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Remarks on Signing the Revenue Act of 1971

December 10, 1971

I would like to say a word about this bill. I have issued the usual formal statement about it, but I want to say a word that relates to the bill and also relates to the Members of the House and Senate who are here, both Republicans and Democrats who worked on it.

I will just begin by saying this is the kind of Christmas bill we like to get. It is a bill which truly benefits virtually all Americans. Through the increased exemptions, virtually all Americans benefit.

In another sense, it is also vitally important to the future of this country. The new economic program that was announced on August 15 had several parts. The part that has received the most publicity, of course, is that part directed toward controlling inflation and the wageprice freeze. The Phase 2 program has been remarkably successful in stopping the rise in the cost of living.

The other part of the program equally important is that of creating jobs, and that is what this bill is about, primarily, because as a result of more purchasing power, as a result of the provisions repealing the auto excise tax, which I understand several Michigan people are interested in, as well as the rest of the country--just to give an example, over 3 million automobiles have been sold since the announcement on August 15 was made. That means that an average of $200 per 3 million people will be rebated as a result of the action of Congress. We can see that approximately $600 million going to those who purchased automobiles around this Christmas season will be a good shot in the arm for the economy. We trust that it will.

On the other side, too, we have the job creation aspects, which you are all familiar with; the job development credit, which we believe will have the effect of stimulating investment by American industry in new equipment which will also have the added benefit of making American industry more competitive with industries abroad.

Now a word about how it all came about. When I made the proposal when the Secretary of the Treasury and I were, as I recall, at Camp David, along with other members of the Administration working on the new economic policy, some of those who were there said it was impossible to present a tax bill to the Congress at this time of year just before an election year and expect the bill to come out in any responsible way. In fact, it was said that a tax bill presented to the Congress now would inevitably end up as a Christmas tree. What of course they meant was that it would be a Christmas tree in the sense that it would be so loaded down with goodies that it would break down the tree.

I would like to say that the responsibility that has been shown by the ranking members and all the members of the finance committees--the chairman and the ranking member and their colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee of the House, the chairman and the ranking member and their colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee--has certainly been a splendid example of our system at work, and at work at its best. This is a Christmas tree. It is one in which there is something for all of the American people. But it is one which will not break down the tree. That temptation has been avoided, and the Congress has come forward with a responsible bill which will benefit the economy and benefit all Americans.

So speaking for the American people and for the Administration, I want to give the credit where it is due, not only to the Secretary of the Treasury and others who worked on the bill here, but to the Members of the House and the Senate, Democrat and Republican, who put the interests of the country first and came forward with a very responsible tax bill, despite the prophecies that it would be impossible to do so.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 4:11 p.m, in the Cabinet Room at the White House.

As enacted, the bill (H.R. 10947) is Public Law 92-178 (85 Stat. 497).

On November 29, 1971, the White House released the transcript of a news briefing by Clark MacGregor, Counsel to the President for Congressional Relations, on Senate amendments to the bill.

Richard Nixon, Remarks on Signing the Revenue Act of 1971 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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