Yes...Damn forefathers were nuts
No...How dare you say such a thing
Uh...Those are fake letters,and you have a funny hat
Socialism has evolved since then
Talk is cheap, and quotations mean crap. I could say I'm Queen Elizabeth and it doesn't make me a monarchist.
Reagan headed the largest corporate tax cut in history. That would be like me putting on the royal crown and waving from Buckingham.
It seems likely that they were discussing their thoughts with each other, much like we do on this forum - only far faster in our case.
Hell, from one perspective, I think he has a point.
But on the other hand, I can see possible issues with that approach.
I've always thought that a flat-rate tax (with, perhaps, some exemptions in some areas) would be better than a progressive tax.
But who knows?
Sometimes I think we're alone. Sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the thought is staggering. ~ R. Buckminster Fuller
What is being discussed here is the 1785 letter from Jefferson to Madison.
I think it's much fairer to contextualize the lonely quote.
Here is the whole letter:
Letter to James Madison - October 28, 1785 - Wikisource
Jefferson was referring to France in the beginning then to how it should play out in our country.
and at least the full paragraph in question.
Clearly Jefferson is against Concentrated wealth and power which obviously makes for a poor democracy."..The property of this country is absolutely concentered in a very few hands, having revenues of from half a million of guineas a year downwards. These employ the flower of the country as servants, some of them having as many as 200 domestics, not labouring. They employ also a great number of manufacturers, and tradesmen, and lastly the class of labouring husbandmen. But after all these comes the most numerous of all the classes, that is, the poor who cannot find work. I asked myself what could be the reason that so many should be permitted to beg who are willing to work, in a country where there is a very considerable proportion of uncultivated lands? These lands are kept idle mostly for the aske of game. It should seem then that it must be because of the enormous wealth of the proprietors which places them above attention to the increase of their revenues by permitting these lands to be laboured. I am conscious that an equal division of property is impracticable. But the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property, only taking care to let their subdivisions go hand in hand with the natural affections of the human mind. The descent of property of every kind therefore to all the children, or to all the brothers and sisters, or other relations in equal degree is a politic measure, and a practicable one. Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise. Whenever there is in any country, uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labour and live on. If, for the encouragement of industry we allow it to be appropriated, we must take care that other employment be furnished to those excluded from the appropriation. If we do not the fundamental right to labour the earth returns to the unemployed. It is too soon yet in our country to say that every man who cannot find employment but who can find uncultivated land, shall be at liberty to cultivate it, paying a moderate rent. But it is not too soon to provide by every possible means that as few as possible shall be without a little portion of land. The small landholders are the most precious part of a state.".."
This phrase also very telling:
"...But the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property.."
I think gives incite into what he would approve of today in the way of relief for the poor/unemployed/progressive tax/estate tax.
and it should be noted, the French Revolution Started just 4 years after this letter describing great wealth inequality in that country and seeking it avoid it in ours.
PS: the poll choices above are goofy.
This letter should get a more serious airing and I may do so in the future.
Last edited by mbig; 01-31-12 at 11:22 AM.
I'm personally sick of not being able to dunk a basketball because of racism.
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.... John Rogers