Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
Harry Lloyd Hopkins (18901946)
We shall tax and tax, and spend and spend, and elect and elect.
Attributed to HARRY L. HOPKINS, administrator of the Works Progress Administration.
Although Frank R. Kent mentioned the subject of spending, taxes, and election in reference to Hopkins in his column, The Great Game of Politics (Baltimore, Maryland, Sun, September 25, 1938, pp. 1, 16) he first attributed we are going to spend and spend and spend, and tax and tax and tax, and elect and elect and elect to Hopkins in the Sun, October 14, 1938, p. 15.
Joseph Alsop and Robert Kintner in their column, The Capital Parade (Washington, D.C., Evening Star, November 9, 1938, p. A11), elaborated Hopkinss probably apocryphal words to: Now, get this through your head. Were going to spend and spend and spend, and tax and tax and tax, and re-elect and re-elect and re-elect, until youre dead or forgotten.
Arthur Krock, in his column, In the Nation (The New York Times, November 10, 1938, p. 26), reported the wording as we will spend and spend, and tax and tax, and elect and elect. He also repeated this wording in an article in The New York Times, November 13, 1938, sec. 4, p. E3. A letter by Hopkins denying this attributed quotation and a response by Krock were published in The New York Times, November 24, 1938, p. 26.
Over the years the quotation attributed to Hopkins has evolved into the wording above.