"It is ... pathetic to observe the complete lack of imagination on the part of certain employers and men and women of the upper-income levels, equally devoid of experience, equally glib with their criticism ... directed against workers, labor leaders, and other villains and personal devils who are the objects of their dart-throwing. Who doesn't know the wealthy woman who fulminates against the "idle" workers who just won't get out and hunt jobs?"
"Poor America, of what avail is all her wealth, if the individuals comprising the nation are wretchedly poor? If they live in squalor, in filth, in crime, with hope and joy gone, a homeless, soilless army of human prey."
"I'll come up the steps to the house and the gardener will be clipping away at the hedges and he'll say, "Good evening, Mr. Younger." And I'll say, "Hello, Jefferson, how are you this evening?" And I'll go inside and Ruth will come downstairs and meet me at the door and we'll kiss each other and she'll take my arm and we'll go up to your room to see you sitting on the floor with the catalogues of all the great schools in America around you.... All the great schools in the world! And--and I'll say, all right son--it's your seventeenth birthday, what is it you've decided?... Just tell me, what it is you want to be--and you'll be it.... Whatever you want to be--Yessir! You just name it, so ... and I hand you the world!"
"The question for the country now is how to secure a more equal distribution of property among the people. There can be no republican institutions with vast masses of property permanently in a few hands, and large masses of voters without property.... Let no man get by inheritance, or by will, more than will produce at four per cent interest an income ... of fifteen thousand dollars] per year, or an estate of five hundred thousand dollars."
"We have got rid of the fetish of the divine right of kings, and that slavery is of divine origin and authority. But the divine right of property has taken its place. The tendency plainly is towards ... "a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich."
"The secret point of money and power in America is neither the things that money can buy nor power for power's sake ... but absolute personal freedom, mobility, privacy. It is the instinct which drove America to the Pacific, all through the nineteenth century, the desire to be able to find a restaurant open in case you want a sandwich, to be a free agent, live by one's own rules."
"The thief steals from himself. The swindler swindles himself. For the real price is knowledge and virtue, whereof wealth and credit are signs. These signs, like paper money, may be counterfeited or stolen, but that which they represent, namely, knowledge and virtue, cannot be counterfeited or stolen."
"Throughout the 1980's, we did hear too much about individual gain and the ethos of selfishness and greed. We did not hear enough about how to be a good member of a community, to define the common good and to repair the social contract. And we also found that while prosperity does not trickle down from the most powerful to the rest of us, all too often indifference and even intolerance do."
"[My father] was a lazy man. It was the days of independent incomes, and if you had an independent income you didn't work. You weren't expected to. I strongly suspect that my father would not have been particularly good at working anyway. He left our house in Torquay every morning and went to his club. He returned, in a cab, for lunch, and in the afternoon went back to the club, played whist all afternoon, and returned to the house in time to dress for dinner."