“We must tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect.”

Who said that? Can your political science department — faculty, students or both — answer that question without searching? A hint: The statement was made prominently by a government figure in the 1930s.

Considering present “goings on” in Washington, this quote seems appropriate. It also suggests that matters haven’t changed all that much since the 1930s.

But there are differences. For example, the person in question later qualified his statement to one that attention needs to be given to inflation: If a level of spending creates serious inflation, spending should be pared back.

He was considered the most left-leaning member of FDR’s “brain trust.”

How might he be classified today? As being a “moderate” Democrat?

Ellis J. Smith is a former Columbia resident who now lives in Ankeny, Iowa.

Editor’s note: The quote is attributed to Harry Hopkins, who served as secretary of commerce and was a close adviser of President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II.

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