Richard Nixon photo

Campaign Statement About Federal Spending.

October 23, 1972

THE ABJECT failure of the 92d Congress to hold to a responsible level of spending casts a long shadow over the glow of a resurging American economy.

Our economy is expanding at a very healthy rate, and it now looks as if our projection of a 6-percent production gain this year will be surpassed.

We have also cut the rate of inflation in half. Here in the New York area, the 1970 inflation increase of 7.4 percent per annum has been trimmed to 4.4 percent. The rate is still too high, but we are making progress here as well as other regions of the country.

We are also creating more new jobs than at any time in more than 16 years. Because so many people are entering the labor market, unemployment is not going down as fast as we would like, but we are confident that it can be brought down to a decent level. Here in the New York area, I am pleased to note, the unemployment rate is already below the national average.

In short, we are on the road to a new prosperity without war and without inflation--something this country has not enjoyed for more than 15 years.

All of this clear pocketbook progress is threatened, however, by the recent Congressional spending spree in which the Federal budget was ballooned dangerously by big spenders oblivious to higher prices and higher taxes.

Today I have some news for the big spenders, bad news for them but good news for the taxpayers and consumers.

I am going to use every weapon at my command to hold spending in this fiscal year as close as possible to $250 billion-so that we will not have a new wave of crippling inflation and there will be no need for higher taxes.

Back on my desk in Washington, there are more than 100 pieces of public legislation which the Congress jammed through at the same time it was rejecting my spending ceiling. While at Camp David this past weekend, I studied all of these bills carefully. I found that many of them will serve the public interest, but I am also persuaded that some of them call for spending far in excess of what we can afford. These budget-breakers could only be financed by higher prices or by higher taxes, or both.

In the name of the taxpayers and the consumers of America, I say the time has come to stand up to the big spenders. During the coming week there will be a number of vetoes. If there are big spending bills which I must sign for policy reasons, I also promise to exercise my full legal powers to hold down these appropriations, or reduce others to make room for the new programs.

By themselves, many of these legislative measures are attractive. But we must seek a reasonable balance between dreams and reality. And in striking that balance, there is no higher priority with me than protecting our people against higher prices and higher taxes.

As I pointed out in my national radio speech of October 7, the Congress looks at these programs one at a time. It does not have any means of calculating their overall impact on the pocketbooks of our people.

As President, however, I must continually look at the total impact of Congressional action. And the total impact of the 92d Congress, if left to stand, would be higher prices or higher taxes, or both.

Revenue sharing, which I launched at a bill signing ceremony at Independence Hall in Philadelphia last Friday, soon will be putting money into States and local communities, so that the burden of property, sales, or income taxes can be relieved--or needed new schools, hospitals, recreation and transportation facilities can be built without additional local taxation--or additional police, drug control, or job training programs can be started without raising local taxes.

If there were no revenue sharing, New York City would have to increase its sales taxes from their present level of 3 percent to 4.3 percent in order to raise the same amount of revenue.

But, on the other hand, the excessive deficit spending by the Congress at the Federal level would push prices up or require new Federal taxes. Either way, it would cancel the progress that revenue sharing was providing.

I am not going to permit that to happen. I oppose higher taxes and higher prices. There will be neither if the next Congress will join me in acting responsibly on fiscal affairs.

Note: The statement was released in connection with the President's brief stop in White Plains, N.Y., during a motorcade through 13 communities in Westchester County.

Richard Nixon, Campaign Statement About Federal Spending. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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