Letters: Law plunders the people


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  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    May 2, 2013 8:23 p.m.


    Public debt, includes all debt borrowed by government and held by investors through T-notes and other securities. Gross federal debt, includes public debt plus debt held by the government. The most notable forms of debt held by government are the trust funds for SS and Medicare.

    Public debt rose during the first 4 Clinton years, then fell from a 1997 peak to a 2001 trough.

    From 1993-2001, gross federal debt increased, because the increase in money in government trust funds exceeded the annual decreases in the federal budget deficit.

    The discrepancy between gross and public debt occurred because of program surpluses and the rapid growth of reserves held by the various trust fund accounts, such as SS. SS surpluses are invested in government bonds; the proceeds of these purchases go into the general treasury, and when the bonds mature, the treasury is obligated to pay back the SS trust both principal and interest.

    The growth of surpluses meant government didn't have to issue as much debt to the public. The government paid off more of its old debt than it issued new debt to the public. Therefore, net federal debt held by the public declined."

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    May 2, 2013 8:22 p.m.


    I'll bet Mike Richards is having a good laugh at your expense. That was a "trick" question. How many times has he referred to pure Democracy as "mob rule"? It doesn't matter how many people are for something unless those people get together and convince 75% of the States to amend the Constitution.

    Some of you seem to think that you can "vote" to put Uncle Sam's hand in your "rich" neighbor's pockets (as long as he doesn't put his hand in your pocket). That's just not the way that it works. With a flat rate tax, the "rich guy" will always pay a larger amount of taxes than you or me. With a graduated tax or a tax that punishes that "rich guy" for working hard, just how long do you think that he will be Obama's "patsy"?

    Let me put some words in Mike's mouth, "By a raise of hands, how many of you think that we live in a Democracy where you vote for the President"? I'm looking for a good laugh to finish off my day.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    May 2, 2013 8:06 p.m.

    Mike Richards
    By a show of hands? Awesome, let's do that. Since every major constitutional scholar over the last fifty years, plus everyone who works in government agrees that you're wrong, let's by all means have a referendum.
    Lost in DC,
    Not an expansion of federal powers. Actual federal powers. I know y'all love the tenth; doesn't mean you understand it.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    May 2, 2013 6:24 p.m.

    I agree with James. Most of what we pay at the state liquor store is nothing but plunder. Power to the people.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    May 2, 2013 6:03 p.m.

    Egg on my face. "Amendment 1" should be "Amendment 10". Sorry.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    May 2, 2013 4:59 p.m.

    By a raise of hands, how many think that the Federal Government has authority to do whatever it deems necessary under the "General Welfare" clause or the "Interstate Commerce" clause or the "Santa" clause?

    Read Article 1, Section 8. Read the entire SENTENCE. Yes, it is just one sentence. How many think that "foregoing Powers" extends beyond Section 8? Apparently too many had trouble in their English class. The "foregoing Powers" clause is dependent on the rest of the sentence. It does not stand alone. It cannot be used to expand "power" beyond Section 8. That is exactly why we have Amendment 1: to restrict the Federal Government's authority and power.

    Twisting and turning the words is a favorite pastime game where liberals get together and see just how far they can go before people who have actually read the Constitution catch them. They howl whenever someone tells them that, until amended, the Constitution prevents 90% of what they want to do. They want us to think that General Welfare extends to Personal Welfare and that they have the right to take from one person and to give to another. Nonsense! Pure Nonsense!

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    May 2, 2013 3:47 p.m.

    "Nope, no surplus when gross federal debt is increasing."

    Bottom line is that if we had the "Clinton deficits" since he was in office, our country would be in MUCH better shape.

    Certainly looked like great compared to what we have had since.

    So, quibble if you want. But we would all love those deficits today and under Bush.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    May 2, 2013 1:57 p.m.

    Sorry, you are wrong again - 10th amendment precludes the massive expansion of power you say exists under the preamble and commerce clause.

    nope, a restoration to the clinton rates, which would raise rates MORE on the middle and lower class than on upper incomes would not balance the budget. The budget was not balanced under slick willy and that was before Obamacare and Medicare Part D.

    Gross federal debt at the end of fiscal year (millions):
    1998: 5478189
    1999: 5605523 INCREASE of 127334
    2000: 5628700 INCREASE of 23177

    Nope, no surplus when gross federal debt is increasing.

  • Henderson Orem, UT
    May 2, 2013 1:56 p.m.

    This is one of the silliest letters I've read in a long time.

    Lets ask ourselves a few questions:

    #1 In the past 20 years, has CEO pay risen or decreased? If so, how much?
    #2 In relation to labor, how much has CEO pay increase or decreased?
    #3 In the past 20 years, has the middle-class grown or shrunk?
    #4 In the past 20 years has the wealth distribution in this country become more equal or less equal? Where has it gone?
    #5 Are we seeing, over the past 20 years, the rising tide raising all boats (as promised by Reaganomics) or are just a few?
    #6 Under Bush, we saw a tax cut given to the upper classes. Has this country gained or lost jobs from 2000-2008?
    #7 In the past 20 years have unions been strengthened or weakened?
    #8 In the past 20 years, has big oil been given more or fewer subsidies?

    There ya have it folks. I challenge any conservative/republican to answer (truthfully) the questions above.

    I then ask the question, who is really being plundered? The rich? Or the poor/middle-class?

  • micawber Centerville, UT
    May 2, 2013 12:49 p.m.

    @ Mike Richards:

    Try to stay focused on the issue. The original letter said taxation is plunder. But Article I, Section 8 allows taxation and tariffs. Your frequently stated view is that government can only make expenditures for ennumerated purposes. That view does not bear on the question of whether taxes are plunder.

    (And your view has been repeatedly rejected by all three branches of government.)

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2013 11:43 a.m.

    I'm sure future generations think we're plundering them for refusing to pay for the services we get...

  • homebrew South Jordan, UT
    May 2, 2013 11:41 a.m.

    Restoring the top 1% tax rates to pre Bush dissaster status, is not a tax increase. It is fixing a collosial mistake, George Bush. The budget can be balanced. HOW? By restoring the tax rates on the rest of us to the Clinton rates. The GOp will and have called that the biggest tax increase in american history. I call George Bush the biggest mistake in american history. The solution is so simple, Even simple minded republicans should understand it!

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    May 2, 2013 11:23 a.m.

    Sorry, Mike Richards, wrong again. Commerce clause, General Welfare clause. Government can do anything not specifically banned.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    May 2, 2013 11:04 a.m.

    We know from you saying that 49% is a majority that you have a problem with math.

    You are further showing your math problems by claiming Clinton had a surplus. Clinton never had a surplus - he was still borrowing from Social Security to meet general government expenditures. Gross federal debt INCREASED every year during the clinton administration.

    Yeah, after slick willy came bush, then BO. BO's deficits are LARGER than bush's. Gross federal bdet increased more in 38 months under BO than it did in 96 months under bush. Do you REALLY want to compare?

    And you are really showing gullibility by claiming anyone has been proposing raising taxes on the poor so wealthy folk have to pay less. the bush tax cuts reduced marginal rates for the middle and lower class more than the wealthy. but you've never been one to let the truth interfere with your ideaology.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    May 2, 2013 10:21 a.m.

    Bastiat's philosophy is a giggle. Equating piracy with constitutional, representative taxation "to promote the general welfare"? Not exactly profound thinking.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    May 2, 2013 10:03 a.m.

    @ 4601

    Apparently you missed Clinton's Presidency. He actually had a surplus. Then along came the GOP's champion, George W. Bush. And well... Our debt is now in the trillions.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    May 2, 2013 10:02 a.m.

    Ezra Taft Benson was an extreme conservative influenced by the Cold War and Cleon Skousen.

    I have a hard time believing that modern-day prophets like President Monson would advocate raising the taxes on the poor, cutting food stamps, cutting medicine for cancer patients, and food on wheels so that folks like Mitt Romney can still pay near zero on their taxes. Or so GE can pay zero. Or so EXXON Mobile can receive their subsidies.

    In fact, President Kimball was pretty clear in his view AGAINST our defense spending. All should read, "The False Gods we Worship."

    "We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel—ships, planes, missiles, fortifications—and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become antienemy instead of pro-kingdom of God"

    Even when the army itself states that they don't want certain tanks, repubs say YES and stuff them down their throats.

    What we need to do is listen to a prophet's voice. Listen to the savior. STOP WORSHIPING MONEY!

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    May 2, 2013 10:00 a.m.

    One post cited Article 1, Section 8, but that poster did not tell us that Congress has power to tax us ONLY for the enumerated duties listed in that one-sentence Section. We gave power to Congress to tax us, but we did not give them unlimited power to tax us. We listed the duties (services) that we expect the Federal Government to perform. Those duties are very limited. All other duties (services) we reserved for the States or for ourselves (Amendment 10).

    Transferring wealth is not an authorized duty of the Federal Government. Taxing one person at a higher rate is not authorized by the Constitution. Those who twist the Supreme Law of the Land to include legislation from the bench need to rethink the reason that we limit government. They need to rethink the word "freedom". They need to rethink what it means to have agency and responsibility.

    The Government is not our nanny. We are responsible to our Creator to use our lives productively and to take care of our own responsibilities without crying to government to feed us, to clothe us, to house us.

    We are responsible.

  • conservative scientist Lindon, UT
    May 2, 2013 9:54 a.m.

    All should read "The Proper Role of government" written by Ezra Taft Benson when he was both a cabinet member and a member of the LDS quorum of the twelve apostles. To be short, his essay is in harmony with the letter writer's opinion. I can not legally "take" half of my neighbor's cows, just because my neighbor owns 10 and I own none. It is also not just to ask the sheriff (ie. the law of the land, congress, etc) to take half of my neighbors cows and "redistribute" them to me. An essential element of freedom is the right to own individual property.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2013 9:51 a.m.

    I would voluntarily pay more taxes if it were an offset of the national debt. Unfortunately, there is little likelihood that would happen. Politicians have never seen someone else's dollar they didn't want to spend.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    May 2, 2013 9:49 a.m.

    More silliness from the far right.

    Now all of a sudden taxation is "plunder?"

    What do you nutcakes want? No taxes at all? Go live in Afghanistan then. Sheesh

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    May 2, 2013 9:47 a.m.

    "We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. In theory, some of those loopholes were understandable, but in practice they sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying ten percent of his salary, and that’s crazy. [...] Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver or less?"

    - Ronald Reagan

    Do you also "oppose this act because it would be considered a crime?"

    Criminal? I think not. I doubt you do either

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 2, 2013 9:41 a.m.

    This letter only makes sense to me when I remember that when conservatives use the term “the people” they really mean “the business people”.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    May 2, 2013 9:15 a.m.

    What a silly letter. Taxation is not plunder.

  • Bloodhound Provo, UT
    May 2, 2013 9:14 a.m.

    Although I consider myself to be fairly conservative, my patience is wearing thin when it comes to the whining about how terrible multi-millionaires and billions have it. The rich seem very capable of taking care of themselves. I'm not a socialist, but I do agree with Obamaa in the need to "spread the wealth around." CEOs shouldn't be making hundreds of times more than their average employee. In a perfect world, they wouldn't.

  • Whatever Springville, UT
    May 2, 2013 9:05 a.m.

    Poor sad multi millionaires. Its so terrible for them that a temporary tax cut expired and now they have to pay taxes at the same levels that they did under Clinton. How can they possibly survive?

    I think we should start a new political party comprised mainly of poor and middle class people who sre dedicated to the sole purpose of protecting tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. Oh wait...

  • Red Headed Stranger Billy Bobs, TX
    May 2, 2013 8:16 a.m.

    Mr. Heretic

    My wife was a stay-at-home mom until our son went to school. She doesn't work or go to school during the summers. The pool conversation didn't affect her decision to go to school, rather it affected her attitude towards the welfare state. Taking money from one person to give to another under threat of prison and house confiscation is wrong. She saw the damage the welfare state did to her home country which is perennially broke.

    We don't have a babysitter, or leave him alone. My wife doesn't teach full time. She picks him up from school. He is either with one of us, or at school. He is getting straight A's, and talks about physics. He asked me last week if when matter is converted to energy if it loses information. After my answer, he said, "well, that wasn't how you explained relativity to me. You said Einstein taught. . ." In fact Mr. Heretic, at age 11 I think he is doing pretty well.

    The three of us do everything together. Grocery shop, read, movies, my wife's charity work, field trips, lunch, . .

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    May 2, 2013 8:14 a.m.

    Sooooo... I'm confused...

    This letter writer would rather attack fellow Americans? Saying that those earning less need to be "plundered?"

    What about folks like Mitt Romney and Corporations like GE who pay near zero?

    What about EXXON mobile which is STILL being subsidized despite making record profits into the billions?

    I guess it's just easier to attack the poor and middle class than to advocate big corp and richies to pay their fair shares. While the rest of us have struggled the last few years they have flourished.

  • Red Headed Stranger Billy Bobs, TX
    May 2, 2013 7:53 a.m.

    I cannot comment or respond while I work, so allow me to proactively respond to some of the highly predictable comments that will surely come:

    - I have nothing against immigrants. I was twice an immigrant to Europe, (not counting mission) I am married to an immigrant and 75% of my work team are immigrants - they are intelligent, hard-working people. If anything we do not allow enough immigrants in. What I do not like are benefits (food stamps, extra school programs, welfare) that are given to immigrants. Don't break the law, pay your own way, and we're good.

    - Like Milton Friedman, I am not against government spending per se, as long as it is as close to the local level as possible. Utahns should not pay for Texas highways, and Texans shouldn't pay for Utah schools.

    - I am not against public schooling or even increased spending for schooling per se, but schools have morphed into social service centers rather than places of learning. More money will not mean better learning under this model.

    - The taxpayer should not bail out corporations.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    May 2, 2013 7:29 a.m.

    "My wife chose to go back to school to become an engineer. She teaches Math and takes Chemistry during the day and Physics at night. I go to pick her up at 10:00 pm at the college, after I have worked at my job. We are sacrificing fun and leisure for our financial future."

    ....so what happened to that son you couldn't spend time with?

    Pathetic to allow a single overheard conversation convince you that you should sacrifice your life in pursuit of financial gain.

    I overheard a banker in the sauna talking about responsibility one day...

  • Red Headed Stranger Billy Bobs, TX
    May 2, 2013 6:39 a.m.

    My wife grew up in a socialist European country. She was a pretty tepid political moderate until one summer day. She called and asked if I could get out of work a couple of hours early so we could go swimming at the YMCA with our son. I said I couldn't, I had to work. She went anyway. While in the pool, she overheard one woman (whose male companion was also in the pool) say to another "Well, I could work, but then I would lose my welfare check". She became a hardcore conservative from that second.

    You get what you subsidize. If the government subsidizes people not working we should expect people not to work. I seem to remember comments about the "dangers of the dole".

    My wife chose to go back to school to become an engineer. She teaches Math and takes Chemistry during the day and Physics at night. I go to pick her up at 10:00 pm at the college, after I have worked at my job. We are sacrificing fun and leisure for our financial future. But will it be worth it after the extra taxes we will have to pay?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    May 2, 2013 6:22 a.m.

    "I oppose this act because it would be considered a crime"

    Ah, So now raising taxes is a crime?

    House vote - 257 Representatives voting in favor and 167 voting against
    Senate vote - 89 Senators voting in favor and 8 voting against

    Looks like most of our congress should be in jail (according to you). Or is it just Obama?

    Do you really hold that it is a crime "if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime."

    So much for school taxes for those without children.
    So much for a Tax for roads for those without a car.
    So much for (add yours here) The list could go on and on.

  • micawber Centerville, UT
    May 2, 2013 2:57 a.m.

    By Bastiat's definition, I guess all forms of taxation are legal plunder. Had an individual boarded a ship in 1790 and demanded payment of a tariff upon threat that the ship's goods would be impounded, the individual would have been guilty of a crime. But Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to imposes taxes and tariffs. So, apparently, Bastiat disagreed with the drafters of the Constitution.