Friday, October 21, 2011

Supporting The People

"Though the people support the government, the government should not support the people." Grover Cleveland

Cleveland is the only president to serve two nonconsecutive terms. He was of the wing of the Democrat Party called classical liberals, with the word "liberal" meaning nothing like it does today. A classical liberal favors liberty as it relates to individualism, small gubment, free trade, free market economics and a strict interpretation of the Constitution.

Known for his honesty, those beliefs got him into trouble and he lost his first bid at re-election. Cleveland used the veto pen more than any president prior to that time. He favored the Constitution and weighed each bill as it came to him on its relation to the Constitution and if he felt it was not constitutional vetoed it! So he vetoed a lot.

As to the quote above, he got into trouble by vetoing hundreds of requests for pension grants for Civil War Veterans. These had already been rejected by the Pension Bureau, a bi-partisan council made up of war veterans and others. Congress had overturned these rejections as its constituents pled their cases to their congressmen and reissued the pensions. But Cleveland felt that Congress had no constitutional right to overturn the Pension Bureau, considering those rejected pensions to be pork, and vetoed them. He also vetoed the Texas Seed Bill, which provided seed money to Texas farmers whose crops had been ruined by drought. That made him more unpopular. The final nail in his re-election coffin was his favoring low tariffs, which many felt contributed to an economic decline at the end of the century. (Low tariffs did not... what actually did was bank failures due to loosely administered, easy-loan policies. Sound familiar?)

He was true to his principle that the gubment should not support the people. And that the people should be free from gubment influence as much as possible.

Where is Cleveland when we need him?

P.s. As a classical liberal, I am very liberal in my economic thinking and very conservative politically. But you already knew that, didn't you!

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