Comments about ‘In our opinion: Reclaiming America's social compact through entitlement reform’

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Published: Sunday, Sept. 23 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

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.

Wasatch Front, UT

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.

Saint George, UT

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.

T. Party
Pleasant Grove, UT

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.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

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.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

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.

Orem, UT

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.

Salt Lake City, UT

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!

Saint George, UT

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!

Saint George, UT

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?

Merritt Island, Fl

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.

Cache county, USA

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

Cottonwood Heights, UT

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.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

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?


West Point, MS

@ Say No to BO:

Who has proposed more costly programs?

West Point, MS


"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?"

Wasatch Front, UT

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.

Wasatch Front, UT

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.


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.

Alpine, UT

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.

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