6A—Editorial Page—Saturday, April 2, 1966
An Independent Newspaper
Price Rise Signals Inflation
But LBJ, Congress Keep on Spending
By PAUL MILLER
More and more it becomes clear that inflation could be the big issue in the next
The lines were drawn, really, at the time
of President Johnson's guns AND butter State
of the Union message in January.
He committed his administration to a
policy of doing whatever is necesary to win
in Viet Nam without actually giving up spending programs at home.
In his speech, the President kept himself
in the clear by stating that taxes would be increased if circumstances demanded.
But after that, he delayed recommending drastic measures—either to cut spending
(which should be No. 1) or to raise taxes.
Now inflation isn't around the corner; ii
This week's jump in living costs—one-half
of 1 per cent—was, reported The Associated
Press, the steepest February rise since the
Food has been the No. 1 offender and in
many cases with no apparent reason for increases. (One major Rochester store has two
clerks assigned just to keeping tabs on the
price increases being imposed all along the
line on food.)
All this while Washington has been showering us with plans for more and bigger government sperding in every direction.
The President telephoned more than two
score business executives urging that their
companies go easy on big building projects as
a means of helping cool off the economy.
Yet anything they could do would be peanuts by contrast with what government agencies keep pumping into the public trough
while calling for still more funds for still more
. . . Horton Bucks Party
Columnist William S. White, one of Washington's most perceptive — and incidentally
most admired by LBJ—reported this week on
Republican strategy to keep the inflation issue to the fore.
"Their (the Republicans') biggest battalions will hit the Democratic party generally,
and the Johnson administration specifically,
for what they will call fiscal irresponsibility."
White wrote, adding:
"Specifically, the charge will be that the
Democrats are promoting inflation."
All well and good, but what of the Republicans—like Rochester's Rep. Frank Horton—who have joined right in?
The Republican Coordinating Committee,
made up of congressional leaders and major
governors and other top party figures, had
called for defeat of a $12 million appropriation on rent subsidies as part of a major battle
against administration fiscal policies.
Frank Horton, representing Monroe County east of the river and Wayne County, was
among Republicans who nevertheless voted
FOR the appropriation. The vote was close—
198 to 190—almost as close as when Horton
and three other House Republicans (including New York City's John Lindsay) voted for
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
"We represent the latest generation
which can add significant areas of open
lands to the heritage we leave to the
coming generations in Monroe County."
—County Manager Gordon A. Howe,
in his "State of the County" message.
Ivey, San Francisco Examiner
the subsidy plan in the first place last year.
The plan would have lost then without the
votes of Horton and the three other Republicans.
This is not the first
time Rochester's Horton has bucked the
GOP line, of course.
showed last November
that in the '65 congressional session, Horton
supported the position
of a majority of Republicans in only 36 per
cent of the major votes,
compared with an average of 71 per cent
for all Republicans and
67 per cent for Rep.
Barber B. Conable Jr.,
Rochester's other congressman (west side).
The Americans for Democratic Action score
card showed Horton with the ADA position 68
per cent of the time as against 11 per cent for
Conable. This includes the House vote to
repeal state "right-to-work" laws, which also
would have lost without the support of a few
Republicans like Horton.
Indeed, Horton is with the "Great Society"
more often than a lot of Democrats.
Horton's principal "conservative" vote on
a major issue this year was against reimposi-
tion of excise taxes—but he has supported
higher spending, too.
Note: A Times-Union political reporter
pointed out the other day that Horton runs in
a traditionally liberal part of the city and Monroe County. But, said the reporter, he could
be in trouble if he (1) alienates Wayne County
Republicans, traditionally conservative, who
provide GOP candidates in Horton's 36th District with what the late Rep. Judy Weis used
to call "my insurance policy;" and (2) if he
leads major GOP contributors to withhold
funds from him, as some already are reported
threatening to do.
. . . Tax Hike Ahead?
That GOP committee charged that LBJ
policies are bringing America to the "threshold of inflation." Dr. Raymond J. Saulnier,
chairman of President Eisenhower's Council
of Economic Advisers ('57-61), said in
"Nation's Business" for March:
"The great mistake is to believe we can
fight this war and have all these other programs and still not pay for them, or perhaps
pay for them through the magic of budgetary
deficits ... In the present circumstances, if
these expenditures aren't paid for in taxes,
they will be paid for through inflation. Every
man, woman and child is going to pay for
them in the form of a higher cost of living."
Mr. Johnson now talks about a "modest"
rise of 5 to 7 per cent for individual and corporate income taxes. The alternative is to cut
"necessary" and "popular" programs, he said.
Perhaps a measure of popularity is the desire of congressmen not to risk real or fancied
punishment by voters this fall in cutting giveaway programs. Perhaps voters would respond
the other way—by supporting congressmen
who cut domestic spending rather than raise
Perhaps. But the trouble is, we aren't going to have a chance to find out. At least not
. . . Rocky Says 'No'
Governor Rockefeller, turning thumbs
down on proposed exemptions in the New
York sales tax, said he didn't see how any
responsible official could contemplate cuts
now. In your heart (to borrow a line), you
know he's right.
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