Just received this Lincoln “quote” yesterday and it immediately seemed odd that Lincoln would say “You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer” & “You cannot help the poor by bringing down the rich.”
Of course it seemed odd, because it’s completely untrue. LINCOLN had NOTHING to do with that quote. That quote came from a guy, The Rev. William John Henry Boetcker, who’s “Citizens’ Industrial Alliance” travelled the country forcing companies that had unionized workforces to cancel employment contracts with any employee who was a member of a union. In other words, he was a union buster, and felt that employees had no right to organize and force their employer to provide more suitable conditions or wages than they were providing. The destruction of unions was the first step that has lead to the widening income gap that we have seen in the past few decades.
Here is the full FALSELY attributed quote:
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
You cannot build character and courage by destroying men’s initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.
Even President Reagan misused this quote during a speech, and it has been making the rounds again among Tea Partiers and the “poor poor” rich. Funny how you can pretty much make anything up and have it stick if you simply attach a famous DEAD PERSON’S name to it!
You can read more about this quote over at Snopes.