President Gerald Ford at work in the Oval Office, Aug. 12, 1976

President Gerald Ford at work in the Oval Office, Aug. 12, 1976

President Gerald Ford stated in Rockford, Illinois, March 11, 1976: “People say why don’t you do this, why don’t you expand that program, why don’t you spend more Federal money? … I don’t think they have understood one of the fundamentals. … I look them in the eye and I say, ‘Do you realize that a government big enough to give us everything we want is a government big enough to take from us everything we have?'”

Gerald Rudolph Ford was the 38th U.S. president. Born on July 14, 1913, he was named Leslie Lynch King, Jr. till he was renamed by his stepfather. Gerald Ford attended the University of Michigan on a football scholarship, graduated from Yale Law School and served in the Navy during World War II.

He was the House Minority Leader until chosen to be vice president when Spiro Agnew resigned. Gerald Ford then became president when Richard Nixon resigned. He was the only president not elected.

When he assumed the presidency on Aug. 9, 1974, Gerald Ford stated: “I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your president by your ballots, and so I ask you to confirm me as your President with your prayers.”

On Sept. 8, 1974, President Gerald Ford stated: “The Constitution is the supreme law of our land and it governs our actions as citizens. Only the laws of God, which govern our consciences, are superior to it. As we are a Nation under God, so I am sworn to uphold our laws with the help of God.”

In a proclamation of prayer, Dec. 5, 1974, President Ford quoted President Eisenhower: “Without God there could be no American form of government. … Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first – the most basic – expression of Americanism.”

At a Southern Methodist University Convocation, Sept. 13, 1975, President Ford stated: “I see a century … which equips young men and women … to make their own decisions rather than permit their future to be programmed by massive government structures that an imaginative writer foresaw for 1984 – a nightmarish fantasy of what our third century could be. It is my deepest conviction that a government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have. …”

President Gerald Ford continued: “Men and women must prevail over the endless agencies and bureaus that would reduce human beings to computerized abstractions and program people into numbers and statistics. Today’s mounting danger is from mass government…we must not let them prevail. … Never forget that in America our sovereign is the citizen. … The state is a servant. … It must never become an anonymous monstrosity that masters everyone.”

What was Gerald Ford’s most repeated warning?

President Ford stated in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Oct. 19, 1974: “What they don’t tell us when they propose all these benefits that they are going to give you from our government … that a government big enough to give us everything we want is a government big enough to take from us everything we have.”

President Ford addressed a Joint Session of Congress, Aug. 12, 1974: “They know that a government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”

President Ford stated stated at a Breakfast for Candidates in Kansas City, Missouri, Oct. 16, 1974: “Some of the big spenders don’t understand that a government big enough to give us everything we want is a government big enough to take from us everything we have.”

President Ford dedicated the “Anderson Independent and Anderson Daily Mail Building” in Anderson, South Carolina, Oct. 19, 1974: “I frequently wondered whether those who pushed and worked for those programs of piling one Federal program on top of another day after day after day, whether they ever realized … that a government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”

President Ford told a luncheon in Des Moines, Iowa, Oct. 24, 1974: “But I remind you, a government big enough to give us everything we want is a government big enough to take from us everything we have.”

President Ford addressed the United Republican Fund Dinner in Chicago, Illinois, Oct. 24, 1974: “I often used to think as these programs sort of flowed out of one committee after another, didn’t those proponents ever understand that a government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have?”

President Ford stated in Los Angeles, California, Oct. 31, 1974: “In the short haul, it is very easy for government to yield to the temptation to give people what they want or what the politicians tell them that they ought to have, but keep this in mind: In the long haul, a government big enough to give us everything we want is a government big enough to take from us everything we have.”

President Ford stated in Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 2, 1974: “The intentions of the people who have helped build the Federal layer cake are noble ones. … They actually, sincerely believe that if the Government ministers to every need and to every concern that it has among all the 213 million citizens, those citizens will be happier and will be better off. But let me make a critical, crucial point … that a government big enough to give us everything we want is a government big enough to take from us everything we have.”

President Ford stated in Wichita, Kansas, Nov. 2, 1974: “I know there are some who wish to have the Government do something for everybody in massive amounts, but as they seek to promote these kinds of efforts in the short haul, I do not think they really forecast what the long pull means. Let me put it this way…a government big enough to give us everything we want is a government big enough to take from us everything we have.”

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President Ford stated at a dinner meeting of the Conference Board, Jan. 22, 1975: “The American people are very generous. … We have prided ourselves on our responsiveness to those in our society less fortunate than ourselves. But as we are now beginning to realize, we cannot give away any more than what we have. … A government big enough to give us everything we want is a government big enough to take from us everything we have. The Government cannot, in my judgment, overspend year after year without doing drastic damage to the economy and harm every one of our citizens.”

President Ford addressed the annual dinner meeting of the Bay Area Council in San Francisco, California, April 4, 1975: “Over the 25 years that I had the privilege of serving in the House of Representatives … well-motivated Members of the House of Representatives would get up and argue effectively and convincingly and certainly in the highest motivation for this social program or that social program. Pretty soon, we started to have this proliferation, and believe me, it has proliferated. … I recall most vividly sitting there on many occasions and thinking to myself, don’t they realize that a government big enough to give us everything we want is a government big enough to take from us everything we have?”

President Ford told the National Explorer’s Congress of the Boy Scouts of America, April 9, 1975: “I would like to make one observation … it is something that worries me. … I used to see program after program presented to the House that meant a bigger government, that meant more control over people and over cities and over states. I used to get very worried as I saw this proliferation of government, and I thought to myself on many occasions that I wish that people would think in this way … that a government big enough to give us everything we want is a government big enough to take from us everything we have.”

President Ford stated at an annual Senate-House fundraising dinner, April 15, 1975: “A $52 billion deficit is bad enough. … Every time Congress acts to add a little, a little, a little, it gets worse and worse and worse. So, I ask you in all honesty that we end these schemes. … If we don’t do something in a relatively short period of time, one-half of all Americans will be living off the taxes of the other half of Americans. Is that what you want your government function to be? … Never forget, a government big enough to give us everything we want is a government big enough to take from us everything we have.”

To read more of Bill Federer’s analysis of Gerald Ford’s concerns, click here.

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