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Published: Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Esquire
Springville, UT

For the life of me, I don't know why the moderator would not let this through. Mike Richards did in fact bring Obama into the argument. Read the comments you have cleared.

@ Mike Richards, I don't know why you made this about Obama. But in this tax year, he donated about 13% of his income to charity. That's pretty good, if you ask me.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

IMO the government should focus on insuring "equal opportunity"... not "equal outcomes".

When the government thinks it's their job to guarantee equal outcomes... personal responsibility decreases.

When the government says, "no matter how talented you are or how hard you work you can only get X... and no matter if you drop out of school and refuse to work, you will also get X... all motivation to work hard and succeed goes out the window. You have to rely on the people's love of the country or it's leader to keep them in line and working hard. Because there's no reward for working harder. All are guaranteed equal outcome, regardless of the effort they put into it.

The way I was raised... that's a cop-out.

-You get better grades if you work harder (no guaranteed equal outcome).
-You get a better job and a better paycheck if you work harder (no government guarantee of equal outcome)
-In business... You get rewarded if you take risk and make good decisions, and grow your business, and hire more people... no government guarantee of equal outcome.

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Esquire
Springville, UT

Mike Richards, above, wrote: "Obama's tax forms show that he made well over $1 million per year since he entered office. He has no major expenses while living in the White House, yet he has not given away his money. He hasn't gone to the nearest McDonalds and offered to contribute his money to those who earn minimum wage. Somehow he thinks he's entitled to his wealth, but his followers keep telling us that the rich don't deserve to be rich."

He who made wrote this comment, I don't know why you made this about Obama. But in this tax year, he donated about 13% of his income to charity. That's pretty good, if you ask me.

jsf
Centerville, UT

United Nations Development Programme lists 647 staff as millionaires. And yet the UN climate group claims that we need redistribution of wealth to third worlds. How are the staff making millions with the socialist ideals they promote. Could it be they skim the programs to enrich themselves.

slcdenizen
t-ville, UT

Decrying vague notions of socialism apparently relinquishes the necessity for critical thinking and the urge toward reasonable governance for the right, who have already stopped reading this comment. They seem to be stuck in a 1940's time warp where exists a perfect dichotomy of capitalism vs. socialism absent any sliding scale of one toward the other, and vice versa. Moreover, they've created a delusional fairy tale of what the government is, to the point where they've lost touch with reality and just echo the empty rhetoric being spewed from daytime talk radio. Our diminishing global position is a direct result of the boomers letting the ship drift off course, being content to relish in our good fortune for the last thirty years, but unwilling to be bothered by the complex issues a large country faces.

RedShirtUofU
Andoria, UT

To "LDS Liberal" repeating the same lie over and over again will not make it true. The top 1% own 45% of the wealth, wile only getting about 20% of all income in the US. They pay 35% of all income taxes.

Now for you socialist lovers. What nation is there that has adopted socialism that can equal the US in terms of lifestyle and innovation?

Socialism DOESN'T work. It never has, and never will. If you do think it works, give me an example. Scriptural examples are not examples of socialim because that was people sharing, and not the government redistributing.

Kora
Cedar Hills, UT

annes- Lets be clear. Private schools do a much better job of producing well educated individuals than do public schools. Look at college acceptance rates, especially to the best colleges.

2 bits is right. If there is no incentive to work hard people don't.

As for what the socialists really want is to drag down the rich due to envy. It is not so much that the wealthy have so much, it is that they have so much more than they do that bothers them. It is all about relativism. If you increased the standard of living of the poor, but at the same time increased the standard of living of the rich by the same proportion, they would still complain. The truth is it is not about what they have or don't have in absolute terms, it is about what they have relative to others. In other words, they would prefer everyone to be lower middle class than for us to have everyone at the minimum level of lower middle class, while still having a wealthy population.

nonceleb
Salt Lake City, UT

Our own history has shown that laissez-faire capitalism does not work to benefit all citizens. There was not federal government regulation of business in the late 1800s. The Interstate Commerce Commission initiated in 1887 was the appearance of reform as initially the ICC had no real power. The Sherman Anti-trust Act of 1890 was not used to curb monopolies until the 20th century and was actually used as a weapon against labor unions, which states had made illegal. What resulted? A boom and bust economic cycle about every 20 years. 1% of the population having 88% of the nation's wealth by 1900. One third of working Americans at or below the poverty level. Progressivism brought some reforms. The Great Depression necessitated elements of socialism. Like it or not through most of the 20th century our economy was a mix of capitalism and socialism. It worked well. The middle class exploded in growth. Poor classes were turned into consumers. Enough free market principles were in effect to encourage growth. Unfortunately, today people use the term as scare tactic and evil we must rid ourselves of completely. I personally do not want to return to the 19th century.

RedShirtUofU
Andoria, UT

To "nonceleb" and other liberals or people that want socialism. If you want to see the best system for helping the poor and building up a nation's ability to produce, read the TWO books. The Theory of Moral Sentiments and Wealth of Nations. You can't just apply the teachings of one.

Schnee
Salt Lake City, UT

@jsf
"Lest I be uninformed and ignorant, name me on socialist or Marxist country that has no inequality of wealth with a range of a few percent from top to bottom."

The socialist nation of Sweden (and really all the Scandinavian nations except maybe Finland) has low income inequality.

By the way, people like me who complain about income inequality aren't saying there shouldn't be many-millionaires, we're just saying that the US income inequality levels of the 1950s-1970s (which were remarkably steady and certainly still had wealthy people) occurred alongside greater economic outcomes in the nation than what we've had in the boom-bust cycles before and after.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

To Red Shirt: The middle class in Denmark, Norway, Finland, or Germany lives as well or better than the middle class in the U.S., and yes, they provide far more in social services for their citizens.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@Curmudgeon

If Greed, envy and coveting... are the reasons why the wealthy try like crazy to avoid transferring their wealth.... would you please transfer your wealth to me??

If not.. why not?

===

Are you one of those envy and coveting people who tries like crazy to avoid transferring their wealth?

===

I'm sure your not a greedy or a coveting person, so I'll be waiting for your wealth to be transferred to me.... and I'll take care of redistributing it to more deserving people... just out of pity for your soul...

Remember the eye of the needle... and transfer it all to me for redistribution...

===

I only make this offer out of pity for your soul.
Like you said... Those who advocate a narrowing of the wealth distribution gap are not necessarily motivated by any of those things, but by pity for the wealthy who don't realize how excessive wealth is destroying their souls"....

Beware the eye of the needle... I'll help you save your soul by redistributing your wealth!

nonceleb
Salt Lake City, UT

@ Red Shirt You misunderstood my advocacy. I am not recommending completely socialism. We have had this mixed economy of capitalism with some elements of socialism since the 1930s. You show me anytime in history were unregulated capitalism with no oversight has broadly benefitted all the citizens more fairly and not created an obscene disparity of wealth. As for the Wealth of Nations, it has even been debunked even by conservative economists. Adam Smith's "invisible hand" really is nonexistent.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I propose that all those who want to live under Socialism... be allowed to move to a nice island or a nice part of the country and live it (without us).

I think they would quickly find that without highly motivated innovators and even vile capitalists to make the money they want to redistribute... it doesn't work very long.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

One of the things that really angered Adam Smith was collusion between businessmen to suppress the wages of workers, which is exactly what has been happening in this country since 1980. That's a part of his writing that most conservatives tend to disregard.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "nonceleb" I know you are not advocating outright socialism, but lets look at what happens as you add more socialism into the mix. Things don't get better. Socialism can only exist as long as there is capitalism to support it. Unless the people wake up, typically the mixed systems end up collapsing themselves. Just look at Greece, Spain, and much of Europe. They have their socialism and capitalism, but they also struggle against oppressive taxes and overly generous welfare programs. Just look for the new articles about how the higher taxes are driving out millionaires from many of those nations.

What do you think happens when you drive out the millionaires from the nation? You flatten the income, and you begin to destroy the job base.

Hank Pym
SLC, UT

re Esquire

"...Based on my reading of your comments along the way, it seems to me that you favor a Darwinian survival of the fittest model. That approach has been utter rejected by this country, going back well over a century. Thank goodness."

There is no way Mike R would be advocating any facet of evolution. ROFL?

to Mountanman

I hardly call the version of casino/crony capitalism running wild anything to celebrate. All you have to do is read Michael Lewis' new book to know the playing field is far from balanced.

For the record, The US & Russia are both oligarchies. The only difference is the US is not quite as chaotic. Dare I say better regulated?

jsf
Centerville, UT

Sweden has 16 billionaires, Equality in Sweden does not meet the criteria. Unless all Swedes are multi-millionaires. The request was a socialistic country with wealth inequality within about five percent. Reasonable living standards is not the criteria. Equality in wealth is the socialist promise that can not be reached.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

To jsf: No one is advocating total equality of wealth. That's a total distortion of the liberal argument dreamed up by conservatives to discredit liberalism, which it would if anyone actually pursued that goal. Fortunately no one is.

Did the level of equality we had from 1940-1980 really constitute a socialist dystopia? The rich were still rich, there were still poor people, but anyone who was willing to work could live a decent life. Today's rich live like Roman Emperors while working people fall further and further behind. A society like ours cannot long survive.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

You don't really have to know what it means or in what context it exists in our nation. If you can throw the word 'socialism' into a letter, that's good enough.

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