Who said that?

“civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all”.

It was Adam Smith! Yes, as Esping Andersen says ‘Adam Smith sometimes read like Karl Marx’
– page 236, tome II, The Wealth of Nations (1776), 1961 edition E. Cannan. London: Methuen.
– page 10, the three worlds of welfare capitalism, 1990)

Churchill sums up the problem of assessing politicians’ performance

With the publication of Tony Blair’s autobiography it may be worthwhile remembering a famous quote by Churchill: “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it”. But then you would be missing crusty revelations if you were not to read it; for instance: “The truth is, MPs were underpaid and expenses were used to top up income: but you can’t say it”. Well, with the success of this book there won’t be a need to top up his income…

Solow on neoclassical economics

Brad delong’s blog has this wonderful quote of Bob Solow explaining why it’s not worth engaging with neoclassical economists:

Suppose someone sits down where you are sitting right now and announces to me that he is Napoleon Bonaparte. The last thing I want to do with him is to get involved in a technical discussion of cavalry tactics at the Battle of Austerlitz. If I do that, I’m getting tacitly drawn into the game that he is Napoleon Bonaparte.

Quotes from Obama’s Full State of the Union Address

“Next, we can put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow. From the first railroads to the interstate highway system, our nation has always been built to compete. There’s no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains, or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products.”
“From some on the right, I expect we’ll hear a different argument – that if we just make fewer investments in our people, extend tax cuts for wealthier Americans, eliminate more regulations, and maintain the status quo on health care, our deficits will go away. The problem is, that’s what we did for eight years. That’s what helped lead us into this crisis. It’s what helped lead to these deficits. And we cannot do it again.”
“But we can’t stop there. It’s time to require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client with my Administration or Congress. And it’s time to put strict limits on the contributions that lobbyists give to candidates for federal office. Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.”
“Unfortunately, too many of our citizens have lost faith that our biggest institutions – our corporations, our media, and yes, our government – still reflect these same values. Each of these institutions are full of honorable men and women doing important work that helps our country prosper. But each time a CEO rewards himself for failure, or a banker puts the rest of us at risk for his own selfish gain, people’s doubts grow. Each time lobbyists game the system or politicians tear each other down instead of lifting this country up, we lose faith. The more that TV pundits reduce serious debates into silly arguments, and big issues into sound bites, our citizens turn away.”
To read the full text

Samuelson on Inflation and partisan politics three decades ago

“We tend to get our recessions during Republican administrations…The difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is the difference in their constituencies. It’s class difference… the Democrats constitute the people, by and large, who are around median inomes or below. These are ones whom the Republicans want to pau the price and burden of fighting inflation. The Democrats [are] willing to run with some inflation [to increase employment]; the Republicans are not”

Source: Samuelson P. A. (1977) Some Dilemmas of Econonmic Policy. Challenge 20: 30-31