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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Calvin Coolidge, Commander In Brief

By George F. Will

Before Ronald Reagan traveled the 16 blocks to the White House after his first inaugural address, the White House curator had, at the new president’s instruction, hung in the Cabinet room a portrait of Calvin Coolidge. The Great Communicator knew that “Silent Cal” could use words powerfully — 15 of them made him a national figure — because he was economical in their use, as in all things. 

Were Barack Obama, America’s most loquacious president (699 first-term teleprompter speeches), capable of learning from someone with whom he disagrees, he would profit from Amity Shlaes’s new biography of Coolidge, whom she calls “our great refrainer” with an “aptitude for brevity,” as when he said, “Inflation is repudiation.” She says that under his “minimalist” presidency, he “made a virtue of inaction.” As he said, “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.” During the 67 months of his presidency, the national debt, the national government, the federal budget, unemployment (3.6 percent) and even consumer prices shrank. The GDP expanded 13.4 percent. 


 

1 comment:

MRC said...

Some of my conservative friends will argue that Coolidge was the greatest president of the 20th century. I give the nod to Reagan -- chiefly for his role in liberating Eastern Europe.

But Reagan recognized the greatness of Coolidge. Reagan was old enough to remember, at first hand, the tremendous prosperity that resulted from Coolidge's policies. And, happily, Reagan majored in economics prior to the emergence of Keynesianism.

Coolidge and Harding (led by the great Andrew Mellon) were the first supply siders. Under this team, the top marginal income tax rate was cut from 77% to 25%. And what happened? Tax receipts increased by 50%!!