Had the Gallup poll existed during the early days of our 30th president’s tenure, it isn’t likely Calvin Coolidge’s approval rating would have been very high. The exact opposite of an interventionist, Coolidge was a proponent of a smaller, less influential government. He pushed for the lowering of costs through a number of spending-reduction efforts that relegated the white house to taking a backseat to the initiatives of individual Americans. Early unpopularity notwithstanding, it was during his presidency that American debt fell by a third, the tax rate by half and unemployment collapsed.
With increasing tax rates and budget deficits and a stubbornly high unemployment rate, is this a time when a dose of Coolidge wisdom would be helpful? Perhaps we can take heed from these words from Coolidge on his detractors: “They criticize me for harping on the obvious; if all the folks in the United States would do the few simple things they know they ought to do, most of our big problems would take care of themselves.”
Maybe if we start drinking our own “Coolidge”-aid, we will usher in this century’s version of the roaring 20’s? Break out your fedoras!