September 1, 2009

Grover Cleveland

I thought this statistic about Grover Cleveland's veto power from historian Burt Folsom was interesting:

Cleveland, in particular, scorned the strategy of taxing one group to benefit another. He vetoed 414 bills (more than all previous 21 presidents combined) to prevent raids on the treasury. As a result, the U. S. had budget surpluses almost every year from 1870-1900 and American credit and standing in the world rose to new heights. The U. S. promised much economic stability and consistency. Taxes were low and charitable groups raised large sums to care for their fellow men and women who had stumbled into hard times. Our national standard of living grew as our entrepreneurs began to dominate the world in steel, oil, and chemicals.

Notice how the the Executive Branch of the government offset the Legislative Branch.... Notice how those American entrepreneurs who once dominated the world of Steel, Oil and Chemicals have now been pushed out of our country by our own government.

Update: Just a little story about Grover Cleveland from Wikipedia:

In 1887, Cleveland issued his most well-known veto, that of the Texas Seed Bill. After a drought had ruined crops in several Texas counties, Congress appropriated $10,000 to purchase seed grain for farmers there. Cleveland vetoed the expenditure. This is his veto message:

"I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the government, the government should not support the people. The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood."

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