Comments about ‘Letters: Taxes not 'forced charity'’

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Published: Thursday, April 4 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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John C. C.
Payson, UT

Thank you for those comments. I think any who feel "forced" are just admitting we don't want to sign the Constitution we were all born under. More like rebels than patriots. Sure, we may not have had a choice about what social contracts we were born into, but aren't we lucky for having been born into this one?

Yes, taxes are used for welfare. Aren't we proud to see our wealth redistributed to the poor? We do it privately, through NGO's, and through various levels of government. We approve of this practice through our duly elected representatives, as did our parents and grandparents. The Supreme Court says it's constitutional. We, the people, choose to pay taxes, regulate our own behavior, and serve the needy, all as a group. We are not hermits.

I love how government itself can take on the virtue we share as citizens in choosing to "exalt the poor in that the rich are made low."

Of course it would be better if we were not forced. So, let's pause to reflect about our riches. Let's make a sober re-commitment to true patriotism.

Far East USA, SC

Many people look at their personal situation and then believe that it is universal.

Yes, many people have family and friends who would be happy to help them out in hard times.
If only that were the case for everyone.

Try to imagine living paycheck to paycheck and then having major medical problems or even major car problems. Then think about if all of your family and friends were in similar situations.

There are lots of people in this country who do not know a lot of people with the means to come to their aid in times of need.

Maybe not so much in Utah, but in much of the country. Try walking in others shoes.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Yes, MOST taxes are "forced charity"!

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution list the only duties which the Federal Government has authority to tax us. MOST federal programs are not on that very short enumerated list. That means that all of those programs must be left to the States or to the people to handle.

The Utah State Constitution lists those duties that we, the people of Utah, have assigned to the State. Any payment made by the State to anyone for anything that is outside that scope is just as wrong as bloated federal spending. Those expenditures are "forced charity".

Go down the list through the County, the City and the neighborhood improvement council. Any time any level of government spends anything on any unauthorized function, that expenditure is "forced charity".

The Lord never assigned responsibility to government on any level to care for his people. He left that duty to each of us. No matter what your political persuasion, if you think that government is responsible for personal welfare, you are one of the "liberals" who think that spending someone else's money is better than spending your own and you believe in "forced charity".

Burke, VA

Excellent letter Mr. Terry.

"If Republicans truly want to bridge the gap in their party philosophy between reality and rhetoric, they need to stop using irresponsible terms like "forced charity" and start recognizing that government is not evil."

So well said. We are nation of people not a group of individuals. We need each other to make this nation work and while the dream of our nation is that everyone should be repsonsible for his/her own well being, the realities of life (illness) and weaknesses of mankind (prejudice, selfishness, pride, greed, corruption) make it necessary for us to find ways to make the system work for all of us.

Certainly there are those who will exploit any system, whether they are desititute or wealthy, and we should do all we can to see that those who abuse and misuse our noble intentions are sought out and punished. But that should not stop us from using our resourses to make life better for the nation as a whole.

  • 5:58 a.m. April 4, 2013
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Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

America was built on taxes.

I'm always amazed to hear conservatives tout the glories of the free market, but when you point out how the very basics we take from granted -- from roads to railroads to courts that protect copyright to clean water to nuclear power to the great farmlands of the Louisiana Purchase to the Internet -- were all built/procured by government with American tax dollars, you realize that the free market has benefited greatly by so-called hated "forced charity."

A piece of trivia -- conservatives love to poke fun at Al Gore over his "I invented the Internet" statement. Here's the reality: The Internet was a government initiative, and in 1992, Gore sponsored a bill in Congress to allow businesses to operate on the Internet. It passed, and today, without Al Gore's vision for an online economy, we wouldn't have Facebook, Google, Pinterest, and a host of other online companies, services, and JOBS that we take for granted.

Yes, there is government waste. But the reality is that government investment in infrastructure, education, and services from "forced charity" is the backbone of not only the free market, but America's way of life.

American Fork, UT

As with all of his other posts, Mike Richards presents his opinion as fact, when in fact his point of view is in the vast minority. The general welfare section of Article 1, Section 8 has been interpreted by the US Supreme Court (over the years and through many decisions) as providing Congress with almost unlimited authority to appropriate taxes in any way it sees fit for the welfare of the nation.

It is a fact that if a government (federal, state, local) levied a tax or expended funds on "unauthorized" activities that entity would be sued. Mr. Richards just really doesn't like democracy. We elect leaders who then either use the laws currently available or create new laws to govern our society. One man's "forced charity" is another man's appropriate use of tax dollars. The law provides guidance on who is correct.

Since Mr. Richards is fond of mixing religion with government, I leave him with this thought from Christ: "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's"

Dietrich, ID

Al Gore had nothing to do with inventing the internet and facebook would of existed without him. There is no authorization of forced charity in constitution. Churches, families and individuals always and still do take care of poor people. We didn't have higher crimes before that. I guess sheriff can come take my car or bread for the poor people.

Far East USA, SC

" Any payment made by the State to anyone for anything that is outside that scope is just as wrong as bloated federal spending. Those expenditures are "forced charity"."

Sorry Mr Richards, but even things IN the scope of government can be considered "FORCED CHARITY"

If I have NO kids but have to pay school tax, that is forced charity. Even though it is in the scope.

You have a narrow view of what govt can or should do.

There are many things that are not specifically spelled out in the constitution. That is why we have a supreme court. Things change. Things evolve. Not everything that exists today could have been envisioned 200+ years ago.

So we have a supreme court that interprets the constitution based on the realities of today. And they, not you, determine what is legal under our constitution.

While I am confident that our founders would see many abuses, they would also disagree with your interpretation.

Think about your own life and tell me that you have not been a large beneficiary of the "forced charity" that you so decry.

Hayden, ID

A bloated, overspending, over regulating, and wasteful government where 47% of Americans do not pay any federal income taxes is NOT charitable! If so, then under the author's definition of charity only about 10% of Americans who pay about 80% of federal taxes can be considered charitable. Forced charity is not charity, its confiscation!

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY


Be very careful with the confiscation/theft arguments on taxation. If a tax is theft then ALL tax for ANY amount of govt. are also theft.

The reality is that taxes are part of the social contract from which we all benefit. If we want a world without taxes, we want a world without any govt.

Of course there are good arguments to be made about less spending and less taxation. But that is LESS not NONE.

We need to be cautious that we do not argue ourselves into a world where govt. does not (or cannot) exist. It would be savage beyond belief.

J Thompson


If you live in a State that has authorized tax dollars to used for education, then you are not being forced to educate children. That is part of your duty. In Utah, we spend much of the tax money for education. I do not begrudge the schools those dollars, but I do expect those in the schools who spend the money to use it wisely.

The same is for all government services. IF those services are authorized, then we are responsible to pay for them.


Some people, like UTCProgess, don't understand the limits that we have placed on government. They think that because liberal presidents and liberal courts have allowed public spending for personal welfare, that that spending is Constitutional; but they refuse to admit that any President and any Court that exceeded the limits placed on it by the people has violated our trust. They seem to think that if someone can "get away" with something, that that "something" is legal.

General Welfare is not personal welfare. It never has been, no matter how many times liberals tell us otherwise.

one old man
Ogden, UT

A very good and truthful letter.

But among many American "patriots," greed and not charity is paramount. They also fail to realize that taxes pay for the services they demand. Yes, demand.

Can you imagine the hue and cry if any government at any level stopped maintaining roads, or water or sewer systems, or if homeowners had to pay a fee to have the fire department respond?

Some of the previous comments here reflect the normal "conservative" hypocrisy that tries to run and ruin or nation.

Hayden, ID

@ Twin Lights: The six categories of wasteful and unnecessary spending that I can think of are:
1.Programs that should be devolved to state and local governments; Education, agriculture, fish and wildlife programs.
2.Programs that could be better performed by the private sector; "Green" energy-Solyndra.
3.Mistargeted programs whose recipients should not be entitled to government benefits; Food stamp abuse.
4.Outdated and unnecessary programs; Snail sex research, etc., etc.
5.Duplicative programs; 316 federal handicap assistance programs.
6.Inefficiency, mismanagement, and fraud.
This is charity? If so then real charity means nothing!

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

If a tax is theft, then the US Constitution was written by thieves, as it plainly grants Congress the power to tax. I'm pleased to pay taxes to "provide for the general welfare," as the Constitution also plainly states in Article 8.


@ Mike & J: Please define "We the People" and explain how "We the People" are to enact the powers left to us by the 10th Amendment.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah
Yes, MOST taxes are "forced charity"!

Dietrich, ID

Hayden, ID

J Thompson


1. I assume all of you are Republicans.
2. I also assume you are all LDS.

3. The letter writer is correct. Taxes are "Not Forced Charity".

My reply then is this ---

a. My taxes are being used to wage War in the Middle East, and given to Corporations.
b. Christ said to pipe down and just pay your taxes.
c. Besides --

So, if you are who you claim you are, then you should already know that;

"Charity is the pure love of Christ."

therefore - Taxes are definetley NOT Forced Charity.

Lew Scannon
Provo, UT


Please drop the 47 percent argument you keep making. Instead start asking why 47 percent of our population cannot earn enough to qualify to pay income tax. If you can fix that problem, then you'll be doing something useful. In the meantime, simply admit that those in the 47 percent pay all sorts of other taxes that are a greater burden on them than the 39.6 percent income tax the wealthy must now pay on taxable income over $450,000 ($400,000 for single taxpayers) and the lower rates they pay on income under those thresholds.

Far East USA, SC

"I do not begrudge the schools those dollars,"

I do not either. But, at least lets call it what it is.

People without children are "forced" to pay money to educate the children of others. While people with modest means and lots of children pay very little.

As I said. I am fine with that. What gives me pause is those who get huge govt handouts at tax payer expense and then whine and moan when others get similar treatment.

There are many people included in that 47% number who scream loudly, without realizing (or admitting) that they fall into that category. (or have at one time or another)

What I get is deserved. What the other guy gets is an entitlement and should be berated for it.

Counter Intelligence
Salt Lake City, UT

"If Republicans were able to leave all these government functions to voluntary charity,"
And which Republicans want ALL (military, police, etc.) government services to be run by charity or believe that having any government is evil?
This letter is classic distortion of what other believe presented as fact in order to vilify a political opponent: I.e. “all liberals smoke pot”
Small government is not NO government
When government goes beyond legitimate needs, such as defense and education, and begins social manipulation to provide services that people can do themselves or others can do for them without government interference (or near half of the population pays NO taxes) - then "forced charity” is as good of word as any to describe it, and “EXTREMIST” is as good of word as any to describe the inability of those on the hard left who refuse to comprehend the fact that “small” and “No” are not synonyms

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

My oh my! Roger, what have you done???!!! Look at how you got all the am radio regurgitating righties all worked up! Anything that gets folks like mm and mikey Richards angry, is a good letter to me. Keep it up!

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