"We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into
prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying
to lift himself up by the handle."
by:
Sir Winston Churchill
(1874-1965) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Date:
1903
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Bruno, Paris      
 -- Jeff Woodrum, North Vernon, Ind.      
Perhaps our legislators should place buckets on their feet intead of their heads.
 -- john-douglas, nassau     
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    Well put. A very good saying from a great Prime Minister. Not to mention that it is True.
     -- KS., Queensbury,NY.     
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    Great and True words from a great man.
     -- KS, Queensbury,NY.     
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    Ah, but taxes have nothing to do with prosperity... they have everything to do with the support of society by those who have benefited richly from society. As both Acts 2:44-47 and Marx teach us: "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need."
     -- Anonymous, reston, VA US     
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    Brilliant. Someone should explain this to Europe's finance ministers.
     -- Michael, Zwolle, Netherlands     
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    Good quote. A nation must first decide its social structure and direction. Then it must decide in what way it will tax its citizens and trade partners in order to support those social goals. Taxation comes in many forms: direct taxes, inflation, discrimination and special interest group influence. It is the duty of each generation to pay for the society that they want and not pass the cost on to future generations. -- Dave Ziegler, US
     -- Anonymous     
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     -- Anonymous      
    A from Reston summed it up for the godless liberals, the government is their church and their religion is to be forced on all unbelievers.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Classic. ;-)
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Reston is right again.
     -- Dick, Fort Worth     
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    Great quote! A, Reston is a modern liberal which means a flat out communist. To equate the point of a gun collectivism of Marx which has never worked and never will, to the voluntary communalism of a group of Christians is both absurd and the epitome of hypocrisy for the God hating communist. He is probably a college professor teaching the use of this defective product to our young. Only those insulated in the womb of tenured academia would still quote Marx for some reason other then humor. To summarize A, Reston and Dick are not Americans.
     -- helorat, Milton     
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    Reston is WRONG again. If my money goes toward taxes, I don't have it to invest, save for retirement, purchase needed items for myself or family, and generally spend to support other businesses. Prosperity is spending my money how I want. Was that Groucho Marx? hahaha ... MY ability is great, but WHY would I work hard only to have my money taken from me and given to someone who is as capable of working hard but finds it easier to simply be lazy? Those with needs (i.e. welfare) go from needing basic food and shelter to whining for steak and satin sheets ... that is as long as someone else is paying for it. Rather like Congress, who have a fantastic retirement plan. When they retire, each month they will get many times what I make each year (i.e. they only need hamburger and cotton, yet they take steak & lobster and silk & furs). This is why the USSR collapsed ... SOCIALISM DOESN'T WORK! What will I have when I retire? Probably cans of dog food and thread bare jeans. LOL
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
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     -- Anonymous      
    Jefferson and Franklin agree. Why aren't we listening to some of the brightest minds in history?
     -- Anonymous     
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    TRUE !!! LIBERALS SUCK !!!!!!!!!!!!!
     -- David, Casa Grande,AZ.     
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    Anonymous, Reston, VA US makes a correct statement. The sad part is they believe it is also valid. To benefit richly from society is translated into: worked to get a business off the ground; worked endless hours each week, each month, each year to get the business to succeed and in the black; worked tirelessly end on end to contribute to society only to be rewarded with more "contributions" required by law. I suppose that one who richly benefits from society is not paying back that society by providing jobs, economic influx and stability and providing in an otherwise consumer-based economy something else for consumers to buy is enough. Let's force them to pay more back to the society who refuses to do the same. The main problem with liberals as the term applies in this century is they actually wholeheartedly believe it is the duty of business owners and businesses alike to "give back to the society" while professing none do that without forced taxes.
     -- Ruhl, Atlanta     
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    Of course Sir Winston was correct and some one needs to say "you cannot borrow yourself into prosperity either" The great Vladimir Lenin said: "The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation." If you look up bourgeoisie in the dictionary you will find that it means the middle class.
     -- Byron, Visalia, CA     
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    Reston makes the same parsing as most liberals. The problem with liberals today is that they have all these plans for government largess (Of course those plans do NOT include their own personal wealth), as in the case of our newly elected hyphenated leader whose immediate family lives in poverty while he lives high on the hog. As he gets ready to steal from us to give to others, a choice he obviously decided against when it came to his own family, to Mr. Obama, I say, charity begins at home!
     -- Gunwise, Allen Park MI     
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    To the Marxist above, “Those who benefit from society should not be forced to pay for those who drag it down. A nation without incentive to succeed is a nation destined to blind mediocrity. Foolish is the man who believes his tax dollars go toward progressing another man's position in life rather than keeping him there indefinitely. Prosperity is based upon incentive; incentive to succeed, to live confidently, and to prosper. Redistribute a man’s success, and teach the masses nothing but mediocrity.”
     -- Anonymous, Alexandria, VA     
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     -- Anonymous      
     -- Anonymous      
    To "Anonymous in Reston," In the spirit of Dr. Phil, I'm sure he would ask Marx, "How did that work for you?'
     -- Mark, Clayton, NC     
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    Reston is wrong on a couple of points. First, "their" is not singular, and the Bible doesn't mix tense. Second, read 1 Timothy 5 to see what the scriptures say about the dole. These verses show us that welfare is destructive. Even the church dole isn't to be spread out to very many. The New Testament is full of commands to be charitable, but those are all acts of immediate, emergency charity, not the dole. They are also personal. State sponsored welfare is theft, not charity.
     -- Jason, Greenville, TX     
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     -- Anonymous      
     -- Anonymous, South Dakota      
    After yesterdays vote I often wonder why we never listened to this man. he was right about Hitler. Right about Stalin and communism, right about Muslim extremism and we are soon to find out he was right about economics and national healthcare.
     -- Brian, Bowie, MD     
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    A from Reston misses the point in Acts that "all...were together and had all things common. v 45 ...as every man had need" which had the implication that every believer had already contributed something. Quite the opposite of today's situation.
     -- Scott, Pensacola     
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    I am trying to find the original source for this quote ... this is the only source I have found, and it is talking about Free Trade & only uses the 'tax itself into prosperity' part as an analogy to support Free Trade. "Will the shutting out of foreign goods increase the total amount of wealth in this country? Can foreign nations grow rich at our expense by selling us goods under cost price? Can a people tax themselves into prosperity? Can a man stand in a bucket and lift himself up by the handle? " --Speech at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, England (1904) "For Free Trade", as cited in Churchill by Himself (2008), Ed. Langworth, PublicAffairs, p. 387 ISBN 1586486381
     -- Scott, Michigan     
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    Churchill saw the evil in socialism and was repelled by it. The difference in Marxism vs Christian generosity is the the generosity of Christ and His followers come from a glad and giving heart for which Jesus, Himself, will reward the giver in every good way. The Marxist view is that a select few privileged members of the upper crust will take from one who does well, at eventual point of the sword, and give it unto they who support them in their reign.
     -- Hank, Groveland, FL     
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    Remember the context of this from Churchill. He was arguing his support of "free trade" for Britain, and against import duties or tariffs. The tax being the tariff on imports. So far as I know he did not apply his analogy beyond this, so using his quote in other context is intentionally misleading.
     -- Jack Alan, Exeter NH     
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     -- Tom, Castlewood, VA      
    "Reston's" confabulation of Marx and Christianity is farsical. The fact is that charity must come from *within* not from the state, and in 2 Thes 3:10 it is *commanded*: "...that if any would not work, neither should he eat." So if you can work you are supposed to quote.
     -- Karl, Nirvana     
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    reston is a moronic twit.
     -- Cut spending!, America     
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     -- Anonymous      
    Almost every European finance minister (and a good few others too) should be forced, on proposing to increase any tax, to respond to this quotation in public, on the record in no more than 100 words!
     -- James, Vienna, Austria     
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    Reston fails again. Taxation goes straight to the interest on loans made to the Federal Government for a debt which will NEVER be repaid, which will NEVER be held accountable and for which NO ONE is responsible. It is economic tyranny. And quoting the parasite Marx? Sad sad sad...
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Reston is right on about Marx but missed the boat a bit with the acts quote. The acts quote was meant for the church. Those giving were to be doing so voluntarily and the local church was to be doling it out. Still imperfect as people are still involved but at least one had some control over the dollars given as they could choose the ministry to give to.
     -- tom, Hopkins SC     
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    After Restons comment, is there any doubt that the man is a communist. I thought for awhile that he was only a fellow traveler or a useful dupe, but now he has removed all doubt. Dick must be attending party meetings also if he agrees with Reston.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
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    As to the quote, Winston is right and Obama is wrong. King "O" wants to raise taxes and has the gall to tell us that this is the debt solution. He knows it isn't but Socialists like Obama love high taxes and he has no intention of solving the debt situation. He loves it.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
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    Always has and always will be the case. Why is it the morons (BO) we elect forget that once they are elected? Perhaps we are the morons for electing them again and again.
     -- Ken, Spokane     
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    How the Norwegians do it? You don't see beggars on the streets and they don't mind paying a high tax rate in order to care for the less fortunate...We have a long way to go here in America in order to see Tax Reform...
     -- Charlie, New York     
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     -- Charlie Torrini, new york      
    Truer words were never spoken. Reston admires Karl Marx? Karl Marx was a lazy, slovenly parasite of a human being who if it wasn't for the charity of others his wife and children would have starved! Reston - are you both a Marxist and a parasite?
     -- Mary - MI     
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    You know no one who pays taxes! We cannot pay taxes with credit. Over 33 years ago, the Federal Reserve said their system "works (us) only with credit." Advise no one to fight tax illusions. You can be jailed with no law that requires us to file returns. I was and many others were. A better battle that will not get you jailed is fluoride. Search: nteu fluoride
     -- Dave Wilber, St. Louis     
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     -- Michael      
    I'm reminded of a sing-song saying when I was a kid that makes me think of politicians. "My bucket has a hole in it. My bucket has a hole in it. My bucket has a hole in it, cain't buy no beer." Some people and parties try to fill a bucket with a hole in it as well as buy beer with tax-payer money.
     -- Beverly Owings, Escondido     
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    1938 Germany, six and one half million dead souls just a few years later. I think that soon, many Americans will not understand when the TSA agent says (get on the train) and the next tells you to remove your clothes. I do not need continue this dialog. We have seen this before, substitute Britain and the King, in the Declaration of Independence, for The Federal Government and The President and deliver it to the White House. Is there any difference? I seek comment!
     -- B Pilcher, Vidor,texas     
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    Winston Churchill once again displays the art of wit is brevity. Pithy and precise with humor to spare. And, it is absolutely true. Does anyone know of a truly Marxist nation that is prosperous? Often they feign prosperity by blackmailing the world militarily, but there is no such thing as break even prosperity. And as someone else pointed out the voluntary acts of some Christians should not be used to justify confiscatory Marxism practiced by official Atheists.
     -- Wendell, Juneau, AK     
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    I love how liberals always bring up Norway as an example of how well Socialism can work. Note however that Norway is overwhelmingly White and has a very low historic unemployment rate. They also have very restricted immigration and spend next to nothing on defense. They were also one of the first nations to fall to the Nazi's in early World War II. Mostly white with little immigration and a largely homogenious society. Hardly a model according to modern American liberals who loathe America for being too white and who use immigration to create a permanent underclass that will always vote for them.
     -- Wendell, Juneau, AK     
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    It is a mystery that someone could go thumbs down on this quote and also be able to read and write. Obviously they are incapable of thought. As for Norway, they could not survive with out other countries subsidizing them. You might consider them to be on our welfare roles. For that matter most of Europe has only survived its socialist habits because we foot most of the bill for their defense. Even at that they are collapsing because it does not work.
     -- warrren, olathe     
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     -- liberty, freedom      
    "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need." Great concept! My 59 year old sister in-law has worked under the table as a professional hair dresser for 30 years. She has now lives in a beautiful condo rent free, gets free food, free utilities, free medical, dental, and vision, plus 1600/month cash. She can work but says "Why should I Work? The goverment should take care of me." She has also trained her daughter to do the same thing. Her daughter is 30 and also is retired. Nice to know that if I want to smoke pot and drink all day the government will make it posible.
     -- Anon, pdx     
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    oh yes he was right.
    poor poor world after Winston!!!!!!

     -- Erwin, Aalst Belgium     
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    A, Reston, VA.....believes the lazy should benefit from the ambitious and driven? Who let that Commy in here? In that case moron, work away......work.....away while I collect a wellfare cheque (which I have never done in my life).
    "the support of society by those who have benefited richly from society".....so society drives me? gives me the ambition and know how and do all to succeed?
    Holy fuck man.....you've gotta be a Senator.....embezzling taxpayers money to pay for that Bentley. Or a Liberal.
    Yeah, that explains it.
     -- Edwin, Gainsborough     
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    Maybe the legislators in Illinois would enjoy this quotation.
     -- Mike, Lena     
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    When we have nothing in banks but numbers, taxes do nothing but regulate our use of numbers.
    In 1920, John Maynard wrote: "If governments should refrain from regulation, the worthlessness of the money becomes apparent and the fraud upon the public can be concealed no longer." Our misleaders have no need for money when slaves believe they are paid with paper. If you fight the Imaginary Revenue Scum, you can be jailed and see your home and auto seized. BUT THEY COLLECT MONEY FROM NO ONE!!! Do you know a paradox when you see one? YOU JUST READ ONE!
     -- Dave Wilber, Los Angeles     
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    Reston and Dick are two worthless communists who think people are social insects.
     -- cal, Lewisville, TX     
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