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Letter to Mr. Steve Stahl, Chairman, National Taxpayers Conference, on Preserving Our National Economic Strength.

March 18, 1959

Dear Mr. Stahl:

I appreciate very much your letter expressing the support of the National Taxpayers Conference for a balanced budget and sound management of our Government's fiscal affairs.

In response to your request for suggestions as to how your Association can best aid in preserving our Nation's economic strength, I'm sure you realize I would not want to be in the position of an expert devising a detailed prescription. However, assuming that I had a post such as yours in the National Taxpayers Conference, first I would want to help citizens gain a better understanding as to the facts of the Government's fiscal position. They need to know that our failure to keep the budget in balance next year can result in growing difficulties in public debt financing, and certainly will mean further postponement of overdue tax revision. Future years are already threatened with more deficits because of built-in growth factors in existing legislation.

I should want to assist members to understand the increased danger of inflation if the Government is forced to continue deficit spending in a period of rising incomes and prosperity. I assume that they would need no help to see the implications of inflation to their savings, their pensions, their personal budgets, and the value of their take-home pay. This would certainly destroy any indifference to inflation.

Next, I'd try to help citizens to form a balanced opinion on the major issues which have arisen in the current discussion of the Federal budget. Point out to them, for example, that the budget which I have recommended contains 45.8 billion dollars for the basic features of our national security, and that to support this kind of expenditure we must examine all non-defense items with a careful eye.

We must remind ourselves that the danger we face is only in part a military one; that the threat of Soviet communism is likewise an economic threat.

Finally, of course, your members should realize that they and other citizens have the greatest control over the outcome of the budget for the next fiscal year. Public opinion is still the determining force in our public affairs. If the Government is to follow the course of fiscal responsibility in the conduct of its business, the informed citizens of our Nation must speak up to the Congress without delay.

Whether or not the above is helpful, I assure you that I am grateful for the effort you are personally making.

With best wishes to you and to the National Taxpayers Conference,

I am Sincerely,


Note: Mr. Stahl's letter was released with the President's reply. The executive officers of State taxpayers associations, associated as the National Taxpayers Conference, met in Washington at the Sheraton-Park Hotel, March 16-18.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to Mr. Steve Stahl, Chairman, National Taxpayers Conference, on Preserving Our National Economic Strength. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/235347

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