Calvin Coolidge and the Moral Case for Economy

by Amity Shlaes
Author, Coolidge

The following is adapted from a talk given at Hillsdale College on January 27, 2013, during a conference on “The Federal Income Tax: A Centenary Consideration,” co-sponsored by the Center for Constructive Alternatives and the Ludwig von Mises Lecture Series

Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.

Ronald ReaganWith the federal debt spiraling out of control, many Americans sense an urgent need to find a political leader who is able to say “no” to spending. Yet they fear that finding such a leader is impossible. Conservatives long for another Ronald Reagan. But is Reagan the right model? He was of course a tax cutter, reducing the top marginal rate from 70 to 28 percent. But his tax cuts — which vindicated supply-side economics by vastly increasing federal revenue — were bought partly through a bargain with Democrats who were eager to spend that revenue. Reagan was no budget cutter — indeed, the federal budget rose by over a third during his administration.

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