A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 23, 2010
“Never vote against an appropriation, and never vote for a tax increase”

U.S. President Harry S. Truman said in a 1950 news conference: “Don’t you know that is the way a Congressman gets reelected? Never vote for a tax bill and never vote against an appropriation.”

The statement means that the voters don’t like politicians who vote for tax increases, but everyone loves political “pork barrel” appropriations. Who pays for the appropriations if taxes can’t be increased? Future generations probably pay, as federal debt is accumulated.

“Never vote for a tax bill and never vote against an appropriation bill” has been cited in print since at least 1914.

Google Books
Tennessee River above Chattanooga, Tenn. Hearings on the subject of the improvement of Tennessee River above Chattanooga, Tenn., held before the Committee ... Jan. 20, 1914
By United States. Congress. House. Committee on Rivers and Harbors.
Washington, DC: Government Printing Office
1914
Pg. 3:
TENNESSEE RIVER ABOVE CHATTANOOGA, TENN.
COMMITTEE ON RIVERS AND HARBORS,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C., January 20, 1914.
(...)
STATEMENT OF HON. RICHARD W. AUSTIN , A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THESTATE OF TENNESSEE.
Pg. 4:
MR. AUSTIN. That is right. I make it a rule never to vote for a tax and never to vote against an appropriation.

6 January 1944, New York (NY) Times, “Responsible Spending,” pg. 22:
It might put a moderate curb on the ancient adage for success in Congress: “Never vote against an appropriation bill and never vote for a tax bill.”

Google Books
Democratic Government and Politics
By J. A. Corry
Toronto: University of Toronto Press
1946
Pg. 249:
If the totals favourably reported exceed the totals asked for by the President and covered by existing or proposed taxation, no one can dodge the responsibility of levying more taxes or borrowing on the public credit, although it is said that there are Congressmen who never vote for a tax bill and never vote against an appropriation.

Google Books
The American Economic Review
Volume 37
1947
Pg. 338:
There is an old adage for those legislators who are largely concerned with their own re-election: “Never vote against an appropriation; never vote for a tax.” A modern version might be: “Always vote for inflation; never vote for deflation.”

The American Presidency Project
HARRY S. TRUMAN
XXXIII President of the United States: 1945-1953
137 - The President’s News Conference

May 18, 1950
(...)
[17.] Q. Mr. President, I wrote one of my hands out on the trip. When you said that—speaking of the reorganization bills-you said it is a legislative prerogative to vote against every--
THE PRESIDENT. To vote against tax bills and to vote for appropriations. Don’t you know that is the way a Congressman gets reelected? Never vote for a tax bill and never vote against an appropriation.

Google Books
Federal Taxes
By Clifton H. Kreps
New York, NY: H. W. Wilson
1952
Pg. 169:
It is said that the way to have a long career in Congress is “never to vote against an appropriation bill and never to vote for a tax bill.”

Google Books
Memoirs: Years of trial and hope
By Harry S. Truman
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
1955-56
Pg. 41:
Too many congressmen during my administration heeded the traditional slogan of cynical politics: “Never vote against an appropriation, and never vote for a tax increase.” It might be one way to get re-elected, but it is also a sure way of getting the country into financial difficulties.

Mark B. Cohen
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
GOVERNMENT SERVICES 311 PHONE NUMBER
(...)
There’s ancient story about the old Congressman who advised a young Congressman."Vote for all appropriations, “ the old Congressman said. “People love new programs. A program that does not exist can be said to do just about anything. Never vote against a new program."Vote against any tax increase,” the old Congressman said. “People hate tax increases. Never vote for one."The U.S. Congress has cumulatively been following this kind of advice for a long time now, giving us a budget deficit that will soon hit 11 TRILLION dollars.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Thursday, September 23, 2010 • Permalink