Words of Wisdom

Sometimes I like to collect quotes from people much wiser than I. Here are a few of my favorites, from some well-known American patriots:

“We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.” –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Samuel Kercheval, 1816

“National defense is one of the cardinal duties of a statesman.” –John Adams

“You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream — the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order — or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, ‘The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.” –Ronald Reagan

“The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning knife.” –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Spencer Roane, 1821

“[A] rigid economy of the public contributions and absolute interdiction of all useless expenses will go far towards keeping the government honest and unoppressive.” –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Marquis de Lafayette, 1823

“It is a wise rule and should be fundamental in a government disposed to cherish its credit, and at the same time to restrain the use of it within the limits of its faculties, never to borrow a dollar without laying a tax in the same instant for paying the interest annually, and the principal within a given term; and to consider that tax as pledged to the creditors on the public faith.”–Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Wayles Eppes, 1813

“But with respect to future debt; would it not be wise and just for that nation to declare in the constitution they are forming that neither the legislature, nor the nation itself can validly contract more debt, than they may pay within their own age, or within the term of 19 years.” –Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, 1789

“No pecuniary consideration is more urgent, than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt: on none can delay be more injurious, or an economy of time more valuable.” –George Washington, Message to the House of Representatives,1793

“As on the one hand, the necessity for borrowing in particular emergencies cannot be doubted, so on the other, it is equally evident that to be able to borrow upon good terms, it is essential that the credit of a nation should be well established.” –Alexander Hamilton, Report on Public Credit, 1790

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