Thanks to a daily e-mail from the folks at the Patriot Post, I’ve been reminded of this bit of wisdom and witticism from an aging Thomas Jefferson.
In light of the state and local government budget pangs and phenomenal growth of the federal bureaucracy, we should heed his words in this letter to Judge Spencer Roane in 1821:
"It is a law of nature that the generations of men should give way, one to another, and I hope that the one now on the stage will preserve for their sons the political blessings delivered into their hands by their fathers. Time indeed changes manners and notions, and so far we must expect institutions to bend to them. But time produces also corruption of principles, and against this it is the duty of good citizens to be ever on the watch, and if the gangrene is to prevail at last, let the day be kept off as long as possible. We see already germs of this, as might be expected. But we are not the less bound to press against them. The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning-knife; and I doubt not it will be employed; good principles being as yet prevalent enough for that."
I fear old Tom was a tad optimistic.