• U.S.

Nation: If Not Now, When? If Not Us, Who?

1 minute read

Michigan’s Governor George Romney last week faced without flinching his state’s tax mess. At the same time, he laid his political future on the line.

Romney appeared before a special session of the legislature to present a tax reform program that included a flat 2% personal income tax, a 3½% corporate profits tax, and a 5½% income tax on financial institutions. It was a tough plan and by no means popular. But upon its success or failure may rest Romney’s chances for the G.O.P.’s 1964 presidential nomination.

Bluntly charging the often recalcitrant legislature to act, Romney said: “We should ask ourselves two questions: If not now, when? If not us, who? Applause began to build among the legislators, and Romney’s voice choked as he finished his speech: “As far as I’m concerned, I have answered those two questions, and I am indifferent to the personal political consequences involved.” The lawmakers stood and cheered—making the outlook for both Michigan and George Romney a little brighter for the moment. Said Romney, returning to the microphone: “I know this has been dry, but I am heartened by your reaction.”

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