Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


April 8, 2013

Stumptalk: The presidency of Calvin Coolidge

CROSSVILLE — Enter the Coolidge era of common sense and efficiency. Coolidge’s budget meetings were very demanding. He instituted a “Two Percent Club” for executive branch heads who managed to save two percent of their budgets, and then a “One Percent Club” for those who managed to save more than two percent. The “Woodpecker Club” was for those who continued to chip away at their remaining budget.

He told the press in 1926, “I am for economy, and after that I’m for more economy.” Years before his father had told him, “It is more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones” and so he vetoed fifty including farm subsidies even though he came from a farming community. As his presidential forerunners Grover Cleveland and T. Roosevelt did, he favored the “pocket veto.” If he thought congress might override his veto he simply never signed it or rejected it forcing congress to submit another bill. The New York Times referred to this as “disapproval by inaction.”

His first national emergency was the great Mississippi River flood that wiped out many areas of the South. He sent no federal money for disaster relief, rather he caused the local people and their government to deal with the disaster themselves and they did. Soon after floods tore across Vermont where he had grown up and being a New Englander he treated this flood as he had the Southern flood, or as one New Englander said, “He can’t do for his own more than he did for others.” As president he met every Friday morning with his budget director to identify budget cuts and how to say no to spending measures. His rationale was, “I believe in budgets. I want other people to believe in them.” Coolidge was a firm believer in tax cuts increasing revenues. This was known as “scientific taxation” and was the original “Laffer Curve” with which we are familiar with today. As Coolidge stated, “Experience does not show that higher (tax) rate produces the larger revenues. Experience is all the other way.”

By 1926 the top marginal rate was 25%. He would never put tax cuts before budget reductions, but believing both to be necessary for an efficient, prosperous economy. In 1924 when Coolidge ran for president on his own the progressive party put up a candidate for the sole purpose of dividing the Republican vote as it had in 1912 which would then allow the more progressive democrat to win. The ruse didn’t work this time. The American voters weary of the progressive double speak re-elected Coolidge with more than 50% of the total vote. The popularity and success of their policies afforded Harding and Coolidge a long economic ascendancy and should be a lesson for today’s Americans. The progressives would like Americans to believe that “The Roaring Twenties” was all about illegal booze, flappers and speakeasies, but that is not true, as is so much of what progressives state. America’s economy was doing the roaring and the inventiveness of the time, freed from onerous taxes and government control, was at its peak. Most of the inventions that we all enjoy today were created during the twenties and only made better with age.

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    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

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    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

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    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

  • GARY'S WORLD: The chance to speak your mind

    Are you tired of hearing people complain about the way things are run in Cumberland County? Or, do you like the way the county government is run and operated in our beautiful county?
    Are you happy with the way things are, or would you like some change?

    April 3, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Digging beneath the headlines

    Our media have been focusing on two important events that have taken place overseas during the last several weeks.

    April 1, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: SNAP, health and work

    A recent letter from Representative Diane Black to me states that she voted for the farm bill (with $8 million in Food Stamp (SNAP) benefit cuts) because she, like me, is a supporter of food stamp benefits for Tennessee families who qualify. That’s a lot of families, as most recipients are families with children and the elderly. Now, recall that there was already a major cut to the food stamp program back in the fall. But for some Republicans, that was not enough.

    April 1, 2014

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