In our opinion: Reclaiming America's social compact through entitlement reform


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  • Shimlau SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Sept. 26, 2012 6:28 p.m.

    Roland Kayser: What would you do to bring our medical expenses back in line, or make them comparable to the rest of the 'developed' world? Maybe first off would be some form of tort reform?!

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    Sept. 25, 2012 8:41 p.m.


    You believe that an increase in capital gains tax will stifle job creation. Wrong. Historical data show that, allowing for a 6-year lag between the cuts in the capital gains taxes and the resulting unemployment, the low rates begun during the Bush era are actually behind the last two decades of job stagnation. Google "capital gains correlation unemployment" and you will find plenty of rhetoric on both sides but little evidence on yours.

    If corporate bigwigs see a big difference between regular tax rates and capital gains rates, they start sucking money out of their companies by exercising stock options, etc., so they can enjoy a lifestyle fueled by high, low-tax incomes. Their businesses stagnate and do NOT create jobs.

    Today's capital gains tax rates are the lowest they have ever been in over a century, except for the years preceding the Great Depression.

  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 25, 2012 2:32 p.m.

    I don't believe that half of all Americans don't pay taxes. it has not been proven at all! Besides, there is something wrong here if there are that many people with no money! When the Wal Mart family owns more of our country than 40% of of our population, and we are giving them all the tax breaks, there is something wrong! Who are the ones with entitlements? So, it makes sense to say that the people who have the least are the ones causing all the problems? Gee whiz, I guess most of us should expect nothing , should we! They are talking about us~! It isn't your poor neighbor that they refer to. Take a look at the wars we have had! Do you think that may have contributed to our financial problems? What about all those wealthy bankers and the automobile industry. I guess that didn't hurt our economy either? Maybe if big business would pay a fair wage, we wouldn't have so many poor people. HAve you ever thought of that. Something is wrong with this story!

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Sept. 24, 2012 3:18 p.m.

    To "LDS Liberal" again with the lies.

    Lets look again at the stats on the top 1%. According to the NY Times and various other sources the top 1% own 40% of the wealth in the US. However, we do not tax people based on their wealth, but their income. If we look at their income, they take home 16% of all income in the US.

    Ok, now we know how much they own, and how much they earn. Lets look at what percent they pay of all federal income taxes. According to the the IRS, those same top 1% pay 40.4% of all income taxes in 2011. So, according to your reasoning, the rich pay their fair share. If you base it on income they pay more than their fair share.

    Since they pay their fair share according to your standards, does this mean that you will no longer complain about the taxes that the wealthy pay?

    Can you please pass that along to Obama.

    Does 20% of your income go to Federal income taxes?

    Do you also promise a chicken in every pot and a car in every driveway?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Sept. 24, 2012 12:59 p.m.

    OK then --

    I'm for a Flat tax.
    But uber-Rich like Romney don't want one. Why?
    Because it takes away all the Deductable goodies they become entitled too gor decades.

    When 1% owns 80% of everything, they need to pay 80% of the taxes.

    That's HOW a Flat system works.

    The RICH tell you not to change it, and scare the "little people" into not supporting it.
    So, the Middle class ends up getting cobblered.

    Romney's tax releases so far prove my point.
    They one he's keeping hidden would spark a American version of the French Revolution.

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    Sept. 24, 2012 12:31 p.m.

    LDS Liberal...of course I'm outraged at overspending in every case. Some aspects of the wars were unfortunate but not totally unnecessary. Right now I'm outraged at so many things the current POTUS has done that I can't fit it all into the space alloted by DN. But that's not what we're discussing at the moment. May I refer you back to the topic of the article? Entitlement reform.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Sept. 24, 2012 12:14 p.m.

    Idaho Falls, ID
    My point in sharing these real life scenarios is simply to illustrate the ironies of the system, the waste and abuse that goes on. I don't have the answers as to "how" it should be done, but the system needs to be tightened up so that the help goes to those who really need it and that our tax dollars don't get fed to the ducks.
    8:34 a.m. Sept. 24, 2012


    Let me get this straight you are worried and outraged about your neighbors "wasting" your tax dollars feeding a few ducks?

    For the life of me, I can't honestly imagine how you must be feeling right now about the $2 Trillion for Middle Eastern wars.
    [FYI; For a little perspective -- that equates to every man, woman, and child in America each feeding a loaf of bread every single day to ducks for the next 20 years, and that's without paying the interest. But I haven't heard your outrage about that.]

    Talk about irony.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Sept. 24, 2012 11:50 a.m.


    ".....When Social Security was started it was not designed to be robbed to pay current bills or expand government at the cost of those who paid into the Social Security system....."

    Precisely. But as long as the Social Security trust fund after all the doomsayer's hullabaloo about its impending insolvency is STILL being dipped into to pay off program deficits, guys like and Romney and Ryan are going to find me a hard sell in persuading that current entitlements are not sustainable. Especially when they start calling for a two trillion dollar increase in defense spending beyond what the Pentagon is asking for.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Sept. 24, 2012 10:41 a.m.

    Fiduciary responsibility falls squarely on the Government and that involves auditing, scrutiny, and other accepted forms of control. Both bureaucratic and elected officials have the requirements on their shoulders to ensure a safety net for the people that entrust them to make reliable judgements for our future. The system is not to be a Lehman Brothers and AIG type of process. Anything can be bought from those companies but not necessarily what someone wants in 40 years after working and inputting a lot of trust in the government.

    I do not trust individuals as power corrupts. There needs to be a system that is not corruptible. When Social Security was started it was not designed to be robbed to pay current bills or expand government at the cost of those who paid into the Social Security system. The trust of those who robbed went with them to the grave. We still have some of those that robbed while in their elected and appointed government offices knew the bill would come due sooner or later. Sooner is now here and I am glad for people like Romney/Ryan who will look at this and hopefully will not become politicized by robbers.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Sept. 24, 2012 9:57 a.m.

    If you pay for something, you’re entitled to it. The arithmetic being used to say the nation cannot afford the current system is a bogus argument for not making good on the investments of wage earners. Sustainability is a matter of priorities and commitment. But Mr. Romney, Mr. Ryan, and others mask their social restructuring agenda in cause-serving manipulation of the numbers. We’re capable of doing the math ourselves.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Sept. 24, 2012 9:32 a.m.

    Just as the children of Abraham so many years ago, the people in our country wanted to be like the other countries with the liberal laws and lower moral standards than their religion allowed under their type of rule, law, and order.

    We are coming into a position where we already robbed Peter to pay Paul, as Congress has been borrowing from the "overpaid" Social Security sacred funds taken from people's pay checks for two generations. The "baby-boomers" wouldn't ever become retirement age as the "Woodstock" generation would fade away and no collect on their "Social Security" process. However, due to the great medical programs we have and the disability, Medicare, Medicaid and great additional state and local programs, private and public, we have people living beyond the 1930 Social Security life-span. Congressmen and women who started the process of taking from those funds to pay for other government programs are now six-feet deep. The rest of us have a government that is 20 feet deep in debt. People are paying now for wanting to be like their neighbor countries instead of being the country of our Founding Fathers. In 240 years, we forgot them.

  • shuttdlrl Smith River, CA
    Sept. 24, 2012 9:20 a.m.

    England was killed by an idea:the idea that the weak, indolent, and profligate must be supported by the strong, industrious, and frugal-to the degree that tax consumers will have a living standard comparable to that of taxpayers; the idea that government exits for the purpose of plundering those who work to give the product of their labor to those who do not work. The economic and social cannibalism produced by this communitst-socialist idea will destroy any society which adopts it and clings to it as a basic principle-any society Dan Smoot FBI agent 1968

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    Sept. 24, 2012 8:34 a.m.

    My point in sharing these real life scenarios is simply to illustrate the ironies of the system, the waste and abuse that goes on. I don't have the answers as to "how" it should be done, but the system needs to be tightened up so that the help goes to those who really need it and that our tax dollars don't get fed to the ducks.

  • johnnylingo62 Gray, TN
    Sept. 24, 2012 8:14 a.m.

    When I heard Romney's comments - the first thing he said was, "there are 47% of the people that are going to vote for Obama - NO MATTER WHAT". Then he started to breakdown who was included in those 47%. I did not get the impression that Romney was putting down the elderly, the truly poor, or those that have previously paid into Social Security and Medicare - I think he's smart enough to know these segments. You'll notice Romney stayed clear of any "race" or "nationality" segments that may be included in the 47%... so he's not trying to make a point about that either.
    His point was about those that there are those that like "Big Government" and all that it provides them -- and Romney's not for Big Government. This is his voting base. He'll have to work to convince the others why his leadership will provide them with a GOOD government and opportunity.

  • johnnylingo62 Gray, TN
    Sept. 24, 2012 8:08 a.m.

    It appears that liberals do not understand the tax code. When DIVIDENDS and Capital Gains are taxed at a lower rate than "regular income", it ENCOURAGES investment. The people that put their EARNINGS that were already taxed at the "regular income tax rate" into an investment - stock market, private companies, 401k, Bonds, etc. this money greases the wheels of enterprise. They also put their savings AT RISK - there's no guarantee those invested funds will have an increase in value - in fact, they could LOOSE value - the money is at risk.
    Let's say that Wage Earners chose to NOT put their earnings into investments - how would entrepreneurs obtain money to create NEW business, New products, conduct Research and Development, etc.? If these new projects pan out, then there will be Profits that will be TAXED from both the company and the investors. There is already "double taxation" on Corporate Dividends (the corporation pays taxes on its Profits, and the shareholders receiving the profits pay taxes on that SAME money again, albeit at a lower rate).
    It's not a problem with not enough tax payments to the government - it's about too many government expenses.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    Sept. 24, 2012 7:28 a.m.

    More significant than entitlements is the complete lack of confidence in our laws and lawmakers. Congress gets a 15% approval rating. Yikes! And who can blame us?
    When you look at the mess created by Congress as they dealt with welfare policy, mental health and immigration, it is hard to have much confidence in them.
    And when they take to ignore their own laws (as in immigration) they look all the more foolish.
    Not to mention their combined rap sheet. Since when do we trust our governance to felons and adulterers?
    One response is to take ALL laws lightly and ignore the rule of law where possible. That's called anarchy. And an unknown number of individuals from all political views are silently doing just that.

  • Utah Native Farmington, UT
    Sept. 24, 2012 7:26 a.m.

    Perhaps things have changed, but in 1998 when our family was out of work (right after we had purchased a new car), I went to apply for food stamps. We had zero income, but were turned down because of that new car (that in actuality the bank owned). The rules were pretty stringent then - have they changed? My husband did any odd job he could to bring in money, even if it cut back on the "handout" of unemployment. I don't think it's situations like these that Mr. Romney has a problem with. I would suppose that as a former bishop and stake president, he has seen families who really just wanted a handout rather than a hand up, who would rather freeload than share the load of their own financial obligations. While he does need to be more "elegant" in his articulation of such ideas, I don't think it's wrong to assess the situation and see what can reasonably be done to solve these issues. Any able-bodied person who can work should have to work for what they receive, something along the lines of the CCC enacted by FDR.

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    Sept. 24, 2012 6:55 a.m.

    (7:20 p.m.) O'really's anecdotes inadvertently advocate for a single payer system, where all can be protected and share the burden of health care costs. Count me in.

  • Susan in VA Alexandria, VA
    Sept. 24, 2012 6:20 a.m.

    Social Security is not Entitlement, I paid a ton of money into it and now what I receive is what I paid plus interest. Quit telling me I'm lazy because I no longer work. I earned that right.

  • William Gronberg Payson, UT
    Sept. 24, 2012 12:04 a.m.

    Mr. Bandersen:

    The capture and trade for black slaves, their transportation to the Americas and their forced labor caused millions of deaths. It was all about people and companies making money and private property rights.

    ""If men believed in god, liberty, and free markets,..."

    There was no shortage of churches and slave owners in them in the USA, Brazil, Cuba, etc. Slavery was widespread in the South even with a Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and a Bill of Rights. The Constitution required a few more amendments, a Civil War and about 85 years to properly regulate slavery out of our nation.

    "Communism and socialism have proven they can do more damage to humanity than capitalism.”

    The rule of Marxist-Leninist Socialists have caused about 100 million deaths.

    The rule of National Socialists have caused about 60 million deaths.

    But Mr. Bandersen, how many deaths have been caused by the Democratic Socialists of Western Europe????

    There are far more people coming to “capitalist” North America and semi “socialist” Western Europe than are leaving. That is the real world in 2012. Both regions are magnets to millions of human beings.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 10:38 p.m.

    Ultra Bob, I understand your point about a world economy, and about the importance of local business. You, however, are still stuck with a decision. You can't have part socialism, part communism, and or part capitalism. You have to make a decision about what you believe. I'm certain that bad men can rise in any system. Communism and socialism have proven they can do more damage to humanity than capitalism. Capitalists don't put people to death by the millions. the problem we have here in capitalistic america is that weak men have allowed corrupt officials and selfish men to control them. If men believed in god, liberty, and free markets, socialism and communism would sease to exist and capitalism would function with greater fairness, a fairness that is never seen with socialism. In the absence of God, liberty wanes, and men and women turn to Government to solve problems, an unfortunate turn of events that only leads to ills greater than what might have been addressed if unalienable rights had been protected.

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 10:28 p.m.

    By one measure of household income my wife and I are in the poorer half of U.S. households last year. That's OK. I know we are still far richer than most of the world, especially in non-tangibles like freedom and security. I'm willing to give up more than my share of future prosperity to help solve our current crisis, but I would invite those richer than us to join in.

    What entitles them to pocket their Romney-Rich tax breaks? Have you felt any of the billions given up in tax breaks to the rich trickle down or create jobs lately?

    The first reforms should include restoring our traditional capital gains and estate taxes.

    Conservatives once disparaged estate taxes as death taxes. Don't let that bother you. You don't want your children to grow up as spoiled, entitled brats do you? Rather we should disparage untaxed estates as unearned, inherited royal entitlements.

    Don't you worry about the return of the estate tax, though. If Congress fails to extend the Bush era tax cuts for 2013, your heirs still won't lose a penny of your inheritance unless you are a millionaire.

  • dumprake Washington, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 8:58 p.m.

    I'm not sure I even follow this meandering, goes nowhere editorial. Who wrote this? And it ends up talking about leadership, but mentions no names? Romney has more leadership in his little finger than Obama has in his whole phony persona. Yes, talk about leadership, and the complete failure of it from Obama. Any leadership on the economy? zero, none, zilch. Any leadership on foreign policy? none again, complete abdication. Any leadership with congress? again, none. For two years he refused to even talk to Republicans or include them in any policy or legislative discussions. Then he spends the next two years talking about how Obama's failures are the fault of the Republicans in Congress? Did he mean to say Harry Reid and the Democrat controlled Senate? The man is delusional.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 8:50 p.m.


    What I want is to redefine the Capitalistic game, to the change the rules. We are engaged in a fierce competition using rules that were created centuries ago. There was a time when labor was a major part of a product and distances between places and nations confined the action to the local citizens.

    Today labor is taken from all over the globe and the need for labor is greatly reduced. Utah workers have to compete with workers in China and India where living conditions are different. Yet, most of us can only purchase our needs from American businesses at prices set for Americans. The game has changed.

    I believe that business is the child of the society wherein it exists. When business is confined to a local area, there is a balance between the players that keeps the game going and benefits everyone. If a business buys products made in china and sells them to people living in America there is no balance and society goes down.

    Any government would be good if operated by “Good” men, but since there are no “good” men, Capitalism has the same fate as the others.

  • William Gronberg Payson, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 8:41 p.m.

    Here is even a better idea.

    Send a check for $47 to the party of your choice or attend more $50,000 a plate dinners.

  • William Gronberg Payson, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 8:32 p.m.

    Send a check for $47 to the political party of your choice.

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 8:29 p.m.

    O'really of Idaho Falls - What is the point of your stories?

    Are you suggesting that we work harder to eliminate fraud from the system?
    Or do you suggest that there will always be fraud, so the system must be eliminated?

    Your stories are about government programs such as food stamps and welfare, but people take advantage of the private sector as well. I've heard of people who get a couple months of their apartment rent paid for because they know the right things to say to the local bishop. There are urban legends of a person working a soup kitchen who watches someone drive up in a fancy car and stand in line for a free bowl of soup. There will always be people who take advantage of charity. If you end these programs to end the fraud, what will happen to the truly needy?

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    Sept. 23, 2012 7:20 p.m.

    Thank you for this article.

    There are legitimate needs for government financial help. And Mitt Romney has stated that we ARE a compassionate people and WILL take care of those in need.
    But here are some actual scenarios:

    A woman I know of gets food stamps because her husband doesn't work. They have so much bread that they feed the extra to the ducks on the downtown river.

    Two families had premie babies. One family that works and had health insurance but still struggles financially was left with a $20,000 co-pay bill. The other family are cradle to grave welfare recipients and have figured out how to not have to work. Their bill after Medicade was $0.

    A hard working family comes to a dermatologist but they have to use over-the-counter treatments for their warts and other skin issues because their insurance doesn't cover enough. Another family with medicade comes in and has warts and everything else "taken care of" without paying a cent. All the kids on welfare are sitting in the waiting room playing with their smart phones.

    These scenarios are real per the receptionist and family of the babies.

  • timpClimber Provo, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 7:10 p.m.

    Romney was not discussing the entitlement problem, he was discussing who would vote for him. I've read several speeches and articles he wrote about entitlements and the gist was we need to get serious about how to pay for them. I've searched Obama's speeches and can't find any where he even recognized we have a problem. I would realy like to have a private recording of Obama's meetings with his supporters. Probably more of the bible lovin, gun totin red necks?

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Sept. 23, 2012 6:55 p.m.

    What Mitt wasn't correct about is that the majority of people that don't pay federal income taxes are REPUBLICAN and WILL be voting for HIM NOT OBMAMA!

    According to the Tax Foundation, eight of the top 10 states with the highest percentage of people who don’t pay federal income taxes are decidedly Republican.

  • cavetroll SANDY, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 6:37 p.m.

    banderson, just as you are waiting for UltraBob to tell you his plan to replace the economic model we have now, so is America waiting for Romney to reveal his plan to help America.

    I do think we need to cut some entitlement spending. Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, which I paid into, is not entitlement spending. I deposited money into these programs, I should get my money out of it.

    These cuts shold also include entitlements we give to large corporations. Why do execs at large corporations receive huge salaries and insane bonuses when they run ocompanies into the ground or laying people off so they can ship jobs overseas?

  • peter Alpine, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 5:40 p.m.

    Anybody who thinks that Romney has a disdain for the needy don't know this man, his heart, his contributions to charity and the working class, and his desire to bring personal responsibility back to America. He's not going to take help away from the retired, the disabled, the truly needy. But, he will make those who are capable of working get off government dole and contribute to their own upkeep and the welfare of society. Look at his achievements and compare them to where obama is taking this country, that is if you can face reality. If you can't, just keep whining and spinning words to fit your agenda, like the MSM constantly does.
    Now, DN, you give good talking points but refuse to take a stand against our out-of-control federal government, and Bush's/Obama's reckless spending. Government created this mess, and they need to be held accountable for what's happening.

  • Mikhail ALPINE, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 3:04 p.m.

    To Henry Drummod:Capital Gain taxes are gains made from money that has already been taxed at income tax rates. You might argue that we should increase the rate of this second tax, but you need to also consider the effect that such would have on putting such money at risk, by investin into these ventues. With every capital investment, there are many that turn into losses, rather than gains.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 3:03 p.m.

    To Kent DeForrest:

    The best way to address the growing gap between rich and poor is education. The poor lack the skills most in demand in the global marketplace (math, science, computer programming, communication and writing skills, etc.). Many have also learned poor behaviors that hinder there ability to make ends meet. Some of it is not their fault, per se, but that is not the point.

    Those born to middle and upper-class families learn everything from academic to social and emotional skills that help them become successful. While some on the right point to work ethic and risk taking, these are a small part of the problem in most cases. The most valuable of intellectual capital is the hardest to teach and to learn. One thing the right is correct in? The more we force equality in outcome, the more difficult it will be for those who work hard and sacrifice to get ahead. And as this incentive is destroyed, so will the entrepreneurism and and freedom at the core of American values be destroyed.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 2:56 p.m.

    To Kent DeForrest,

    "The system is designed at its most fundamental level to pay one group (the owners and managers of capital) as much as possible while paying another group (wage laborers) as little as possible. This is why labor productivity is so important to businesses and why they ship jobs off to Third World countries."

    This is a sophomoric attempt at economics that misdiagnoses causality and oversimplifies. There is not enough room in this forum to fully address the fallacies of your argument. But here is a brief response:

    Labor intensive tasks are being shipped overseas because 1) the massive wage gap that emerged over long periods of time between developed and undeveloped nations. 2) Increased trade which removed barriers to the market functioning 3) Increased capital stock in less developed nations which allowed their labor productivity to rise to competitive levels.

    Returns flow to the scarcest resources. The opening of third world labor and manufacturing markets made these resources abundant at the same time the shift to a knowledge based economy accelerated. The return to highly skilled intellectual capital has also skyrocketed as these skills became globally leverageable. These are the real drivers.

  • KMCopeland West Point, MS
    Sept. 23, 2012 2:56 p.m.


    "through extensive pandering the Democrat party has locked in "approximately" 47% of the vote"

    You're very poorly informed.

    "Romney is simply recognizing this fact and noting that to win he has to get those that are not locked in to this President no matter what and get them to vote for him"

    If he were simply recognizing, and describing, a "fact," he wouldn't be nearly as terrified of the consequences as he, and pretty much every respectable Republican commentator, very clearly are about what he said. Why do you think he's doing everything but stand on his hand to take it all back? Some kind of big liberal plot maybe? Against "facts?"

  • KMCopeland West Point, MS
    Sept. 23, 2012 2:48 p.m.

    @ Say No to BO:

    Who has proposed more costly programs?

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 2:35 p.m.

    I don't get how we have plenty of billions to hand out to Egypt, Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan but we can't afford to educate, clothe, or feed our own people?


  • louie Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 2:16 p.m.

    Giving Romney any credibility for his statements is extremely gratuitous. The editorial board misses the point and the reason for the fallout of Romney's comments. What he said was that "there are 47 percent who are with him (Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them...These are people who pay no income taxes" This is a class warfare statement on steroids. The Editorial Board would like to edit his comments by adding the word "federal income taxes", because without it the Romney quote is way off. How about the retired who pays no federal taxes but worked 45 or so years and now receive social security supplemented with some savings. Or how about college students who borrow 100,000 dollars or more for medical or law school. Or how about the large families with lower incomes, like many in Utah. How about the single parent who is raising children or a child. Are these examples some of the reasons why we need entitlement reform. Lets make sure our statistical facts are right to start with.

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    Sept. 23, 2012 1:52 p.m.

    Here is my reform.
    Ditch the entitlements, and get people a motivational book on how to get out of bed.

  • Itsjstmeagain Merritt Island, Fl
    Sept. 23, 2012 12:30 p.m.

    The article spoke of the 47%. Some are extremely wealthy too. Where is GE, EXXON, and others who pay no taxes and receive Washington welfare. Capital Gains should be taxed as unearned income, which it is. It's also a job killer. Why?
    Every dollar tied up in the stock market and other investment instruments denies one dollar in the economy buying products and services and creating jobs. VP Cheney had the right idea, he encouraged POTUS to borrow money (after spending the surplus) to pay for tax cuts and two wars. Every borrowed dollar has a multiplier effect because it passes through so many hands: bank loans, developers, designers, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers and consumer who have jobs to start the cycle over again and again.

    You do not get that kind of action with a dollar sitting in the market. The only action there is trading stocks like bubblegum cards.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 12:15 p.m.

    Ultra Bob, I'm waiting for you come out and tell me what you really Want, since you seem ambivalent or fearful of what it is that will replace and make sure the all Americans benefit from America's prosperity? It is obvious that you don't believe our current system does that. What is your plan! Because, to be sure, we have a choice about the economic system that history has already proven to be the best. Communish, Socialism, and fascism are proven failures? What do you propose?

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 11:34 a.m.

    While much of what was written here sounds good,it is the politicians and their penchant to create another program to solve the problem, exacerbated by an entitlement mentality and immoral behavior, that makes reform next to impossible. Unless citizens, and more importantly, elected polticians, understand the purpose and role of government, as enshrined in the constitution, the words and problems will continue until a collapse. Social Security, Medicare, Welfare, and a host of other government probrams were never meant to be be sponsored by Government. Individuals, protected in their unalienable rights, raising responsible and virtuous children, are the only protections for a social compact that the writer envisions. Anything less is the paternalistic viewpoint of corrupt men seeking power, something our government is quite prepared to place on a pedestal and use to deny others their property, rights, and their choice, none of which are American ideals! I commend the author for his desire to help, but there is only one thing each of us can do; start making marraige, family, and work count for something!

  • Jeromeo Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 11:28 a.m.

    The rich get richer, poor get poorer... so what, if the rich complain about the growing segment of poor? Take a look at the 47% (and growing). It's obviously their own fault. Tax breaks for the rich have no impact on the Federal deficit. Just ask Marie Antoinette!

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 11:23 a.m.

    Romney was not wrong when he implied that we have a lot of "moochers" in our society. He was wrong however when he tried to include too many people in that group to make the numbers sound more dire (what? politicians do that??).

    A person who pays into social security all their life and is now in retirement years, is not a moocher. A person who works hard and pays taxes, but this year collected 3 months of unemployment when between jobs, is not a moocher.

    A moocher (in my opinion) is someone who takes more overall out of the system than they contribute into the system even though they are capable of doing the opposite. With so many entitlements, it allows lazy and dishonest people to live off the labors of others.

    For example, almost everyone agrees that we should help the disabled, but now drug abuse, obesity, fake illnesses, and fake injuries qualify people as "disabled", entitled to a permanent check from other taxpayers.

    What Romney was implying is that we have a large number of such people who will automatically vote Democrat in order to keep the money flowing their way.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 11:20 a.m.

    To finish my previous comment, William Greider was right when he pointed out that the problem with our current version of capitalism is not, as Marx supposed, that people own capital. It is that not enough of them do. Fix that, and everything else is much easier to figure out.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 11:17 a.m.

    As usual, this opinion piece and most of the comments address a symptom or two of a much deeper illness without mentioning the germ that is causing those symptoms. We need to ask different questions. Why do we have so many people on food stamps? Why do we have such high unemployment when corporations are sitting on piles of cash? Why has inequality been steadily increasing since the Reagan years?

    The underlying reason is the nature of the corporate version of capitalism we have espoused, and this system is favored by both Republican and Democrats. The system is designed at its most fundamental level to pay one group (the owners and managers of capital) as much as possible while paying another group (wage laborers) as little as possible. This is why labor productivity is so important to businesses and why they ship jobs off to Third World countries.

    A progressive tax code does a little redistributing, but it doesn't address the underlying problem. If we want a healthier economy, we must consider sharing a fair portion of ownership with those whose efforts actually create the wealth. Then a flat tax would actually make sense.

  • T. Party Pleasant Grove, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 11:10 a.m.

    What social compact? I didn't sign it. My social compact is the Constitution, and the commitments I have made personally to care for the poor and the needy. I chose these things freely.

    If your social compact says you can take my property by force, and give it to someone else, then I reject it.

  • WHAT NOW? Saint George, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 10:52 a.m.

    The top 10 of those who pay NO FEDERAL INCOME TAX reside in the following states:

    1. Mississippi
    2. Georgia
    3. Alabama
    4. Florida
    5. Arkansas
    6. S. Carolina
    7. New Mexico
    8. Idaho
    9. Texas
    10. Utah

    Mitt Romney was describing his base when he indicted the 47%.

    Yet, his base will continue to vote for him.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 10:44 a.m.

    We have juiced our economy with 3% plus deficit spending for years. Since 2009, this has jumped to approximately 10%. It is going to be very painful 1) When we stop juicing the economy with debt, and 2) Extremely painful if we actually have to reverse and pay down debt (e.g. budget surplus). In fact, by my knowledge, no major economy forced to cut back has ever made the transition back to fiscal responsibility through austerity. Once we get to that point (like Greece, maybe Spain, Portugal and Italy), it will be too late. Economic calamity is also certain.

    This is not doomsday talk, just simple reality. And we don't have very long before we reach this point. If we get our act together IMMEDIATELY, it MAY be possible to avoid calamity, but even now it is not certain. One thing is for sure: Even if we make needed changes now, it WILL be painful. But it will also be much less painful than it will be if we wait until our global creditors force us to change our stupid ways.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    Sept. 23, 2012 10:42 a.m.

    The conservatives love to slam the "welfare queens," but they will never be able to solve the real problem, which is medical costs. Republicans simply lack the backbone to stand up to insurance companies, medical conglomerates, pharmaceutical companies, and the AMA.

    Remember when the head of J.P. Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimond, testified before Congress? Even though his company had just lost over two billion dollars in bad trading deals, the Republicans were practically bending over and kissing his ring! If we cut healthcare costs some corporate special interest will get less money, and the Republicans won't allow that.

  • Pendergast SLC, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 10:38 a.m.

    Per Nosea's comment, did Jesus condemn truckle down all those years ago?

  • donquixote84721 Cedar City, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 10:36 a.m.

    I am now drawing Social Security, and I do not consider it to be an Entitlement, because of all the years I paid into it. There are parts of Social Security that could be considered entitlements such as payments to dependents and those unable to work, but if you consider Social Security an insurance company, then benefits received are the same as any insurance benefits received. Medicare is an added benefit to Social Security, to help people on Social Security, and it could be an entitlement. Both Social Security and Medicare are needed programs, but like everything the government touches, the management of both are screw up and need reformed.
    Every American deserves affordable and effective medicare, and we need to reform the system.
    Entitlements are one of the major problem in America today, and they effect both ends of Te class system. The Upper Class have been taught to believe they are entitled to all they can get no matter who it hurts or kills. In the early 1900's business schools taught that there was an ethically acceptable profit a business could make. There is no such thing as ethics in business anymore.

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 10:26 a.m.

    Re Esquire and Pramitist, Mr. Romney's comments were not hateful nor were they dismissive as has been indicated in many commentaries even in this quality article. They simply reflect the difficult fact that through extensive pandering the Democrat party has locked in "approximately" 47% of the vote. Entitlements, government employment, corrupt contracting, needed programs during difficult times all are used to maintain a dictatorial grasp on power even when the result is to hold the very groups that are supposed to be helped to quote the Vice-President "in chains". Why else with total failure in domestic and foreign policy would this President consistently poll so high-46% to 48%. Romney is simply recognizing this fact and noting that to win he has to get those that are not locked in to this President no matter what and get them to vote for him. He was and is right. Difficult task to do, but he seems to be holding close to accomplishing this.

    Sept. 23, 2012 10:12 a.m.

    Most people are just plinking around the edges of the problem. Mandatory spending - "entitlements" and interest on the debt - are currently consuming all tax receipts. The bulk of the federal government, including national defense, is paid for by future generations in the form of borrowing. The Fed apparently believes the solution lies in devaluing the dollar so the debt can be paid back with cheaper dollars. Our sitting president believes the answer is to borrow more money to hire teachers and policemen and throw money at energy scams. How does that help? We need a turn-around expert. We need Mitt Romney.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 9:55 a.m.

    Nosea, that is a great comment. Thanks.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 9:13 a.m.

    I think the real truth about taxes is that only consumers pay taxes. And all people are consumers, rich, poor, business, and just people.

    Business pays no taxes, any taxes they remit to the government were part of the price of the product they sold to a consumer. Any profits that they pay income taxes on came from the price of their product paid by a consumer.

    Assuming that all Americans eat, drink and wear clothes and that those things are only available through some sort of commerce (business), there are no people in America that do not pay income taxes to support our government. Except, perhaps, only those individuals who sleep in cardboard boxes in alleyways and eat from garbage cans.

    It is the shame of America and to all Americans that we permit our economic system to prevent so many Americans from benefiting from the prosperity of America.

    Politicians often rant about the symptoms (food stamps, welfare, no income tax) of poverty but are not willing to do any thing about the cause of those symptoms.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Sept. 23, 2012 9:13 a.m.

    I think this is an article that provides a fair assessment of the core issue, but I think we need to consider some other facts. As the article notes, Romney and his conservative friends arrive at their numbers by including people who get favorable tax treatment such as the Child Tax Credit.

    Yet nothing is said about the favorable tax treatment of dividend income that allows millionaires like Mitt Romney to pay less in taxes than school teachers, construction workers, police, the military, and others who have earned income.

    Perhaps Romney and his allies should take a hard look at that "entitlement" before attaching such harsh words to those on Social Security, disabled veterans, and the working poor.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 9:07 a.m.

    Roland Keyser is right. Run the numbers. I'd add that the numbers of food stamps issued will inevitably go down as we increase employment. Passing the President's jobs bill would help there. And raising the ceiling for payroll taxes would make Medicare and Social Security solvent.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 9:00 a.m.

    I'm seeing the abiding respect for those affected more in the President than mitt.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Sept. 23, 2012 9:00 a.m.

    First of all Romneys comments were not an opening for a discussion of entitlements. His comments were simply what they appeared to be bigoted hateful distain for half of America.

    Secondly, entitlement programs are always open for discussion and improvement as part of a civil societies social compact. The crisis mode displayed by this article is faux political partisinship. There is only one party wanting to destroy rather than improve and sustain the social compact. Hidden in the body of the article is proof of this desire.."that replace expectations of entitlement with opportunities for ownership.".

    A civil and moral society creates a social saftey net not as a replacemnt for personal responsibility..as the above quote intimates..but rather as a response to a wealthy socieites attempt to care for those who can't care for themselves. If that compact is broken by some, fix it as best as possible, but turning the plight of the needy into a bad chapter of Atlas Shrugged is immoral.

  • Nosea Forest Grove, OR
    Sept. 23, 2012 8:42 a.m.

    The wealth gap is the real problem--the fact that inequality is at unprecedented levels is really what is killing the 47% on the bottom.

    It is just as the Savior taught, you have fat cats sitting at a table full of more food than they could possibly use before it spoils, but they are still doing all they can to keep even crumbs from falling to the floor where those poor, undeserving beggars can get them. After all, the beggars need to quit being victims take more personal responsibility for themselves!

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 8:21 a.m.

    It wasn't just that Romney said there were 47%. It's how he described them. This really isn't about the inelegant use of language (with which Romney seems to have serious problems with), it's about an attitude which was revealed and which most of us find offensive. And other things were said on topics which were also disturbing. It better revealed the man. I don't buy your campaign driven rationalization and excuse making on his behalf. A discussion of the topic is fine, but come to the table in good faith, and put welfare for the rich up for discussion as well. When the Republicans do that, I'll take them, and this GOP paper, more seriously.

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    Sept. 23, 2012 7:55 a.m.

    The greatest entitlement burden to our family budget is the out-of-control cost of health care. My husband is a teacher and our public employee premium is now $24,000 a year, with a $5,000 deductible. We pay 25% of the premium -- $500 a month or 17% of our take-home pay. No government tax comes close. I am offended both as a consumer and as a taxpayer, by the medical monster who has the economy by the throat.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Sept. 23, 2012 7:50 a.m.

    1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealth out of prosperity
    2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving
    3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
    4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.
    5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work, because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 7:25 a.m.

    Posters please read the article before commenting. I have no doubt many are convinced that 47% are all freeloaders and prefer to live off the government than work. The problem is the tax code not that people are lazy and unmotivated. The 47% includes seniors collecting social security, college students trying to obtain an education, and people with disabilities. My ex-wife had a serious mental illness and collected social security disability. She had served an LDS mission and did her best to get an education and strive to be self sufficient. Tom Brokaw referred to our seniors as the greatest generation. Romney called them freeloaders. Everyone agrees that gov't spending is out of control and entitlement reform is needed. I just don't undertand how insulting people is a good strategy to win an election.

  • BobKjar Humble, TX
    Sept. 23, 2012 6:58 a.m.

    Romney is absolutely right and should never apologize for his comments even if off the cuff. I watch the foodstamp crowd while in-line at the grocery store buy expensive food that I cannot afford. I watch them drive off in expensive cars that I could not afford. I see their expensive jewelry and dress that I could not afford. I guess that's okay because I'm just a dumb tax paying citizen without any smarts on how to beat the system.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 6:45 a.m.

    The question is this: How do you put the toothpaste back in the tube? Certainly more costly programs is not the answer. From student loans to windmills, the politicians are stumping for more perks. None dares talk of cutting back for fear of voter backlash. No one since Reagan has dared to call out welfare queens.
    Where's the candidate willing to tell us the hard truth?

  • KTC John Wetumpka, AL
    Sept. 23, 2012 6:30 a.m.

    This is an excellent article. I applaud the author. However, I would add more than "uneven family formation" in describing the adverse impact of the breakdown of the traditional family unit. It is a self-evident truth that unless we can fix families, we will not be able to fix anything else, and this vexing family-failure problem cannot be fixed by the government. Government programs merely entrench the problems by throwing money at them in an effort to avoid the natural consequences of people's bad choices. Government programs stand in the way of creating healthy families, at best whittling away at the branches and never striking at the roots. Until we as a people re-enthrone the sanctity of marriage and the honorable rearing of children at the center of our social fabric and "compact," we will witness continued deterioration of every worthwhile institution.

  • prelax Murray, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 1:38 a.m.

    The demographics, the economic growth and the culture changed? Yes, and people in business and our government changed the demographics and culture. Now the poor will be punished?

    Our birthrate was at a 35 year high in 2007, by 2011 the rate had fallen due to the recession. People out of work were responsible by holding of until they were on better financial footing.

    Immigration isn't down, it's been over 1 million each year for the past ten years. Our country was at 100 million in 1920, by 1970 it was 200 million, 2010 300 million. We are growing faster than any time in history.

    Maybe we need to enforce immigration laws, cut programs to foreign citizens, and cut back on the 3.5 million that come each year on visa and residency until we can aford to take care of the people we have.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 12:44 a.m.

    If we got our medical costs down to the level of the rest of the developed world, it would solve almost all of the problems this editorial discusses. Almost all of our long term deficit projections would be made manageable by this one change.