There is an enormous difference in the politicians of the present time to the politicians of my childhood and youth. Democrats often hold up President John F. Kennedy as a great Democrat. What they do not realize is that JFK was more conservative than many of the so-called conservatives of today. Today's post is a lesson in history.
In an address to the Economic Club of New York on 14 December 1962, President Kennedy campaigned for tax cuts, claiming that the nation could not succeed with them. You can read his talk at this site or listen to it at this site. Here is an excerpt from his talk.
Our true choice is not between tax reduction, on the one hand, and the avoidance of large Federal deficits on the other. It is increasingly clear that no matter what party is in power, so long as our national security needs keep rising, an economy hampered by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance our budget just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits. Surely the lesson of the last decade is that budget deficits are not caused by wild-eyed spenders but by slow economic growth and periodic recessions, and any new recession would break all deficit records.
In short, it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. The experience of a number of European countries and Japan have borne this out. This country's own experience with tax reduction in 1954 has borne this out. And the reason is that only full employment can balance the budget, and tax reduction can pave the way to that employment. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.
I repeat: our practical choice is not between a tax-cut deficit and a budgetary surplus. It is between two kinds of deficits: a chronic deficit of inertia, as the unwanted result of inadequate revenues and a restricted economy; or a temporary deficit of transition, resulting from a tax cut designed to boost the economy, increase tax revenues, and achieve--and I believe this can be done--a budget surplus. The first type of deficit is a sign of waste and weakness; the second reflects an investment in the future....
… This Nation can afford to reduce taxes, we can afford a temporary deficit, but we cannot afford to do nothing.
I do not claim to like everything that JFK said or did, but I thought that he was a good President. After listening to him give this speech, I still believe that he was a good leader. It would be nice to have such a strong defender of tax cuts today.