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NOT everybody was at Palm Beach —and Kennedy was not the only U.S. political leader having thoughts. During the Washington dog days before the opening of Congress, New York Times Correspondent Felix Belair Jr. wandered up to Gettysburg, talked to Dwight Eisenhower, and came away with quite a story. Upon leaving the White House, Ike had vowed to devote much of his post-presidential retirement to applying the lessons of his experience to the nation’s problems. Now he was ready with some warnings—and some specific proposals.

Federal Spending. Mounting budget deficits, Eisenhower believes, are “the biggest single threat to our democratic way of life today.” Like most citizens, he would like to see a tax cut —but only if spending is also slashed. And he sees little hope for that. Ultimately, he insists, the control of federal spending will demand amendments to the Constitution that will:

∙Permit Congress to pass a budget larger than the President’s budget only by a two-thirds vote of both houses.

∙Require all budget estimates by the President to be accompanied by balancing recommendations to raise the required revenue (except in times of emergency).

∙Grant the President an “item veto” of appropriations measures—the power to veto a single appropriation without killing an entire bill.

Taxes. Ike would limit federal with holding so as to collect no more than half of an individual’s total tax. If taxpayers were forced to pay the remaining half in a lump sum, said Eisenhower, they would realize more acutely their “contribution to federal profligacy.” With less to spend from current revenues, he said, Congress too would realize the need to economize.

The Congress. Eisenhower would dilute the politically entrenched power of Congress and strengthen the Executive by limiting Senators to two terms of six years each and House members to three terms of four years each. The scheme would modify the congressional committee system which promotes members according to seniority and often assures a single Congressman tight control over a crucial committee for years on end.

Elections. Ike would move up the dates of national political conventions, elections and the date of presidential inaugurations so as to hold elections about Sept. 24 and inaugurations about Nov. 1. This, said Eisenhower, would at least give an incoming President time to prepare his own budget for the following year.

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