Lyndon Johnson on Budget & Economy



1964 stimulus: Lower taxes with high expenditures

The details of the Budget Message were being hammered out against one persistent presidential question: Can't the item be reduced?

One department head, his funds sharply reduced, growled to [Johnson's budget director], "If you had named the Apostles, there would have been 10 instead of 12." The Budget Director smiled, "Yes, and Mr. Johnson would have reduced the figure to 8."

At the same time, the President was busy using the cuts to help prod passage of the tax-reduction bill, one of the big four of JFK legislation. The Senate Finance Committee chairman [opposed it since] no new-fangled economics could convince him that taxes should be lowered when expenditures were mounting.

The committee chairman spoke forcefully about his opposition to tax reduction while the federal deficit was so high, but also looked at the substantial cuts in the budget with a broad smile.

Source: Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson, by Eric F. Goldman, p. 47-48 , Mar 1, 1974

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