Monday, February 18, 2008

Keep Cool in 2008

On the masthead here at Monkeydarts we brandish a pithy quote from one of the two greatest Presidents of the United States in the 20th Century. It's been there since the beginning of our site many decades... er, weeks ago. In honor of President's Day here are a few more wise words from Calvin Coolidge--

On persistence: "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan 'press-on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."

The party that will most likely be in control of the legislative and executive branches next year favors the largest tax increase in US history. Calvin was a supply-sider before people used the term. Coolidge understood the "Laffer Curve" before Art Laffer was on this earth. Along those lines: "The method of raising revenue ought not to impede the transaction of business; it ought to encourage it. I am opposed to extremely high rates, because they produce little or no revenue, because they are bad for the country, and, finally, because they are wrong... The wise and correct course to follow in taxation and in all other economic legislation is not to destroy those who have already secured success but to create conditions under which every one will have a better chance to be successful."

As we see the ugly rise of anti-trade, hate-the-successful, nitwit populism in American politics once again, try this from the The Cool One: "Government cannot relieve from toil. The normal must take care of themselves. Self-government means self-support. Ultimately property rights and personal rights are the same thing. History reveals no civilized people among whom there was not a highly educated class and large aggregations of wealth. Large profits mean large payrolls."

In this election year, a bit of wisdom about our political class: "The people who start to elect a man to get what he can for his district will probably find they have elected a man who will get what he can for himself."

Coolidge presided over an amazing period of peace and prosperity. When he chose not to run again his popularity was such that he clearly would have won in a landslide. Instead he said, "We draw our Presidents from the people. It is a wholesome thing for them to return to the people. I came from them. I wish to be one of them again."