No. 905



Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said, “I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket, trying to lift himself up by the handle.” Now, I believe you will agree that would be a pretty hard thing to do. Yet, there is a mindset present in our nation today held by people who continually seek to find new and creative ways to collect more money from taxpayers, regardless of the approach – front door or back door or whatever they choose to call it. A logical question would follow: Can we not learn from history and profit from the mistakes that those before us have made?
Every so often while watching television I see one of those “on-the-street” interviews where people are asked even the most basic questions -- about our economy, taxes, major players in our nation’s government past and present, and other things that as citizens and taxpayers they should know. I can’t believe some of the answers they give, which is one reason our nation’s economy is in such sad shape. An uninformed electorate is not going to make the best choices, in most cases, when it comes to electing people who have America’s best interests at heart and are qualified to be a leader.
While it may not be completely accurate, I have great faith in the people who read my column as being well informed and committed to preserving our way of life. In this sense I would hope that each of us would do our best to inform others about issues or problems that beg for a solution. It has been said that those who cannot learn from the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them.
A while back, a friend sent me something titled “Great Truths” that contains a good number of quotes from famous people, and concludes with the Five Best Sentences. For fear I will run out of space, let me begin with the latter.
1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. 2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. 3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. 4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. And 5 (which really deserves our full attention): When half the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and then the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end for any nation!
Here are a few more quotes. Former President John Adams said, “In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a congress.” Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.” P.J. O’Rourke, American journalist, has said, “If you think health care is expensive now, just wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.” Our nation’s third president Thomas Jefferson, said, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have.”
For me, the real question becomes, as I said earlier, can we learn from history? When we don’t care enough to be or get informed, we dishonor those who died to win and preserve our freedom, which is the most precious thing we have.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)