October is a month of ghosts and spirits, so why don’t we learn some things from beyond the grave…The whole idea of learning from the dead is that the things that divide us (Republican vs. Democrat, Liberal vs. Conservative, Wall Street vs. Main Street) have been around for a very long time.

This week, I’m focusing on the words of a man that was born in 1879 on a large ranch in the Cherokee Nation near what later would become Oologah, Oklahoma. He died before Franklin D. Roosevelt finished his first term. Will Rogers was a cowboy, a philosopher, and a humanitarian. When he died in a plane crash in 1935, America lost a huge chunk of its conscience.

All of the Will Rogers quotes I am using can be found on at www.willrogers.com. Give the web site a look. I used only a small portion of what this great man said.

Will Rogers on the Financial Divide

“Ten men in the country could buy the world and ten million can’t buy enough to eat.”

“This country is bigger than Wall Street. If they don’t believe it, show ’em the map.”

“An economist is a man that can tell you anything. His guess is liable to be as good as anybody else’s, too.”

“Every nation must have its legalized form of gambling. We have our Wall Street.”

“If Wall Street paid a tax on every ‘game’ they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on.”

“The difference between our rich and poor grows greater every year. Our distribution of wealth is getting more uneven all the time. A man can make a million and he is on every page in the morning. But it never tells you who gave up that million he got. You can’t get money without taking it from somebody.”

“Let this country get hungry and they are going to eat, no matter what happens to budgets, income taxes or Wall Street. Washington mustn’t forget who rules when it comes to a show down.”

“You wire the state or the federal government that our cow or dog is sick and they will send out experts from Washington and appropriate money to eradicate the cause. You wire them that your baby has the diphtheria or scarlet fever and see what they do….why can’t we get a government to at least do for a child’s protection, what they do for a cow or a hog?”

“Every guy looks in his pocket and then votes.”

“There is nothing that keeps poor people poor as much as paying doctor bills.”

“All doctors should make enough out of those who are well able to pay to be able to do all work for the poor free. One thing that a poor person should never be expected to pay for is medical attention and not from an organized charity but from our best doctors. Your doctor bill should be paid like your income tax, according to what you have.”

Will Rogers on Republicans, Democrats, and Politicians

“It takes nerve to be a Democrat, but it takes money to be a Republican.”

“Republicans take care of big money, for big money takes care of them.”

“The Republican platform promises to do better. I don’t think they have done so bad. Everybody’s broke but them.”

“Republicans have always been the party of big business. The Democrats of small business. So you just take your pick. The Democrats have their eye on a dime and the Republicans on a dollar.”

“If by some divine act of providence we could get rid of both parties and hire some good men, like any other good business does, that would be sitting pretty.”

“All there is to politics is trading. That’s why politics is not as good as it was years ago. They don’t have as many old-time horse traders in there. These we got are just amateurs. They’re crude with their trades. There is really no ‘finesse.’ You might not get that. ‘Finesse’ is a French word and it means sneaking it over.

“Imagine a man in public office that everybody knew where he stood. We wouldn’t call him a statesman, we would call him a curiosity.”

“A lobbyist is a person that is supposed to help a politician make up his mind—not only help him but pay him.”

“Tax relief, farm relief, flood relief, dam relief—none of these have been settled, but they are getting them in shape for consideration at the next session of Congress with the hope that those needing relief will perhaps have conveniently died in the meantime.”

“Why don’t they pass a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as good as Prohibition did, in five years we will have the smartest people on earth.”

“This would be a great time in the world for some man to come along that knew something.”