Next up, Grover Cleveland. Get a load of this letter he wrote to a young man seeking a government job. And this guy was a Democrat.
EXECUTIVE MANSION ALBANY February 4, 1885
MY DEAR YOUNG FRIEND I cannot attempt to answer all the letters addressed to me by those both old and young who ask for places But if you are the boy I think you are your letter is based upon a claim to help your mother and others who are partly dependent upon your exertions I judge from what you write that you now have a situation in a reputable business house I cannot urge you too strongly to give up all idea of employment in a public office and to determine to win advancement and promotion where you are There are no persons so forlorn and so much to be pitied as those who have learned in early life to look to public positions for a livelihood It unfits a man or boy for any other business and is apt to make a kind of respectable vagrant of him If you do well in other occupations and thus become valuable to the people they will find you out when they want a good man for public service You may be sure that I am as you say the friend of every boy willing to help himself but my experience teaches me that I cannot do you a better service than to advise you not to join the great army of office seekers I never sought an office of any kind in my life and if you live and follow my advice I am certain that you will thank me for it some day
And in 1887 when drought and famine struck Texas, the Congress sought to send public funds to tide them over. President Cleveland vetoed the bill replying:
To THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES I return without my approval House bill number ten thousand two hundred and three entitled An Act to enable the Commissioner of Agriculture to make a special distribution of seeds in drought stricken counties of Texas and making an appropriation therefor. It is represented that a long continued and extensive drought has existed in certain portions of the State of Texas resulting in a failure of crops and consequent distress and destitution Though there has been some difference in statements concerning the extent of the people’s needs in the localities thus affected there seems to be no doubt that there has existed a condition calling for relief and I am willing to believe that notwithstanding the aid already furnished a donation of seed grain to the farmers located in this region to enable them to put in new crops would serve to avert a continuance or return of an unfortunate blight And yet I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan as proposed by this bill to indulge a benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds for that purpose.
I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should I think be steadfastly resisted to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that though the people support the government the government should not support the people.
The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow citizens in misfortune This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthen the bonds of brotherhood conduct which strengthen the bonds of a common brotherhood.
It is within my personal knowledge that individual aid has to some extent already been extended to the sufferers mentioned in this bill….”
Grover Cleveland, Democrat — New York Democrat — has your bailout right here.