Sunday, June 06, 2010

Clark's Voice From the Past Still Relevant

J. Reuben Clark spoke in 1938 about debt. It is the talk with the famous quote that "interest never sleeps" that you've probably heard. There is a lot of really good and thought provoking stuff in there.

Speaking about retirement in old age:

"But it is a far cry from this wise principle to saying that every person reaching a fixed age shall thereafter be kept by the state in idleness. Society owes to no man a life of idleness, no matter what his age. I have never seen one line in Holy Writ that calls for, or even sanctions this. In the past no free society has been able to support great groups in idleness and live free."

About public expenditures and debt:

"I refer to the enormous expenditures of the people's money and to the ever-growing feeling and belief that a great group of the people can live off the public without working.
I should like to say again that neither the State nor the Federal Government has any funds except only such funds as it obtains from the people. Neither of them has anywhere a great pile of gold to which it can go for its money. You taxpayers must furnish it all; and every citizen is a taxpayer, either by direct or indirect taxation. Whenever governments borrow, they borrow from the taxpayers who must pay back or repudiate. To pay back large borrowings causes great hardship and burdening sacrifices; to repudiate brings economic and sometimes political chaos."

And finally this provocative thought about slavery:

"Now, as to the other point, the living of one large group without work on the industry, thrift, and sacrifice of the rest of the people. I say again this is virtual slavery for those who furnish the livelihood for the idlers. I know very well I shall be accused of being harsh, cruel, unsympathetic. I am not. But I consider the welfare of the whole people as superior to the comfortable or luxurious idleness of the part."


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