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"Silent Cal" was a pro-business, small-government president to a degree beyond the wildest dreams of today’s conservatives. The tax cuts effected by Coolidge and by his Treasury secretary, Andrew Mellon ("under whom three presidents served," goes the old quip), were so effective that, as Mr. Greenberg reports, "by the end of Coolidge’s second term most Americans paid no federal income taxes at all." William Humphrey, who was Coolidge’s appointee to the Federal Trade Commission, described the FTC as "an instrument of oppression and disturbance and injury" to U.S. industry. Americans liked Coolidge’s policies because of the great prosperity that resulted. Inflation-adjusted GNP grew 49% during the Harding and Coolidge presidencies, the highest growth on record. Inflation and unemployment statistics were just as impressive.
. . .
In 1994 John Coolidge, the president’s older son, told me: "My father could not possibly be elected to anything today." That is surely true. Looking at the people who do get elected to our republic’s highest offices today, it is also regrettable.
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