"To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it." —Thomas Jefferson
"The collection of taxes which are not absolutely required, which do not beyond reasonable doubt contribute to the public welfare, is only a species of legalized larceny. The wise and correct course to follow in taxation is not to destroy those who have already secured success, but to create conditions under which everyone will have a better chance to be successful." —Calvin Coolidge
"The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If 'Thou shalt not covet' and 'Thou shalt not steal' were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free." —John Adams
"Throughout most of American history, taxes were levied principally on consumption, rather than income... In the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton had this to say, 'It is a signal advantage of taxes on articles of consumption that they contain in their own nature a security against excess... If duties are too high, they lessen the consumption; the collection is eluded; and the product to the Treasury is not so great as when they are confined within proper and moderate bounds.' Hamilton was thinking here about direct taxes on consumption, such as the sales taxes levied by most state governments. He was right in thinking that there is a limit to such taxes. Experience shows that general sales tax rates much above 10 percent are very hard to collect. They encourage smuggling, black markets, evasion, production for personal use, substitution for untaxed commodities and other activities that erode the tax base." —Bruce Bartlett
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, followed always by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. —Alexander Fraser Tytler
"Extreme taxation, excessive controls, oppressive government competition with business...frustrated minorities and forgotten Americans are not the products of free enterprise. They are the residue of centralized bureaucracy, of government by a self-anointed elite." —Ronald Reagan
"But I am of the opinion that a centralized administration is fit only to enervate the nations in which it exists, by incessantly diminishing their local spirit. Although such an administration can bring together at a given moment, on a given point, all the disposable resources of a people, it injures the renewal of those resources." —Alexis de Tocqueville
John F. Kennedy addressing the Economic Club of New York, 14 December 1962:
I know you share my conviction that proud as we are of its progress, this nation's economy can and must do even better than it has done in the last five years. Our choice, therefore, boils down to one of doing nothing and thereby risking a widening gap between our actual and potential growth... or taking action at the federal level to raise our entire economy to a new and higher level of business activity...
"The most direct and significant kind of federal action aiding economic growth is to make possible an increase in private consumption and investment demand—to cut the fetters which hold back private spending. In the past, this could be done... by increasing federal expenditures more rapidly than necessary—but such a course would soon demoralize both the government and our economy. If government is to retain the confidence of the people, it must not spend more than can be justified on grounds of national need or spent with maximum efficiency, and I shall say more on this in a moment.
"The final and best means of strengthening demand among consumers and business is to reduce the burden on private income and the deterrents to private initiative which are imposed by our present tax system—and this administration pledged itself last summer to an across-the-board, top to bottom cut in personal and corporate income taxes...
"I am not talking about a 'quickie' or temporary tax cut. Nor am I talking about giving the economy a mere shot in the arm, to ease some temporary complaint. I am talking about the accumulated evidence of the last five years that our present tax system... exerts too heavy a drag on growth in peacetime—that it siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power—that it reduces the financial incentives for personal effort, investment and risk taking.
"[We should reduce taxes] by a sufficiently early date and a sufficiently large amount to do the job required. Early action could give us extra leverage, added results and important insurance against recession. Too large a tax cut, of course, could result in inflation and insufficient future revenues—but the greater danger is a tax cut too little or too late to be effective.
"I do not underestimate the obstacles which the Congress will face in enacting such legislation. No one will be satisfied. Everyone will have his own approach, his own bill, his own reductions. A high order of restraint and determination will be required if the possible is not to wait on the perfect.
"This nation can afford to reduce taxes... but we cannot afford to do nothing. For on the strength of our free economy rests the hope of all free nations."