"I, however, place economy among the first
and most important republican virtues,
and public debt as the greatest
of the dangers to be feared."
Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
letter to William Plumer, July 21, 1816
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Reader comments about this quote:
Politicians need to stop the spending. The public debt is killing our country.
 -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
    Yes, and military excess for needless and unjustified "war" is the biggest problem, followed by a lack of social justice allowing the robbing of the poor's right to a basic healthy life to pay for the excesses of the rich.
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
    Jefferson was 100% right about a lot of issues. Peace, however, cannot be achieved, nor danger deterred, by failing to respond to real dangers. And health care is not a primary responsibility of government, but of the individual, who would be a lot healthier if he ate better, exercised, and stopped filling his veins and organs with cholesterol, alcohol, processed sugars, and everything his doctor told him to swallow.
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood, FL     
     -- DR, Phil     
    Ditto David Rosenthal. Well Said Where is Jefferson when we need him? Certainly not anywhere in Washington now!
     -- Joni, Newfield, NJ     
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN      
    For an interesting look at this great founding father, read "The Essence of Jefferson", by Martin Larson.
     -- jim k, austin     
    The great nation will be brought down from within, not from without.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    LOVE Jefferson! I think lack of educated people is also a huge danger from within, in our country. If you agree the solution is simple, The Thomas Jefferson Education. Check it out!
     -- M. Brown, Florida     
    As a nation, we decry national debt. But when it comes to leaving the public trough, we only want the other guy to stop eating from it. The military is a public works job, with people reenlisting solely because of the economy. Student loans, defense industries (& workers), grant recipients of all sorts, matching fed funds, business loans, home loans, social security, federal medical plans, and the list goes on forever. The cure to the addiction will be VERY painful, should we ever have the intelligence and fortitude to take it. But we won't. Too many piggies at the trough who are "getting theirs" to ever stop it now. Collapse is the only realistic future now. Jefferson said the one thing he regretted not putting in the Constitution was to make it so the govt could not borrow money. Oddly, we have purposely created a state of affairs that resembles this long ago statement: “So low and hopeless are the finances of the United States, that, the year before last Congress was obliged to borrow money even, to pay the interest of the principal which we had borrowed before. This wretched resource of turning interest into principal, is the most humiliating and disgraceful measure that a nation could take, and approximates with rapidity to absolute ruin...” ---Wm Davie, North Carolina delegate to the 1787-88 Constitutional Convention.
     -- Paul, Gig Harbor, WA     
    Overnight the dollar will collapse and only those in the know will be ready for it - so, buy lots of toilet paper. P.s. David, what happens to the other 20%?
     -- RBESRQ     
    The last twenty years of repulican rule with a capital R paid little heed to this point of view. The economy went south and the debt went through the ceiling.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    Paul I think you are reading your Jefferson piecemeal. He said no government is a real government if it does not have the power to borrow. He also said a government should not have debt that it cannot pay off in 19 years. So let us follow his advice and start paying it off. This means spending cuts and tax hikes. We have more billionaires than ever. Soemthing is wrong here.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    It is clear that neither the Congress or its Executive can be trusted to be 'economical.' Their intent is to indenture us forever for their own gain. Paul speaks brilliantly.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Waffler, Jefferson never said "no government is a real government if it does not have the power to borrow." It is not necessary to twist Jefferson's words to suit your opposite views.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Jeffedrson said and it was recently quoted here that a nation should be able to have debt that it can at least pay off in 19 years, thus government should be able to have debt. It was quoted here and you misread it for your own evil reasons Archer. I think that makes you a liar. The Irtalian National Debt is 99% of their GDP and the Japanese debt is similarly high. I deplore the debt and the policies that put us there but the debt is now not as high as it was at the end of the Second World War. Let us pay it off be responsible and vote for tax hikes. Most people I know are doing very well but the government isn't. Our troops are dying but we live well. What kind of sick people have we become. We are all becoming models of Archer which is sick indeed.!
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    Thomas Jefferson is still the man. It is a horror that the current and recent generations of politicians didn't learn anything about him on their way up besides a couple of handy soundbites.__ David Rosenthal, I agree with you 100%.
     -- A.WOODS, Gloucester     
    Prepare for "Martial Law" If they control the food, they will control you. HR-875 read the proposed bill, in the end it will criminalize seeds, if they are not GMO. http://farmwars.info/?p=257 go to site and read understand this proposed Bill, if it passes, we are in deep trouble. Jefferson prediction is a reality because of "Greed" if they will bankrupt your 401 and hold you responsible for paying off the deficit, leave you without a resource to obtain a job, leave you hungry and homeless, they will declare Martial Law, and they will lead you to Concentration Camps.
     -- Anonymous, Keaau     
    I would be interested in learning where Waffler found the "Documentation" to quote Thomas Jefferson, so I can see it for myself. as far as everyone living well in these United States, Waffler obviously has his head in the sand. The real truth of whom is behind the problems of this nation lies, top down, #1 "The International Bankers", #2 Our own Government, #3 The people that refuse to research our problems and continue with their own way of thinking, example: the two party system which is owned by the bankers and the government. Wake up Americans before it is too late.
     -- R. Stover, Ellijay GA     
     -- nilesmc, terra firma      
    And today (thank you "Bush Boys" for the new vogue deceit) we are rampant with RINO's who have no idea what "republican" even means.
     -- J.Callihan, Atlanta     
    Health care becomes the responsibility of the government when the government allows industry to pollute and poison our air and water and food.
     -- dawn, Portland     
    Unfortunately, with todays socialist, unconstitutional economic policies: "If there were no debts in our money system, there wouldn't be any money." -- Marriner Eccles, Governor of the Federal Reserve. Is that sad or what?
     -- Brian, New Harbor     
    Here are a couple quotes that possibly are the source of Mr. Waffler's earlier comments: "Though much an enemy to the system of borrowing, yet I feel strongly the necessity of preserving the power to borrow. Without this, we might be overwhelmed by another nation, merely by the force of its credit." --Thomas Jefferson to the Commissioners of the Treasury, 1788. ME 6:423 "[Using], for instance, the table of M. de Buffon, [it can be determined that] the half of those of 21 years and upwards living at any one instant of time will be dead in 18 years, 8 months, or say 19 years as the nearest integral number. Then 19 years is the term beyond which neither the representatives of a nation nor even the whole nation itself assembled can validly extend a debt... With respect to future debts, would it not be wise and just for [a] nation to declare in [its] constitution that neither the legislature nor the nation itself can validly contract more debt than they may pay within their own age, or within the term of 19 years? And that all future contracts shall be deemed void as to what shall remain unpaid at the end of 19 years from their date?" --Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1789. Papers 15:394 http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff1340.htm
     -- Anonymous, Brooklyn, NY     
    Hey, "Anonymous" from VA. If you think any of the Founding Fathers ever gave "social justice" a thought you are a complete idiot. They believed in - Equal justice under the law and the right to equally succeed or fail based on your own doings. No socialist or commie values or beliefs.
     -- Greg, Cincinnati     
    Jefferson did not deal in fiat currency.
    When a country owed money, it owed GOLD.

    If America owed gold, yes, we'd be screwed.
    Anyone terrified of 16.3 trillion fiat dollars of "debt" should ask... which countries are hoarding the 16.3 trill?

    None. Not one country has a surplus. So what the hell is national debt if every country owes?

    Answering that question will lead you to the truth no one wants you to know and it is NOT the debt Jefferson speaks of.

     -- Anonymous, Olney, MD     
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