Senator Lee and D&C 121

By: Mormon Heretic
October 21, 2013

I was at the temple recently, and was surprised to be there when Utah Senator Mike Lee entered the temple.  Senator Lee has joined forces with Senator Ted Cruz (of Texas) in shutting down the government, and trying to cause the government to go into default. Since Senator Lee is obviously a devout Mormon, I thought it might be interesting to see how his recent actions stack up against D&C 121.

Verse 41 states that “power and influence can or ought to be maintained…by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned.”  Did Lee utilize any of those characteristics?  Verse 42 continues “By kindness, and pure knowledge which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile.”  How well do you think Senator Lee’s recent actions on the shutdown follow these scriptures?

Some people might say that Senator Lee’s “principled” stand is following verse 43 where he is “reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost.”  Do you think Lee was moved by the Holy Ghost to offer this stand?

Verse 43 continues, “and then showing forth an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy.”  Lee is unapologetic in his stand.  He said “there are some battles that need to be fought whether you’re certain you could win at the outset.”  I think many people consider Lee to be not only their enemy, but an enemy to the American people for voting to default on the national debt.

Do people think that Lee’s “faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death (verse 44).”  No, I think he is trying to kill the American form of government by his irresponsible positions.

Senator Mike Lee – (R) Utah

I think Senator Lee is unfortunately described in verse 37.  With his “principled” stand, he is trying to “exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men.”  What happens to men who do this “in any degree of unrighteousness[?]  behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.”

Senators Lee and Cruz are brand-new senators, and they seem to both be described in verse 39: “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.”  Verse 40 continues, “Hence many are called, but few are chosen.”

It seems to me that Lee’s stand did the exact opposite of what he intended.  Polls show that the popularity of Obamacare has improved (despite the horrible roll-out), and has hurt the Republicans approval ratings. Some polls show that the shutdown has hurt the republican challenger in Virginia Governor’s race, and another poll now shows that Democrats may take back the House of Representatives.  Was this really a wise strategy?

Which option more closely resembles D&C 121?

  • Let Obamacare roll out and let the people see what a disaster it has been so far (56%, 20 Votes)
  • Other: (I'll add my answer in the comments. (25%, 9 Votes)
  • Shutdown the Government over Obamacare (19%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 36

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Senator Lee, I am one of your constituents and a fellow Latter-day Saint.  Please stop acting irresponsibly.  Please follow D&C 121.

Comments?

(*** This post is dedicated to Jared, who said that “the use of scripture is almost entirely absent” at Wheat and Tares.  I think he avoids posts such as these that actually interact with scripture quite well.  It is true that we don’t engage in devotional scripture study here as much as Jared would like, but he fails to recognize these posts.  Spiritual posts generally don’t garner as much interest as other topics we discuss here (and Jared, I encourage you to submit a post of your choice.)  This is another attempt to liken the scriptures to our modern day, as Nephi encouraged us.)

 

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176 Responses to Senator Lee and D&C 121

  1. mark gibson on October 21, 2013 at 4:38 AM

    How ironic. I would say verse 39 describes our current U.S.President and his political party.

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  2. Kent (MC) on October 21, 2013 at 6:44 AM

    I think someone said, “judge not” or something in a scripture somewhere. :-)

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  3. Nate on October 21, 2013 at 7:53 AM

    Politics is not the same as the priesthood, and cannot be judged by the same rules. Senator Lee would never have gotten as far as he has gotten, if he had not catered to the worst instincts of the populace, as all politicians do, continually sliming his political enemies and exaggerating the virtues of his own position.

    If he is truly as self-decieved as some of these novice politicians are, he may actually believe the rubish he dishes out to his constituants, and actually think he is a righteous cruscader against wickedness. In that case, he cannot be blamed for “unrighteous dominion” because the dominion he tries to exercise is against Satan, not fellow members with simple disagreements. When you are attacking Satan, you can fight fire with fire.

    But if he actually understands the game he is playing, as Senator Hatch or Reid do, then he can separate politics from morality, and understand that it’s all about strategy, decieving the clueless public, seeking the greater good, and sliming enemies in public, and slapping them on the back in private. In this case, he is not guilt of “unrighteous dominion” either, because he is simply engaging in a sport, of which the moral outcome is always ambiguous, and of which quest is fundamentally about the pursuit of power and prestige. It’s just the rules of that particular profession.

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  4. Jared on October 21, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    MH-I’ve never had a post dedicated to me. . I’m still processing this experience. I choose to believe you are doing this in the spirit of LDS brotherhood.

    I’m leaving for a meeting so I can’t take but a minute or two to comment.

    My first thought after reading this post was about Captain Moroni. If we use the teachings in D&C 121 and apply it to a military man of God it fails to describe Moroni adequately. Why? Because, like Nate says in #3, the priesthood code doesn’t fit well into the task of politics or war: round hole, square peg idea.

    I have mixed feelings about the political events of recent days in DC, but I think it might be reasonable to read Alma 48 to view leaders like Lee and others. I’m not suggesting Lee and Moroni are a perfect or even a good match. But I am suggesting Alma 48 is a better fit than D&C 121.

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  5. Jeff Spector on October 21, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Frankly, LDS politicians, at least the ones who claim to be active, believing members, should know better, pure and simple. If hey are true followers of Christ, they should act like it.

    Unfortunately, American politics is like organized crime. The politicians extort money out of donors, mainly large corporate or special interests, in exchange for political favors.

    Since we all know some dopey people at Church, why would LDS politicians be any different? Since it is about getting elected, not necessarily being smart.

    Mike Lee might be in for a rude awakening for the seeds he has chosen to sow.

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  6. Mike S on October 21, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Even more importantly that priesthood power as it relates to this issue is something far more fundamental – our role as Christians.

    Obamacare merely exists to reign in the health insurance industry – nothing more and nothing less. It is much like banking regulations or regulations in any other industry. Companies exist to make a profit, and it is no different in the health insurance industry.

    Health insurance evolved over the decades from more of a cooperative into big business. And, like any other business, their responsibility to their stock holders is to make money. They do this by increasing income and decreasing expenses. They have only been able to increase income (premiums) so far without people balking even more than they have. They then focus on decreasing expenses. They got to the point where they would deny people who wanted to buy insurance from getting it because someone in their family had diabetes. They tried to kick children off family plans as young as possible. They put lifetime caps on payouts. They went back and rescinded insurance for someone with cancer and a $250k bill because they didn’t list “acne” as a medical condition on their application 3 years prior.

    The excesses got out of control. Companies spent as little as $0.70 of each $1 on actual medical care. CEOs made hundreds of millions of $$$ in compensation. The industry made billions, while tens of millions of Americans either couldn’t get insurance at all, or were effectively priced out of the market.

    There were 3 solutions to this:

    1) Do nothing. This is always an options. But the health industry was broken, and Americans were suffering. I see multiple people in my practice every day who don’t have insurance. They are, for the most part, hard working people who are simply down on their luck. They have been abandoned by a spouse, or laid off their job. What do we do with our poor, our needy, our downtrodden, etc? What would Christ do?

    2) Universal healthcare. This was proposed by the Clintons. This gets rid of the health insurance middleman altogether. There is some governmental inefficiency, but both Medicare, Medicaid and the VA system spend more than 70% of their cost on actual care. This smacks too much of socialized medicine to many, however, so was tabled.

    3) Use existing infrastructure. Romney did this in Mass. Obama did it nationally. Insurers were reigned in. Pre-existing clauses were eliminated. The excesses were clamped down. But people are greedy too. They don’t want to pay premiums, yet expect to get healthcare when they get in an accident or need care. So our part as citizens were that we had to put skin in the game too. If we don’t have insurance, we have to get some.

    And those are the three choices. If someone is against universal healthcare (which is a whole different debate), it comes down to choices #1 or #3. Mike Lee didn’t offer an alternative to #3 – he just fought it and wanted to go back to #1.

    And to me, that is the most un-Christian thing he could be doing. People are suffering in this country. Christ wouldn’t kick people when they’re down. He would give the coat off his back to someone who needed it. He would give his last fish to someone who was hungry. This is the attitude we need in the country. And Mike Lee represents the exact opposite of this. To me, that is pathetic.

    Sorry this is so long…

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  7. Douglas on October 21, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    Speaking as one (a career Federal employee) who was (temporarily) impacted by the shutdown:
    If Mike Lee believes that the best interests of the American people are served by stonewalling Obamacare and allowing the Federal Government to shut down for lack of a current funding bill, then let him exercise his office IAW his best judgement. In 2016, Utah voters will decide if he should represent their state once again.
    Will the shutdown (1) hurt Republicans in the 2014 Congressional elections and (2) impact the VA governor race (since it’s always in the year following a Presidential election, and, of course, the large conurbation in VA about DC, this election is considered a national political referendum). I say wishful thinking on the parts of Democrats for both. My prediction is that if anything, the Republicans will increase their house lead by no less than ten seats and will gain two seats in the Senate (still leaving the Democrats effectively in charge), and Dems will need look no further than the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
    MH, if it’s your opinion that using Government to force whatever “charity” you deem
    “Christ-like”, that’s fine, and I’ve no reason to judge your faithfulness that basis. Still, I say that Government is FORCE, and by definition the polar opposite of what charity is about. I do not believe that Christ would care a whit about our political solutions, provided we all are acting IAW our consciences. He would care that we remember the infirm, the needy, and the poor, and methinks there are far better ways that anything Bill Clinton, Barrack Obama, or even Mitt Romney ever offered in the political arena.
    I like the expression used by a fictional character from the TV show “LA Law”. Specifically, the #2 partner, Mr. Brackman, who served as managing partner. At one point, being right in his stance, he said, “someone has to be the SOB that says ‘no’ “. The Congress needs more SOBs and we need to elect one in 2016.

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  8. Nate on October 21, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Jeff Spector, I’m sure Mike Lee believes that the Tea Party platform IS the most Christlike of all the political platforms, and that is why he is supporting it. As the McNaughton paintings suggest, Tea Party Mormons believe that Christ IS the head of the Tea Party.

    And I don’t think that there is anything like organized crime in the Tea Party. The Tea Party seems to be immune from lobbying money, which is what makes it so uncontrollable and frustrating. It doesn’t follow financial incentives. Rather it reflects ancient Puritanical fantasies buried deep within the American psyche. It is overly idealist and doesn’t understand the fundamental importance of compromise, pork, alliances, forked tongue, and backscratching to the political process.

    Mike Lee and his ilk are probably the most holy and saintly politicians in Washington. I would guess that they probably give more in personal charity than others, that they are more religious, more kind, and more generous, and certainly much, much more idealistic.

    They are too good for politics, and unless they can get their hands dirty, they are destined to live out their days as frustrated obstructionists doggedly fighting for an America that never was, and that never will be. They will have accomplished nothing, contributed to nothing, and worse, they will have handed extra power to liberals by dividing the Republican party. Give me Newt Gingrich any day over Ted Cruz or Mike Lee.

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  9. Mike S on October 21, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    #7 Nate: Tea Party Mormons believe that Christ IS the head of the Tea Party

    I agree with this, but this is the most ironic thing of all – like those calling black white and good evil. If you look at a true Christ-like society and how Christ lived, it is far, far from what the Tea Party espouses.

    The examples of societal structures that we most celebrate as “ideal” are the city of Enoch, the Nephites immediately after Christ visited them, etc. Joseph Smith tried to emulate these with the united order. All of these were characterized by people having all things in common. There were no rich or poor among them. People took care of each other and supported the common good. And, importantly, we read that the people were happy.

    Given this, you would think that most Tea Party members would be in favor of things like universal healthcare, and if that wasn’t possible, than at least something like Obamacare. You would think that candidates like Romney would be the LAST person they would choose, someone who wanted to reduce taxes even further on the rich and cut programs that are benefiting the poor. The Tea Party folks run from the principles of socialism like it is the plague, but those principles (while imperfect) mirror what Christ taught more than the unbridled capitalism that they cling to. And, ironically, the few societies that are structured the closest to our religious ideal (ie. Norway, Sweden, etc) are also always listed among the happiest societies in the world.

    It seems to me that of all people, Mormons should be the most in favor of universal healthcare, aid programs for the poor, etc. of anyone. It is what Christ taught. It is what Joseph Smith tried to institute.

    But we have the world’s most expensive shopping mall. So that’s good.

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  10. will on October 21, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    Mike,

    The problem with these counterfeit Christlike programs like Obama care, is that they produce lose-lose situations. They financially break the institution implementing the program and rob the recipient of thier self respect in the process.

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  11. Hedgehog on October 21, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    I doubt those in Scandinavia feel robbed of their self respect, or that they have lost anything.

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  12. nate on October 21, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Mike, you are just as much an idealist as the Tea Partiers are, except on the other end of the political spectrum. I’m a socialist myself, but what I value most in politics is power. If Tea Partiers had the power to remake America in their own image, they too would have some sort of idealized solution that made Heath care affordable and available for all. I wish Obama had enough power to do what he really wanted: a public option like Brittain’s NHS. I think that would have worked too.

    But there is no power in US politics, because there are too many checks and balances, and the voters have too much power, and the voters are idiots. So all we get are crummy compromises like Obamacare. Everyone wants to do the right thing though. Everyone wants to be “Christlike.” They just don’t agree on how to do it, and no one is in charge.

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  13. Tom on October 21, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    The article’s reasoning is full of holes…. Lee, et al, accomplished their design. There were plenty of CRs going around, if in smaller chunks than in the past six years, to ensure the majority of the federal system continued to operate, hence, the “Shut-Down” was a rouge.

    Obamacare has little to do with providing health care for those unable to have their own, if it was the program would be limited to them, not all Americans. Instead, it provides sweeping changes and ‘fundamentally’ alters how all Americans are to be cared for, not just those of us who are unable to medically care for ourselves (and I’ve was one of them a few times).

    Taking that logic (that all Americans need a watchful care by those, we helpless ones chose) to the next step: how about universal groceries for all? Why not? Extend the new welfare system to include grocery vouchers; how about a utilities voucher? Maybe gasoline and auto repairs vouchers? Why not? Prices rose from 25¢ a gallon of gas in the early 1960s to what we see now. Why not the same for our many other, unlimited ‘needs’.

    We’ve embrace the idea that none of us are truly able to ‘watch out for ourselves’ and ‘care for others’ as we are able to do so. Truly, the Constitution “needs to be altered” because the ‘tenents are flawed for this modern people and times’. In fact, let’s just dump the whole idea of Rights altogether while we’re at it, we really are unable to be responsible for them.

    Care for the needy, absolutely! But by the states (individual states and between states) and individual charities, churches, schools, community groups, and families. Long term federal welfare system efforts have always left a profound wasteland in its wake, it has always missed the real needs of the individual – like self-respect.

    Hopefully, many more like Lee, Cruz, et al will emerge from this. Who knows, we may one day be able to defund it one year, then (hold my breath) erase the entire socialized madness from the books.

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  14. hawkgrrrl on October 21, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    Jared: “the priesthood code doesn’t fit well into the task of politics or war: round hole, square peg idea” War is a failure of diplomacy, but Moroni was a pretty poor diplomat. Diplomacy requires listening, finding common ground, persuading, and being patient. All of these are the qualities described in D&C 121. It’s interesting that you make the analogy with Moroni because he is largely absent those qualities (his letter to Pahoran is classically ham-fisted). He is a warmonger. He is black & white and incapable of listening and persuading without resorting to name-calling and picking sides. Those are the skills of a general (being decisive and morally clear), but they are poor political skills. Yet for the PH, D&C 121 says basically to be a good politician, a diplomat. I don’t think anyone is exempt from that, although obviously, once you’ve gotten into war, the time for diplomacy is mostly past. I don’t see any evidence that Moroni (or Ted Cruz or the tea party) have diplomacy skills, just war-making skills.

    Nate: That the tea party seems immune to lobbyists is probably because most tea partiers are from deeply red constituents. This also disincentivizes them to work with anyone else, even in their own party. It is a deeply flawed coalition as a result. They can lay on the ground and kick their heels and call their more cooperative colleagues RINOs because they have no consequences to themselves. However, they will find that by turning on their colleagues, they are fracturing the GOP to the point that it will have no voting bloc power. IMO, that’s a failure of strategy (strategy is one thing the tea party doesn’t seem to “get”). It’s an unsustainable model.

    Mike S: “World’s most expensive shopping mall?” Puh-lease. Not by a long shot. Living in Singapore, I passed 3 more expensive shopping malls in a daily 5 minute train ride. I know you are using hyperbole for effect, but I had to point that out. Also, shopping malls are investments for return, not just assets. Insurance is neither an investment nor an asset, but a pooled resource. The problem, as you rightly pointed out, is that insurance followed a corporate investment model. The healthy have little incentive to pay and the insurance companies have little incentive to cover the risky.

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  15. J on October 21, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    I am a Mormon who supports and deeply respects Mike Lee and Twd Cruz. They are brave and selfless.

    People should reflect Christ, NOT government. When gov programs are so numerous, IT DESTROYS community. No one find Gid in their moment if need, they find government. They dont find a church, extended family, or neighbor.

    This robs of of our chance to truly connect to others–instead you connect to a vote and assume its not your problem cause the government is responsible.

    This is not what Christ meant in loving thy neighbor.

    Such programs force taxes at a ridiculous rate that impedes our ability (to use our God given brains and) to take care of ourselves.

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  16. The Other Clark on October 21, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    This is not a scriptural post, this is a hit piece.

    The same logic and misguided intent that the author applies to Mike Lee could just as easily be applied to Harry Reid. Sen. Reid refused to allow ANY vote on ANY house bill. That’s no more in the spirit of Sec 121 than the stonewall.

    I have it on good authority, though, that when Sen Reid attends the temple, he never participates in the prayer circle. Perhaps that ought to be a standing rule for politically outspoken people of all stripes!

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  17. Bob on October 21, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    #7 Nate: Tea Party Mormons believe that Christ IS the head of the Tea Party

    “The Tea Party seems to be immune from lobbying money, …” That is a less than accurate statement. Journalists and documents have shown that the Tea Party movement was started by a handful of libertarian idealists who’s goals may be less than truly benevolent or ideal. With their money they have backed many groups, helping to control the message and link the smaller independent groups into a national organization. Those that were independent in the beginning have found themselves either sidelined or partaking at the trough of filthy lucre, selling their independent ideals for a few dollars.

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  18. Will on October 21, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Hedgehog:

    I tend to agree with Hawk and others that that Priesthood law does not apply in politics. As for Scandinavia, I realize that social programs work there, but they are not the United States or the UK. A few comparisons:

    • The US and the UK are much larger than any of the Scandinavian countries. Norway for instance is about the size of Utah in terms of area and population and is thus easier to manage and administer.

    • Scandinavia has a different culture – a culture that is less likely to mooch. I don’t know if it is the melting pot effect in the US and UK that brings people in from other cultures where dependency is acceptable or what the problem is, but social programs in the US and UK tend to be wrought with fraud and dependency. I had a Buddy that worked for Jon Huntsman (SR) and was called as a Bishop in England. The biggest challenge he faced, by far, was getting people off the dull.

    As for Mike’s comparison to the Nephites after Christ’s visit let’s not forget that the wicked were destroyed. I would classify the wicked as the greedy as well as those that would be satisfied mooching off others.

    As for the city of Enoch, it took them 300 years to implement. There were no poor among them, but I’m also sure there were no moochers either.

    Everyone in both societies was willing to pull their own weight.

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  19. alice on October 21, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    For my money, Lee is just another goblin toppler rashly pursuing his own impulses and then conveniently and transparently ascribing it to the public interest.

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  20. MH on October 21, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    “The article’s reasoning is full of holes….” Tom, please point out the holes. I am much more persuaded that the same could be said of Harry Reid (or any other politician) than that it has holes. If you think there are holes, please point them out.

    While I understand that American politics is a dirty game, and that to win, sometimes one must fight dirty, I reject the notion that religious principles don’t apply. Republicans apply religious principles all the time when it suits them (gay marriage, abortion, school prayer), but somehow think they’re exempt from others (equal rights.) Use religious principles or don’t, but it’s hypocritical (verse 42 refers to “hypocrisy without guile”) to pick and choose to embrace the ones you like and then claim the others don’t apply to you because it is politics (or priesthood or whatever unrighteous dominion you want to claim.)

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  21. dba.brohterp on October 21, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    So, “Priesthood law does not apply in politics?” I’m glad the can’t serve both God and Mammon thing was repealed!

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  22. Jeff Spector on October 21, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    The tea party is the most subversive organization this side of communism. They see a demon under every rock.They preach a brand of moral decay in this country that does not exist while at the same time bragging about American exceptionalism. They are paranoid beyond measure and are stocking up on weapons to protect themselves against the government, the police and the military while saying they support them under the constitution. Even though this is the strongest economic power in the world, they continually preach disaster while allowing the fat cats to get more and more on the backs of the middle class. They claim to be Christians but would kick the poor to the street because they think they are all lazy and just want handouts.

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  23. Will on October 21, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    Dba…

    There is a difference between ‘gaming ethics’ and ‘professional ethics’. Huge difference.

    I am under no obligation to let the other side know what my strategy is when waging a war, or my competitor in submitting a bid, or my plans to win a ball game. It would be stupid and irresponsible for Churchill, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Patton or MacArthur to let the enemy know what their plans were for invasion or their overall war strategy. In fact, they did everything possible to try and deceive the enemy into thinking they were doing something else. Likewise, the same is true with a football or basketball game AND in politics. It is gaming ethics and both sides play these games. We as the American public don’t like it, but it is the way that it is; thus, the ‘priesthood law’ is not applicable.

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  24. hawkgrrrl on October 21, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    Hey, I didn’t say that the PH law doesn’t apply to politics. I said it specifically DOES apply to politics and that we should all follow it. I said Moroni doesn’t follow it, and that he lacks the superior qualities outlined in D&C 121. Does that make him an effective warmonger? Probably. But as I recall Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

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  25. Will on October 21, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Jeff,

    “even though this is the strongest economic power in the world”

    I would hardly call 17 Trillion Dollars in debt the strongest economic power in the world. I see eye to eye with the tea party on the debt issue, as it is the issue in my opinion. I don’t think the American public truly understands the enormity of the debt and how much it WILL impact us in the very near future. It will be huge. Let me lay it out in simple terms.

    • With the current median home price of $199,200 in the US, you could buy 85,341,365 homes in CASH with 17 trillion. This is almost EVERY single family home in the US.

    • With the current price of gold at $1,313 a troy ounce, you could by 809,215,536 ounces of gold. Almost the entire world’s supply of Gold.

    •17 Trillion is $246,376 per taxpayer. This is the people who actually paid tax, which is shrinking each year and the debt is increasing. This is growing exponentially.

    As some point in the near future, this WILL collapse. This is a real issue and it will have a real impact on real Americans when social security checks stop or are significantly reduced, inflation spikes, disability payments are drastically cut and so forth. It’s impact will be huge.

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  26. Wi on October 21, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Hawk

    My apologies, I read it wrong..

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  27. Will on October 21, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    That last comment with “Wi” was me

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  28. Jeff Spector on October 21, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    WILL,

    The debt is important but it is not a critical issue and its effect is way over blown by the tea party. The country has run a deficit 55 out of the last 60 years and the economy has expanded more than a hundredfold and more. The best way to reduce the debt is putting people back to work and not costing the economy 24 billion by shutting down the government.

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  29. h_nu on October 21, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    I think the only surprising thing is that the apostate MH is still allowed in the Mormon temple. And if I ever had the misfortune to encounter Harry Reid in the Temple, I’d also denounce him as a baby murderer. All liberals are going straight to hell when they die.

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  30. brjones on October 21, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    “I have it on good authority, though, that when Sen Reid attends the temple, he never participates in the prayer circle.”

    Shame on you for this comment.

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  31. brjones on October 21, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    Lol. I don’t know if it was your intention, MH, but your post has produced the funniest comments I’ve ever read on this site.

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  32. Jared on October 21, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    This post has brought out a lot of interesting doctrinal thoughts and also revealed various political persuasions of the commentators.

    I’m a little surprised at the strident language some have used to describe their thoughts about the tea party movement and Senators Lee and Cruz.

    Hawkgrrrl feels everyone should be a diplomat and exhibit the qualities enumerated in D&C 121. I think Moroni possessed these qualities based on Alma 48. However, when a warrior is in battle other qualities need to surface in order to resist iniquity.

    Moroni dealt with the loss of life on almost a daily basis. He witnessed the blood and guts of military battle with hand held weapons. Imagine for a moment the kind of battles they fought with swords, cimeters (probably an ax like weapon), and etc. Politicians lose votes, soldiers lose life and limb.

    More about politicians losing votes. LDS understand that we have an inspired Constitution (98:5-10, 101:80). We also know that we could lose the freedoms provided in the Constitution if wicked men gain power. Some believe the Constitution is beginning to hang by a brittle thread and are resisting by all legal and moral means. We certainly can disagree with them but to demonize them is foolhardy

    Emergency call. Off to the ER to give a blessing.

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  33. MH on October 21, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    “the only surprising thing is that the apostate MH is still allowed in the Mormon temple.”

    Seriously that made me LOL. I’m still laughing. Great one!

    “MH, but your post has produced the funniest comments I’ve ever read on this site.”

    Brjones, that was not my intention, but I have to agree with you whole-heartedly.

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  34. allquieton on October 21, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    Nate + Mike S–

    Tea Party Mormons do not believe Christ heads the Tea Party. That’s ridiculous.

    MH–
    I can’t believe this has gone unchallenged, but Cruz and Lee did not cause the shutdown.The House proposed to fund the entire government except Obamacare. Then they proposed to fund the gov. and delay Obamacare. All of this is well within their rights and responsibilities. The Senate refused both options. Then the government shut down b/c there was no agreement on the budget. I don’t see how you can blame Cruz or Lee, or the Tea Party for a shutdown when they offered to fund the government. I would blame democrats.

    At the very least I would say they share blame. B/c either side could have instantly avoided/ended the shutdown by compromising. Think about it–democrats could have instantly ended the shutdown by agreeing to delay Ocare. They chose a shutdown over a delay in Ocare.

    Also, there never was a threat of default. It was all a lie. Even if we didn’t raise the debt ceiling, there is no way we would default. The gov. takes in something like 10x enought tax money to pay any unpaid bills that could lead to default.

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  35. allquieton on October 21, 2013 at 10:07 PM

    Jeff–
    You sound like you have never sat down and talked with any tea party folks. You have some crazy ideas about them and you are mischaracterizing them.

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  36. Will on October 21, 2013 at 10:07 PM

    Jeff,

    You have perfectly illustrated my original point that the American Public does not understand the enormity of the debt problem.

    I realize our nation has been using its credit card since we got off the Gold Standard and increased its outstanding balance all but five years. Jeff, that is the problem, as our current balance is equal to the sum total of all single family dwellings in the US and the total value of all investment grade Gold in the world. What’s worse is this equates to $250,000 per TAXPAYER (the people that actually pay income taxes). In other words, each tax payer effectively has a second long term note more than the average value of their home.

    It gets worse. The number of people that actually pay taxes is shrinking due to tax laws and employment rates and the debt keeps increasing with NO foreseeable time when we will have a balanced budget. This is due to the fact that 1) congress does not have the political wherewithal to cut spending. We have increased the total debt 11 Trillion with Bush and Obama. 2) baby boomers are nearing retirement and entitlements are increasing dramatically 3) the annual debt service (the minimum amount due on our credit card) increases at a steady pace. With the cost of money increasing, this will also increase exponentially. Within the next two to three years, it is anticipated that entitlements and debt service will consume 100 percent of the revenue collected. 100 percent.

    I have been a financial analyst for 26 years. I have reviewed the numbers in depth. To me, we have reached the point of no return. We have reached financial checkmate. We are bankrupt. Some of the people in Washington know this, but only a few are willing to acknowledge our financial situation.

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  37. MH on October 21, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    At church yesterday, I was talking to a guy in my ward. We agreed that the shutdown was ridiculous, but disagreed on who was responsible. I complained about Lee, and then my “friend” called me a socialist. The tea party guys are unbelievable. I’m sure Joe McCarthy would be proud of these guys.

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  38. MH on October 21, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    “The number of people that actually pay taxes is shrinking due to tax laws [implemented by George W. Bush who reversed the surpluses of Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich.]” Get your story straight Will. I’m fine with cutting some spending, but we need more people to pay taxes, especially Warren Buffet, Lebron James, Tom Brady, and Mitt Romney (to name a few). It’s ridiculous to quit using all the tools in the arsenal to fix the “enormity of the problem.”

    The CEO of McDonalds makes more in 1 day than his employees make in a year. These same employees can’t afford food (so they get food stamps), or health care, and end up either being subsidized by costly emergency room visits, or hospitals overcharge you and me to recoup the losses of the uninsured, and businesses (like Wal-mart) are shifting the liability onto the government while paying paltry wages. Surely the income gap is a HUGE problem here. If Walmart and McDonalds started paying decent wages, then we wouldn’t need this costly healthcare program. The market acts in self-interest, not Christian discipleship.

    Increasing taxes won’t solve the problem by itself, and neither will spending cuts. Both need to be used, and for the Tea Party types to draw a line in the sand only leads to government shutdowns. It is ridiculous, which is why I’m calling out Lee and Cruz on their completely stupid, irresponsible positions. Let’s solve the budget problems with realistic solution, not stupid filibusters and government shutdowns and defaults.

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  39. HarryStamper on October 21, 2013 at 11:13 PM

    As many pointed out, you’re miss applying the scripture to fit your particular views.

    The senator’s are pointing out a bigger issue than the Affordable Care Act. Increasing public debt. The federal government revenue since 1980 since Reagan, has increased 4 1/2% per year….more than inflation and more than population growth…by about 1%….but government expenditures grow at over 6%….the real problem is spending notwithstanding taxes and tax cuts…congress republican or democrats all over spend…

    And no …… senator Lee was not trying to force the country into default….with the government shut down…the revenue still comes in…only the president can order an default….it wouldn’t have happened

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  40. Mormon Heretic on October 22, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    Harry, please tell me how I am misapplying scripture. You stating it doesn’t make it so. So far nobody is offering any reason (good or bad) why the scripture is misapplied. Do you think a theocracy under Christ would be exempt from this scripture?

    Can anybody tell me why Clinton and Gingrich were able to work out a surplus through tax increases and spending cuts, and why the Tea Party refuses a similar deal? Obama is offering such a deal, but so far no takers from our “conservative” friends.

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  41. J on October 22, 2013 at 12:41 AM

    Yes-I can tell you MH–they took credit for the surplus they didn’t create–microsoft and trickle down economics are what created it. Btw-why does being labelled a socialist offend you? It strikes me as potentially accurate and although we are at different political spectrums, I’m not offended if someone identifies me as part if the tea party–just seems closer to the truth now than the republican I used to be.

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  42. HarryStamper on October 22, 2013 at 12:59 AM

    There is a new comment on the post “Senator Lee and D&C 121″. http://www.wheatandtares.org/12961/senator-lee-and-dc-121/Author: Mormon HereticComment:Harry, please tell me how I am misapplying scripture.  You stating it doesn’t make it so.  So far nobody is offering any reason (good or bad) why the scripture is good or bad.  Do you think a theocracy under Christ would be exempt from this scripture?Can anybody tell me with Clinton and Gingrich were able to work out a surplus through tax increases and spending cuts, and why the Tea Party refuses a similar deal?  Obama is offering such a deal, but so far no takers from our “conservative” friends.

    Your quote from section 121 of doctrine and covenants is only partially correct…you left out the part that it applies to the rights, power, influence of heaven or the priesthood. Senator Lee was not acting in a priesthood function…therefore it would be a misapplication of the scripture to do so…our at least to judge him in said fashion.

    Next…you asked about this applying to a theocracy under Christ…..Christ would not operate a theocracy as a form of government…Christians worship Christ as their King…His form of government is a kingdom…when the King speaks…we obey.

    Next..the Gingrich Clinton era…no one has issue with a balance approach…conservatives are more concerned with spending cuts…the increase in spending under Bush and Obama is astronomical….the tea party simply wants the federal government to prove it can control spending….we want increased taxes to go to pay the debt down…not for new spending….that’s it….:-) :-) :-)

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  43. Hedgehog on October 22, 2013 at 1:41 AM

    Will #18, I agree that the UK and US are bigger than than the Scandinavian nations. The US is bigger by far than Britain, than Britain is bigger than those nations. Rather than size I would point to economic approach in Britain and the US as being the cause of the problem. Yes, there are those who can appear to prefer mooching on the system. However, when the system is set so that many hard-working people are paid so little, that even working several jobs they still can’t earn enough to house and support a family, mooching can look like a logical alternative. Some people are going to throw up their hands and ask what’s the point? And unfortunately we are now in a situation where several generations have passed under this system. The inequities between top levels of pay, and the pay of those at the bottom of the heap are staggering. I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, when companies pay their employees so little that governments are obliged to supplement income, the government is effectively subsidising the operations of those companies.

    I’d also point out that there’ll be an upcoming vote on Scottish independence, and if won Scotland will be looking to pursue the Scandinavian model.

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  44. Will on October 22, 2013 at 8:00 AM

    MH,

    I never said anything about tax increases or who did what, I simply communicated our current financial state. So I’m not sure, what story I’m supposed “Get straight Will.’ I simply communicated that the number of people paying taxes is shrinking due to tax laws and unemployment, which is true. Last year, the number qualified adults that did not pay income tax or paid a negative tax (IRS term for got paid) increased to 58 million.

    With that said, there is simply not enough payroll revenue in the US to generate the tax revenue we need to over our current obligations. I know you and others are on this 1% gig, but it just won’t solve the problem. Forget the argument that these are the job creators and they use their money to invest in business and development, which creates jobs, which increases revenue. If you took every dime the 1% made (which is totally stupid because they would simply not work anymore). 100 percent of everyone making over $350,000 (the 1%), it is only $320 Billion in additional revenue. Since Obama took office our deficits have averaged 1.4 Trillion. This means, if you took 100% of the 1%’s income, you would still have a 1.1 Trillion dollar deficit.

    I’m afraid the only real solution is drastic cuts in entitlements. As I mentioned above, entitlements and debt service will soon account for 100% of the revenue collected.

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  45. Will on October 22, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    Hedgehog:

    In a demented sort of way, we are saying the same thing.

    The US system is a risk/reward system. Had we not been taken over by the liberal faction with all these dependency programs, we would own the world. True, most of the top companies in the world, but our national debt from the social programs is going to take us down; and, in the process take the entire world’s economy down.

    The US government’s problem is not that it is too greedy; it is that it is too generous .

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  46. MH on October 22, 2013 at 8:22 AM

    Will, I have much agreement with what you said in 44. Since corporations are people (as Mitt Romney said), they need to be included in the 1%, so I think the 1% is actually a lot larger when including corporations in the mix. Walmart, McDonalds, Exxon, Apple, Google, etc are using tax loopholes to move profits to Ireland. Let’s close those loopholes and tax those corporations as they should be taxed. And let’s get CEO salaries under control.

    J, trickle down economics is a farce. When Reagan tried it he only ballooned the deficit. I didn’t say I was offended by being called a socialist. If the definition of a socialist is anybody that disagrees with the Tea Party, then there are a lot of socialists in the U.S. I pointed it out because it just shows how unreasonable these people are, and it also demonstrates that they are wackos.

    Harry, so if King Christ came tomorrow, are you saying that because he is the ultimate high priest using the priesthood that he can come and take over our political system using compulsion to rid the country of Obamacare? Will he use dominion to get rid of gay marriage because it is in “degrees of righteousness”? Will the Prince of Peace use compulsion to ban guns for a peaceful society?

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  47. Gibster on October 22, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Sen Lee’s father (Rex Lee) must be turning over in his grave!!!!!

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  48. Mike S on October 22, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    These arguments are tiring. I agree with Will and everyone else who say that charity is the ideal. Someday we will all look out for each other. However, until the Millenium, we live in an imperfect world and need to come up with the best situation we can.

    Let’s look at reality. In my ward alone, of people I know, there have been a number of operations. There have been significant medical problems. There are many chronic conditions.

    Take just a single one: A knee replacement. It costs $30,000. Does anyone on this board honestly think that charity will take care of this? Will the people in a single neighborhood pool their money to pay for this (100 families in a ward x $300 per family if EVERY SINGLE FAMILY PAID)? Will the Church pay for this? Does anyone HONESTLY think this would ever happen? Now multiply this by dozens of people. It is impractical. It isn’t going to work. Charity (while it sounds good in sound bites) doesn’t work in this fallen world. Period.

    And what is this “charity” really doing? It is using money from healthy people to pay for care for sick people, in the hopes that someday when the healthy person is sick, that someone will pay for them. Hmmmm. Sounds familiar.

    Charity doesn’t work for healthcare. So as a society we institutionalize it. We do this for the military, for social security, for fire and police protection, for education, for student loans, for many, many other things where individualized purchasing of these things doesn’t make any economic sense. According to arguments above,these are all “socialized”.

    And there are two options: 1) have the government do it, or 2) do it through private insurers. Sick people are going to expect the system to take care of them when they get in an accident, and it is in fact written into law that emergency rooms must take care of anyone who walks in the door. It only makes sense that if we, as a society, choose option #2 (because option #1 is too unpalatable) that we make each person buy private insurance.

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  49. Will on October 22, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    Mike,

    100 percent agreed. If we are going to have people buy insurance, then let’s make it real. Let’s make it enforceable and not have stupid ‘hardship clauses’ that let people out.

    If the real objective is to nationalize it, then let’s state that and move forward with that agenda instead of playing games.

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  50. fbisti on October 22, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    #2, Kent (MC) on October 21, 2013 at 6:44 AM

    I think someone said, “judge not” or something in a scripture somewhere. :-)

    ==========================
    Another of my pet peeves. Matthew 7 is often quoted and understood to mean don’t judge others…the mote/beam issue. I believe it is incomplete and the penalty is ludicrous (“For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”) Seemingly this means God will judge you with the same envy or jealousy you used to judge others–that is problematic.

    IMO, much better to use Moroni 7. Even if one doesn’t believe the BoM is authentic, that exposition of “judge not” is much clearer, more complete, more true.

    “13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

    14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

    15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night….

    18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.”

    There, the “with the same judgment” makes much more sense.

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  51. Hedgehog on October 22, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Will, hmmm. Except your solution is to give free rein to businesses who have shown scant regard for their employees at the bottom of the heap. In fact, if Britain is anything to go by, companies have over the last few years begun outsourcing things they used to provide in-house (cleaners, catering etc), because this saves them providing these people with the company pension schemes and other benefits, thereby cutting costs, and they can still *say* all their employees are treated fairly, ho hum. Their former cleaning etc staff have had to join these outside providers, if they want to keep a job, for worse pay and conditions.

    Just to add that the NHS is, in theory at least, funded by National Insurance in Britain, as are a number of other benefits. Simplified explanation here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/10078062.

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  52. Will on October 22, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Hedgehog:

    In spite of all his weaknesses, I am ever grateful to my father who taught me one valuable lesson in life. In fact, he taught it to all of us and it has served us well. His lesson:

    “Make yourself valuable to your employer. Show up early and work late. Get the highest degree possible never complain about your pay. Be grateful and express gratitude to your employer. They will recognize your value and will compensate you accordingly”

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  53. Douglas on October 22, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    #44 – witness what it’s happening in France in wake of huge tax increases (they backed off establishing a new 75% marginal tax rate on annual incomes over 1 million euros (about $1.3M), leaving it at “only” 60%. Already numerous French celebrities (Gerard Depardieu being one of them) have become tax exiles, much like the Beatles did in the 70′s (post-breakup, I think). In light of the (income) tax base shrinking, as the leading edge of the baby boom generation is now 67 and hitting retirement and drawing upon Social Security with a vengeance, a politically-suicidal but financially necessary overhaul of Federal ‘entitlements’ IS necessary (and this will certainly affect me, but that’s my own fault for having CHOSEN to be a career Federal employee…fortunately I have post-retirement options). What causing this ‘doom and gloom’ is that some eighteen years ago, with the Boomers in their prime earning years (and indeed, their ‘crowding’ of middle-level management and professional positions caused the then-record unemployment levels amongst their types), the Federal Government was raking in hefty FICA taxes, well in excess of Social Security spending. Of course, as had been the practice all along, the ‘excess’ was ‘invested’ in Government securities (various length of Treasury Notes). This is already a so-called “flat” tax and is inherently “regressive” (hits the low-income earners harder as they have far less discretionary income). Also done as a matter of course was a practice started in the Reagan Administration (part of the Faustian bargain that the Gipper struck with Tip O’Neill) of using Social Security tax surpluses to offset deficits, a practice that detractors of Social Security predicted would occur nearly 80 years ago and were solemnly promised could NEVER happen. Most economists agree that World War Two could not have been prosecuted the way we did (military spending increased sharply after FY1937 when FICA taxes began rolling in, coincidence?) w/o Social Security taxes which fell upon most working peoples. Now that the Boomers are retiring, with the aforementioned decreases in revenues, the so-called “Trust Fund”, in reality nothing but a stack of IOUs Uncle Sam gave to the taxpayers, will deplete rapidly.

    #48 – Mike S, you as a physician should know far better. The Government is already micro-managing health care, regardless of who signs your paycheck, whether it be for “fairness” reasons, for cost-control measures (read: health-care rationing), or for other political purposes (“War on Drugs”, etc.). The only difference between options 1 and 2 are what badge you wear and levels of (in)competence and/or micro-management. Both are still “socialized” health-care systems, and NEITHER were ever envisioned or authorized by the framers of the Constitution. I see NOTHING in the US Constitution that gives the Federal Government the authority to concern itself with health care issues of the civilian population. Likewise I see NOTHING that gives it authority to regulate what substances consenting adults take into their bodies, whether said intake be wise or horribly foolish, nor a duty to pay for the consequences of said foolishness. The biggest concern that I have with Federal involvement in health care is a “tragedy of the commons” situation, obviating personal responsibility to manage one’s health for the most implied of reasons (a happy and sane person wants to be health, and typically it’s better for the wallet as well). As the fictional Senator Jay Billington Bulworth told the stunned audience in the ghetto church in South-Central LA, “Unless you put down that malt liquor and chicken wings, you’ll never get rid of a guy like me.” The uber-liberal Mr Beatty, otherwise in that film portraying a cynical liberal politician and spouting his usual liberal drivel, hit one squarely on the nail head.

    As for those who question either Senator Lee (or, on the other side of the political spectrum, Senator Reid), get over yourselves. They have bishops, Stake Presidents, and the Lord to decide their worthiness to enter His house. How arrogant and presumptuous of you all that bring that up to do so. Worry about your own worthiness, I have enough of my own concerns to devote thought to politicians. You cynics would have put down Senator Amidala, for pity’s sake.

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  54. J on October 23, 2013 at 12:38 AM

    Will, thank you for articulating relevant info so well and kindly. As a woman–even I can see that my gender tends to confuse empathy as morality. You are able to see the plain facts of affordability and debt whereas this who disagree with you are focused on emotion & righteous empathy instead of concrete math.

    MH, trickle down economics did work, it was Reagan’s military spending and space race with the USSR that lead to debt. It also lead to more democracy and free trade, which feeds the world economy and democracy, in turn.

    MH, you are demonizing the opposition repeatedly in your comments while they remain kind to you–a lesson learned from the democrats that works strikingly well with a less educated culture we’ve become. Speaking of McCarthyism, they had their hearts in the right place and the Communist Manifesto is clearly playing out well in this country. Dumbing down education, breaking up the family, and getting people to depend on government are prime goals already achieved.

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  55. J on October 23, 2013 at 12:54 AM

    Walmart and McDonalds are prime example of ENTRY LEVEL Jobs that were never intended to support a family. Every society needs these entry level jobs.

    It doesn’t take a genius to understand that those who want to earn more need to get more education or another line of work.

    It isn’t a corporate greed problem. Corporations are juggernauts of a healthy economy. They are not social service agencies. You will tax them out of the country if you vote your opinions MH. There will be nothing left to trickle down.

    Healthcare costs are enormous because of research and a litigation happy culture. You are entitled to life saving help, nothing more. Anything else is gravy.

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  56. Hedgehog on October 23, 2013 at 3:49 AM

    Will, your father’s words may well have been true back when you were growing up. Things aren’t like that now, for the most part, from my observation. Companies appear to be interested solely in their balance sheets over the short term, and rather less interested in the value of their employees, in spite of all they may have invested in them in the way of training etc., and oblivious to the long term consequences to the business. In each redundancy round they are given top-down instructions of percentages of people who have to go. That doesn’t give those who know and value their employees much room to move, particularly when all the dead wood went in the first round.

    Furthermore, as a higher percentage of the population obtain degrees (as is happening in Britain), that is simply more people fighting over degree level jobs. Many are finding that their degree isn’t actually getting them a better job. I believe Firetag had a post covering this a while back, so I don’t really want to go over old ground.

    When companies outsource for things like cleaning, then those seeking to provide that service face heavy competition, and pressures on costs. Ultimately pay is squeezed, workers don’t feel valued, and the service finishes up being less than it could have been. For example, the NHS decided to contract out cleaning services. It would save on those expensive public sector pensions, for a start. But it isn’t working. The cleanliness of the hospitals (really quite vital I’d have thought) is constantly discussed in the media. Cleaning personel work to strict time schedules in doing their tasks, and don’t have the flexibility of the past. More generally, such employees are not going to feel invested in the businesses where they clean.

    I dislike the attitude that sees some jobs as lesser. In the first place, someone has to keep the offices & restrooms clean and tidy, and so forth. In fact I have to prefer the attitude in Japan, which teaches from school on to value those tasks looked down on in the west.

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  57. J on October 23, 2013 at 5:53 AM

    Hedgehog you are making value judgements in jobs not me. You see only what you want based on your resentment of big business–you are right about one thing-

    -yes, employees are FEELING less valued but it’s primarily because if their victim entitlist attitude. They have been bamboozled by the media and the left (one in the same) which only show them stories they can spin that way.

    Once you have the socialist United States you are looking for, you are a slave to the government. You want equal outcomes for all because you envision that as fairness, when in reality, we can never make life fair. I want EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, which this country was founded on but only truly had for a few decades once racism was not a hindrance.

    The adversary is tempting you to play God. We cannot ever truly make things fair because fairness is in the eye of the beholder.

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  58. MH on October 23, 2013 at 6:58 AM

    J, I can see you are still drinking the Tea Party Koolaid. This will either kill the country with unsustainable business practices, or re-energize the unions to take power lost over the past 30 years.

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  59. Jared on October 23, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    For those who listen to the words of modern day prophets, which among them have spoke in favor of socialism, which among them have spoken against socialism?

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  60. Will on October 23, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    J.

    Thank you

    Hedgehog:

    This great country was set up by God to get away from the tyranny of Government rule, not move towards it. See D&C 101:77-80:

    77 According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;

    78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.

    79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.

    80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.

    God intended us to be moral agents, to determine our own destiny and to not be in bondage to a government, a Union, an employer or anyone. If you don’t like your employer, go somewhere else. If you don’t like the way business is setup, start your own. This is what I read from this scripture and this is what I want in my country – freedom to determine by own destiny.

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  61. Will on October 23, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    Jared,

    The scripture I just quoted speaks against it, loud and clear

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  62. J. on October 23, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    Boyd k. Packer:

    “We have succeeded fairly well in establishing in the minds of Latter-day Saints that they should take care of their own material needs and then contribute to the welfare of those who cannot provide the necessities of life. If a member is unable to sustain himself, then he is to call upon his own family, and then upon the Church, in that order, and not upon the government at all.

    We have counseled bishops and stake presidents to be very careful to avoid abuses in the welfare program. When people are able but are unwilling to take care of themselves, we are responsible to employ the dictum of the Lord, that the idler shall not eat the bread of the laborer. The simple rule has been, to the fullest extent possible, to take care of one’s self. This couplet of truth has been something of a model:

    “Eat it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”

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  63. J. on October 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    MH-
    Your comment about tea party kook aid was a prime example of demonizing anyone who disagrees with you when you run out of arguments and have again managed to ignore the math national debt.

    Voting on opinion vs fact and logic.

    Furthermore, you came here looking for the conversation so insulting those who disagree shows ….well, a lot.

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  64. Mike S on October 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    #53 Douglas: I see NOTHING in the US Constitution that gives the Federal Government the authority to concern itself with health care issues of the civilian population.

    You are correct. At the time the Constitution was written, health care largely consisted of herbal remedies. People didn’t even know germs existed. Antibiotics were non-existent. Barber-surgeons could either give you a shave or else let out some blood to “cure” you. So, obviously the Constitution says nothing about what we have today.

    However, the Founders DID realize that things that happened between states needed to be covered at a national level – hence the interstate commerce clause. This is how many,many things are covered in our country today. For example, in my case, very few of the supplies I use are actually made in Utah, so it is by definition interstate commerce. In this case in particular, essentially all large insurance companies exist in more than one state, so regulation of their practices is also covered.

    The reality is that Obamacare is a direct response to the excesses of the insurance industry. If they didn’t start denying care to needy people for the sake of ever increasing profits, there would have been little impetus to regulate the industry. It’s just like the financial industry. For the sake of greed, people are willing to take advantage of others.

    Do I like all these regulations? Absolutely not – I deal with them every day and they drive me crazy. But unfortunately the greed of a few makes them necessary in an ordered society. The Founders based the Constitution on the concept that we are all greedy. It is the basis of checks and balances – where people seeking their own interests will hopefully balance each other out. And applying this to businesses they didn’t even know would exist at the time – they included an interstate commerce clause so that in the case of unbridled greed, that something could be done to reign it in.

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  65. Mormon Heretic on October 23, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    Did you all see what that socialist Orrin Hatch said on the front page of the Deseret News today? Hatch says Lee, other tea party Republicans need to be rehabilitated

    J, I know it was a typo, but you wrote “kook aid”. Made me chuckle. As for demonizing, isn’t calling someone a socialist a form of demonizing? Tea partiers do it all the time. Yes, I should be better, but politics is a dirty game, right? Since many of you have argued that politics is exempt from D&C 121, then I guess that makes me exempt from D&C 121 as well. Senator Lee and other Tea Partiers can call people who disagree with them socialists and get away scott free. It’s so nice not to have to be encumbered by scriptures when it suits your purpose.

    Jared, I haven’t heard a modern-day prophet speak about socialism or communism since Benson. (Monson-no, Hinckley-no, Hunter-no.) If that counts as “modern day”, then can I sell you my 20 year old modern cell phone? I’m sure it will work just fine for you.

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  66. Will on October 23, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    MH,

    Nephi put it best: “the guilty (or wicked) take the truth to be hard”

    It wasn’t Lee or Cruz that got us into this financial mess; it was the likes of like Orrin Hatch. Lee and Cruz are doing the only ones in Washington telling the truth about the debt and ObamaCare.

    MH, or anyone on this site, I challenge you to provide me ONE thing either Cruz or Lee have said that is dishonest or misleading about the debt or Obamacare. You may not agree with their tactics, but you cannot argue with the truth. They are telling the truth (about the only ones) and it is the truth that is angering so many of the Guilty.

    What Hatch is saying, in effect, is: go along to get along and continue down the path of total destruction.

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  67. The Other Clark on October 23, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    @#65, Actually, presidents Hinckley and Monson have spoken clearly against socialism, even if they didn’t use those exact words. (The current term is “self reliance” or “provident living”)

    The official church publications as recently as this year consistently warn Church members of the dangers of trusting the government to supply their needs. For example, the MARCH 2009 Ensign reprinted Elder Romney (of the 1st Presidency) talk “The Celestial Nature of Self-Reliance” which includes this quote: “The practice of coveting and receiving unearned benefits has now become so fixed in our society that… elections often turn on what the candidates promise to do for voters from government funds. This practice, if universally accepted and implemented in any society, will make slaves of its citizens.”

    Doesn’t count? How about this one from President Monson in the JULY 2013 First Presidency message: “Many are on a giant roller coaster of disaster… In the end, more than they [ancient Greeks and Romans] wanted freedom, they wanted security and a comfortable life; and they lost all—comfort and security and freedom.”

    Those who say the living prophets don’t warn of socialism and communism simply aren’t paying attention. Elders Packer, Oaks, Hales, and Anderson have all spoken within the last five years on the importance of preserving individual agency and freedom.

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  68. hawkgrrrl on October 23, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    J – Hedgehog is British, not American. The views you are expressing really don’t make sense outside of an American context.

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  69. Jared on October 23, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    MH said: “I haven’t heard a modern-day prophet speak about socialism or communism since Benson… If that counts as “modern day”, then can I sell you my 20 year old modern cell phone? I’m sure it will work just fine for you.”

    I suggest you send that idea to the church so they can put a “use by” date on quotes from the prophets.

    In an earlier comment you said you read some real zinger comments in this post that tickled your funny bone. I guess you’re adding to the list.

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  70. Hedgehog on October 23, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    J, we have had that “use it up…” motto stuck to our fridge for years, and certainly live by it.

    So your view is that if an employee feels undervalued or ill-used, this is entirely in their own heads, and has nothing to do with how their employer is actually treating them?

    Will, not everyone is capable of setting up their own business, though plenty do. We no longer live in a world where it is possible to go off somewhere and claim a piece of land etc. We have to be better at cooperative living, and stop exploiting others.

    Those of you who claim to despise socialism might benefit from study of the social conditions that contributed to its rise.

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  71. Mormon Heretic on October 23, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    You’re right Will, it wasn’t Lee and Cruz that made this mess because they weren’t in office. It was Bush 2 and Reagan. (But you conveniently don’t like to emphasize that fact.) It was also Clinton and Gingrich that put us on a better financial road, only to be derailed by Bush 2 with his irresponsible and expensive war in Iraq while cutting taxes.

    J, give me back Gingrich and Clinton and we can have some sane financial math. We certainly haven’t had it with any other presidents in the past 50 years (republican or democrat.) I I think you are ignoring that I actually agreed with Will in 44. (And Will, I think that was the most articulate you’ve ever been on this blog. Usually you like to stir the partisan pot, and it was really a great comment. I don’t hand out compliments like this to Will very often, so I hope you really see my sincerity.)

    Finally Will, this whole post has been about tactics, not message. I’m not disputing the message of the Tea Party. In fact, I do think that the message of financial responsibility is important. I am disputing the tactics. Tea Party wackos feel they are immune from criticism. They name call (socialist) all the time with impunity. They shut down the government. There are better ways. Orrin Hatch, John McCain, Bill Clinton, and the MAJORITY OF AMERICANS say there is a better way, and there absolutely is. But this “take no prisoners” mentality of the Tea Party will ruin them if they don’t learn how to get along. Didn’t Christ say “blessed are the peacemakers?” I think he was talking about McCain and Hatch more than Lee and Cruz. Tactics matter. Pissing off the electorate will not help the Tea Party and they will fade away, despite their seemingly good intentions. Their tactics are HORRIBLE!!!! That is why I object so vehemently to Lee and Cruz. The shutdown was 100% avoidable, and as Waren Buffet said, it was an weapon of financial destruction that should never be used. Blowing up the economy will do more harm to the Tea Party than any other message. Change your tactics.

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  72. Mormon Heretic on October 23, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Jared, I absolutely think the scriptures could use a “use by” date. How about some of these?

    1 Cor 13:34 “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak;”

    Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5)

    If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city. Deuteronomy 22:23-24

    If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother … And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die. Deuteronomy 21:18,21

    Do you think we should take these scriptures literally today? Are you going to stone adulterers or sabbath breakers?

    How about this from Brigham Young?

    “If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.”

    I remind you that President Benson accused President Eisenhower of being a communist, and the civil rights movement was a communist conspiracy. I wrote about it on my blog. These quotes by Benson and Young should certainly be retired and repudiated. I can find more if you like.

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  73. J. on October 23, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    MH–calling someone a true label like socialist is descriptive and truthful. Calling someone a whacko is not.

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  74. Mormon Heretic on October 23, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    J, if Orrin Hatch is a socialist, then you are a wacko. It is truthful and descriptive.

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  75. J. on October 23, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Hawkgirl-I think you are referring to a comment from Will not me, however, his description of the framewk of our country is very relevant–it’s the most relevant thing in the string. We are not these European countries and trying to model their socialist policies will not work here. We are talking about our country.

    Hedgehog-YES-exactly: if someone feels unappreciated by their employer it is their issue, not one for society. No one is entitled to a job from someone else. It is a blessing, not an entitlement. Employers in this country treat people very well.

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  76. The Other Clark on October 23, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    #72 THere’s a reason why the class is titled “Teachings of the LIVING Prophets.” Once they’re dead, it should be off the books, UNLESS it’s quoted by another apostle currently living.

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  77. Jared on October 23, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    #72 MH-

    You’re serious about “use by” date. Well, then lets open this up for discussion.

    Many scriptures from the Old Testament like you sited can be put in to perspective by turning to the Book of Mormon.

    Consider these verses:

    17 And as many as have received me, to them have I given to become the sons of God; and even so will I to as many as shall believe on my name, for behold, by me redemption cometh, and in me is the law of Moses fulfilled.

    (Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 9:17)

    8 For behold, the covenant which I have made with my people is not all fulfilled; but the law which was given unto Moses hath an end in me.

    (Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 15:8, see 2-8)

    Now to those scriptures you sited in the New Testament. My take on the is simple. The advice given (note the word advice) was for the culture and time period they lived in. The 12th AofF applies here as well.

    In regards to BY and ETB. Each follower of Christ is required to evaluate what the prophets, living and dead, had to say that are hard to understand or just plain wrong. Do we throw out everything they had to say or do we realize we have fallible prophets.

    Knowing that we have fallible prophets we can measure what to accept and what to set aside as being their own thoughts and not binding on church members by following a simple rule: what have other prophets said on the same subject and does it square up with the scriptures.

    With that in mind I’ll provide two links that may be of interest to the readers of this post.

    http://lastdaysigns.blogspot.com/2012/04/who-opposes-socialism-quotes-from-every.html

    http://www.lds.org/ensign/1979/01/to-prepare-a-people?lang=eng&query=socialism

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  78. Hedgehog on October 23, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    J, I’d say that some employers treat their employees as well as they are obliged to, by law. Employees in countries without that legislation fare worse. That does make it of interest to society. Which isn’t to say there aren’t also good employers. In this country the good employers of the past tended to be Quakers.

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  79. Mormon Heretic on October 23, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    “In regards to BY and ETB. Each follower of Christ is required to evaluate what the prophets, living and dead, had to say that are hard to understand or just plain wrong. Do we throw out everything they had to say or do we realize we have fallible prophets.”

    Excellent statement Jared. I don’t want to throw out what Benson said in regards to the BoM. Those were inspired words. Likewise BY was a great leader and did much good in the pioneer era.

    BY was flat out wrong on the Curse of Cain. Modern prophets as well as the new statement in OD2 that “we don’t know” contradict Young’s statement “This will always be so.” Young was not inspired on that point, though he was inspired on plenty of other issues.

    I think what Benson had to say regarding socialism and communism was deeply flawed. He was an apostle when he made those statements, not President of the Church, so I think that his opinions on Eisenhower and the Civil Rights movement were flat out wrong. Benson was very fallible on those points, and those statements should be considered “expired”. Anybody who cites Benson as a “modern” prophet on those points has some serious flaws in their reasoning. (I’ll sell you that cell phone for $20, but I am willing to negotiate on the price a bit.)

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  80. hawkgrrrl on October 23, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    J: I was referring to your comment where you said this: “Hedgehog you are making value judgements in jobs not me. You see only what you want based on your resentment of big business–you are right about one thing-

    -yes, employees are FEELING less valued but it’s primarily because if their victim entitlist attitude. They have been bamboozled by the media and the left (one in the same) which only show them stories they can spin that way.

    Once you have the socialist United States you are looking for, you are a slave to the government. You want equal outcomes for all because you envision that as fairness, when in reality, we can never make life fair. I want EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, which this country was founded on but only truly had for a few decades once racism was not a hindrance.”

    You seem to associate Hedgehog’s views with the US liberal left (resentment of big business, equal outcomes for all). I don’t consider that an accurate assumption; British politics don’t fit neatly into our two party system. Tony Blair, for example, believed very much in an upwardly striving middle class. And he was New Labor party. We are solving problems based on our own system; they are solving problems based on a different foundational system. Social programs and regulations on businesses differ in our two nations.

    Your comments ignore the realities of government in other nations. Besides that, you claim Hedgehog will be slave to a socialist government in the US when she is not a citizen of the US. You ascribe a motive to her that is a trope of the liberal left in the US. All I am saying is she is not American, and our limited view of politics in the US is based on our own system. Those who assume the two party spectrum is the totality of political theory are oversimplifying and misapplying these philosophical views on a global stage.

    Applying socialism in the US is more disruptive because of our existing systems. But ALL governments are socialist to some degree because they are governing a community, a society. Things like defense, education, highways, national parks, military, space exploration, regulatory groups, intelligence community, fire fighters, police forces: these are all government programs for the common good. We (Americans) selectively call some “socialist evils” (even the left won’t accept the term socialist in the US) but other programs are considered necessary to preserve our freedoms. Politics is all about these choices. From what I see, Americans have a very weird dialogue about these choices. We don’t acknowledge our inconsistencies. We fight straw men on both sides.

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  81. hawkgrrrl on October 23, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Looks like Lee is losing his base in Utah, and also losing party support. Apparently Utah Republicans prefer pragmatic business people to intransigent ideologues: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-utah-tea-party-favorite-sen-lee-faces-gop-backlash-over-government-shutdown/2013/10/22/9754e782-3b25-11e3-a94f-b58017bfee6c_story.html?tid=pm_pop

    Even 57% of BYU think he’s too uncompromising. B. Y. U.

    A. Scott Anderson (raised money for Lee three years ago): “If things are to happen, you can’t just stick to your principles. You have to make things work. . . . You’ve got to be practical.”

    Spencer Zwick called Lee a “show horse” who “just wants to be a spectacle” and said “Business leaders that I talk to, many of whom supported him, would never support his reelection and in fact will work against him, myself included.”

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  82. Jared on October 23, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    MH-I don’t want to take advantage of you on your cell phone offer. What if I worked you down to 12 bucks and then sold it as an antique collectors curio for 10K. Would I still be thought of as D&C 121er?

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  83. Will on October 23, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    MH,

    I hear what you are saying, I really do. I recall a time when my dad was very ill, just before he passed away. We had the extremely difficult task of taking his driving privileges away. We tried. It was unsafe to other drivers for him to be on the road. We took his keys away. We took the car away. He was furious at us. We were the enemy. Finally, we backed off and had the police do the dirty work. With his dementia, he thought it was them and not us. This tactic worked.

    I am somewhat torn on this one. A part of me says let them implement Obama Care. Let them keep spending. Let them break it. I have a huge nest egg – gold, silver, real property. It will damage the people at the bottom the most. The people that receive checks or aide from the government the most – it will be devastating to them, just as the austerity was to the poor in Greece.

    Another part of me says no, we have to make a stand. We have passed, or are very near to the point of no return. Like the example President Hinckley gave in conference one year when he held up a string. He said I had a tree that was threatening my home. All it would have taken is this string when it was young to straighten it, to ensure that it grew straight and proper. It’s limbs had grown large and crooked and it was a threat to my home. I had to take drastic measures. I had to cut it down. I used the lumber from this tree to make this very pulpit.

    I hope it does not become so desperate that we will need to ‘redeem the land with the shedding of blood’ to ensure our freedom as the founding fathers did with the British in the 1700’s. You start taking away peoples livelihoods and nest eggs and savings and their way of life and it will come to that. Shutting down the government for a few weeks is minor in comparison.

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  84. MH on October 23, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    Jared, I like your attempt at persuasion. It sounds much better than Lee’s take it or leave it approach. ;) But now that I know it is worth 10K, I just may have to up my offer…… (You should have taken it for $20.)

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  85. Mormon Heretic on October 23, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    Yes Will, I agree. It’s an absolute shame that Bush 2 didn’t use that string when he had the chance. If he had, Obama probably would never had been elected. Many people who voted for Obama were actually voting against Bush’s policies, rather than for Obama. People want to demonize obama, rather than point out Bush’s horrible economic policies put us on this track. Bush 2 literally squandered the Clinton surpluses and got us into this mess. (I will also add that Clinton’s repeal of Glass-Steagall paved the way for the 2008 bank meltdown, so both parties have plenty of blame to share in the mess we’re in.)

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  86. J. on October 23, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    hawkgirl– you writing makes your views indistinguishable to me.

    Example:
    You said;

    “You seem to associate Hedgehog’s views with the US liberal left (resentment of big business, equal outcomes for all). I don’t consider that an accurate assumption; ”

    (ok–but then you go on to something seemingly unrelated next)

    “British politics don’t fit neatly into our two party system. Tony Blair, for example, believed very much in an upwardly striving middle class. And he was New Labor party.”

    (where us this coming from and how is it related to you prior sentence?)

    “We are solving problems based on our own system; they are solving problems based on a different foundational system. Social programs and regulations on businesses differ in our two nations.”

    (yes, I agree)

    “Your comments ignore the realities of government in other nations.

    (what realities and how is that relevant to this conversation about our nation?)

    “Besides that, you claim Hedgehog will be slave to a socialist government in the US when she is not a citizen of the US.”

    (WTH? Why is Hedgehog’s opinion even relevant if she is not a citizen? Is she living here even?)

    “You ascribe a motive to her that is a trope of the liberal left in the US.”

    (yes–hell yes I am ascribing exactly that motive to her.)

    “All I am saying is she is not American”

    (yes, so why is she even commenting so fiercely in the thread and why would her opinion be valid in this context?)

    ” and our limited view of politics in the US is based on our own system.”

    (our views should be based in our own system and relatively limited to our own system).

    Those who assume the two party spectrum is the totality of political theory are oversimplifying and misapplying these philosophical views on a global stage.

    (huh? I’m not making any global comments so why us this even said? I should be simplifying this–can you further articulate you point directly)

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  87. Will on October 23, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    I’m no fan of Bush, but putting this on his shoulders is short sighted and misses the real issue. I have never defended him or his policies. I fully agree, he should have never been given the economic reigns.

    The real issue, as I have communicated so many times before, is entitlements. Here is the staggering truth. Last year, the US government spent 1.879 Trillion (this is more than any other country spends on their ENTIRE budget) on entitlements and 225 Billion on debt service resulting in just over 2.104 Trillion. This is compared to 2.5 Trillion in spending, leaving about 400 Billion for discretionary spending. It is also noted, that as of 2010 Social Security started paying out more than it collects for the first time ever. This will increase exponentially as baby boomers retire.

    The deficient is expected to get better in 2013 given higher revenue collected; however, it will not keep pace with the growth of baby boomers retiring. Moreover, with a huge entitlement program just implemented that needs 30 million users to sign up to break even entitlements will grow even more. Moreover, as the cost of money increases and bond holders get shaky, the debt service will skyrocket. In short, entitlements and debt will soon consume our entire revenue.

    A final note, since the war on poverty was declared by LBJ the US has spent 16.7 Trillion (almost exactly our national debt) and the poverty rate has RISEN.

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  88. J. on October 23, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    MH-why are you calling Orrin hatch a socialist? Because he acquiesced on the issue? Doesn’t make the guy a socialist–he’s still against and there’s nothing resembling socialism in his values.

    Wacko is a slanderous opinion the eye if the beholder, socialism is a clearly defined philosophical view.

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  89. el oso on October 23, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    MH,
    I am a little late here but would like to disagree politely with you. I think that the partial gov’t shutdown over the major burden of the ACA (Obamacare) is just a form of moderate persuasion in today’s political environment. His central thesis, that the ACA is bad policy and needs major modification or elimination, is clearly a majority opinion and could get many votes from democrats under the right conditions.
    Just watch in the coming weeks, there will be democrats proposing or voting for very similar legislation to what was passed by the House but never voted on in the Senate. In that very likely event, would you modify your interpretation because Sen. Lee would be shown to have the spirit of prophesy?

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  90. hawkgrrrl on October 23, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    J: Hedgehog is not American. She is British, living in the UK. Her husband is Japanese. Her comments reflect her perspectives from within those systems. When you ascribe US Liberal views to her, you misunderstand her perspective. That is the extent of what I am saying. Her views are informed by the system and values in which she operates as well as those with which she is more familiar. Therefore, she is commenting not as a person with a dog in this fight, but as an observer with a global perspective. I’ll leave it at that; Hedgehog can respond for herself obviously. I just felt you were talking past her and not understanding where she is coming from.

    Back to this thread, though, the OP can be discussed as relates to the principles outlined in D&C 121 and whether or not they are relevant to politics, whether those politics are US politics or not. Also, I find it informative to hear global perspectives on US political issues. Other countries have solved things in different ways (and with different underlying assumptions). So I welcome global, outside perspectives for their freshness. Maybe disinterested observers have more wisdom than those of us who are emotional insiders, scrapping to get our ideology implemented against the opposition.

    As an American who just returned from living in Singapore for 2 and a half years, I have a unique perspective as well. I find that the political discourse in the US has deteriorated while I’ve been gone (as has the state of public education), and it wasn’t great when I left. It seems to me that we need more people who are willing to work together, to listen to one another. I also see the GOP fragmenting thanks to the intransigence of the tea party folks who want to die on every hill rather than work out pragmatic solutions. There are those on the left who likewise refuse to listen. But that’s my own bias because I’m a moderate.

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  91. J on October 23, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    Hawk girl-thanks for elaborating–I understand now and we need moderates like you in the thread. You are right–didn’t know she was not even living in this country. As far as the decline of political discourse, I wonder if you’ve seen how it happened while you were abroad-the democrats are true political geniuses in creating an illusion if collaborating while stonewalling and demo nixing the other side. The result is polarization, not unity of sides. The divisiveness created is a travesty. While this is my view only–I’d say the GOP HAS TERRIBLE public relations. They don’t seem to have any national strategy and they tend to assume the best if others–that the public is still educated enough to discern facts, when they are clearly not and votes are emotion driven now. Obama is a master of message even though I despise his goals and methods. Frankly–I think he fits the description if the Antichrist in so many ways.

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  92. Mormon Heretic on October 23, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    J, my calling Hatch a socialist was in jest. My wacko ward member friend says that anyone that blamed the republicans for the shutdown was a socialist. Well, not only do I blame the republicans, but John McCain and Orrin Hatch blame the republicans as well. Some hard core wacko tea partiers put the socialism label on anyone that disagrees with their views. These are the people that are wackos. Since you were defending Lee so hard, I couldn’t tell if you fit the wacko label. But since you are now saying that Hatch isn’t a socialist, that makes me feel a lot better.

    “socialism is a clearly defined philosophical view.” Come to my ward and tell that to my wacko tea party friend, because he has a different, clearly defined philosophical view. I do live in Utah County, so I’m not sure the conservative majority definition of socialism is the same as yours.

    Will, I’ve got no problem cutting entitlements so long as corporations and Warren Buffet pay at least the same tax rate as me, and people like Mitt Romney get taxed up the wazoo for their tax avoidance shelters in the Cayman Islands and Ireland. But the Grover Norquist crowd in Congress balk at any sort of reasonable compromise. As I’ve said countless times, we can’t balance the budgets solely on the backs of the poor. The rich need some discomfort in this as well (and when I say rich, I’m including shareholders and big corporations too.) Let austerity affect everyone, not just the poor. Use all the tools in the shed, not just one.

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  93. Mormon Heretic on October 23, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    I really miss Senator Bob Bennett: http://ow.ly/q6Tv5

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  94. hawkgrrrl on October 23, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    Mitt Romney doesn’t get an income. He makes money (as do most of the uber-rich) from capital gains. Capital gains are taxed at 15%. So, it’s not apples to apples, but you can raise taxes on capital gains. It just makes it less likely that the rich will invest in markets. That carries with it a host of other problems. Many countries don’t tax capital gains at all or do much lower than we do. Theoretically, this is because it’s like taxing winners in a poker game but not taxing losers. Those with capital gains have invested and bear the risks of the market for better or worse.

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  95. Mormon Heretic on October 23, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    Warren Buffet says that the capital gains tax rate is too low, and that it should be raised. He pays a smaller tax rate than his secretary, and it isn’t right.

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  96. Roger on October 23, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    I do not support Mike Lee. Were I a Utah voter, I would oppose his candidacy in the future and try to help my fellow constituents see that the approach that he and Senator Cruz advocate undermine basic majoritarian government, Nevertheless, his temple attendance and his worthiness, along with the prayers in his heart are strictly his own business. It is a cheap shot for us to draw any conclusion on him or anyone else.

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  97. Will on October 23, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    The capital gain tax needs to stay low. Personally, I think it should go to zero. As Hawk mentioned, some countries (no coincidence the ones that are thriving) have no capital gain tax,

    Capital investment is huge in making the economy function, especially Dodd-Frank and other private lending killers.

    I am heavily involved in real estate investments. Not ONE of these projects is funded without significant funds from equity investors like myself.

    I can say for absolutely, positively sure this creates shovel ready jobs. It puts general contractors, 100′s of sub contractors, 1,000′s of suppliers and vendors to work.

    If I am taxed on this income more than earned income it makes it even riskier and I would not so it. Remember, I am taking a risk the building will go vacant, it will lose value, etc. higher taxes would destroy my return and I would not invest (not would any one else) and these jobs would dry up.

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  98. Mormon Heretic on October 23, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    Morning Joe discussed Mike Lee this morming, and it shows Lee might be in trouble with donors in Utah: http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/53356969/#53350258

    One can hope…. Maybe we can bring back Bob Bennett to bring some sanity back to Utah politics.

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  99. Mormon Heretic on October 23, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    Will, as smart as you are, I still take Warren Buffet over anything you say. Buffet says these fears of investment are overblown. Why is Buffet wrong?

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  100. Mormon Heretic on October 23, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    SUPPOSE that an investor you admire and trust comes to you with an investment idea. “This is a good one,” he says enthusiastically. “I’m in it, and I think you should be, too.”

    Would your reply possibly be this? “Well, it all depends on what my tax rate will be on the gain you’re saying we’re going to make. If the taxes are too high, I would rather leave the money in my savings account, earning a quarter of 1 percent.” Only in Grover Norquist’s imagination does such a response exist.

    Between 1951 and 1954, when the capital gains rate was 25 percent and marginal rates on dividends reached 91 percent in extreme cases, I sold securities and did pretty well. In the years from 1956 to 1969, the top marginal rate fell modestly, but was still a lofty 70 percent — and the tax rate on capital gains inched up to 27.5 percent. I was managing funds for investors then. Never did anyone mention taxes as a reason to forgo an investment opportunity that I offered.

    Under those burdensome rates, moreover, both employment and the gross domestic product (a measure of the nation’s economic output) increased at a rapid clip. The middle class and the rich alike gained ground.

    –Warren Buffett. See the whole article at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/26/opinion/buffett-a-minimum-tax-for-the-wealthy.html?_r=0

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  101. Mormon Heretic on October 23, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    “All of America is waiting for Congress to offer a realistic and concrete plan for getting back to this fiscally sound path. Nothing less is acceptable.

    In the meantime, maybe you’ll run into someone with a terrific investment idea, who won’t go forward with it because of the tax he would owe when it succeeds. Send him my way. Let me unburden him.”

    Warren E. Buffett is the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway.

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  102. Will on October 23, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    MH

    He is right, because he is chiefly talking about income from stocks.

    With online trading, hedge funds, options (calls,puts, even naked calls and puts) this marker is no longer what it use to be. It is closer to gambling income. It is not a capital injection. It really doesn’t stimulate jobs or provide capital as it use to. As such, it should be taxed as income.

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  103. J on October 23, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    MH-you and I should swap houses!–you sound like a passionate liberal surrounded by conservatives and I am a passionate conservative surrounded by liberals in the Seattle area.

    We likely have opposing reactions to the Warren Buffet comment(s). We likely both see the quote as support for our political leanings.

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  104. J on October 23, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    Hawkgirl–well illustrated.
    Will–well said too.
    MH-you had me till the last paragraph.

    Employers in this country are outstanding and under appreciated. I know of one who asked his employees to wait to cash out their stock. He was in the middle of a law suit that had just been heard by the state supreme court and he was certain he would win and every employees stick would be worth double soon yet he was legally not allowed to discuss it with anyone not involved in the case. Employees cashed theirs out anyway–thinking his request was for selfish purposes–they still believe that and feel shorted by him — all this was due to their own greed and distrust if a noble and trustworth “shepherd” of a boss. This type of caring employer is all I’ve ever seen. Kindness exchanged for resentment. And-he should profit more than employees because he took all the financial risk and longer hours to start the business. I know cause he’s my dad. He’s a quiet man who has a deep sense of integrity.

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  105. MH on October 23, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    J, I’m actually not a liberal, but moving to Utah County has made me much more liberal. There is a saying that a California Republican is the same thing as a Utah Democrat. There is much truth to that.

    I never vote straight party anything. I’ve voted for Reagan, Bush, Ross Perot. I was repulsed by Bill Clinton personally, but his financial management was as masterful (minus Glass-Stegall) as Bush 2 was incompetent. I love that democrat Jim Matheson is my congressman. I really miss republican Bob Bennett and wish he was still my senator. I loved Governor Huntsman–the best Utah governor with the best approval rating in my lifetime. I thought Jon Huntsman was the best candidate in the last election. Is Huntsman a liberal? I voted for Obama in the Utah primary because I hated Hilary. But in the general election, I voted 3rd party because neither Romney or Obama earned my vote. I haven’t been a fan of Harry Reid until I saw how unreasonable Mike Lee is. I despise Lee’s tactics.

    (Some say I threw away my vote in voting 3rd party. Now that I think about it, I should have written in Huntsman. Did Lee throw away his vote on defaulting? We both voted our conscience, even if we knew it wasn’t a winning vote.)

    What last paragraph are you taking exception to? Was it something Buffett said? Comments 100 and 101 were direct quotes from Buffett.

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  106. hawkgrrrl on October 23, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    I like Warren Buffet, but I don’t agree with him 100% of the time either. He’s got opinions just like everyone.

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  107. Hedgehog on October 24, 2013 at 1:49 AM

    J:”(WTH? Why is Hedgehog’s opinion even relevant if she is not a citizen? Is she living here even?)”

    Um. Well I’m sorry I didn’t make it clear to you my residential status J. I am looking from afar. To most Brits the US health system isn’t something we’d aspire to, and it baffles us that there is so much opposition to the idea of a universal healthcare system. Most of us don’t understand the nuances associated with Obamacare as opposed to universal health care, so I found Mike’s comment #6 helpful. The government shut-down looked like some spoilt child deciding to take their toys away from the party to many of us.

    I’ve crossed swords with Will before on similar topics, and it was really his comment (#10) that brought me into the discussion (#11) at all. I do find the accusation that the systems that work well in Europe are counterfeit ideals to be very irritating.

    Funnily enough I don’t consider myself a socialist either, though as a floating voter, I have at various times voted for all the major parties in this country. I probably look like one to you however. Like MH I tend to vote for people not parties.

    As per my last comment (#78), there are good employers. It’s great that your Dad is one such. One of my brothers established his own business. He, his wife and their business partner worked very hard, and deserve their success. Before I was a SAHM I worked for a small business, and it was great. Everybody appreciated what everyone else was doing. The larger a company gets however, the more impersonal things become, and the more employees can come to be seen as cogs in a machine. I’m not saying that happens in all companies, but it does happen, and I think that’s wrong.

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  108. Will on October 24, 2013 at 6:43 AM

    Hawkgirl’s should be taxed at twice the rate as others, do the thier magical powers ;)

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  109. Will on October 24, 2013 at 8:21 AM

    Hedgehog:

    Well, the government programs I have seen are counterfeits plan, as evidenced by their lose-lose nature; whereas the plan implemented by the church is a win-win. Christ would not implement a plan that would break an economy. He would do what he has done with his church. He would implement social programs that help the needy and poor and stay solvent; that require work and volunteerism; that promote education and training; that promote self sufficiency.

    As indicated by President Monson, The government, on the other hand, “pays people to be poor”. It is a lose-lose situation. I heard this quote come out of President Monson’s own lips when he was an Apostle at a leadership training meeting.

    JUST TODAY, there is an article in the ‘The Telegraph’, with the main headline:
    “The debt-ridden EU stares bankruptcy in the face” I didn’t read the entire article, but what I read the EU WILL BE BANKRUPT by the end of the year. And the thing that is bankrupting all of these countries – Greece, England, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Poland and the United States are the social programs that pay people to be poor. It is counterfeit to what Christ would do, it is immoral.

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  110. hawkgrrrl on October 24, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    There are big differences between the US and the southern European countries in the EU. It’s not a very apt comparison. Again, I think we like to take complex problems and flatten them to fit the worldview we understand. As Americans, we don’t have a lot of complexity in our own view because it’s all the US. We see Canada as US plus a bit more socialism and Mexico as scary corrupt drug land. Not very much nuance. If we were European, we would see all the differences among the EU nations much more clearly as a result of discussing them all our lives as Europeans do.

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  111. J on October 24, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    Hedgehog–i would think your immediate local concerns would be about the economy if your nation and how you can protect yourself without a gun when the economy collapses soon and the cultural jihad of immigrants creeping into your legal system and where you can get a burka.

    RE: the United States, What you saw wasn’t a spoiled couple of brats preventing a wonderful healthcare act. You saw the intended use of a brilliantly designed government system of checks and balances. Cruz and Lee were Elected in platforms that included a leading the people in a charge to prevent the implementation of this act. Another focus was preventing the debt ceiling from being lifted. The election cycles of the different areas are intentionally staggered by our founding fathers. The purse strings were in their area if influence and they did exactly what people like me expected of them. All of America wasn’t held hostage–that’s an example of of political communication in this country to demonize anyone who disagrees. A significant portion of Americans are trying to prevent the Financial collapse if our own country. We know the government management of this program will be a disaster.

    We also understand and acknowledge the problem but this is the wrong solution and not only that-it is a dangerous one.

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  112. Will on October 24, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    “As Americans, we don’t have a lot of complexity in our own view because it’s all the US. ”

    It is all about the US. We are the world whether we like it or not if we fail the world will fail. That is my point.

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  113. Mormon Heretic on October 24, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    I see that nobody has attempted to answer my questions in 46, so I will state them for J, Will, Harry, and any other conservatives here, and I’ll add some economic questions here.

    Would Christ put up with CEO’s making 400 times the salary of a minimum wage worker (at McDonalds, Walmart, etc)? What kind of dominion and compulsion would Christ employ in order to get rid of this HUGE inequality? (Apparently our conservative readers believe that dominion and compulsion are completely appropriate so long at righteousness is at stake. Or would Christ say that Bill Gates salary was completely appropriate?)

    If King Christ came tomorrow, are you saying that because he is the ultimate high priest using the priesthood that he can come and take over our political system using compulsion to rid the country of Obamacare? Will he use dominion to get rid of gay marriage because it is in “degrees of righteousness”? Will the Prince of Peace use compulsion to ban guns for a peaceful society?

    If you prefer this question, exactly how would Christ impose universal healthcare without dominion and compulsion?

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  114. J on October 24, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    By the way–All Americans are not striving to be like European nations or part of the EU

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  115. hawkgrrrl on October 24, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    It’s true that the majority of Americans don’t like the ACA in its current form (I believe 57% don’t want it enacted), so the tea party can tell themselves they are just doing what their constituents want. That is even truer in their specific constituencies. And yet, the ACA was already signed into law. I see it, not simply as spoiled children throwing their toys out of the cot, but as intransigent idealogues who lack the wisdom to give people enough rope to hang themselves. Let the ACA go forward and if the people hate it, they won’t blame the GOP for that. I can definitely agree though that the ACA as written is deeply flawed and in need of reform.

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  116. The Other Clark on October 24, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    @113: The Lord’s standards for welfare are pretty well spelled out in the D&C. Basically, the wealthy should choose to help the poor, and the poor should to all they can to qualify for aid, “for their were no idlers among them.”

    I think even the most conservative in this thread would admit that the health care system needs significant revision. But the ACA makes the problems worse.

    Will the Savior use compulsion to ban guns, gay marriage, and Obamacare? No, because he works from the inside out. He changes individuals so they’re willing make these changes voluntarily.

    Of course, there are also those verses that “all the proud, and all those who do wickedly, shall burn as stubble” so maybe he does use compulsion from time to time.

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  117. J on October 24, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Christ would likely act as he did before–inspiring people to change internally, not governments to change.

    Gun control is a whole separate conversation–IT DOENT WORK. Criminals don’t care about permits and sales records. The overwhelming amout if mass shooters violated already existing laws (too young to own a weapon). Guns don’t kill, people do.

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  118. hawkgrrrl on October 24, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    MH: “Would Christ put up with CEO’s making 400 times the salary of a minimum wage worker (at McDonalds, Walmart, etc)?” He would, and if he’s a living Christ, he DOES. I’m answering that question from a Biblical and theological standpoint. My political views are based on the actual situation we live in, not a situation very few comprehend that was halfway around the world two thousand years ago.

    Christ put up with a whole lot of sh*t we whiny modern Americans don’t even fathom. His political situation as a Jew at his time was far worse than ours. There were economic inequalities. There was racism. There was state violence against the people. There were people who literally had no rights at all. People didn’t have entitlements like a reliable non-corrupt police force or fire fighters. Famine still happened, and people actually died from it. It was a thousand times worse than our petty squabbles, and the standard of living of most of our poor is higher than that of kings and caesars in Christ’s time. Jesus said a lot about the poor being blessed and rich needing to support them and help them, but in the end that’s it. The notion of economic equality was not possible in the social system that existed in the ancient world. There were dependencies between people that were necessary to life, and these assumptions of inequality are riddled throughout the parables Jesus told.

    Let’s avoid the appeal to authority that is WWJD.

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  119. MH on October 24, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    Hawk, excellent points, because you have put Christ in the real world when so many forget to do it. In the BoM there were no -ites, and all were equal. In Brigham Young’s day of the United Order, people did complain about the idlers who didn’t put in the effort, yet got the same pay. But the people were much more equal than anything we have today. Great Basin Kingdom discusses the economics of United Order well, and the fact is that the Mormons in Utah fared better off than many Gentile communities—until Silver and Copper were found in Park City and the Bingham Copper mines. Then the Gentile economies performed much better than United Order societies.

    I think far too many people think Christ will make every bad thing go away, and it just isn’t practical. Christ will still ruffle feathers, whether they be gun rights feathers, gay marriage feathers, or something else. Christ won’t magically change hearts in an instant. There will be quarrels, and some will complain about King Christ taking away their guns and will claim unrighteous dominion.

    At least you’re keeping it real. I think that many conservatives don’t and think that universal health care will just happen and there will be no opposition. Christ will still have to persuade, not coerce. Lee is not exempt from persuading, and should not be coercing. Let the ACA hang itself, instead of letting the voters hang Lee (by voting him our of office) because of his bad tactics.

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  120. nate on October 24, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    Good point Hawkgrrrl. Both Jesus and Paul seemed completely indifferent to the secular governments surrounding them: “render into Caesar…my kingdom is not of this world….if a soldier compels you to go a mile, go two.”

    Paul reminded slaves to obey their masters, and said of the brutal Roman authority, “they are God’s ministers for your good.”

    I think Jesus would be similarly indifferent about various secular governmental forms in our day. “You want a king? Fine. Maybe socialism? Why not. Social Darwinism? Go for it!” Jesus is concerned about our spiritual freedom, not our “rights,” the freedom that comes from “giving your coat as well as your cloak.”

    What does Jesus care about our so called “innaleanable rights,” endowed by their humanist creator during the Enlightenment? Paul said, “ye are slaves to Christ.” The Book of Mormon says the only right we have is our right to be cast into eternal hellfire. Everything else is undeserved grace.

    I think applying “Satan’s Plan ” and “Christ’s Plan” to secular governments is misguided. They are different spheres. One still has complete free agency in a spiritual sense when cast into prison. Paul said, “I have learned in whatsoever state, therewith to be content…even in prison.”

    Welfare principles in Zion will not work in the same way in Babylon. Bishops can expect covenant people to play along with his program for Celestial progress, but Gentiles are dealing with an entirely different group of intrangency of spirit. These people need less freedom, not more. In general, I think we have a bit too much freedom in modern society, and it would do us good to have a tiny bit more tyranny. Tyranny doesn’t take away free agency, not in the least.

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  121. The Other Clark on October 24, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Tyranny doesn’t take away agency? ??! Now it’s my turn to call someone a whacko-bird.

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  122. Hedgehog on October 24, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Will (109) I’ve said before on other posts that the economic problems in the various european countries do not all come down to the same thing. The catalyst was the banking crisis – which began, let’s see in the US. Greece pretty much lied about their financial situation on entry to the Euro, and those who went along with the lying deserve a hefty portion of the blame for what is happening in Greece. The Spanish government were fiscally prudent, but have had to both bail out and underwrite their banks. That wasn’t something they anticipated. This is simply repeating what I have said commenting on previous posts. To lay it all at the door of social policy is neither accurate nor fair. Problems are arising in the social system now because tax revenues have dropped whilst unemployment has risen steeply, and governments are not able to borrow in the way they had in previous times of unemployment rises. The new labour British government spent too much in the good times, and some of that was on unwise social policies it is true, but at least have more control on account of a separate currency. Should they have saved more? Absolutely, which is why they were kicked out at the last election.

    But I’ve had it with this social welfare is a counterfeit, or of the devil etc stuff, I really have. So far as the British government is concerned it has been talked about many times that those on welfare support ought to be doing something by way of earning that support. It’s far easier to say than implement, without taking jobs away from those already legitimately employed to do them. The ideal system of course would have employers and businesses on board, everyone would have a job and everyone would get paid a fair wage for their labour. But somehow I can’t see business being happy to cooperate. Sure, welfare is a poor second, but that doesn’t make it counterfeit. You think we should let people starve, live on the streets instead? Restrict their access to healthcare? That’s really going to make them any freer? It’s not a perfect system, but frankly it seems to me we’re just picking and choosing which imperfections we’re prepared to tolerate in our societies. Seems to me that the price of a capitalist economy is social welfare.

    I’d also point out that we in Britain pay for our healthcare, unemplyment benefits, pensions via national insurance contributions when employed. Our healthcare isn’t free. It is free at the point of delivery (well there are nominal charges for adults for dentist and optician checks, and prescription medicines). Besides, seems to me that often whether something is seen as a welfare benefit or a tax cut is often a matter of semantics and individual perspective. The vast majority of those in receipt of such ‘benefits’ in this country are actually employed. They just aren’t paid enough to live on by their employers. Raising legal minimum wages to a living wage standard is something that also gets debate. As I said before, governments subsidising business.

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  123. J on October 24, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    Tyranny cannot take away freedom of thought–perhaps the most important thing we received from HF.

    Messing with the minimum wage just raises costs to the product buyer if that business, which then means no “new wage” will be enough. It also is a job killer.

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  124. Will on October 24, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Hedgehog:

    You are correct on that one; here is a summarized view of what happened.

    It started with the community reinvestment act passed in 1977 by Jimmy Carter and the Democrats. It was a law that was passed to encourage loans to low to moderate income families. The real problems began in 1993 under Clinton when Robert Rubin and Lloyd Benson pushed to enforce this with the banks and to provide more enforcement of the law. Effectively, banks were being forced to provide more and more loans to low income families. The problems got further compounded during the Bush years. Congress (chiefly Barney Frank who was charged with the oversight) provided little or no oversight to Fannie Mae and Freedie Mac. This is the critical part. This law in conjunction with congress (democrats) lowering loan to value ratios and income requirements so low income people could afford homes destroyed the world economy. It went to hell from here.

    Loans were simply being made to anyone with a fingerprint and a pulse – loans from 100 to 125 % LTV. People (not just the low income) were borrowing 125 percent of the inflated value of their homes and using the cash to buy a whole bunch of material goods – trips, cars, boats, etc… Investors got extremely wealthy; greedy insurance companies got their commissions; greedy and dishonest lenders made their commissions; greedy and dishonest people got homes and CASH they had no business getting; and, the world economy got screwed.

    A perfect example and reason why the government needs to stay the hell out and let the market decide who to lend THEIR money to; and, if the bank makes a bad loan with THEIR money then the bank pays the consequences. If the banks (and their shareholders) knew they were going to be responsible for bad loans with THEIR money, they would make sure the applicant had: 1). good credit 2). at least 20 percent down 3). a real job.

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  125. MH on October 24, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Will, you forgot to mention Glass-Steagall which was passed under Bill Clinton. (I have a hard time blaming much on Carter from 30 years ago on this issue.) Repeal of Glass-Steagall made the banks “too big to fail” causing Bush 2 to bail out the banks. The S&L crisis of the late 1980s was much more minor in comparison to the 2008 bailout. Put Glass-Steagall back in to play, and then the banks and insurance companies won’t have a built-in conflict of interest. Then we won’t have too big to fail. Market forces and de-regulation led to too big to fail. Otherwise, the housing bubble would have been much more manageable. IT was de-regulation that led to the largest taxpayer bailout in US history. And it still hasn’t been fixed. Another decade of this, and we’ll have a repeat of the meltdown of 2008.

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  126. Will on October 24, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Hedgehog

    “As I said before, governments subsidising business’

    “As I said before, governments subsidising business’

    Wow.

    Let me translate what hawkgirl was saying (she is not going to like this). “Hedgehog grew up in Europe and is use to the nanny state and looks to the government as the provider and the solution to problems”

    I grew up in a country (Reagan) where the private sector ruled and where the government was mainly in the way. I grew up in a country where in 1994 I bought a server for $285,000 to start a business. It was slow and cumbersome, but got the job done. Now, I hold in my had a portable device produced by the private sector that can: act as a camera, video recorder, mic, tell me the weather, stock prices, bank balances, how far my golf ball is from the hole on any course in the world, keeps track of my scriptures, emails, contacts, lets me log onto wheat and tares, and on and on and on. This IPhone cost me $900. It is the private sector personified.

    Like anything else produced by the private sector, it gets better and less expensive due to competition. In contrast, anything to do with the government gets bigger, more burdensome, more expensive and more intrusive to my personal liberties.

    The government is like the employee that shows up late, takes a three hour lunch, surfs the net all day, gets nothing done, always misses a deadline, is WAY (like 10 times minimum) over budget. Serious, Hedgehog, you want to give them MORE responsibility.

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  127. hawkgrrrl on October 24, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Will: Let’s pretend you are right and Hedgehog is addicted to the government teat along with all her fellow countrymen. If that’s the system they want, that’s up to them. But taking it a step further, let’s say they don’t like their current system. How do they go from point A to point B, in practical terms?

    Personally, I agree that the government does a piss poor job with most things it handles, but the private sector is doing an incredibly bad job with health care insurance. The government doesn’t have to do better by much to fix the problem, but so far they are blowing it too. My own view is that every single government agency should be required by law to operate within budget. 32,000 Relief Society Presidents can manage to do this, why can’t they? And if they don’t have budget, like any good business, they have to cut services. If we want more services, we have to pay more taxes to cover for them.

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  128. Will on October 24, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    HG

    I think you have several things going on with HEALTH insurance. Remember, in a lot of cases these same companies are extremely successful managing auto, life and home insurance. The difference is three fold: 1) It is an issue of life and death. This brings out emotion on all sides. 2) It is heavily regulated by the government. 3) it is a broken financial structure. The first two are pretty self explanatory, but the third requires additional commentary.

    Think about how stupid of a concept it is that: 1) You pay a monthly fee on something. 2) You go to a provider where most people have no clue how much the procedure is going to cost – not even a rough ball park. It is like giving someone a blank check. Along these lines, people will go for just about anything because it is all part of the monthly fee.

    Years ago in Utah, some knucklehead had the bright idea of providing auto insurance by ‘paying at the pump’ . In other words, $.10 or $.20 or $.30 (I can’t remember the amount proposed) would be added to each gallon of gas and everyone would be insured — universal auto insurance. Had this idiotic idea been adopted, we would now be paying $1,889,087 a gallon because people would have taken their car in for anything; and, would have staged accidents to cover injuries incurred elsewhere.

    The best solution is to migrate EVERYONE to health savings accounts with huge deductibles (10 to 20 K) providing catastrophic insurance only In effect everyone would pay for everything out of pocket. And, you could buy it anywhere — drugs from Canada, India, Mexico or services from these same places. People would shop for services from providers the world over. They would watch their health better. Competition and heightened awareness from the consumer would drive costs down. Hospitals and doctors would find ways to hire techs remotely from India or elsewhere for xrays and other procedures. The amount we spend on programs could be given to the poor in terms of HSA credits. It is the solution to health care.

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  129. mh on October 24, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Will, when did you start arguing real solutions instead of partisan politics? I really like the new Will. Have you been listening to freakonomics?

    I’m sure that some will balk at a 20k deductible, but I agree that the costs are hidden from the patients. But that’s because the private sector has been fighting tooth and nail to hide costs. It is easier to bamboozle the public when you can’t compare prices. (The airlines charge different price for the same seat is another example of how market forces don’t act in the common good of the consumer.)

    I think it is imperative to be able to shop around. While obamacare has its share of problems, at least one remedy they wanted was competitive price shopping for insurance. The market has always been against that. (Cable tv is another industry that doesn’t like competition and is not in the best interests of consumers, but is on the best interests of big business.)

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  130. Nate on October 24, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    Will, can you see that your analysis of the Health Care problem (high emotions/life and death issues) could not be solved by your catastrophic insurance concoction? Your plan is intriguing, and might work in theory, but to me it sounds like a desperate attempt to cobble some kind of ideologically pure solution, but that would only within a pure capitalist environment.

    But this is not a pure capitalist environment, it never was, and never will be. First and foremost, we are a democracy. We are only capitalists, BECAUSE the people have voted to include it within the mixed capitalist/socialist economy we have. We the People like Social Security, Medicare, and all the other goodies the government has granted us over the years. We also like low taxes and freedom from excessive regulation. So basically, we’ve got the mixed government we deserve, the government we’ve voted for. If government gave us a Public Option, we would come to like that too, because it would give us enormous relief over our out of control emotions, and our life and death issues, which you state as the primary problems with the Health Care industry. We would complain, same as we complain about everything, because of the resulting high taxes and bureaucracy. But trying to dismantle it would be as impossible as it now is to dismantle Social Security.

    So when we are thinking about a solution to the Health Care problem, we need to think about a solution that will work for the American People: the neurotic, insecure, unhealthy, short-sighted, American People. Not far-sighted, healthy, disciplined folks who are content to settle for catastrophic insurance.

    I only see one option, and it’s the option that every other developed nation in the world has already taken: a government run health care option for all. Cheap, bureaucratic, rationed health care we can count on. No one is forbidden from buying their own private luxury coverage. This is what Americans really want. They just don’t know that they really want it yet. But once they get it, they’ll look back on the madness of our day, and exclaim “What were we thinking?” Same as the rest of the world looks on us today.

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  131. Will on October 24, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    Nate,

    It is about risk/reward.

    As it stands insurance companies manage the risk, under ObamaCare the government will manage the risk and under my solution the people would manage the risk.

    As I said the Hedgehog above, for some reason Scandanivia is united. The US and UK are divided — the US much more so. As I said I think it is due to immigrants and the various cultures. We have a lot of people in the country that are completely content to suck off the government teat. It is just a way of life to them, for the rest of us that notion is appaiuling.

    It is not Obama, or Lee, or Reid, or Cruz. They are a reflection of us. The problem is that this divided house cannot stand. The conflicting issues translate into an unreconciled budget. And the real trouble begins when the takers exceed the makers. I just read on either Fox or CNN that 49% of Americans are sucking off the teat in some fashion.

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  132. Jeff Spector on October 24, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    Scandinavia is united because greed is not the most important word in their dictionary. It may be OK to be a capitalist but unfortunately here in the country, we have encouraged and allow some to make more money that they could possibly spend for generations to come.

    This is income distribution at its worst where the top 1% control 20% of the wealth. It’s wrong. And the other reality is that the health care companies do not share risk, they profit from it. They are a middle man between healthcare providers and consumers and add no real value. If you ever mistakenly gotten a bill for a procedure and hospital stay, you would know how they pillage those without insurance, but give the insurance companies a sweetheart deal on the same bill.

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  133. Hedgehog on October 25, 2013 at 1:56 AM

    J, 123, Greed is the issue. Buyers want to buy at the cheapest price, not a fair price. Businesses compete to produce at the lowest cost, and squeeze pay, so not fair pay either. And the lowest earners can barely afford the lowest prices. Vicious circle if ever there was one. Meanwhile, the corporate bosses rake off their hefty bonuses. And governments are held to ransom trying to attract investment and jobs for their people. So sure, I don’t think a living wage will be implemented any time soon. It’s an international market. And any government who tries to protect their own local producers and so forth soon has the US stomping up and down demanding ‘fair’ access to their market. I recall reading plenty about US compaints to Japan about their protectionist policies towards rice growers back in the 90s.

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  134. nate on October 25, 2013 at 2:10 AM

    Will, it is exactly as you state: how can the people manage risk in such a highly emotional and irrational state, about issues concerning life or death and their finances? The people don’t want that. They simply can’t do it. Insurance companies can’t do it effectively, as Jeff notes, the people are incapable, so that leaves the government, as imperfect as it is. I see no other really workable solution.

    You did say the UK and the US are similar, and I currently live in the UK, sucking off the government teat of the NHS. I can tell you from an emotional perspective, having the NHS here is an enormous comfort, compared with the emotional stress of my high deductible insurance back home. Maybe I would feel differently if I got sick all the time and had to use the NHS frequently. But I think that like many other British voters, just being able to not worry about health care more than makes up for the extras in taxes it might procure. (I’m paying much less in NHS taxes than I did for insurance back home.)

    This would be the same for Americans, even Tea Party Americans. Give them a taste of the relief of the NHS taking your financial worries out of your hands, and they would never go back. Not even retired Tea Partiers would vote against their own Medicare, for all the complaining they do about it. A public option is the same. It’s what everyone wants. They just don’t know it yet.

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  135. Hedgehog on October 25, 2013 at 2:15 AM

    Will, we clearly have wholly differing outlooks. If yours works where you are, fine. It isn’t going to work here. Britain experienced the rampant capitalism of the Victorian era (along with the exploitation of the people and mineral wealth of the then colonies). It couldn’t last. Too many got trampled. British socialism grew out of those stark inequities, and included a strong Christian element.

    Many of the early British converts to the church were those poor escaping their desperate situation.

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  136. Douglas on October 25, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    #111 – Heretic, you seem to forget that Christ worked for a living as a carpenter, and, at some point between ages 12 and 30, due to his purported father’s likely passing (assumed but unconfirmed in the Gospels), the primary breadwinner for the family. He certainly, not only due to His good nature but also cultural expectations, would have supported his mother and minor siblings, and certainly would have bargained for fair compensation for his temporal services. Now, as to the CEOs that you demonize and feel are compensated beyond their worth, to a degree that you’re practically accusing them of running a kleptocracy, don’t you think that their respective Coporate boards and stockholders are in a better position to assess executive compensation? Since, as is common with CEOs, their earnings are highly dependent on profits and share prices, they have a direct interest in the company performing well. Christ would likely say to render unto Trump what is Trump’s, as well as the other part. What would constitute a “righteous” level of CEO compensation? 10x? 50x, or 100x? Please specify if you can. Of course, in the FREE market, you have your own input, you can freely refuse to eat at McDonald’s, or buy Microsoft software, etc etc. Far better than every socialist model where the party committee sets prices, production quotas, and quality standards, and which usually has proved a hardship for their peoples whose interests they were supposedly championing.

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  137. Will on October 25, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    Nate

    That is the difference between you and I, and in my judgment the difference between agency and dependency, which has been the eternal debate – the debate that started with the war in heaven and has continued to this day.

    Lucifer sought to “destroy the agency of man”. He used the same argument you just presented that man was (and is) not capable of making life and death decisions. In his case the decision was more significant as it involved eternal life and death decisions. His conclusion, and those that followed him, was as a governing body needed to make those decisions for man because they were incapable. Ultimately HE wanted the power to make those decisions. When we hand that information over to the government, THEY have that power.

    God, on the other hand, was about elevating the individual through freedom and choice. Man would be subject to trials and tribulations that would enable him to grow and develop and be refined by the trials of life. Some would have trials of wealth, others of poverty; some would be tried by their attractive appearance and others by a homely appearance; some by the passion of youth and others by the idleness of old age. The real question is how we respond to said trials NOT how someone else responds for us. If you carefully read D&C 101, you will see this is why GOD established the US.

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  138. hawkgrrrl on October 25, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Will: Whenever people bring up this Satan didn’t want us to choose for ourselves thing, I have to think of my definition from Mormon Jaron: “Satan’s plan (n.) a devious strategy proposed by the evil one to force obedience and guarantee that all will be saved, in complete contrast to today’s church culture which does the same without such guarantees”

    My main objection to the GOP is that it wants to legislate morality, which has often been turned against Mormons in the past. We don’t seem to have a good head for history, not a surprise given the fictional history presented in our manuals. How is it that entitlement programs are Satan’s plan but making your own moral code the law is not? I think they are one in the same. I would never have an abortion, but I don’t necessarily think it should be illegal. I would never marry someone of the same sex, but I don’t think it should be criminalized.

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  139. HarryStamper on October 25, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Hey Hawkgirl…
    I would never practice slavery of the Negroes but I think it should be legal.

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  140. MH on October 25, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    Harry, you seem to describe Brigham Young’s position quite well. That was exactly his position.

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  141. hawkgrrrl on October 25, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    HarryStamper: That’s true. Slavery should clearly be illegal. So should exploiting workers in general. So should polluting the environment and endangering lives. Any form of gross negligence should be.

    Where I personally draw the line is between crimes with victims: things that do harm, and things that don’t. Abortion is questionable on that front because yes it ends life, but we don’t know when the spirit enters the body. I wouldn’t have one, as I said (plus I’m past that point in life), but different people have different beliefs about where to draw the line and the rights of the mother vs. the rights of the unborn who cannot survive without the consent of the mother. I would decriminalize marijuana. I would legalize and regulate prostitution, provided the workers were legal and under contract and being protected by the law. And so on.

    Hopefully that clears up my POV.

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  142. Will on October 25, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Hawkgirl,

    It sounds like we share similar libertarian views; and, speaking more to this post and it’s connection with the 121st section of the D&C God has absolutely no dominion or compulsion and expects the same from us in our roles. Obama Care is just that, dominion and compulsion, and it clearly takes away the agency of man.

    Elder Maxwell asked that we use the term “moral agency” rather than free agency, because free agency denotes one will be free of the consequences. This is applicable under most of the items you addressed. Just because one chooses to be violent towards the unborn (the baby is partially delivered and a syringe is injected into the head and the brains are sucked out) does not mean they should be free of the consequences of such an act.

    I am in favor of marriage between one man and one woman. My son, who is gay, has differing views. This should be determined by the voice of the people. People that want to fry their brain cells with chemicals have spoken on the issues and this is why we have the current administration and the congress we have. The dumber, lazier and more immoral we get as a society the more our society with deteriorate as described in Helaman 5:2.

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  143. MH on October 25, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    I like Hawk’s interpretation of the millennium. But it sure seems to be at odds of the “paradisaical” glory that we hear in General Conference and the 10th Article of Faith. Will King Christ allow such inequality to go unchallenged? I can better understand a Jewish carpenter allowing for inequality, but a king???? Seriously? What kind of a righteous king is that who allows such inequality?

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  144. Will on October 25, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    MH,
    What interpretation are you talking about?

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  145. hawkgrrrl on October 25, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    MH: I’m not sure what my interpretation of the millenium is either.

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  146. mh on October 25, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    Hawk, you’ve given me an idea for a post. I’ll save it foranother post.

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  147. J on October 25, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    Nice post again Will.

    I’ve also enjoyed Hawkgirl’s comments.

    Jeff Spector-no offense meant but you appear to have a very juvenile and basic judgement of a very complex set if variables in the discussion.

    Hedgehog-I hope to never ever hear any non-citizen’s empassioned opinion about my country again–the opinion strikes me as irrelevant and ignorant and condescending.

    MH-we should swap houses and cities forever. You’d fit in and love Seattle.

    And…..I’m done–no more posts from me.

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  148. Douglas on October 25, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    Hawkgrll wrote: “My main objection to the GOP is that it wants to legislate morality, which has often been turned against Mormons in the past.” – Some in the GOP do, some don’t. Newt Gingrich, almost some 20 years ago, by turning the “Republican Revolution” into a “Revolting Development” (as “Thylvesther the Cat” would thay), convinced me to go Libertarian. But WHAT, pray tell, is wrong with legislating “morality”? Is that not what (English) common law is based on, morality as taught by the Church (yes, it had gone ‘Apostate’, but as Hugh Nibley and Robert J. Matthews have each pointed out, it did keep the Bible going, for which we should be grateful). I don’t ever want assault, battery, murder (in part compromised 40 years ago in this country thanks to Roe v. Wade), theft, and fraud to EVER be anything than relentlessly prosecuted, and certain not the efforts flagged over concerns about “imposing morality”. Now, what you likely meant more specifically is that some Conservatives have felt that Government should legislate free behavior of consenting adults. This is where I would say, in general, no, the only definition being of what constitutes marriage (one man wed to one woman), but as to whatever consenting adults view, speak, interact (degree I won’t delve upon), film, or write about, however personally disgusting I might find it, I find it worse to attempt to tell adults how to (peacefully) get along. Of course, I’ve got some heat from other LDS and conservatives in general that equate “Libertarian” with Libertine. I don’t. To me, all I want is the ability to freely preach the Gospel and adherence to its principles in a peaceful manner, but of course, I have to likewise allow others the free choice to accept or reject same. To do otherwise, IMO, is contrary to the principle of Free Agency.

    “How is it that entitlement programs are Satan’s plan but making your own moral code the law is not? I think they are one in the same.” See above for the latter part of the sentence, else, I fairly much agree. Church leaders have spoken about Communism and it’s work-alikes (various forms of socialism) as being counterfeits of the true principles of the United Order and its lesser implementation (Church Welfare Plan). The difference is Government coercion vs. Free Agency. Remember those showpieces of “Socialist” engineering, the Inner German Border and the Berlin Wall? Sheesh, it’s been but 23 years and change since they came down (Formal reunification of Germany occurring on 03 October 1990). As I slide ever-closer down that road to old fogeydom I’d still think that they existed to keep the “Ost-Deustchlanders” from leaving the GDR, not folks trying to get out of what was “West Germany” into the workers paradise! How soon they forget…

    “I would never have an abortion, but I don’t necessarily think it should be illegal.” – Your children are w/o glad you feel that way, HG, as likely you are about yours and I that my mother felt likewise. Were Roe v. Wade to be overturned by the SCOTUS (fat chance, but go with me on this) and the matter remanded back to the several states, and, were I to get elected Governor of CA in 2014 (again, fat chance, but since “Moonbeam” got a third term, anything is possible in the State of fruits, nuts, and flakes…), the most I would feel necessary, regardless of political reality (‘reality’ being that the liberal abortion law passed in 1971 would still be in effect and nothing would practically change) would be to allow physicians to employ it solely if in their judgement and in accordance with their Hippocratic Oath (which specifically mentions to NOT ‘procure’ abortion) that termination of the pregnancy is in the mother’s best interests. Said judgement would be a private matter between doctor and patients, cases of abuse being subject to review by the State medical board for revocation of medical licenses and prosecution of the doctor and licensed assistants knowingly participating therein. Even that relatively liberal measure likely won’t fly, but it’d be the most I’d be willing to do.

    “I would never marry someone of the same sex, but I don’t think it should be criminalized.” Not possible to “criminalize” a gay relationship between adults since 2003, which was the correct thing to do. Likewise, if I take leave of my senses and marry again (the triumph of optimism over experience), the cake won’t have two grooms. But again, where it’s necessary for the State to get involved in marriage at all (darned little if anything about it I have to say), its must still be defined as “in this corner, a man, and in this corner, a woman”. I’ll leave the same-sex interaction for the pugilistic arts (and the women are more entertaining to watch) and let the “real combat” take place BETWEEN the sexes!

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  149. Mormon Heretic on October 26, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    J, Seattle is much too rainy for my tastes, but thanks for the offer. (I’d probably jump off one of those bridges because of the weather…..) I do find that I get annoyed when surrounded by an overwhelming majority. When I lived in the Northeast U.S., I became more conservative because I was surrounded by democrats. When 1 party rules the area, I tend to chafe and get annoyed by the majority groupthink opinion.

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  150. Mormon Heretic on October 26, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    Douglas #136, stockholders and corporate boards are part of the kleptocracy, so no I don’t think they’re a good judge at all. There was an economist that won a Nobel prize last week for his work on the irrationality and emotional swings of the stock market and stockholders. How do you call the boom/bust cycles reasonable?

    Furthermore, you have corporate boards of all these banks getting BONUSES for running those banks into bankruptcy. JP Morgan executives got bonuses when the U.S. govt forced Bank of America to purchase them because JP Morgan was insolvent. How is this not a kleptocracy?

    Furthermore, following the bailout, it was big news that these banks were using taxpayer funds to give executives more bonuses. How is this moral? Were taxpayers wrong to be OUTRAGED? Will, J, Harry, please defend these bonuses as an example of how the free market works correctly and morally.

    People often forget that Brigham Young (the socialist) set prices in Deseret and it was considered godly, run on God’s economic model. Young decried the profiteers of capitalism. Anyone want quotes?

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  151. hawkgrrrl on October 26, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    Bear in mind that it would be illegal for the banks to NOT pay bonuses if that’s in the employee contract. Executive compensation contracts almost always stipulate bonuses. Amounts are discretionary. Paying it at all usually is not.

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  152. mh on October 26, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    Hawk, who in their right mind pays bonuses to people for crashing the business? It doesn’t even make business sense, let alone being immoral.

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  153. Mormon Heretic on October 26, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Will, since you like to talk about living off the government teat, let me be the first to say that I would appreciate it if you would decry those executives that write into their contract that they should live off the corporate teat. This is the kind of corruption (aka business welfare) in the free market that causes governments to regulate. It is apparent that without regulation, the executives in a free market abuse the system.

    These executives are not earning their keep and not only should be fired, but jailed for such abuses of the system. They should also return the bonuses if they had any sense of right and wrong. It is outrageous.

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  154. Douglas on October 26, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    #150 – I’m outraged that the hard-earned dollar of John and Jane Q. Taypayer was used to bail out JP Morgan, BofA, or any firm with political clout deemed “too big to fail”. THAT is the kleptocracy, using Uncle Sam as the financier of last resort. How Obamacare would end up any different eludes me.
    However, “stockholders” are PART of the kleptocracy? I most severely beg to differ, they’re the ones being ripped off! Sure, in many cases, insurance companies and mutual funds (commonly referred to in the trades as “institutional investors” as opposed to individual investors) are significant shareholders, but they in turn are the fiduciaries for policy holders and pensioners, both in the private and public sectors, e.g., the “little guys” whose causes you purport to champion. Judging by the willingness of the Government to either (1) continue the bailout schemes and (2) award further contracts even after severe istances of abuse (I’ve rarely seen a major Defense contractor permanently barred for ripping off the taxpayers in nearly 30 years of working for the DoD), I have no confidence that any schemes to regulate executive compensation will work any better. I should think that the institutional investors previously mentioned have much more at stake to forestall this manner of abuse.
    It can be argued that “boom and bust” cycles are far more due to meddling by the Federal Reserve, especially to keep its largest customer, the United States Government, financially afloat, than by any abuses that you perceive occur in the private sector, especially chicanery on the part of corporate management. Of course, adhering to what our leaders have preached ad nauseum ever since I joined the Church (1979) about personal thrift and preparedness, if actually practiced by the US Church membership, let alone a majority of the population at large, would buffer these business cycles. It’s well to have a veritable pile of doubloons like Scrooge McDuck but you can’t eat it or burn it for fuel. Likewise wasting effort on the politics of envy and greed avails nothing. Just remember that what Barrack Hussein Obama giveth he can taketh away before you blesseth his name, as for myself and my house, we’ll reserve such lauding for the Lord Jesus Christ and heed what his mouthpiece says rather than laud any politician or look to them for succour.

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  155. Will on October 26, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    MH,

    Under the best case scenario the banking crash was shared greed and corruption – poor regulation decisions, lenders making loans they knew were unsound and greedy borrowers getting into loans they had no business getting into.

    The reality is the lion’s share of the responsibility falls on the feet of the government, with most of the pressure coming from the left pushing a universal home ownership agenda; and, the key culprit being quantitative easing but mainly regulation requiring little or no down payment required on most residential loans – the primary reason the commercial market has stayed somewhat intact.

    Since God revealed the interpretation of the dream to Joseph about the existence of business cycles (7 years of feast/7 years of famine) he has expected us to save during the good times to prepare for the bad. Requiring borrowers to put little or no down crushes housing markets when one of these business cycles hits, just as it did in 2008.

    If the government were responsible and were not pushing a social agenda and kept LTV’s at an 80 percent minimum requiring borrows to scrape up 20 %. It would accomplish three main objectives to survive business cycles: 1) Borrowers would have skin in the game and would be less likely to walk away WHEN the down cycle hits. 2) Borrowers would have lower payments with more vested and would be better prepared to survive down cycles. 3) Banks would be better prepared to liquidate assets with a 20 percent margin available.

    The problem is WE STILL HAVENT got it and still hand out residential loans with little or no down for the same reasons.

    We need to first establish WHO created the banking crisis. I have presented by case. Let’s start here.

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  156. Mormon Heretic on October 26, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    Will, you are changing the topic. Please justify these executive bonuses.

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  157. Mormon Heretic on October 26, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    Let me phrase the question in your terminology. Why is it morally acceptable for executives to live on the corporate teat when the business is crashing?

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  158. Jeff Spector on October 26, 2013 at 9:00 PM

    J,

    “Jeff Spector-no offense meant but you appear to have a very juvenile and basic judgement of a very complex set if variables in the discussion.”

    Now why would anyone take offense at such a statement? Considering the source, I assumed it was a joke.

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  159. Will on October 26, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    MH,

    My point is connected to the point Hawkgirl made earlier, but the foundation is critical. The banks had employment contracts with these employees. The bailout was only necessary because the government broke the banking industry. Had they not broke it, the bank would have used their own funds; and, they can use their funds however they deem necessary.

    So, to directly answer your question, an employer/company (I have been both and an employer and employee) should be allowed to pay their employees whatever they want, for whatever reason they want. It is, after all, their money.

    And, if you as a consumer don’t like what a corporation is doing with THEIR money then don’t invest or buy their product.

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  160. mh on October 26, 2013 at 10:40 PM

    Will, a truly free market only works when 1-people behave with goodwill, and 2_people follow the rules. If it perfectly legal to fleece the public, I want no part of this so-called free market. For you to justify such bad behavior while at the same time preaching personal responsibility makes you an absolute hypocrite. Don’t ever try to pretend you personal responsibility when you condone corporations fleecing the public.

    Just when I was starting to gain a little respect for your opinions, you go ahead a blow it. What did Jesus say? It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Will, you are this scripture.

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  161. hawkgrrrl on October 26, 2013 at 11:43 PM

    It is often legal to fleece the public (when regs are written poorly, leavng loopholes – and you can say corporations shouldn’t use those, but if the competition is and you don’t, you are not going to make money), and in the case of some of the housing regs, Will is absolutely right that the government forced banks to make bad loans. This is done under the guise of equal opportunity, but the loans still default.

    As to the bonuses paid, there are some companies out there that put a higher percentage of pay at risk (e.g. through Restricted Stock Units vs. bonuses), but because it is not the normal pay practice, those companies struggle to recruit high level execs. The market practice is to pay bonuses, and those are built into executive employment contracts. Why would an executive agree to take the job if there was a good chance they might not be paid? And who would ever agree to sign on to take over a struggling bank that had some rebuilding years to fix issues of a predecessor if he or she was unlikely to be paid during those years of making tough decisions and having less than stellar results? Bonuses have to be paid in consideration of these factors.

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  162. Will on October 26, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    MH,

    I’m getting old, I’m coming up on 50. The one thing I’ve learned over the years is not to make any judgements about someone else without all of the salient information. I don’t know the amount or magnitude of these bonuses you are referencing or the circumstances behind them. All I know is that management in a corporation answers to its owners (usually majority stockholders) and ultimately the costumer.

    If the owners are not comfortable with the compensation packages of management they can fire them or reduce the compensation. What’s more, if YOU are not happy with the compensation package of any company YOU don’t have to buy their products. In any event, this is not stealing. It may be more than YOU think they should be paid, but unless you are a major stock it really doesn’t concern you or impact you, so why do you care. Again, you don’t have to invest your money or buy their products.

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  163. HarryStamper on October 27, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    To all who comment on big corporations fleecing the public and big pay the executives get.

    Here’s a take…blame the government for lack of regulation. It’s called the SEC…securities and exchange commission. They are empowered to oversee public corporations…who trade stock on exchanges…it’s at least consistent…because you have the privilege of obtaining and using the public money thru stock…then you must act in a public or socially responsible way…this is the obligation that comes with public financing…and the enrichment that follows the public financing.

    Now if the executives of public companies object…stay private…people who use their personal or family money to run a business can do what they want…it’s their money….they are accountable to themselves….no one is forced to work there.

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  164. mh on October 27, 2013 at 1:58 AM

    Will, i don’t ever want to hear you pontificate about personal responsibility again. Morals go out the window at the first sign of cash and immoral contracts that legally fleece the public. how dare you pretend to lecture anyone on any topic dealing with morality. you have lost all moral authority (if you ever had any.)

    You don’t like gay marriage? It’s a contract and legal in 14 states. You don’t like abortion? It’s a contract and legal in all states. You have zero authority to claim these are immoral. zero. You even seem to think prostitution should be legal. Wow. Don’t lecture anyone anytime.

    Hawk, the church has long said, just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s right. It shouldn’t be that the golden rule is that he who has the gold makes the rules. Perhaps the church should spend more time talking business ethics and less time talking porn.

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  165. mh on October 27, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    Will, don’t make judgments about gay marriage or abortion. You don’t have all the information.

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  166. Hedgehog on October 27, 2013 at 5:12 AM

    J(147), impassioned defence of Britain and Europe. Resigned comments on US, and on corporate business practice. Tone travels poorly I guess.
    You’re welcome.

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  167. hawkgrrrl on October 27, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    MH: People are getting a little too heated here.

    I consider it two completely different discussions what is legal and what is moral. We legislate what is legal, but what is moral is privately decided based on one’s values. If companies or individuals aren’t breaking the laws we’ve set, it’s government by the people and for the people. We need to hold our elected officials responsible to promote pro-social behavior by doing the one thing they are paid to do, draft legislation that protects the public interest. When they fail to do this, we all lose. Legislation should assume that people will behave only within its stated bounds and not behave “morally” unless motivated to do so. That’s because 1) we all define “moral” differently, and 2) time and time again we’ve seen this is what human beings do.

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  168. Will on October 27, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    MH,

    Because I don’t go along with your sense of wrong and right I’m somehow immoral. I suppose you are entitled to that opinion.

    I would have one question then. If it is “immoral” for these corporations to decide how to spend the money THEY have earned, who then should make that decision for them?

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  169. mh on October 27, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    Fleecing the public is not”earned”money. It is legalized robbery.

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  170. Will on October 27, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    MH,

    Perhaps you missed my previous commentary on the issue. I am opposed to government subsidies, bailouts or corporate welfare of any kind. The point I am making, and the one you have missed perhaps, is that IMO corporations should be able to spend the money THEY (highlighted to mean only them) make however they deem necessary. A simple concept really.

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  171. Mormon Heretic on October 27, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Will, drug, gambling, and prostitution cartels spend their money Amy way they want. What makes greedy corporations any different from these I industries?

    In many countries, bribery is a standard business practice, and is the only way to succeed in business.when we allow such abuses to go unchallenged, we become part of the kleptocracy and crony capitalism. It isn’t right or moral.

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  172. will on October 27, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    MH,

    Wow.

    Not quite sure what you are after, or what you are talking about or how this relates to prostitution, gambling or bribery.

    I am talking about American corporations. Let’s take the top 10 – Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobile, Chevron, Phillips, Valero, GE, Apple, GM, Ford & your buddy (Warren Buffett) and his hedge
    fund company. Combined, these 10 companies generate about 2.2 Trillion in annual revenue with about 176 Billion in profit. If these 10 companies were their own country, they would fall somewhere in-between the total GDP of Brazil and the UK – larger than Italy, India, Russia, Canada, Australia, Spain or Mexico.

    To me, with the sole exception of your buddy, they produce vital services for our economy. Thanks to Wal-Mart, we get good quality products and affordable prices. Likewise, gas is somewhere in the $3.50 per gallon mark. All told, they employ millions of our citizens and millions more that support them with financial, real estate, transportation, valuation and other service needs. They pay enormous state, local and federal taxes; and, all are actively involved in the community. With the exception of Apple, their profit margins are from 3 (Wal-mart) to 9 (Exxon Mobile) percent – hardly fleecing.

    Apple had a margin of 26 percent, but I don’t see the millions of users worldwide complaining. I think it is one of the best products on the market. I happily paid my $900. I frequent Chevron, Phillips and Exxon Mobile stations; and, shop at Wal-Mart occasionally. I think the Escalade is one of the best products on the market. I also own a Ford truck and tried to talk my wife into a Cadillac STS V, but she didn’t want one.

    The only one out of the top 10 that comes close to fitting your definition of fleecing, gambling or prostitution is your buddy the Hedge Fund manager Warren Buffett. Aside from that, I don’t see your point.

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  173. Mormon Heretic on October 27, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    Will, I’ve stated my case. We have crony capitalism, and you are in favor of a kleptocracy because you think it is moral to fleece the public.

    These 10 companies could well afford to provide reasonable health care, and/or better wages to employees. Henry Ford paid decent wages because he found it helped his employees purchase what he made and improved his own bottom line. Sam Walton finds that suppressing wages makes his bottom line better and his stockholders participate in the kleptocracy. There is a vast gulf between Henry Ford and Sam Walton. (Walmart makes “quality goods”? Really? Everything I bought there breaks quickly. I’ve quit buying Walmart crap, especially clothing and lead painted toys made in China which has crappy regulations on consumer products.)

    You really don’t see millions of citizens complaining? What was Occupy Wall Street? Apple makes products in China, and Americans aren’t concerned about Apple exploiting poor Chinese workers? You’re not concerned that these companies are destroying American jobs by shipping them to China and India? You’re not concerned that China is stealing American technology via Apple, Google, and other companies? Really?

    Your wallet makes you blind Will. If Jesus were here, he’d walk into the JP Morgan headquarters and say it was a “den of thieves”, especially in the executive suites where they “earn” bonuses for crashing the business. All is well in Zion,,errrr Wall Street. You know the saying, if it’s legal, it’s moral. Gordon Gecko would be proud of you Will.

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  174. hawkgrrrl on October 27, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    I don’t see why it’s only the rich who are blinded by their economic situation. The poor are equally prone to argue for their own interests.

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  175. Will on October 28, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    HM,

    “These 10 companies could well afford to provide reasonable health care, and/or better wages to employees. Henry…’

    Are you serious? Exxon Mobile, Chevron, Phillips, Valero, GE, Apple, GM, Ford & Berkshire Hathaway? Poor wages? Poor health care? What are you talking about? GM went bankrupt because of excessively high benefits; and, Ford came darn close. Seriously, wages and benefits in these companies are among the highest in the world. Relative to these companies, this has to be one of the most laughable statements I have ever read on this blog.

    Wal-Mart, yes, because the VAST majority of the jobs are entry-level jobs that demand entry level pay in the open market. If you are competing with ‘self-check-out’ you shouldn’t expect much in terms of pay or benefits. Managers and up are well paid at Wal-Mart.

    “You really don’t see millions of citizens complaining? What was Occupy Wall Street?”
    It was an enormous pity party comprising most of the seven deadly sins and an effective object lesson when teaching ‘thou shall not covet”. Put another way, the exact opposite of what you should do if you want to succeed in life.

    “….exploiting poor Chinese workers?….. shipping them to China and India? “

    Which is it: exploiting Chinese workers or sending jobs to China and India?

    The reality is that we live in a global economy and we need to get our act together as a nation if we are going to survive. The reality is there are competent software engineers and medical technicians in India who will work for 1/3 to 1/5 what they will in the US; likewise, there are skilled candidates all over Asia who will work for substantially less than our counterparts here in the US. If our companies do not capitalize on the best value, other international companies will, including companies inside these countries. The harsh reality is until we reach economic parity with these nations, wages in the US will either slide or the jobs will be erased.

    “Your wallet makes you blind Will.”

    You have no idea who I am or how I live my life. True, I have made a lot of money and still do, but you would never be able to tell. I live in a modest home and drive modest cars admittedly due to the urging of my wife. As I have said I’ve tried to talk my wife into luxury cars and she wants no part of it, she is about investing and saving and I do as I’m told.

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  176. hawkgrrrl on October 28, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    It’s painful, but I find I am in agreement with Will across the board on that last comment.

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