
  8. Restaurant Inspection for 7/23/2014
  9. Swords barely misses cut at USGA Girls Amateur
  10. Cameron Daniel wins division at Hurricane Junior event
Week In Review »
  1. Obituary: Ms. Dawn Michelle Kraker, 41, of Newnan, GA, passed away Saturday, July 19, 2014. She was born on Jan. 26, 1973. She is preceded in death by her father, Raymond Roberts Jr. Dawn is survived by her parents, Billy and Carol Parmer of Concord, GA; daughter, Sabrina Kraker of Griffin, GA; son, Joshua Kraker of Fayetteville, GA; sister and brother-in-law, Kelly and Randy Moore of Concord, GA; niece, Hailey Moore of Concord, GA; nephew, Gage Moore of Concord, GA; grandmother, Wanda Bailey of Senoia, GA; and many other family members and friends. A visitation will be held on Wednesday, July 23, from 6-8 p.m. at Carmichael-Hemperley Funeral Home in Peachtree City, GA. The funeral service will be held in the funeral home chapel on Thursday, July 24, at 2 p.m. She will lie in state for one hour prior to the service.
  2. With GOP runoff over, Perdue and Nunn face off
  3. Obituary: Mrs. Janice LaVerne Jones Carter Cauthen departed this earthly life on July 21, 2014, at the age of 82, 31 days before her next birthday.
  4. Obituary: Ms. Rachael Marie Hamil, age 20, beloved daughter of Jeanne and Tom, passed away unexpectedly after a brief hospitalization on July 20, 2014.
  5. Deaths published on 7/23/2014
  6. Obituary: Kimberly Jean Melchiorre, 49, of Sharpsburg, Ga., passed away at her home surrounded by her loved ones on Friday, July 18, 2014.
  7. Arrest Log for 7/23/2014
  8. Restaurant Inspection for 7/23/2014
  9. Swords barely misses cut at USGA Girls Amateur
  10. Cameron Daniel wins division at Hurricane Junior event
Week In Review »

© 2011 The Newnan Times-Herald Inc., Newnan, Georgia. Any unauthorized use, copying or mirroring is prohibited.