Comments about ‘Path 'forward' holds us back from free-market principles’

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Published: Tuesday, Dec. 18 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

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Owen
Heber City, UT

And yet, there are these three facts that the vast majority of the Utah faithful readily accept as truth: Trickle-up policies that result in extreme socioeconomic have tragically failed over and over in this hemisphere. The happiest societies that ever existed held all things in common. We will eventually live in such a society again.

Kalindra
Salt Lake City, Utah

Your inability to distinguish between communism and socialism renders your point moot.

Screwdriver
Casa Grande, AZ

More right wing rhetoric from Sowell.

The colonies didn't fail Sowell, obviously they relied on all that socialism and people working for the common good until it was more convenient for those in charge to keep more for themselves. But when things get rough the call for common good and sacrifice always goes out. Socialism until the profit comes in and then you're on your own.

After 9/11 the cry was for serving the country, fight the enemy, lay down your life for your country. Not we'll pay you 2 million to jeopardize your life in Iraq is it?

There's no cost plus contracts for the common soldier. No, these right wing hipocrits like their socialism just fine until it's time to share the profits.

JoeCapitalist2
Orem, UT

I will begin to buy into the leftist philosophy when I see hoards of liberals working 60 hour weeks for the good of "mankind" instead of for their own benefit. When they donate significant portions of their own money, time, and effort to help others instead of themselves, then I will concede that socialism has its merits.

Since currently liberals are left in the dust by conservatives when it comes to personally donating toward "worthy causes", actions speak much louder than words. So keep your rhetoric, President Obama, to yourself until I see you giving away your own personal fortune to the poor. Taking lavish vacations on the taxpayer dime while raking in millions does not engender me to your cause.

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

JoeCapitalist2 Said:
Since currently liberals are left in the dust by conservatives when it comes to personally donating toward "worthy causes", actions speak much louder than words. So keep your rhetoric, President Obama, to yourself until I see you giving away your own personal fortune to the poor. Taking lavish vacations on the taxpayer dime while raking in millions does not engender me to your cause.

Not all donations are in the form of hard cash with a receipt for a tax write off, those things benefit the wealthy donor.
Many, many, more hours and sweat are volunteered and never given a receipt, personal fortunes are given away but only a few dollars at a time, and since it's not been accumulated first but shared as it was available it shouldn't count? it's not all about the benjamins Joe, or is it? I'll ignore your "worthy cause" since it's totally objective.
...and such envy of the president and his station is no way to live.

JoeCapitalist2
Orem, UT

Happy Valley Heretic:

Way to try and twist my words to make it sound like I said something different than I did.

I will agree with you that there are many ways to give. Time and work can benefit the poor just as much as cash. What I am saying is that conservatives tend to give those forms of "charity" (as well as traditional cash donations) in much greater numbers than do liberals.

The guy helping out at the soup kitchen, collecting clothing donations, and giving a few dollars in tithes and offerings is doing his part to help the poor (see parable of widow's mite in the Bible). But that guy is more likely to be conservative than liberal.

I am not envious of the president or his station. I am just calling him a total hypocrite. Calling for excessive taxes on others in the name of "social justice" while failing to give of his own wealth that he got off the backs of others.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

I don't see communist China on the list of happiest nations with all their suicide nets.

Socialist Scandanavia and Western Europe are far better off than the Free-Market "Communists" that Sowell and so many other right-wingers so envy and try to imitate.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Change does not always mean progress. Progress always means change.

The comparison of America to European and Asian nations is phony baloney. Those nations arrived at their present conditions after thousands of years of cultural evolution. America started from a relatively clean slate a few hundred years ago.

The other thing is that all the land, territory and wealth was already distributed and owned eliminating the possibility of individual freedom. The vast available free land gave the early Americans the ability to escape tyranny and oppression, just by moving west.

Regardless of that, the most probably truth about government failure is that all governments failures are because of commercial corruption of the government leaders. The exception to that rule is the invasion and conquest by an enemy nation. But even that has it’s roots in commercial greed.

The reason people revolt against their government is because of economic oppression and is no respecter of the type of government.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

What Thomas Sowell needs to understand is there is no such thing as free markets. In Hong Kong, free markets means who is paying who under the table to get deals done. So yes, in that sense, Hong Kong is a free market.

It is interesting to see how in this global economy how few people understand how much foriegn governments play a role in the competitiveness of their firms. Even locals like Boeing benefit wildly from innovation paid for by federal dollars in their Defense division. Do you really beleive the 787 development of a carbon fibre jet was totally seperate from the DOD side of the houses development of the same technology for fighter jets? Lets get real.

Free Markets are a myth. Open markets, yes. Free of government help or hinderance... doesn't exist, anywhere.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

I agree that private property rights are key to the incentives that drive economies to perform and produce. Further, that central planning is almost never efficient. That said, markets have their weaknesses and some amount of oversight is necessary.

A few things said struck me as odd:

“. . . the left's other favorite word, "equality," which goes back more than two centuries.”

Though he clearly then aims at economic equality, the concept of equality generally (which is what has been in play for the past two centuries) is something we should all applaud. Competitive markets work best with egalitarian principles and merit-based selection.

Then he notes the left’s favoring of “dangerous concentration of political power in Washington - where less than 1 percent of the population increasingly tell 300 million Americans what they can and can't do.”

First, Washington is simply our elected representatives. Second, my more liberal friends seek less concentration of political power, not more.

Excoriating Pres. Obama for being both progressive and charismatic is interesting. Is there no concern for strongly conservative charismatic leaders? Perhaps the politics is not the danger but the charisma and a nation willing to follow blindly.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Does this mean that allowing Wall Street and lobbyists to buy our government is a bad thing?

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

Sowell is right. Just look at the empires throughout history that have concentrated their power into a small elite group for central planning. The USSR collapsed because it couldn't keep up with the free market.

Rome fell because they too concentrated their power into a small body of people.

Look at Europe, over the past 200 years, their central governments had to give up control or face revolution.

When will liberals and their ilk come to realize that socialism and communism do no work, no matter who is in charge?

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

"Calling for excessive taxes on others in the name of "social justice" while failing to give of his own wealth that he got off the backs of others.

@JoeCpaitalist... actually what you state there is exactly what Adam Smith called for in his writings, that taxes be proportional to ones ability to pay. It isn't punishing the rich... good grief... lets get over that very school ground argument.

We as a nation, at all levels, from the very first day, have had a progressive tax system. I have a large house, and pay 4 to 5 times what the average person pays in property tax. And yet, no reasonable person would beleive i cost the state 4 to 5x in beneifits. I pay higher taxes on my cars. You would think I would pay higher income taxes... but I don't. First, I pay SS taxes only for the first few months. 3/4 of the year I pay no tax there. Then through deductions, my marginal rate on AGI is increadably low - becuase of deductions.

My taxes as a percentage of income impact my lifestyle far less than any middle class or lower class family. Stop falling for the lie.

JoeCapitalist2
Orem, UT

UtahBlueDevil:

So at what point does taxation become "punishing the rich"? Anything less than 100%???

Obama wants to jack up the federal income tax rate to 39.5%. By the time you add in state income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, Medicare taxes, breathing taxes, etc., etc., the top rates exceed 50% for every new dollar earned. The government gets more than you do and you are doing all the work, taking all the risks, and/or coming up with all the new ideas.

Then when you die, the government wants another 55% of whatever is left over.

I know you think such things are just "school ground arguments", but give me a break.

Yes, rich people should pay more than poor people. But when one side pays all the bills and the other side gets a complete free ride something is rotten in Denmark.

According to your argument, when you go to McDonald's you should have to pay $20 for a Big Mac just because you can and the guy next to you should pay 10 cents.

4601
Salt Lake City, UT

Ouch! Seldom has the problem been so well articulated. In every culture from Argentina to Greece to Zaire this scenario has demonstrated its reality. The irony is that the left wing says that the problem with failed left wing economics is that there was not enough of it. The failed Soviet Union blamed the lack of communism for its fall. Lemmings seem to run faster the closer to the edge they get.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

@joe - I agree with your complaint on the death tax.... except most people don't have to worry about having estates worth over 4 million to worry about it. But yes... that rate is too high.

McDonalds is not a tax... and both people are getting the same services... right? I pay pay 5x property taxes to someone who lives 1/4 mile a way... am I getting the same services? Yes... am I currently paying a progressive tax.. yes... has it always been that way, even before Obama... yes.

An no, the rich arent't the only ones paying taxes... lets get over that one really fast. Everytime someone fills up their car with gas, they pay tax. Even if they live in a rental home, they pay indirectly property tax. There is no one out there that doesn't pay taxes.

Moving the tax rate on those making $349,700 agi from 35 to even 39.5% is hardly soaking it to them. If your AGI is $400K, you net increase in taxes will be a whopping $2263.50. You call that a aoaking? Remember, this person stopped paying SS tax at 110K earnings, saving 4.2% on the next 290K.

DougS
Oakley, UT

Back to basics. Socialism is where Government controls, but does not own, everything. Communism is where the Government both owns, and controls, everything. Both depend on Government control over our lives and proerty. In this day and age, "Free Markets" are a myth only because we have let Government take control through taxation and license. What can you own that redoesn't require government permission to use or operate? Can you lose your title if you fail to pay a tax? Wake up people! You are doing this to yourselves...

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Leftist Socialist Canada and well Regulated Western Europe are weathering the Global economic recession better than less regulated, less Government involved America and austerity ruled Greece and Spain.

Please explain why the economy is starting to right itself now that U.S. restrictions and regulators are over seeing the once self-policed banking industry prior to the meltdown?

I've said it before -- Capitalism is like fire.
Kept closely watched and controled it can safely warm, cook, and proved light to the world --
Left uncheck and unrestricted, it is extrememly dangerous, it will burn your house down, leave you with nothing, and will even kill you and your family.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

The USSR collapsed because it couldn't keep up with the free market.
[Wrong, the UUSR collapsed because of Labor Unions.]

Rome fell because they too concentrated their power into a small body of people.
[Wrong, Rome fell because they stretched their empire well beyond their boundaries -- just like the Nephites did anciently, and like GW Bush did to us today.]

Look at Europe, over the past 200 years, their central governments had to give up control or face revolution.
[Wrong, England and Scandanavia are still monarchies, and all of our Allies are evil Socialists, including Israel. So tell us RedShirt - when do we attack them?]

When will liberals and their ilk come to realize that socialism and communism do no work, no matter who is in charge?
[Wrong again - The City of Enoch, Ancient Israel, Ancient Nephi/Lamanites, our U.S. Military, Families, the Kingdom of Heaven...I look forward to living the Law of Consecration,
and by what you say and believe, you obviously do not.]

JoeCapitalist2
Orem, UT

UtahBlueDevil:

Yes, everyone pays taxes when they buy gas and other stuff, but if they get a $5000 tax refund even though they didn't have anything withheld, that often offsets any tax they may have paid. With various tax credits, lots of low income people qualify for negative tax rates.

You are right that raising some rich guy's taxes by another $2000 isn't the end of the world. But if he already pays 35% in taxes, then yes, I think tacking on another 4% IS soaking him. But when you are dumping the whole jug of Gatoraide on the coach, what's another cupful?

And just because the FICA tax is capped at $110K doesn't mean that rich people "save" anything. Social Security was never sold to us as a tax, it was a forced retirement plan where the input was capped and the benefit was capped. To apply the full FICA tax (i.e removing the cap) to someone who earns $1M while keeping his benefit the same, is just stealing. So no, I didn't "save" a bunch of money if I earned $200K in one year and only had to pay FICA on the first $110K.

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