Gerald Ford on Government Reform
President of the U.S., 1974-1977; Republican Rep. (MI)
Economic independence is what allows people to protect their political rights and freedoms. Once the powerful hand of government subsumes our economic independence, it immediately becomes more difficult to stand up that government. The natural logic of capitalism requires democracy. Synchronously, if we over-restrict capitalism, our democratic logic is disrupted. Economic freedom and political freedom are indivisible. As President Gerald Ford said, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have."
Too many people in Washington believe they can restrict our economic freedom without limiting our political liberties. They see the private sector as a threat, dangerous unless controlled.
FORD: Governor Carter indicated that he wanted to cut the defense budget by $15 billion. Mr. Schlesinger said if we cut defense by $5 billion, we will have to cut military personnel by 250,000, civilian personnel by 100,000, jobs in America by 100,000, jobs in America by a hundred thousand. We would have to reduce our naval construction program, and the research and development for the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and Marines by 8 percent. We would have to close twenty military bases.
None of these goals sounded particularly dramatic. Political pundits in the nation's capital said that my ideas were stale and that I lacked "vision" as a President.
As President, it was my job to identify the trends that were emerging in American society-trends that were not immediately apparent to everyone and generated no headlines-and then to determine what decisions could affect those trends and put the country in better shape 10 to 20 years from now.
Conservatism has always meant more to me than simply sticking up for private property & free enterprise. It has also meant defending our heritage & preserving our values.
In all my public and private acts as your president, I expect to follow my instincts of openness and candor with full confidence that honesty is always the best policy in the end. My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.
Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule. But here is a higher power, by whatever name we honor him, who ordains not only righteousness but love, not only justice but mercy.
As we bind up the internal wounds of Watergate, more painful and more poisonous than those of foreign wars, let us restore the golden rule to our political process, and let brotherly love purge our hearts of suspicion and of hate.
|Other past presidents on Government Reform:||Gerald Ford on other issues:|
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)
Past Vice Presidents:
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