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Excerpts of the President's News Conference

November 19, 1926

I can see, as I stated some time ago, that there is going to be quite a good deal of pressure during the coming session for the expenditure of public funds. Quite a number of the members of the House and Senate that are coming back into town come into my office, a good many of them bringing some plan that requires an additional expenditure of public money. I am still very much in favor of conserving the resources of our country. I want to make all the expenditures that are reasonably required, but I think the country will be served best by making those expenditures as reasonable as they can be. That sometimes results in suggestions that the administration is resorting to cheeseparing. Well, we have a great many departments and a little saved in each one, each division, in the aggregate amounts to a very large sum. I don't know whether I ever indicated to the conference that the cost of lead pencils to the Government per year is about $125,000. Now, it would be thought to be rather insignificant to refer to saving a lead pencil, but even the use of lead pencils is a very considerable item. I have merely used that as an illustration. I don't think the lead pencils of the Government are wasted in any particular way, but that is an indication of the tremendous business that the Government does and the results that can be secured by a small saving in many different directions. I think the burdens of the taxpayer are greater than they ought to be. I would like to have them reduced as fast as possible. The only way we can secure that result is to refrain so far as we can from adding to the already great amount of our expenditures. That is what brings the surplus into the Treasury at the end of the year. Unless there is a surplus, why of course there is no opportunity for a reduction of the tax burden. I think I indicated some time ago that I can see in the process of formation a great many plans for further expenditure of public money. I hope that for the country's sake we can pretty generally avoid that.

Source: "The Talkative President: The Off-the-Record Press Conferences of Calvin Coolidge". eds. Howard H. Quint & Robert H. Ferrell. The University Massachusetts Press. 1964.

Calvin Coolidge, Excerpts of the President's News Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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