by: Rob Smith- ASSET
I am always impressed when I find a quote from one of our founding fathers that I haven’t heard before. President George Washington’s farewell address on September 19, 1796 is rich with lessons for today’s lawmakers and citizens collectively. As we prepare to celebrate our Independence Day, the following quote stays with me:
“It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another.”
What first struck me was the “habits of thinking in a free country.” Thinking takes effort, time, turning off the smart phone and television, stepping away from the constant news feeds on our laptops and Ipads. It takes reflection. Making it a habit of thinking requires continuous practice in exercising the brain. We need more thinking in our lives, and especially when it comes to thinking about tax reform.
The next phrase that hit me was “inspiring caution in those entrusted.” There is indeed a reason we have the three branches of government to provide the checks and balances we learned about in civics class (or as my children learned in N.S.L. National State and Local government class as it was called.) I am inspired by the incredible people who work day in and day out to research issues, listen to constituents, like me, and others, and make informed recommendations to elected officials. I am inspired by men and women who work for little pay, in cramped offices, with little time for lunch and cheerfully move from subjects like medicare reform to comprehensive tax reform within a thirty minute window. I am inspired by lawmakers who thoughtfully prepare for hearings with staff and ask tough questions about legislation and investigations. Indeed, we are fortunate to have many people who are in the habit of thinking…and thinking big things. We face enormous challenges. But we have incredible people who are up to that challenge. Thank you to our founding fathers, our soldiers who protect us, our teachers who molded us, our elected public servants and their staff who guide us.
Happy Independence Day from ASSET my fellow Americans.