Ohio Roundtable: The Public Square - Jefferson on the Economy
Jefferson on the Economy
Here's a little history quiz: Which great American president built Monticello? Looking
for a clue? Well, you'll find it on those nickels in your purse or your pocket.
Thomas Jefferson was the greatest architect of all American presidents. His home at
Monticello is still one of the Nation's great treasures.
President Jefferson, who also helped draft the Declaration of Independence, had a few
words about building the Nation's economy. In the midst of so much debate these days over
taxes, and a balanced budget, and welfare reform, perhaps the words of America's third
president and founding father might provide some insight.
Thomas Jefferson said, "I place economy among the first and most important virtues
and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared. To preserve our independence, we
must not let our rulers load us with public debt. We must make our choice between economy
and liberty or confusion and servitude. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our
meat and drink, in our necessities and comforts, in our labor and in our amusements. If we
can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of
'caring for them,' they will be happy."
The words of Thomas Jefferson, the third American president - one of our Nation's
greatest architects and someone who had quite a bit to say about the economy.