"Repeal that [welfare] law, and you will soon see a change in
their manners. ... Six days shalt thou labor, though one of
the old commandments long treated as out of date, will again be
looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase,
and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances
will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring
them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing
all your estates among them."
by:
Benjamin Franklin
(1706-1790) US Founding Father
Source:
On the Price of Corn, and Management of the Poor, London Chronicle, November 29, 1766
http://liberty-tree.ca/research/On_the_Price_of_Corn_and_Management_of_the_Poor
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Stack, Greenwood      
Americans have become lazy and want the government to take care of us all. I think it's too late to persuade the masses that they would be better off taking care of themselves.
 -- Old Cynic, Out West     
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    Henceforth, socialism. Exactly where we are headed. Exactly what America never, ever, was meant to be. It's not too late. Yet. 2008
     -- Nancy, Midwest     
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    Work for everything you've been given. Living off another man's labor, even if it's by due process, is still theft.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Ahh yes, a truth long time perverted. Charitable giving is an issue of the church. When the church mingles with the state, the resulting theocracy becomes despotic.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    It is a shame. In this country take away their freedom and they yawn. Take away welfare and they'd riot.
     -- Dan     
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    Stealing from one to give to another is now done legally, it's called "taxes".
     -- jim k, austin     
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    Bravo Benjamin! 10,000 stars!
     -- Me Again     
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    North Americans became so prosperous due to their ability and natural inclination to produce and be innovative. A socialist welfare / warfare state replaces that with complacency and laziness, by removing any incentive to improve our lives through our own efforts. Nowadays those of us who work just to "survive" criminal levels of taxation are the very ones paying for those who don't work. We're running on a hamster wheel.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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     -- Ron, Raleigh, NC      
    Apparently ol' Ben is talking about shortening the work week and returning to the 4th commandment of the bible. I am acquainted with Sabbath keepers and yes they do find it refreshing to do no work one day a week. The Sabbath for these folks is kept from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Ben was right on most things, including religion and sexuality, and there is much truth in this statement but, standing alone, it is only a half truth.
     -- Dick, Fort Worth     
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    Here is why I fume so much when it comes to these "social Welfare". I work from Monday through Friday, 10 hours a day, and on Saturday about 3 Hours. I earn meager income, just to go by. I have virtually no bank balance. When I see, people living off of unemployment, I boil down inside. Work, and MAKE YOUR LIVING. Living like frogs in a well, hmm, I wonder how US got passed other countries like France and UK after WW to become a number one economic power.
     -- RKA, Wasilla     
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    Excellent. I like what Frankin said preceding this paragraph in this letter to the London Chronicle (link above) criticizing the government's prohibition of exporting goods, fixing the prices in the local market, and taxing farmers to provide for the poor: "I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. -- I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer. There is no country in the world where so many provisions are established for them; so many hospitals to receive them when they are sick or lame, founded and maintained by voluntary charities; so many alms-houses for the aged of both sexes, together with a solemn general law made by the rich to subject their estates to a heavy tax for the support of the poor. Under all these obligations, are our poor modest, humble, and thankful; and do they use their best endeavours to maintain themselves, and lighten our shoulders of this burthen? -- On the contrary, I affirm that there is no country in the world in which the poor are more idle, dissolute, drunken, and insolent. The day you passed that act, you took away from before their eyes the greatest of all inducements to industry, frugality, and sobriety, by giving them a dependance on somewhat else than a careful accumulation during youth and health, for support in age or sickness. In short, you offered a premium for the encouragement of idleness, and you should not now wonder that it has had its effect in the increase of poverty."
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Treat a man like a man and he'll behave like one. If you treat a man like a child, don't expect anything but childish behavior.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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     -- warren, olathe      
    Echoes from over two centuries past that could not be more relevant today. The best thing any one person could do for our nation is the best that they can do for themselves.
     -- Still Working for a Living, Oklahoma City     
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    This quote should have been paired up with the James Madison quote that goes something like this, " I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents" or something like that.
     -- Henry Rearden, Burr Ridge IL     
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    Uncommon, common sense.
     -- Patrick Henry, Red Hill     
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     -- Ronw13, Oregon      
    This quote can be nothing but a whole truth. The intentional damage to society that government handouts have done is indisputable. The idea of using tax payer money to buy the votes of the poor while trapping them in a perpetual cycle of poverty is pure evil. It is a perfect example of a " ends justifies the means" mind set and also proof of a total lack of compassion. Politicians that do harm to their fellow men for the sake of acquiring power are despicable.
     -- warren, olalte     
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    warren nails it!
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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