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John F. Kennedy on taxes

Editor’s note: The following quotes are published in the book, “The Interesting History of Income Tax,” by William J. Federer (Amerisearch, Inc., P.O. Box 20163, St. Louis, MO 63123, 1-888-USA-WORD)

“It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now … Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.”

– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, president’s news conference


“Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased – not a reduced – flow of revenues to the federal government.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 17, 1963, annual budget message to the Congress, fiscal year 1964

“In today’s economy, fiscal prudence and responsibility call for tax reduction even if it temporarily enlarges the federal deficit – why reducing taxes is the best way open to us to increase revenues.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: “The Economic Report Of The President”


“It is no contradiction – the most important single thing we can do to stimulate investment in today’s economy is to raise consumption by major reduction of individual income tax rates.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: “The Economic Report Of The President”


“Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort – thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, message to Congress on tax reduction and reform, House Doc. 43, 88th Congress, 1st Session.


“A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget. Every taxpayer and his family will have more money left over after taxes for a new car, a new home, new conveniences, education and investment. Every businessman can keep a higher percentage of his profits in his cash register or put it to work expanding or improving his business, and as the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues.”

– John F. Kennedy, Sept. 18, 1963, radio and television address to the nation on tax-reduction bill


“I have asked the secretary of the treasury to report by April 1 on whether present tax laws may be stimulating in undue amounts the flow of American capital to the industrial countries abroad through special preferential treatment.”

– John F. Kennedy, Feb. 6, 1961, message to Congress on gold and the balalnce of payments deficit


“In those countries where income taxes are lower than in the United States, the ability to defer the payment of U.S. tax by retaining income in the subsidiary companies provides a tax advantage for companies operating through overseas subsidiaries that is not available to companies operating solely in the United States. Many American investors properly made use of this deferral in the conduct of their foreign investment.”

– John F. Kennedy, April 20, 1961, message to Congress on taxation


“Our present tax system … exerts too heavy a drag on growth … It reduces the financial incentives for personal effort, investment, and risk-taking … The present tax load … distorts economic judgments and channels an undue amount of energy into efforts to avoid tax liabilities.”

– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, press conference


“The present tax codes … inhibit the mobility and formation of capital, add complexities and inequities which undermine the morale of the taxpayer, and make tax avoidance rather than market factors a prime consideration in too many economic decisions.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 23, 1963, special message to Congress on tax reduction and reform


“In short, it is a paradoxical truth that … the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. The experience of a number of European countries and Japan have borne this out. This country’s own experience with tax reduction in 1954 has borne this out. And the reason is that only full employment can balance the budget, and tax reduction can pave the way to that employment. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.”

– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, news conference


“The largest single barrier to full employment of our manpower and resources and to a higher rate of economic growth is the unrealistically heavy drag of federal income taxes on private purchasing power, initiative and incentive.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, special message to Congress on tax reduction and reform


“Expansion and modernization of the nation’s productive plant is essential to accelerate economic growth and to improve the international competitive position of American industry … An early stimulus to business investment will promote recovery and increase employment.”

– John F. Kennedy, Feb. 2, 1961, message on economic recovery


“We must start now to provide additional stimulus to the modernization of American industrial plants … I shall propose to the Congress a new tax incentive for businesses to expand their normal investment in plant and equipment.”

– John F. Kennedy, Feb. 13, 1961, National Industrial Conference Board


“A bill will be presented to the Congress for action next year. It will include an across-the-board, top-to-bottom cut in both corporate and personal income taxes. It will include long-needed tax reform that logic and equity demand … The billions of dollars this bill will place in the hands of the consumer and our businessmen will have both immediate and permanent benefits to our economy. Every dollar released from taxation that is spent or invested will help create a new job and a new salary. And these new jobs and new salaries can create other jobs and other salaries and more customers and more growth for an expanding American economy.”

– John F. Kennedy, Aug. 13, 1962, radio and television report on the state of the national economy


“This administration pledged itself last summer to an across-the-board, top-to-bottom cut in personal and corporate income taxes … Next year’s tax bill should reduce personal as well as corporate income taxes, for those in the lower brackets, who are certain to spend their additional take-home pay, and for those in the middle and upper brackets, who can thereby be encouraged to undertake additional efforts and enabled to invest more capital … I am confident that the enactment of the right bill next year will in due course increase our gross national product by several times the amount of taxes actually cut.”

– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, news conference


William J. Federer, is a best-selling author and the president of Amerisearch Inc., a publishing company dedicated to researching America’s noble heritage.

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