One of my favorite quotes of all time is this…
“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect to their elders….They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table…and are tyrants over their teachers.”
While it sounds true, it doesn’t sound special, does it? Until you realize that Plato attributes it to Socrates – more than 2,200 years ago.
So when I saw this amusing article from investment website Motley Fool that collected more recent quotes about the United States and its precarious finances, I devoured it with interest. My favorites, of course, are the oldest. Like…
“There is little likelihood that the national debt will be reduced substantially during the next generation,” which The Wall Street Journal reported in May 1945.
“As a matter of hard fact, automation and improved technological processes have permanently eliminated tens of thousands of jobs … and will continue to eliminate more in the future.” That’s from Lakeland Ledger, Feb. 2, 1961.
And one more, this time from the Kentucky New Era, in March of 1983: “Unless this nation’s fiscal policy is brought under control and some sense of balance is maintained, we are truly headed not only for a short period of recovery from recession, but the very real danger of almost permanent recession gripping this nation.”
Not in the Motley Fool article, but an old favorite of mine, was supposedly uttered by Bill Gates in 1981 regarding the personal computer (although some dispute it), “640K (of RAM memory) ought to be enough for anybody.”
The New York Times quoted someone in 1995 saying that the Internet was “the equivalent of a fad business right now….everybody believes that in three years everyone in America is going to have their own personal computer and be surfing the Web.'”
So if you’re letting the headlines get you down, not to worry – the more things change, the more they stay the same.