Spring 1950 (Age 75)

“Fertile milch cows are greatly valued”

Fifty years ago, Churchill’s vision for Europe was that no enduring peace was possible without an understanding between France and Germany. As Churchill told the House on 28 March, such a combination including Great Britain, would constitute: “the core or nucleus upon which all the other civilized democracies of Europe, bound or free, can one day rally and combine…I do not wish to fall into vague generalities. Let me, therefore, express our policy as I see it in a single sentence. Britain and France united should stretch forth hands of friendship to Germany, and thus, if successful, enable Europe to live again.”

Cutting oppressive income tax rates was still on his mind. On 28 April, Churchill spoke to the House on the Labour Party’s budget, speaking of the confiscatory tax rates set by the budget, he remarked: “Hate is not a good guide in public or in private life. I am sure that class hatred and class warfare, like national revenge, are the most costly luxuries in which anyone can indulge. The present Chancellor has boasted of the number of persons who have net incomes of £5000 or over a year. He has boasted that it has been reduced from 11,000 before the war to 250 at the present time, and that the number of those over £6,000 has been reduced from 7,000 to 70. These are great achievements. However necessary this extreme taxation was in the war‹I was responsible, as Prime Minister, for its imposition‹it certainly is not a process which increases the long term revenue of the nation or its savings.”

Churchill’s view was that the government should follow policies which lowered taxes and increased the number of rich people so they could pay more in taxes, the same policies which resulted in unprecedented prosperity in the United States during the last twenty years of the twentieth century. Using his own experience as a dairy farmer, Churchill illustrated why the Labor Party’s pride in reducing the ranks of the rich was a bad idea: “It is a great advantage in a dairy to have cows with large udders because one gets more milk out of them than the others. These exceptionally fertile milch cows are greatly valued in any well-conducted dairy, and anyone would be thought very foolish who boasted he had got rid of all the best milkers, just as he would be thought very foolish if he did not milk them to the utmost limit of capacity, compatible with the maintenance of their numbers.

“I am quite sure that the Minister of Agriculture would look in a very different way upon the reduction of all these thousands of his best milkers from that in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer looks upon the destruction of the most fertile and the most profitable resources of taxation.

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