Historic Views on Government – Kristol

Honest opinion about government from Irving Kristol:

The distribution of income under capitalism is an expression of the general belief that it is better for society to be shaped by the interplay of people's free opinions and free preferences than by the enforcement of any one set of values by government.
   But there have always been many people in this world who do not believe that liberty is the most important political value. These people are sincere dogmatists. They believe they know the truth about a good society; they believe they possess the true definition of distributive justice; and they inevitably wish to see society shaped in the image of these true beliefs. Sometimes they have prized religious truth more than liberty (e.g., the Marxist philosophy); and sometimes they have prized equality more than liberty. It is this last point of view that is especially popular in some circles–mainly academic circles–in the United States today.
   Two Cheers for Capitalism, 1978

A former Trotskyist who later co-founded Encounter, an anti-Communist journal, Irving Kristol is editor of the journal The Public Interest and an influential columnist whose most notable book is Two Cheers for Capitalism (1978). Like other neo-Conservatives, Kristol is a former liberal who has come to criticize Great Society liberalism.

Quotation and short bio from The Quotable Conservative: The Giants of Conservatism on Liberty, Freedom, Individual Responsibility, and Traditional Values. Rod L. Evans and Irwin M. Berent, editors. Holbrook, Mass.: Adams Publishing, 1996.

Historic Views on Government – James Buchanan

Honest opinion about government from James Buchanan:

If we rule out default for the time being, the primary economic consequence of debt-financed spending by government is the guaranteed necessity that we must, as citizens-taxpayers-program beneficiaries, give up some part of our incomes in future periods in order to meet interest and amortization charges on debt. A share of our future incomes is obligated to meet the legitimate claims held by creditors of the government. And it makes no difference whatsoever whether these creditors are themselves citizens or foreigners.

The financing of current government spending by debt is equivalent to an "eating up" of our national capital value…. By financing current public outlay by debt, we are, in effect, chopping up the apple trees for firewood, thereby reducing the yield of the orchard forever.

The person who is faced with a tax bill to finance interest charges…will reckon only on the simply observed fact that income that he or she might otherwise use is being taken away in taxes. The result is precisely analogous to the apple orchard example introduced earlier. If the yield of three trees under a person's nominal ownership is committed to debt service, it is fully equivalent to having an orchard with three fewer trees.
   Essays on the Political Economy, 1989

Economist and educator, James Buchanan holds a doctorate from the University of Chicago as well as the Nobel Prize in Economics (1986). He has taught at numerous universities and written numerous books, including Public Principles of Public Debt (1958), The Calculus of Consent (1962), The Limits of Liberty (1975), and Explorations in Constitutional Economics (1989).

Quotation and short bio from The Quotable Conservative: The Giants of Conservatism on Liberty, Freedom, Individual Responsibility, and Traditional Values. Rod L. Evans and Irwin M. Berent, editors. Holbrook, Mass.: Adams Publishing, 1996.