And Whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread all over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed… (Ether 8:22; Book of Mormon)
With the Occupy Wall Street movement having been in place for a number of weeks now, I have contemplated a number of issues that I think should be of primary focus of this movement and anyone who sympathizes with them. The Occupy movement has at its core the idea that the top 1% of the US control way too much power and wealth and are hindering the growth of the other 99%. In a way, they are right. There is a seemingly imbalance between the two groups.
However, I think the focus of the movement is a little out of whack. First, there is nothing wrong with being industrious and turning your talents into wealth. As the parable told by the Savior of the man who left varying number of talents with his servants with the commandment that they increase those talents shows. (Matthew 25: 14-30; Bible) The two who turned their 5 talents into 10 and 2 talents into 4, respectively, showed that the Lord looks with admiration and respect to those who are industrious with what they are given no matter how much or little. The third servant who hid his talent away and squandered his time was punished because of his idleness. As with this parable, so are we. We are as these servants. Some of us have been given 5, others 2 and yet still others 1. It doesn’t matter what we do with them as long as we increase them through industry in whatever trade we seek. This is something that the Occupy movement refuses to accept. The majority lump all wealthy people into the same class, that of cronies. Continue reading
And now I desire that this inequality should be no more in this land, especially among this my people; but I desire that this land be a land of liberty, and every man may enjoy his rights and privileges alike… (Mosiah 29:32; Book of Mormon)
There has been a lot of discussion in the political world about taxation and how the rich need to pay their “fair share” of the tax burden. I could go into a lot about the actual economic facts about the situation that show that the rich do pay far more than the rest of us. However, what I would like to focus on today is just what is a “fair tax” and how can it be implemented.
As a Libertarian, I want to reduce the total tax burden of all citizens in this nation. There is no reason we should have to pay income, sales, excise, import, inheritance, property taxes and the many more we must pay everyday. The Federal, State and Local governments place a huge burden on the people of this nation. What we really need to do is streamline the tax system and implement a fair tax. Continue reading
Pay the debt thou hast contracted… Release thyself from bondage. (Doctrine and Covenants 19:35)
Those are some strong words. The fact that the Lord equates debt with bondage is something that we should all keep in mind.
Currently the US is facing some of that hardest of economic times we have ever faced. The main cause of this “recession” is the copious amounts of debt that the citizens and the government itself has allowed ourselves to get into. People borrowed money in order to buy houses they could not afford otherwise. The government passed regulation to allow people to borrow money even though there was a high risk of default. The government has been borrowing money in order to meet the obligations it has set upon itself for the last few decades. Frankly, we are in bondage to our debtors. Continue reading
This past Friday, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement on immigration law. They clarify the position they took recently in Utah and made it more general for application in other states and federally.
I want to look at a few key points and expound upon them.
As a matter of policy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discourages its members from entering any country without legal documentation, and from deliberately overstaying legal travel visas.
As members of the church, we are bound to obey the laws of the land as outlined in the Twelfth Article of Faith. However, we still hold the right to change laws we consider unjust or over broad. Often, this requires people to deliberately disobey them. I would think that in the case of immigration law, there is some room for civil disobedience. Continue reading
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread (Genesis 3:19; King James Bible)
And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish. (Mosiah 4:16; Book of Mormon)
As Latter-day Saints, we have an obligation to care for those who are in need. To this end the Church has established a number of programs to assist those in need. Chief amongst these is the Fast Offering program. Every month, the members of the church fast for 24 hours and take the funds that would have been used to purchase food for those meals and donate to the Fast Offering program. This money is then used to help those who do not have money to get food for their families and pay for other things. Other notable programs are the Perpetual Education Fund and the church Humanitarian Relief.
However, even with these funds available, those who are in need are still required to do all they can to provide for themselves. For as God commanded Adam after the Fall, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” This commandment holds as true today as it did then. We are obligated to provide for our own needs. Continue reading
Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s (Matthew 22:21; King James Version of the Bible)
Taxation is a contract between the people and the government stating that the people are willing to part with some of their income in support of programs and services offered by the government with the idea that these programs and services provide a public good.
It is often the case with unjust leadership to break this contract and use taxation as a means to unjustly enrich the people in power and their friends while also oppressing those who are seen as enemies. Continue reading