No. 982



Someone once said that we should enjoy life now, because it has an expiration date. My father passed away in 1977 and was a veteran of World War I. Back in the 1950s when I was growing up, he often referred to former President Truman as “High-Tax Harry.” I know one thing, if he had lived longer he would take that back. Compared to what is happening with our nation’s finances today, most older Americans long for the days of Harry Truman.
A while back someone sent me some information about him that I did not know and felt it would be of interest to you, especially in light of the extravagance we see on the part of most of our politicians. Even if you may not be well informed, you know what is going on and you are either a part of the solution or a part of the problem.
At this point I am just going to share this brief article and you will be able to make a comparison as it relates to our current financial condition. “Harry Truman was a different kind of president. He probably made as many, or more, important decisions regarding our nation’s history as any of the other 32 presidents that preceded him. (And I need to insert here that he was the president that authorized the use of atomic bombs that ended the Second World War.) However, the measure of his greatness may rest on what he did after he left the White House. The only asset he had when he died was the house he lived in, which was in Independence, Mo. His wife had inherited the house from her mother and father and, other than their years in the White House, they lived their entire lives there.
“When he retired from office in 1952 his income was a U.S. Army pension reported to have been $13,507.72 a year. Congress, noting that he was paying for his stamps and personally licking them, granted him an ‘allowance’ and later, a retroactive pension of $25,000 per year. After President Eisenhower was inaugurated, Harry and Bess drove home to Missouri by themselves. There was no Secret Service following them.
“When offered corporate positions at large salaries, he declined, stating ‘You don’t want me. You want the office of the President, and that does not belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it’s not for sale’. Even later, on May 6, 1971, when Congress was preparing to award him the Medal of Honor on his 87th birthday, he refused to accept it, writing ‘I don’t consider that I have done anything which should be the reason for any reward, Congressional or otherwise’. As president he paid for all his own travel expenses and food. Sadly, modern politicians have found a new level of success in cashing in on the Presidency, resulting in untold wealth.
“Today, too many in Congress also have found a way to become quite wealthy while enjoying the fruits of their offices. Political offices are now for sale. (Here I am sure you can think of many examples) Good old Harry Truman was correct when he observed, ‘My choices in life was either to be a piano player in a whore house or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference’.”
Well, that is the end of the article and we ought to have him cloned for telling it like it is and being frugal with our tax dollars. Depending on your age, you need to know or be reminded for the sake of future generations of Americans, that excessive spending has led to the downfall of individuals, couples, companies and governments. Someday we will all learn, the hard way, that we can’t borrow or print our way out of debt. High Tax Harry, hardly!
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)