My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Monday—The Republican leaders, from Stassen to Taft, are demanding slashes in the budget submitted to Congress by the President.

We the people are not very well able to find out for ourselves just what the taxes of the country should be. However, it seems to me that, for a long time, a foolish attitude on local, state and national taxes has been growing throughout the nation. The first question we ask is: "How much do we pay?" It should be: "What do we get for what we pay?"

Having once ascertained what we get for our taxes, we should decide whether we want it. Then we should decide whether there is any way to get what we want for lower taxes. That sequence should bring us to a really sensible conclusion on the fiscal policy of our nation and of our states and localities.

* * *

To me as a layman, it seems unwise to cut taxes at the present time, when the national income is high. This seems to me the time when we as a nation could be paying our debts.

The only point in cutting taxes would be to encourage investment in certain things which might be of particular value to the country, such as the development of new industries. This type of experimental production has always been important to our prosperity. Something might be done by which, if a business man could prove that his investment was experimental, the tax on that portion of his income could be remanded. It does not seem to me to make sense to make a general cut at this time, instead of applying whatever we can to the reduction of the debt which we incurred during the years of the depression and the war.

* * *

At the present time, too, we have to take a long look at the future and realize that, for our own interest, we cannot curtail the investments we are making in relief and rehabilitation in any part of the world. Those expenditures are not made purely for charitable reasons, but because we are going to need the markets of all those countries. To acquire those markets will require not only getting the countries back on their feet so they can buy from us. It will also require a feeling on the part of the countries that they want to buy from us because our goods are the best and because we have been "friends in need."

We ended the war with the asset of a wealth of good feelings towards us. For some reason hard to explain, we have frittered away that good feeling until, today, many nations believe that we are not friendly towards them—which quite naturally does not make them more friendly towards us.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL