I know how easy it is to say, "Oh, it is only $20,000,000," or, "it is only $80,000,000," or "it is only $240,000,000" a year that will be taken out of the pockets of the taxpayer." But where will it finally stop? I do not know. An old man once taught me what a million is. He said, "Look at your watch, and watch the second hand. You can see it every second, every minute, every day, every night, every week, every month, every year – and in 3 years it would go around 1,000,000 times."
[Congressional Record, March 15, 1951, p. 2479]
Mr. President, that is all I have to say. It is a very simple story. Economy is old-fashioned. It reminds me of the sweet young mother who called the doctor to come and attend her baby. Finally the doctor said, "Well, my dear, just give the baby some castor oil."
She was a very arty person, and she said, "Doctor, castor oil is so old-fashioned."
The kindly doctor said, "I know, my dear, but babies are old-fashioned things, too."
Mr. President, economy is an old-fashioned thing. It savors of horse and buggy days. I am only too glad, however, to say a few words in behalf of economy, for in economy, in frugality, and in the thrift of our Government I think we shall ultimately find ourselves and our salvation.
[Congressional Record, March 15, 1951, p. 2480]
Mr. President, there is no royal road to a balanced budget. If there is, I have never discovered it in all the time I have been dealing with the millions of little figures that come to us in what looks like an unexpurgated mail-order catalog but what we call the budget of the United States, which contains some 1,100 pages.
[Congressional Record, May 20, 1953, p. 5198]
Mr. President, within a short stone's throw of where we are debating today sits a committee of Senators sweating, laboring earnestly to find a million dollars here, a few hundred thousand dollars there, in taxes. They are sitting within a few steps of this Chamber. I am referring to the Senate Finance Committee. They are trying to protect the business structure of the country which generates the wealth which produces the taxes we so wantonly and with blithe spirits and gleeful abandon freely squander. And I think it is squandering, as a matter of fact. This is the most remarkable area of contrast that I know anything about. In that committee they try to find a few million dollars in taxes. Here we are considering an amendment increasing an already huge appropriation by $1,000,000,000. It is like using a teaspoon in order to get a few taxes into the Treasury and at the same time at the back door using a scoop shovel to shovel them out.
[Congressional Record, August 31, 1951, p. 10889-10890]
I close on this one note. I think sometimes of the story of the young lady who said to a very attractive young man, "I will marry you if you save $1,000." But all her associates were getting married and she was getting eager. One day she said, "How much did you save?" He said, "$35." She said, "That's enough." [Laughter.]
What is provided may be enough, but in my book it is not enough. While others may disagree, that represents my viewpoint. I must assume my statement is correct, because I think it is consistent with the administration's viewpoint.
[Congressional Record, February 5, 1959, p.1860]
I have said, with respect to authorization bills, that I do not want the Congress or the country to commit fiscal suicide on the installment plan.
I never think of the fiscal situation without being reminded of a Government project out home many years ago. It was a make-work project. There was a huge hole in the street. When the work had been finished and the hole filled, there was a great mound of earth which constituted a traffic hazard. The gentlemen wielding the shovels did not know what to do. Finally they held a conference on the curb. Someone said I will tell you how to get rid of the mound of earth. We will just dig a hole deeper. [Laughter.]
[Congressional Record, February 9, 1959, p. 2100]
But I think ever so often, we must stop, look, and listen; and I do so now, because -- in the language used by my distinguished friend, the Senator from Minnesota -- I think I am one of those who has "budget-itis"- which was the term he used.
Mr. President, I must say that I have never had "spender-itis"; I have never had "squander-itis." But I freely admit to having "budget-itis"; and there is a reason for it -- because I have watched this Government in its every function grow.
[Congressional Record, May 20, 1959, p. 8615]
However, I feel a little distressed over the fact that there are a few things which somehow are not included in the agenda the Senator presents to the Senate. I can probably express it best in terms of an accident that happened at a railroad crossing at night in my hometown. It was about 10 o'clock, and there was a flagman on duty. When the case finally got into court, counsel for the railroad company put the flagman on the stand. He said:
"Were you at your post of duty?"
"Was it dark?"
"Did you see the accident?"
"Did you wave your lantern?"
And that is about where the testimony stopped. There was a finding for the company, and when counsel for the company and the flagman left the courtroom, the flagman said, "By golly, I am glad they didn't ask me whether that lantern was lit." [Laughter.]
My distinguished friend here has told us about the appropriations, but he has not quite given us the whole story at to whether the "lantern was lit."
[Congressional Record, May 28, 1959, p. 9316]
But the basic difficulty still remains: It is the expansion of Federal power, about which I wish to express my alarm. How easily we embrace such business.
[Congressional Record, May 3, 1961, p. 7106]
A hundred million dollars, Mr. President, is only a "drop in the bucket." I grew up at a time when on Sunday, if I had been a good boy for the whole week, my mother gave me a penny and said to me, "My son, don't spend it all in one place."
We have come a long way from then. The classic example is here tonight, when the Senator from Colorado says a hundred million dollars is "a drop in the bucket."
No wonder we are nursing a $295 billion debt.
[Congressional Record, June 8, 1961, p.9896]
We are talking now about moon shots. It has been indicated that perhaps we ought to spend $8 billion, $9 billion, or some such amount, over a period of 5 years, in order to get to Luna. It is a great thing in the field of lunar dynamics, I suppose, and there must be people who think this is one of the urgent matters before the country today. I can only say that I hope lunar dynamics will not become dynamic lunacy before we finish, and will not continue to push the budget ceilingword until we reach the moon. We are almost in orbit with the budget now. We have finally crashed the $100 billion barrier.
[Congressional Record, June 12, 1961, p. 10000]
We are talking about moon shots today. I do not know when we shall put a man on the moon, but we have put the budget on the moon. If we would translate the dollars into silver dollars and lay those silver dollars end to end they would make 50 strings from the earth to the moon. We may not put a man on the moon for awhile, but our budget is there.
[Congressional Record, July 28, 1961, p. 13894]
But I never get away from the fact that from day to day we are living with a structure of government that must be made to function properly. It must be kept within fiscal bounds in the hope that not only our own generation but the taxpayers who come after -- the children, the grandchildren, the great-grandchildren -- will not regard what we did in this time and generation with a baleful and cynical eye and say, "What a tragic and dismal inheritance we got from our great grandpappies back in the decade of development -- the 1960's."
So I want to keep the program in proper form.
[Congressional Record, August 28, 1961, p. 17179]
However, I like euphemistic terms [referring to "structural unemployment"]. I am reminded of the lady who was having her family tree examined. Unfortunately they found one brother who had occupied the electric chair in Sing Sing. The genealogist who was doing the work did not particularly want to state that fact.
He hunted for something which would get around that fact and still tell the truth. At long last, at that part in the genealogical treaty, he wrote: "There was one brother who occupied the chair of applied electricity in a large public institution." [Laughter.]
[Congressional Record, August 28, 1961, p. 17180]
I think the Congress finally has succumbed to the very infectious virus of bigness that began at the beginning of the century, when we first heard about big business. After a while we heard about big government. Then we began to hear about big labor. This whole bigness idea has intruded itself on the thinking of the country.
[Congressional Record, September 26, 1961, p. 21381]
Will it not be something, when a fond, angelic mother looks upon a tiny, sweet countenance and says, "My son," or "My daughter, you are going to have a part in the biggest public debt ever known." [Laughter] That will be something.
I remember the man who was on the wrong floor of the hospital in Peoria. He was on the floor where the baby ward was. There were little tykes squalling and bawling. The nurse came out. She had a long, dour countenance. When she got close to him the fellow said, "Nurse, what makes all those little brats squall and bawl the way they do?"
Of course, some of the children had an angelic look on their faces, as if angels were there with them. The practicing fathers know that that is not the case; that is only a little kind on their stomachs; but it is a nice myth, and I love to live with it. [Laughter.]
Anyway, the man said, "Why do they bawl and squall like that?"
The nurse remembered that the portion of the national debt for the baby was about $1,971, and she said, "Well, Mister, if you were out of work, if you owed $1,971 as your share of the debt, and if your pants were wet you would squall too."
[Congressional Record, September 26, 1961, p. 21382]
I sometimes think of the lady who was on a train. As she was going from one coach to the adjacent coach, and while she was in the vestibule between the two coaches, the train pulled in two. The bell cord came down, snapped sharply like a whip, and struck her in the face. Suddenly the conductor came to her side.
She said, "My conscience, Mr. Conductor, what happened?"
The conductor replied, "Lady, be composed. The train pulled in two."
She said, "Is it any wonder? How could you hold it together with a little cord like that?" [Laughter]
A slender, attenuated cord which we call the U.S. Senate somehow holds this country together. Each of us is devoted, in his own way, to the essence of the free system in America.
[Congressional Record, September 26, 1961, p. 21383]
Mr. President, that whimsical English professor, Dr. Parkinson, should formulate another Parkinson's law relating to the public debt since it so closely parallels his law on bureaucratic growth. Just as spending will always reach and overtake revenues so the public debt will constantly pierce the ceiling and finally go into orbit.
[Congressional Record, March 1? 1962, p.3219]
I am reminded of a little story that I have previously told on the Senate floor. A fellow in one of the States had a balky mule. The mule lay down on the pavement and would not budge. His owner wore out a club on the mule. It did no good. The man built a modest fire under the mule. That did not help matters. Finally, a veterinarian came along and said, "What is the matter, Joe? You having trouble with your mule?" "Yeah, Doc, I can't do a thing with it."
So the veterinarian reached into his case and got out a great big animal syringe, filled it with something, and gave the mule a squirt in the hind quarters. In a little bit the mule got up and started down the street lickety-split.
The owner looked at the disappearing mule, looked at the doc, and said, "Doc, how much does that cost?"
The veterinarian said, "That's 10 cents."
The owner said, "Here is 30 cents. Give me two shots so I can catch that mule."
The story illustrates my point. We set a limit, and then we have to catch up to that limit all over again. So we set the limit higher. Then our expenditures rise to that point. There must be a Parkinson's law that fits the situation. We had better find out what it is, because the process is alarming.
[Congressional Record, March 1?, 1962, p.3219]
How can there be any money in the Treasury, actually, when we seem to be constantly spending well beyond what is in the Treasury itself?
I often think of the lady who went to the Governor of a certain state and said to him, "Governor, I want to get my husband out of prison."
He said, "What is he in prison for?"
She said, "For stealing a ham."
The Governor asked her: "Is he a good husband?"
The Governor asked her: "Is he good to the children?"
"No, sir, Governor."
Then the Governor asked her, "Well, why do you want to get him out of prison?"
She said, "Because we are out of ham again." [Laughter.]
Well, I wonder when we are going to run out of ham one of these days. I mean not only money, but confidence as well.
[Congressional Record, June 2?, 1962, p. 12156]
Mr. President, what is $5 million compared to a $95 or $99 billion budget? It is a drop in the bucket. I was about to say it is a drop in the budget. It is a drop in the bucket and in the budget.[Congressional Record, May 20, 1963, p.9011]
We are becoming so accustomed to millions and billions of dollars
that "thousands" has almost passed out of the dictionary.
[Congressional Record, January 10, 1964, p.?]
Mr. President, I yield myself 10 minutes.
It would appear that expenditures chase debt and debt chases expenditures.
As I think of this bill, and the fact that the more progress we make the deeper we go into the hole, I am reminded of a group of men who were working on the street. They had dug quite a number of holes. When they got through, they failed to puddle or tamp the earth when it was returned to the hole, and they had a nice little mound, which was quite a traffic hazard.
Not knowing what to do with it, they sat down on the curb and had a conference. After a while, one of the fellows snapped his fingers and said, "I have it. I know how we will get rid of that over-riding earth and remove this hazard. We will just dig the hole deeper." [Laughter.]
So we are digging the hole deeper all the time. I do not know where we shall land, or how deep the hole will be before we are through.
[Congressional Record, June 16, 1965, p.13883-13884]
Ever so often we speculate as to when the debt will be paid off. Hope springs eternal. It makes a good political issue, to say the least. I am reminded of the former chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee of late and lamented memory, who was quite a friend of mine.
One time in the House of Representatives he told me a story about a proposition that a teacher put to a boy. He said, "Johnny, a cat fell in a well 100 feet deep. Suppose that cat climbed up 1 foot and then fell back 2 feet. How long would it take the cat to get out of the well?"
Johnny worked assiduously with his slate and slate pencil for quite a while, and then when the teacher came down and said, "How are you getting along?"
Johnny said, "Teacher, if you give me another slate and a couple of slate pencils, I am pretty sure that in the next 30 minutes I can land that cat in hell."
If some people get any cheer out of a $328 billion debt ceiling, I do not find very much to cheer about concerning it.
[Congressional Record, June 16, 1965, p. 13884]
He reminds me a little of the old grandfather's clock. If one thinks of the modern alarm clock, as distinguished from the old grandfather's clock, it expresses and articulates the difference in our approaches and in our viewpoints. Perhaps I could describe it best in romantic terms, because in earlier days, when a young man came to court his lady love, he did not come in a Corvair, or a Galaxie, or a Cadillac. He came in an old buggy drawn by a horse, and took his time; and when he got to the home of his lady love, he put the horse in the stable, and then was ushered into the parlor, which was opened only 1 day a week. It had a fancy lamp on the center table, and a bright red brussels rug on the floor, and a whatnot on the corner shelf, with all the little knickknacks obtained at a carnival or a State fair. Then he would sit on one end of the horsehair sofa and she on the other. Then there would be that quiet, agonizing, sweating hour after hour as they said exactly nothing. I remember on one occasion, after such an agonizing and excruciating loveliness, a young man blurted out, "Mary, how's your Maw- not that I give a dern, but just to make conversation?" [Laughter.]
The old grandfather's clock said, "Take your time, take your time, take your time."
It is a little different today. It is symbolized by the alarm clock. The young man comes up in one of the snorting pieces of machinery which we call a convertible, and he plops out, and gets into the parlor. He is not bothered with a rug, unless they want to cut a rug, and take it up and then get down to the business of swinging themselves to one of those boxes with a saxophone player who sounds like a jackass or a drummer from Kansas City who has St. Vitus dance. The alarm clock says, "Get there, get there, get there."
As between the old grandfathers clock and the alarm clock, Mike Mansfield typifies the old grandfather clock. [Laughter.] "Take your time, take your time, take your time."
[Congressional Record, September 26, 1961, p. 21381]
`I wish to say to my friend from Texas [Mr. Johnson] that I see nothing inconsistent with having opposed the Johnson-Bricker amendment, while at the same time insisting upon a time limit. I remember when Secretary Acheson coined the word "reexaminist." I took some pride in it. I think I am a reexaminist, with a capital "R". It is rather tragic, as I look back upon legislative history for the past 20 years, that there has not been more appraisal, that there has not been more careful assessment of the things which we have set in motion in the legislative branch. That is one particular reason why I think there ought to be an automatic time limit.
[Congressional Record, March 9, 1951, p. 2188-2189]
I remember a fellow in my hometown who was in jail. The jail stood on the corner, and he could see me as I crossed the street. He called out and I said, "Sam, how long are you in for?" He said, "I am in from now on." And this legislation is going to be in effect from now on.
Mr. President, I have seen what was said to be temporary policy harden into permanent policy. After that has happened, it is difficult to draw it back. That is something which often happens in the case of legislation on which Congress places a time limit.
[Congressional Record, March 9, 1951, p. 2189]
I wish to follow a rule of form and say that in every House of Representatives, one way or another, you always have at least a hundred changes. So you see, these new people will come to Washington to take up their duties and their responsibilities, they will bring new talent, they will bring new views with them, impress themselves on the whole structure of government, they will be thinking in terms of new legislative proposals of a variety that's just as wide as the ocean and so all these things then will be so deeply impressed upon the whole structure of government.
[EMD. Remarks & Releases, Radio Broadcast, May 12, 1958]
Well, is it too bad after all? I long ago learned that formula of vegetate or decay, grow or die. And government is not unlike that. I think it's just like individuals; you simply have to feed on new things; re-orient your thinking; keep abreast of what goes on; because the world is certainly not a static place where things suddenly stand still. It's a dynamic thing and is constantly moving forward and so you've got to e abreast of change, new blood coming onto government from back home with new ideas about business, about industry, about agriculture, about numerous problems, everything in the whole gamut of human activity and human interest. They will bring fresh viewpoints and so these changes will be all -------. It imbues government with a new kind of vitality and while those who pass from the scene and particularly if you have to face the bitterness of defeat at the polls, I am sure it doesn't make them feel very good.
[EMD. Remarks & Releases, Radio Broadcast, May 12, 1958]
When all is said and done, the real citadel of strength of any community is in the hearts and minds and desires of those who dwell there.
Meanwhile the most important field of government and the one with which most people have direct and early and constant contact– that field which might well be called the laboratory of all government– is too often neglected.
Here as elsewhere any answer to the problem of generating the best kind of local government begins with a deep sense of pride in the community and with a sharpening of that proprietary feeling that the community does belong to the citizens.
Moreover, it requires a particular kind of action. It must be concerted and sufficiently diffused and embrace enough people of good will and high interest throughout the community so that it can be said that it is citizen participation in every sense of the word. It must be a kind of action that is at once unselfish and selfless and is directed to the goal of common good.
And then there is what one might define as a kind of municipal illiteracy, and by that I mean not only an unfamiliarity with what goes on in one's hometown but a continuing lack of desire to know what makes the wheels of satisfactory government go.
So I think the conclusion will stand up that in proportion as the citizenry in any locality participates vigorously and wholeheartedly in local affairs and devote time to the improvement of the municipality where they live, they not only make a great contribution to better community living and community pride but to a return to the principle of self-government and home rule which has been the very essence of the American concept and which is in truth and in fact the rock of freedom.
[Excerpts from Everett Dirksen's Remarks at the Award Ceremony of the National Municipal League and Look Magazine, Peoria, February 5, 1954 reported in a Release, February 6, 1954]
Mr. President: On January 8, 1965, I introduced S.J. Res. 19, to designate the American Marigold (Tagetes erecta) as the national floral emblem of the United States. Today I am introducing the same resolution with the suggestion that it again be referred to the committee on Judiciary.
The American flag is not a mere assembly of colors, stripes and stars but it in fact symbolizes our origin, development and growth.
The American eagle, king of the skies is so truly representing of our might and power.
A national floral emblem should represent the virtues of our land and be national in character.
The marigold is a native of North America and can in truth and in fact be called an American flower.
It is national in character for it grows and thrives in every one of the 50 states of this nation. It conquers the extremes of temperature. It well withstands the summer sun and the evening chill.
Its robustness reflects the hardihood and character of the generations who pioneered and built this land into a great nation. It is not temperamental about fertility. It resists its natural enemies- the insects. It is self reliant and requires little attention. Its spectacular colors- lemon and orange, rich brown and deep mahogany- befit the imaginative qualities of this nation.
It is as sprightly as the daffodil, as colorful as the rose, as resolute as the zinnia, as delicate as the carnation, as haughty as the chrysanthemum, as aggressive as the petunia, as ubiquitous as the violet as stately as the snapdragon.
It beguiles the senses and ennobles the spirit of man. It is the delight of the amateur gardener and a constant challenge to the professional.
Since it is native to America and nowhere else in the world and common to every state in the Union, I present the American marigold for designation as the national floral emblem of our country.
[Notebooks, "The Marigold For Our National Floral Emblem," f.197] 
Birds and flowers are an integral part of my life. I have all kinds of birds where I live- cardinals, blue jays, sparrows, humming birds, warblers, chickadees, titmice, craws, wrens, robins, meadow larks, bob whites and others. I don't want my head blown off. All these feathered friends would miss me.
And of course, the flowers would miss me- snap dragons, dahlias, petunia geraniums, canna, zinnias, roses, gladiolus, lilies, gerbera daisies, shasta daisies, spiders, red and blue salvia, and of course the marigolds. They need me around.
And there is the vegetable garden. What would it do without my tender touch- Green, Wax, and Pole beans, peppers, carrots, beets, radishes, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, turnips, rutabagas and even the gourds for bird houses for the purple martins.
So Mister-Whoever-You-Are, what will all these flowers, birds, vegetable shrubs and trees do without me. I pray over them. I water them. I coax them . They need me.
If you have to do this heinous deed, can't you wait until later- perhaps after the first heavy frost. The flowers will retreat until the resurrection of next spring. The sap will trickle down in the trees and shrubs and the leaves will drop. The grasses will become brown and sere. Except for the winter birds, the rest will migrate and come back next year. All these will not miss me quite so much- until next year.
[A Senator's Notebook. "Thoughts About Having Your Head Blown Off." ca. July 15, 1968. Written after receiving a death threat]
The very nature and title of the Award at once raises a question as to what constitutes good government. On this occasion one may very appropriately say that in our own land at least that government is good; it cherishes and practices a strict respect for the Constitution which brought this very government into being; it through its officers and agents maintains a wholesome and respectful regard for the people from whom government derives its powers; it exhibits courtesy and good manners in all of its dealings with the people at home and the nations abroad; it is not moved to hasty and ill-advised action by the emotions of any given moment; it in the language of the ancient law shows restraint and does not follow a multitude to do evil; it charts a course calculated to be beneficial now and in the future to all of its citizens; it exalts the dignity of human personality; it observes the golden rule in all of its dealings with other governments in the family of nations; it stands firm for a right and for equal justice under the law; it is ever mindful that the blessings of liberty spring from the everlasting covenant between the instant generation and those generations who have gone before and those who will come after our day and time. This is indeed a king-sized order in an unstable and feverish world.
[EMD Notebooks. F.206] [Acceptance Speech By The Honorable Everett McKinley Dirksen Of The Good Government Award by the American Good Government Society, April 30, 1964]
I have found my political career most interesting, challenging, and rewarding. Therefore, I will base my remarks from this experience.
First, one must have a desire to serve– his fellow man, his country, his community, state and nation. The least to the highest political office is a domain for public service.
Then, a goal must be set. It is necessary to prepare yourself in education, choose the political party that reflects your principles and ideals, serve in the functions of your organization, and seek office when an opportunity arises. With courage, conviction, determination, honesty and common sense, a most successful political career may be attained.
To be able to develop and use your talents to the utmost in whatever field of occupation you choose, be it in labor, agriculture, medicine, religion, law, business, education, and so on, the basic requirements are similar– they are, knowledge, ambition, initiative, vision, and with experience comes wisdom.
[Remarks & Releases, December 10, 1964]
I've decided to be a dull, morose bore at these press meetings. It's the only safe course. You give me no choice.
I tell a joke and you convert it into an international incident.
I coin a whimsical term and you make it appear I am at odds with the President.
I indulge in some polite banter and you interpret it as a split in the Party.
I engage in a bit of twaddle and it becomes a crisis.
I try to be human by uncorking a bit of balderdash and you depict me in a frivolous image.
I inject a bit of fladoodle into our pleasant fellowship and I get on the front page.
I venture of a bit of flummery and you make me a target.
But no more. Henceforth my communication shall be yea, yea, nay, nay. More than that is dangerous.
You have become an unsafe breed. From now on I shall become the consummate bore. I shall be insufferable dull and blasé. I shall turn aside questions with a shrug or a grunt, or a profound silence with "No comment."
You have but yourselves to blame. My trust and confidence in you was as high as the sky and as deep as molehole Just ask me a question and see how fast I can contort myself into a meaningful shrug. Throw me a curve and then observe my Buddha-like silence, profound and beatific. Try to harpoon me and see how impressively I can grunt in a fashion that would put Sitting Bull to shame.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press gallery, I am super ready for your ordeal.
[EMD. Notebooks. F.177, n.d.]
I do not know whether I am a liberal. I think I am a garden variety conservative. If I remember my Latin, I think the word ‘liberal' was derived from the word ‘liver,' meaning free, and the suffix ‘al' means ‘pertaining to.' So the word ‘liberal' means pertaining to freedom. If that is it, I am a genuine, unmitigated, unreconstructed, unregenerated, 100-percent, dyed-in-the-wool liberal, in the sense of my devotion to freedom, and that means the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and everything else that is the embodiment of the principles of freedom.
[Congressional Record, February 17, 1960. In debate on civil rights bill (S2526)]
So many terms have been fastened on me that sometimes I do not know which I must own up to. I am just a garden variety Republican who, like Lincoln, believes in the Constitution and in the Bill of Rights and in our free-enterprise system, and who wants to see the country go forward, so that those who will be the legatees of what we do here or fail to do will have a full, fair, and decent chance to enjoy the same benefits we have had in our generation.
[Congressional Record, February 23, 1960, p. 3182]
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