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On Budgets, Recession, and Money: Political Quotations

Yesterday saw the announcement of the latest UK Budget by Chancellor Alistair Darling. It has, of course, been all over the news for days here in Britain, so I thought it was the perfect time to bring you a selection of entries from The Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations, compiled by Antony Jay. My favourite ten quotations concerning budgets, recession, and money are below.

“Balancing the budget is like going to heaven. Everybody wants to do it, but nobody wants to do what you have to do to get there!”
Phil Gramm (American Republican politician), in a television interview, 16 September 1990

“In this country we have got to look upon Budget promises as made of the same stuff as lovers’ oaths.”
Lord Salisbury (British Prime Minister 1855-6, 1886-92, 1895-1902)

“Recession is when you have to tighten the belt. Depression is when there is no belt to tighten. We are probably in the next degree of collapse when there are no trousers as such.”
Boris Pankin (Russian diplomat), speaking about Russia in The Independent, 25 July 1992

“It’s a recession when your neighbour loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose yours.”
Harry S. Truman (US President 1945-53), in Observer, 13 April 1958

“You cannot now, if you ever could, spend your way out of a recession.”
James Callaghan (British Prime Minister, 1976-9), at a Labour Party Conference, 28 September 1976

“Nothing is easier than spending the public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody.”
Calvin Coolidge (US President 1923-9), attributed

“The state is or can be master of money, but in a free society it is master of very little else.”
William Henry Beveridge (British economist), Voluntary Action, 1948

“That most delicious of all privileges – spending other people’s money.”
John Randolph (American politician), quoted in John Randolph of Roanoake, 1923

“No one in this world, so far as I know – and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me – has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of plain people.”
H.L. Mencken (American journalist), in Chicago Tribune, 19 September 1926

“There is no art which one government sooner learns than of draining money from the pockets of the people.”
Adam Smith (Scottish philosopher and economist), Wealth of Nations, 1776

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