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Timeless Advice

Sigma Investment Counselors

October 10, 2010

Washington DC policymakers continue to grapple with measures to spur job growth. The October 12, 2010 issue of the Wall Street Journal does a service to its readers with the inclusion of one of James Madison’s 222 year old submissions to the Federalist Papers (Number 62). His observations are every bit as insightful now as they were then (and ring painfully true). We reproduce the piece below in its entirety.
“In another point of view, great injury results from an unstable government. The want of confidence in the public councils damps every useful undertaking, the success and profit of which may depend on a continuance of existing arrangements. What prudent merchant will hazard his fortunes in any new branch of commerce when he knows not but that his plans may be rendered unlawful before they can be executed? What farmer or manufacturer will lay himself out for the encouragement given to any particular cultivation or establishment, when he can have no assurance that his preparatory labors and advances will not render him a victim to an inconstant government? In a word, no great improvement or laudable enterprise can go forward which requires the auspices of a steady system of national policy.”

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