Ronald Reagan, 40th president of the United States, died six years ago this past June 4. I spend a lot of time reading famous quotes, and while reading his, I was struck by the timelessness of so many of them. Think what you will about his politics, he certainly was “The Great Communicator”.
President Reagan’s quotes on government:
In his first inaugural speech, which he wrote, Reagan stated, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”
Along the same line, Reagan believed that “Man is not free unless government is limited.”
“Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.”
President Reagan’s quotes on the economy:
His quotes on the economy are well known, possibly because they ring true to this day.
“Recession is when a neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours.”
“Unemployment insurance is a pre-paid vacation for freeloaders.”
“Welfare’s purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.”
“The taxpayer – that’s someone who works for the federal government but doesn’t have to take the civil service examination.”
And then there is my own personal favorite,
“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
President Reagan’s quotes on politics and politicians:
“How can a president not be an actor?”
“I’ve never been able to understand why a Republican contributor is a ‘fat cat’ and a Democratic contributor of the same amount of money is a ‘public-spirited philanthropist’.”
“I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress.”
“Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book.”
And then there is this one, which is especially striking these days.
“It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.”
President Reagan’s quotes on war, freedom, and society:
“They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong.”
“We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”
“History teaches that war begins when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.”
“Some people wonder all their lives if they’ve made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.”
“Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.”
“Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have.”
“We are never defeated unless we give up on God.”
“Today we did what we had to do. They counted on America to be passive. They counted wrong.”
“We can not play innocents abroad in a world that is not innocent.”
And finally, the quote I’d love to see on a bumper sticker.
“Here’s my strategy on the (cold) war. We win. They lose.”
RIP American President Ronald Reagan