Gerald R. Ford photo

Radio Address on Taxes

October 26, 1976

Good morning. I would like to talk with you this morning, as this year's campaign nears its end, about a subject that is very much on the minds of most American families--taxes. As I have traveled around our country in recent weeks, people have told me, Mr. President, things are going well. America is going back to work. There is a new spirit of confidence in our land. But there is one problem that is bothering us very much--the heavy burden of taxes.

I completely sympathize with this feeling. And I have tried to do something about it. I asked Congress to cut taxes this year at a rate that would have put an extra $200 in the pocket of the average American family. But Congress turned me down. Next year, with the mandate of your votes behind me, I will go back after them again--and this time we will succeed.

I want to cut taxes, not simply because I want American taxpayers to be able to keep more of their hard-earned dollars but also because more money for the American consumer means more growth for the American economy--which in turn means more jobs, higher 'return on investments, and greater prosperity for all of us.

Federal income tax payments per capita have gone up more than five times since 1950--more than twice the rate of inflation. This means that we taxpayers are giving more and more of our dollars to the Federal treasury--dollars that we could otherwise be using for ourselves and our families.

Of course, when I asked Congress to cut taxes, I linked that request to a matching cut in Federal spending. Reducing taxes while continuing to increase spending is nothing but a cruel illusion. Money for that added spending must come from somewhere. If it does not come from taxes, then it must come from inflation--the harshest and most unfair tax of all. By standing up to Congress against increased Federal spending, I have at least been able to preserve the tax reduction that we put through last year. The opposition party, in contrast, has promised new programs calling for huge increases in Federal spending during the next 4 years.

The total cost of these programs would be about $200 billion--requiring a 50-percent increase in Federal taxes. Just four key programs promised in the Democratic platform, including the Humphrey-Hawkins Federal jobs bill, would cost just over $100 billion.

A tax increase of this kind would not only place an unfair burden on American taxpayers, it would wreck our economy--raking off funds needed for investment, driving up inflation, causing a new and deeper recession. We have seen in Britain the result of excessive taxation and unwise government spending-inflation, recession, economic stagnation. I am determined to prevent any similar fate from overtaking our own country.

We Americans have always been prepared to pay our fair share of the costs of maintaining a free society. We know that taxes are not going to go away. But we also know that taxes pushed too high become a threat to freedom itself. The time has come to take a stand. Next Tuesday, with your help, we will check the growth in Government spending, and pave the way for a new cut in Federal taxes.

Note: The President's remarks were recorded for broadcast over the Mutual Radio Network.

The text of the address was released at Portland, Oreg,

Gerald R. Ford, Radio Address on Taxes Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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