Patterico's Pontifications


Calvin Coolidge on Thanksgiving

Filed under: General — JVW @ 5:27 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Since my earlier post today was such a downer, I thought it advisable to transition into the holiday with a more upbeat message. In honor of the centenary of Calvin Coolidge becoming President, here is the Thanksgiving proclamation from his second Thanksgiving in office, some ninety-nine years ago:

We approach that season of the year when it has been the custom for the American people to give thanks for the good fortune which the bounty of Providence, through the generosity of nature, has visited upon them. It is altogether a good custom. It has the sanction of antiquity and the approbation of our religious convictions. In acknowledging the receipt of Divine favor, in contemplating the blessings which have been bestowed upon us, we shall reveal the spiritual strength of the nation.

The year has been marked by a continuation of peace whereby our country has entered into a relationship of better understanding with all the other nations of the earth. Ways have been revealed to us by which we could perform very great service through the giving of friendly counsel, through the extension of financial assistance, and through the exercise of a spirit of neighborly kindliness to less favored peoples. We should give thanks for the power which has been given into our keeping, with which we have been able to render these services to the rest of mankind.

At home we have continually had an improving state of the public health. The production of our industries has been large and our harvests have been bountiful. We have been remarkably free from disorder and remarkably successful in all those pursuits which flourish during a state of domestic peace. An abundant prosperity has overspread the land. We shall do well to accept all these favors and bounties with a becoming humility, and dedicate them to the service of the righteous cause of the Giver of all good and perfect gifts. As the nation has prospered let all the people show that they are worthy to prosper by rededicating America to the service of God and man.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States of America, hereby proclaim and fix Thursday, the twenty-seventh day of November, as a day for National Thanksgiving. I recommend that the people gather in their places of worship, and at the family altars, and offer up their thanks for the goodness which has been shown to them in such a multitude of ways. Especially I urge them to supplicate the Throne of Grace that they may gather strength from their tribulations, that they may gain humility from their victories, that they may bear without complaining the burdens that shall be placed upon them, and that they may be increasingly worthy in all ways of the blessings that shall come to them.

By the fall of 1924, the First World War was more than half a decade in the past. The Great Influenza pandemic, which worldwide had killed at least 20 million and as many perhaps as 100 million, had also been dormant for close to five years. Despite a mild recession, the U.S. economy was in the midst of the massive expansion as it climbed out of the post-War era and into the Roaring Twenties. President Coolidge’s proclamation had been issued on November 5, one day after he and Vice-President Charles Dawes had been reelected in a thirty-five state landslide over Democrat John Davis and Progressive Robert M. La Follette, and had received 54% of the popular vote. In the same election, the GOP picked up twenty-two House seats and two Senate seats, so President Coolidge likely felt that the public by and large approved of his performance.

Clearly those times were far more tranquil than our own, but I hope all Americans can put aside our differences for at least a day and take stock of how lucky we are to live in this big, bountiful, generous, but imperfect nation. Here’s wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving, and a joyful start to the holiday season.


Will They Never Learn?

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:21 am

[guest post by JVW]

This may not be too surprising, but it certainly is infuriating. From Dan McLaughlin at NRO:

[. . .] The RealClearPolitics poll average currently shows [President Biden’s] approval on the economy at 38.2 percent, with 59.2 percent disapproving. You don’t need an advanced degree in mathematics to grasp how bad that is. Biden’s short-lived effort to embrace “Bidenomics” as a label for this economy was such a disaster that even most Democrats have stopped trying to spin this.

The most glaring economic misstep of Biden’s presidency was pouring additional trillions of dollars into the economy — and planning even more than that — at a time when post-Covid supply shortages and pent-up demand were already generating inflationary pressures around the world. So, what are progressives urging Biden to do? More unsustainable government spending[.]

The link is to a Politico piece which explains that left-wing groups are urging the President to make an expansion of Social Security for the poor into a centerpiece of his 2024 reelection campaign. This is positioned by the author of the piece, one Adam Cancryn, as a natural follow-up to President Biden’s success in getting House Republicans to forswear any cuts in entitlement programs, even as our annual deficit has nearly doubled over the past year. Progressives promise the President that this plan will be massively popular among senior citizens, a key demographic that has trended Republican in past Presidential elections. The plan would be a rehashing of the Biden Campaign’s 2020 pledge to expand Social Security for the lowest-income recipients and (allegedly) pay for it by raising taxes on people making more than $400,000 per year, which was abandoned in the face of narrow Democrat majorities in Congress.

Left unsaid by the author, who clearly wants to focus on the political aspect of the program and how it will affect next year’s elections, is whether a nation that is on its way to accumulating $34 trillion in debt is wise to bump up spending on the second-largest item in the entire federal budget. Of course using a tax increase on the wealthiest Americans to (allegedly) pay for increases in spending elsewhere in the budget is nothing new; Democrats have already suggested this expected revenue windfall go towards student loan forgiveness, green initiatives, infrastructure plans, subsidizing health insurance, and a whole raft of social programs favored by the donkey party. As Dan McLaughlin points out, anybody with the least bit of common sense understands that none of these programs will be fully paid for by tax increases, and thus deficit spending is bound to climb. This underfunded program would also have the baleful effect of the government yet again printing money and releasing it into the economy, thereby exacerbating Bidenflation which puts us on the fast track to Bidensolvency.

It could be that the Presidential election of 2024 will ultimately be seen as a quest for the poisoned chalice, with the victor getting to be the poor fool who presides over the next economic collapse in this nation and thus will bear much of the blame (though we all know the media/academic/entertainment cerberus will spin it as primarily a failure of GOP leadership, with Democrats only being assigned a small portion of the fault). So in that case, the logic might go, why not let President Magoo and his Cabinet of Misfits be the ones to steer us into the ditch. I would rather we face — and, radical notion, solve — our problems, but that’s a bit much to ask of a society that has grown fat, pampered, and restless on massive debt.


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