I Will Not Compromise

by Morris K. Udall

Copyright 1964 by The New Republic.
Reprinted with permission from The New Republic, January 18, 1964, pp. 71-72. Originally reprinted from the Congressional Record Appendix.

"Dear Friend:

"You have expressed alarm at the rate of federal spending, and asked me as your Congressman where I stand. I had not intended to discuss this controversial question at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun a controversy. On the contrary I will take a stand on any issue at any time not matter how fraught with controversy it may be. Here is exactly how I stand.

"If, when you say 'federal spending', you mean the billions of dollars wasted on outmoded naval shipyards and surplus airbases in Georgia, Texas and New York; if you mean the billions of dollars lavished at Cape Kennedy and Houston on a 'moondoggle' our nation cannot afford, if, sir, you mean the $2 billion wasted each year in wheat and corn price supports which rob Mid-western farmers of their freedoms and saddle taxpayers with outrageous costs of storage in already bulging warehouse; if you mean the $4 billion spent every year to operate veterans hospitals in other states in order to provide 20 million able-bodied veterans with care for civilian illness; if you mean such socialistic and pork-barrel projects as urban renewal, public housing and TVA which cynically seek votes while robbing our taxpayers and weakening the moral fiber of millions of citizens in our Eastern states; if you mean the bloated federal aid to education schemes calculated to press federal educational controls down upon every student in this nation; if you mean the $2 billion misused annually by our Public Health Service and National Institutes of Health on activities designed to prostitute the medical profession and foist socialized medicine on every American; if sir, you mean all these ill-advised, unnecessary federal activities which have destroyed state’s rights, created a vast, ever-growing, empire-building bureaucracy regimenting a once free people by the illusory bait of cradle-to-grave security, and which indeed have taken us so far down the road to socialism that it may be, even at this hour, too late to retreat -- then I am unyielding, bitter and four square in my opposition, regardless of the personal or political consequences.

"But, on the other hand, if when you say 'federal spending' you mean those funds which maintain Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Fort Huachuca and other Arizona defense installations so vital to our nation's security, and which every year pour hundreds of millions of dollars into our state's economy; if you mean the Truman-Eisenhower-Kennedy-Johnson mutual security program which bolsters our allies along the periphery of the Iron Curtain, enabling them to resist the diabolical onslaught of a Godless Communism and maintain their independence; if you mean those funds to send our brave astronauts voyaging, even as Columbus, into the unknown, in order to guarantee that no aggressor will ever threaten these great United States by nuclear blackmail from outer space; if you mean those sound farm programs which insure our hardy Arizona cotton farmers a fair price for their fiber, protect the sanctity of the family farm, ensure reasonable prices for consumers, and put to work for all the people of the world the miracle of American agricultural abundance; if you mean those VA programs which pay pensions to our brave soldiers crippled in mortal combat and discharge our debt of honor to their widows and orphans and which provide employment for thousands of Arizonans in our fine VA hospitals in Tucson, Phoenix and Prescott; if sir, you refer to such federal programs as the Central Arizona Reclamation project which will, while repaying 95 percent of its cost with interest, provide our resourceful people with water to insure the growth and prosperity of our state; if you mean the federal educational funds which build desperately needed college classrooms and dormitories for our local universities, provide little children in our Arizona schools with hot lunches (often their only decent meal of the day), furnish vocational training for our high school youth, and pay $10 million in impact funds to relieve the hard-pressed Arizona school property taxpayers from the impossible demands created by the presence of large federal installations; if you mean the federal medical and health programs which have eradicated the curse of malaria, smallpox, scarlet fever and polio from our country, and which even now enable dedicated teams of scientists to close in mercilessly on man’s age-old enemies of cancer, heart disease, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and mental retardation that afflict our little children, senior citizens and men and women in the prime years of life; if you mean all these federal activities by which a free people in the spirit of Jefferson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson and FDR, through a fair and progressive income tax, preserve domestic tranquillity and promote the general welfare while preserving all our cherished freedoms and our self-reliant national character, then I shall support them with all the vigor at my command.

"That is my stand and I will not compromise."