Sunday, September 19, 2010

Letters Home: "No wonder our taxes are so high."

September 19, 1952   Friday
Dear Mom,
I got a little news for you. We are moving again, up near Frankfurt. That's about 200 miles north of here. By the time you get this letter I should be there. I suppose my A.P.O. number will change again.
I got a letter from Dad yesterday. My driver's license came too with it. I won't lose them this time. I can get all the film I want at the P.X. Most everything is a lot cheaper than back in the states. Everything is tax free and that makes it cheaper. 17 jewel watches are about $10.00. American made Bulova sell for 1/2 price in the P.X.
Does Jim J's folks still live in R.C.? That Muller boy would like to get Jim's address. He went to Korea.
Has Jr. applied for his combat pay yet? He will get $45.00 a month for every month in combat. Also under the new law you can get a GI loan. [1] Go to school and get $110.00 a month. They pay 75% of the costs of learning to fly. I might take them up on that after I get out. [2]
We were told it cost $3 billion to equip the 141 tank Bn. When all our tanks, trucks, jeeps etc. once running it takes 250 gallons of gas a minute. No wonder our taxes are so high. I don’t know for sure how many tanks is in the battalion but each one is worth a quarter of a million. The Range Finder in one alone costs $36,000. [3] I'm going to send a picture of one as soon as I can. They sure ride smooth. 810 HP motor. No shifting either. Automatic transmission. [4]
It's raining again today. It won't be too long before it turns to snow. I think my pen is running out of ink. It did. It's the ballpoint one I got from R. last Christmas.
Love, V.

[1] He's probably referring to the Veterans' Adjustment Act of 1952.  His older brother, Jr., reenlisted and did a second tour in Korea.
[2] He never did return to school.
[3] Those numbers must have seemed mind-boggling at the time to rural folks.  Adjusted for inflation, the numbers astound even now, and this was 1952!  This was the sense of out-of-control spending that Robert Taft warned about. And though Eisenhower prevailed in 1952, even Ike famously warned about the Military-Industrial Complex upon leaving office.
[4] The new M48 Patton class tank.  I linked to their specs here: footnote 5.


  1. That sounds more or less like the letters I sent home.

  2. LL is an old fart :) Thanks again for posting these wonderful letters. It brings me back to a time I never knew, yet still recognize. People these days can't remember what they got last Christmas, I know I can't. Oh wait, I got a big screen TV. Imagine if I'd gotten a pen. I weep not only for our culture but for what it has done to me without my even realizing it.

  3. That sounds more or less like the letters I sent home.
    Really? Maybe I'll look for that in one of your blogs.

    I weep not only for our culture but for what it has done to me without my even realizing it.

    Don't weep dear candle-we need your strength to get us through the coming weeks and months.