Monday, August 10, 2015

President Trump;A New "The Business of America Is Business" Coolidge?

Calvin Coolidge cph.3g10777.jpg

I've written "The GOP Ran A Businessman Like Donald Trump before To Great Success" that not only is the possible presidential candidacy of Trump hardly an innovation but actually it was, measured by vote totals, an unqualified success.
Wendell Willkie, the GOP's nominee in 1940 garnered the highest popular vote share for the Republicans of any candidate to that date which record stood till 1952. That he didn't win is no reflection on his type of candidacy as nobody could have beaten FDR, a sitting president at the time of "wars and rumors of wars".
The important facts are that in a country which was making a tenuous recovery from its worst depression-which many blamed on businessmen, one of their ilk could present the case for capitalism so strongly that he led the party to its greatest vote total. Willkie campaign also created the basis for a recovery in the Electoral College from the sad result of only winning Maine and Vermont in the previous election.

There is no reason that such a successful businessman as Trump, presenting the same message could not lead the GOP to victory in 2016. His lack of being an elected official is clearly an advantage in this age of utter distrust of Congress and the current presidents low approval ratings.

There is another Republican, this time a president, Calvin Coolidge whose record in governance, and in particular his administration and persona philosophy also underscores the assets that Trump could bring and also underscores what the electoral result could be given Coolidge's massive 444 to 87 win in the Electoral College. 

This quote from Coolidge, with its famous line about the relationship between business and America (my italics) underscores what could also be the basic message of a Trump campaign and presidency;

There does not seem to be cause for alarm in the dual relationship of the press to the public, whereby it is on one side a purveyor of information and opinion and on the other side a purely business enterprise. Rather, it is probably that a press which maintains an intimate touch with the business currents of the nation, is likely to be more reliable than it would be if it were a stranger to these influences. 

After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world. I am strongly of opinion that the great majority of people will always find these are moving impulses of our life.

Nobody could accuse Trump of having "Silent Cal's" personality but that is not a matter of any significance. Message not persona is what will resonate in the end with the America people who want prosperity, security and immigration control. This is where Coolidge and Trump meet in the field of ideas. 

Of course the passage of time means that the prescriptions are not exactly the same but the basic premises of economics and social stability are timeless and it is there that Trump can prosper politically and the American people financially with all the ensuing benefits.

The basic biographical and political history of President Coolidge is well set out here for those who wish to explore his life and times in depth. I detail below some of the congruities between Coolidge and Trump which well point the way for what I believe would be the winning message for 2016.

On Business:
His first action as Governor  of Massachusetts in relation to the states economy:
"He signed into law a budget that kept the tax rates the same, while trimming $4 million from expenditures, thus allowing the state to retire some of its debt."

And as president:" Coolidge signed into law the Revenue Act of 1924, which reduced the top marginal tax rate from 58% to 46%, as well as personal income tax rates across the board,"

"Coolidge disdained regulation, and demonstrated this by appointing commissioners to the Federal Trade Commission and the Interstate Commerce Commission who did little to restrict the activities of businesses under their jurisdiction. The regulatory state under Coolidge was, as one biographer described it, "thin to the point of invisibility."

Taxation and government spending]

"Coolidge's taxation policy was that of his Secretary of the Treasury, Andrew Mellon, the ideal that "scientific taxation" – lower taxes – actually increase rather than decrease government receipts.; Congress agreed, and the taxes were reduced in Coolidge's term. 

In addition to these tax cuts, Coolidge proposed reductions in federal expenditures and retiring some of the federal debt Coolidge's ideas were shared by the Republicans in Congress, and in 1924 Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1924, which reduced income tax rates and eliminated all income taxation for some two million people They reduced taxes again by passing the Revenue Acts of 1926 and 1928, all the while continuing to keep spending down so as to reduce the overall federal debt. By 1927, only the wealthiest 2% of taxpayers paid any federal income tax.

Although federal spending remained flat during Coolidge's administration, allowing one-fourth of the federal debt to be retired, state and local governments saw considerable growth, surpassing the federal budget in 1927".

Civil rights

Coolidge spoke in favor of the civil rights of African-Americans saying in his first State of the Union address that the rights of the former were "just as sacred as those of any other citizen" under the U.S. Constitution and that it was a "public and a private duty to protect those rights." He appointed no known members of the Ku Klux Klan to office; indeed, the Klan lost most of its influence during his term.

His administration commissioned studies to improve programs for Native Americans"  Coolidge delivered a commencement address at Washington, D.C.'s Howard University, in which he thanked and commended African-Americans for their rapid advances in education and their contributions to U.S. society over the years, as well as their eagerness to render their services as soldiers in World War I, all while being faced with discrimination and prejudices at home"

Coolidge appointed some African-Americans to federal office; he retained Harding's choice of Walter L. Cohen of New OrleansLouisiana, as the comptroller of customs and offered Cohen the post of minister to Liberia"

Immigration:"Coolidge signed the Immigration Act later that year, which was aimed at restricting  immigration" Coolidge further stated the U.S. should assist and help immigrants who come to the country, and urged immigrants to reject "race hatreds" and "prejudices":

Again, there are clear differences in the broad brush outlines between the America of 1924 and of 2015 but the basic prescriptions of "the business of America is business, the need for respect and honor of minorities and control of immigration are clearly related and are a bedrock for a Republican campaign 2016. 

Trump's response to the charge that he would lose Hispanic votes "I will win them with the message I am bringing home jobs from China" is nothing less than respect for minorities, Black and Hispanic though empowerment and self-advancement. Coolidge was a strong supporter of women through universal suffrage and appointed the first woman to the federal judiciary-Trump too aims to appeal to women through advancement.

President Coolidge was highly regarded by President Reagan and the three precursors, Coolidge, Willkie and Reagan give the most solid of foundations for a successful President Trump administration and the renewal of America.

Do the day's work. If it be to protect the rights of the weak, whoever objects, do it. If it be to help a powerful corporation better to serve the people, whatever the opposition, do that. Expect to be called a stand-patter, but don't be a stand-patter. Expect to be called a demagogue, but don't be a demagogue. Don't hesitate to be as revolutionary as science. Don't hesitate to be as reactionary as the multiplication table. Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong. Don't hurry to legislate. Give administration a chance to catch up with legislation.
Have Faith in Massachusetts as delivered by Calvin Coolidge