Coolidge on Budget and Citizenship

CoolidgeCoolidge by Amity Shlaes is a fascinating biography of the 30th President of the United States. Below is an exempt from the book about budgets and good citizenship.

Coolidge on Budget and Citizenship Coolidge

“The budget idea, I may admit, is a sort of obsession with me,” he told a group of Jewish philanthropists in a phone conversation from his room at the White House. “I believe in budgets. I want other people to believe in them. I have had a small one to run my own home; and besides that, I am the head of the organization that makes the greatest of all budgets, that of the United States government. Do you “Yonder, then, that at times I dream of balance sheets and sinking funds, and deficits, and tax rates, and all the rest?” He continued, “I regard a good budget as among the noblest monuments of virtue.” When you budgeted, you could take care of your own people; that was important, too. Peter Stuyvesant, the Dutchman who had ruled the colony of New Amsterdam, had asked Jews to make what became known as “the Stuyvesant Pledge,” to commit to taking care of their own ill and indigent should they stay in New Amsterdam. The colonial community had honored that pledge and had sustained the tradition through the centuries. Coolidge let the charities know he appreciated that: “I want you to know that I feel you are making good citizens, that you are strengthening the government.”


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