Monday 5 December 2016

Raising taxes while wasting cash is 'legalised larceny'

The 'shock and awe' strategy of clobbering taxpayers will devastate our economy, warns Marc Coleman

Published 07/11/2010 | 05:00

Last week, this column celebrated the words and deeds of Martin Luther. The reformation continues this week but this time in praise of another reformer: Calvin.

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But we aren't talking about Luther's contemporary Jean Baptiste Calvin but someone named after him and born centuries later. The only US president born on July 4, John Calvin Coolidge was a progressive Republican president. In the Twenties he cleared Ku Klux Klan politicians -- Democrats mostly -- out of Washington and introduced civil rights for Indians and Catholics.

He hated waste and big government and was a fair and honest president. Had he not stood down in 1928, the last century would have been much happier. A famously silent man, Dorothy Parker once insulted him by saying she had a bet with a friend that they could get him to say three words, only to be stumped by his response: "You lose." But when he did speak, it was gold. My favourite Coolidge quote is one that belongs on every wall of every government department building: "The collection of taxes which are not absolutely required, which do not beyond reasonable doubt contribute to the public welfare, is only a species of legalised larceny."

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