Ronald Reagan Quotes

“Some people live their entire lifetime and wonder if they ever made a difference to the world. Marines don’t have that problem.”

“It’s been my responsibility, my duty and very much my honor to serve as Commander in Chief of this nation’s Armed Forces these past eight years. That is the most sacred, most important ask of the Presidency. Since our nation’s founding, the primary obligation of the national government has been the common defense of these United States. But as I have sought to perform this sacred task as best I could, I have done so with the knowledge that my role in this day-to-day-to-day effort, from sunrise to sunrise, every moment of every hour of every day of every year, is a glancing one compared to yours. … But it’s not just your fellow Americans who owe you a debt. No, I believe many more do, for I believe that military service in the Armed Forces of the United States is a profound form of service to all humankind. You stand engaged in an effort to keep America safe at home, to protect our allies and interests abroad, to keep the seas and the skies free of threat. Just as America stands as an example to the world of the inestimable benefits of freedom and democracy, so too an America with the capacity to project her power for the purpose of protecting and expanding freedom and democracy abroad benefits the suffering people of the world.”

“The government is like a baby’s alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.”

“Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”

“I had a copy of the Soviet Constitution and I read it with great interest. And I saw all kinds of terms in there that sound just exactly like our own: ‘Freedom of assembly’ and ‘freedom of speech’ and so forth. Of course, they don’t allow them to have those things, but they’re in there in the constitution. But I began to wonder about the other constitutions — everyone has one — and our own, and why so much emphasis on ours. And then I found out, and the answer was very simple — that’s why you don’t notice it at first. But it is so great that it tells the entire difference. All those other constitutions are documents that say, ‘We, the government, allow the people the following rights,’ and our Constitution says ‘We the People, allow the government the following privileges and rights.’ We give our permission to government to do the things that it does. And that’s the whole story of the difference — why we’re unique in the world and why no matter what our troubles may be, we’re going to overcome.”

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

“We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down. Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefitting from their success — only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, progressive, and free. Trust the people. This is the one irrefutable lesson of the entire postwar period contradicting the notion that rigid government controls are essential to economic development.”

“It is not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work — work with us, not over us; stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it.”

“How do you tell a Communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an Anti-communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin”

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

“One definition of an economist is somebody who sees something happen in practice and wonders if it will work in theory.”

“There are no such things as limits to growth, because there are no limits on the human capacity for intelligence, imagination and wonder.”

“We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down. Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefitting from their success — only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, progressive, and free. Trust the people. This is the one irrefutable lesson of the entire postwar period contradicting the notion that rigid government controls are essential to economic development”

“The taxpayer; that’s someone who works for the federal government, but doesn’t have to take a civil service examination.”

“Most [tax revisions] didn’t improve the system, they made it more like Washington itself: complicated, unfair, cluttered with gobbledygook and loopholes designed for those with the power and influence to hire high-priced legal and tax advisers”

“For an illustration of the difference between proportionate and progressive taxation, we can look to the Bible. There, tithing is explained as the economic basis of our Judaic-Christian religions. The Lord says you shall contribute one-tenth and He says, ‘If I prosper you 10 times as much you will give 10 times as much.’ That is proportionate — but look what happens today when you start computing Caesar’s share. A man of average income who suddenly prospered ten times as much would find his personal income tax increased 43 times.”

“We don’t have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much.” — Address to National Association of Realtors, March 28, 1982

“Public servants say, always with the best of intentions, ‘What greater service we could render if only we had a little more money and a little more power.’ But the truth is that outside of its legitimate function, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector.”

“We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”

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