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Statement of the Vice President of the United States on Federal Spending, Los Angeles, CA

October 12, 1960


This much is crystal clear about Senator Kennedy's campaign to date: His pat answer to America's domestic problems is a massive increase in Federal spending programs.

Not only is his approach faulty, it will not do the job because his programs would discourage, not encourage, the primary source of progress in this country - the creative individual enterprise of 180 million Americans.

The case before the American people is: Can they afford a President who thinks he can buy solutions to the problems facing America? Can they afford a President whose automatic reaction to every problem is to spend more of your money?

My opponent's test of whether a program is good is how much tax money can be spent on it, rather than how much need be spent to do the job effectively.

In both of our television debates, Senator Kennedy was asked to tell the American people what his program will cost. He dodged this question on both occasions. He has left the people in the dark.

I have had his platform costed out and have stated that it would cost at least $10 billion a year more than the programs that I have advocated. I have also stated my conviction that this extravagant approach would produce less progress than the programs I favor.

His answer has been that my figures are incorrect. He charges that I have overestimated the cost of his programs.

He owes it to the American people on our television debate Thursday not to dodge any longer but to give the people the answers to these questions.

First. If my figures are wrong, what are his figures as to how much his programs will cost?

Second. How does he propose to pay for these programs?

Third. Is he going to raise taxes?

Fourth. If he is not going to impose burdensome new taxes, how can he finance his program without huge new deficit financing that will once again start prices going up and bust the budgets of millions of American families?

Fifth. Or is he going to finance these programs on high hopes - banking on revenues from an artificially forced rate of expansion of the economy?

Both my opponent and I are asking the American people, in effect, to support our programs and our policies. Before the people do so, they have a right to see the price tag. I have told the people what my programs would cost. He now must tell the American people what his programs would cost. He should quit dodging this question so important to American families who are trying to make both ends meet and who cannot afford and do not want a rise in prices or in taxes unless it is proved necessary to protect our national security.

Richard Nixon, Statement of the Vice President of the United States on Federal Spending, Los Angeles, CA Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/273872

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