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Brilliant Government Ideas

In his biography of William the Conqueror, Jacob Abbott has a nice sarcastic quote that is particularly applicable to our current political situation. In the context of William financing his conquest of England, Abbott writes:

"...for so distant and vast an undertaking as this, William needed a much larger supply of funds than were usually required in the wars of those days. For raising such large supplies, the political institutions of the Middle Ages had not made any adequate provision. Governments then had no power of taxation, like that so freely exercised in modern times...And as to the contrivance, so exceedingly ingenious, by which inexhaustible resources are opened to governments at the present day—that is, the plan of borrowing the money, and leaving posterity to pay or repudiate the debt, as they please, no minister of finance had, in William's day, been brilliant enough to discover it."

(Jacob Abbott, William the Conqueror, p. 173)