GiN Quotes: Government

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Greedy Hand

“If, from the more wretched parts of the old world, we look at those which are in an advanced stage of improvement, we still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised, to furnish new pretenses for revenues and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without tribute.” – Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791

Controlling Men’s Minds

“Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men’s minds.” – Supreme Court Judge Thurgood Marshall

The Greater the State…

“The greater the state, the more wrong and cruel its patriotism, and the greater is the sum of suffering upon which its power is founded.” -Leo Tolstoy

Truth Stands Alone

“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.” -Thomas Jefferson

Individual Responsibility

“It is hard to feel individually responsible with respect to the invisible processes of a huge and distant government.” -John W. Gardner

Definition of Slavery

“For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery.” -Jonathan Swift

Public Reason Alone

“(I)t is the reason alone, of the public, that ought to control and regulate the government.” -James Madison, Federalist No. 49, February 5, 1788

Giving Money and Power to Government

“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” -P. J. O’Rourke

At Best A Necessary Evil

“Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.” -Thomas Paine

Principle of Foreign Policy

“Here is my first principle of foreign policy: good government at home.” -William E. Gladstone

Whole Government Working for You

“There is no credit in being a comedian, when you have the whole Government working for you. All you have to do is to report the facts. I don’t even have to exaggerate.” -Will Rogers, 1935

Robs Peter to Pay Paul

“A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” -George Bernard Shaw

Learn from History

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

Kick It Around

“You have the God-given right to kick the government around-don’t hesitate to do so.”  -Senator Edmund S. Muskie, speech in South Bend, Indiana, September 11, 1968

True Art of Government

“The true art of government consists in not governing too much.” -Jonathan Shipley, February 19, 1773

Bad Government from History

“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government has grown out of too much government.” -Senator John Sharp Williams, Thomas Jefferson: His Permanent Influence on American Institutions, p. 49 (1913)

Like a Big Baby

“Government is like a big baby-an alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.” -Ronald Reagan, governor of California, 1965

Lest Rome Become…

“The budget should be balanced, the treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt, the mobs should be forced to work and not depend on government for subsistence.” -Attributed to Marcus Tulluis Cicero, Congressional Record, April 25, 1968, vol. 114, p. 10645

Spending Public Money

“Nothing is easier than spending the public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody.” -Attributed to Calvin Coolidge. Unverified.

Billion Here…There…

“A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.” – Attributed to Senator Everett M. Dirksen by John Kriegsman

Delicious of All Privileges

“The most delicious of all privileges-spending other people’s money.” -John Randolph, member of Congress

Lord, the Money We Spend

“Lord, the money we do spend on Government and it’s not one bit better than the government we got for one-third the money twenty years ago.”  -Will Rogers

No One Really Understands

“None of us really understands what’s going on with all these numbers.” -David Stockman, director, Office of Management and Budget and former member of Congress

Government Is Best

“That government is best which governs the least.” -Thomas Paine

Not the Best Minds

“The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would steal them away.” -Ronald Reagan

As Bad As the Problem

“The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.” -Milton Friedman

Big Enough to Give

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.” -Thomas Jefferson

Fear the Government

“When the people fear the government, that is tyranny. When the government fears the people, that is liberty.” –Thomas Jefferson

Government It Deserves

“Every country has the government it deserves.” -Joseph de Maistre, letter, August, 1811

Submit to Burdens of the Government

“The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.”  -William E. Borah, speech in the U. S. Senate

Governments Don’t Control Things

“But beyond that, “the full power of centralized government” -this was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize. They knew that governments don’t control things. A government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew, those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.” -Ronald Reagan, Republican  National Convention Address, October 27, 1964

No Government Ever Voluntarily Reduces Its Size

“No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. So governments’ programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.” -Ronald Reagan, Republican National Convention Address, October 27, 1964

Too Much Government=Bad Government

“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”  -Thomas Jefferson

Retain the Right to Bear Arms

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” -Thomas Jefferson

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