Comments about ‘Shifting our course to build up the middle class’

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Published: Friday, May 2 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Pops
NORTH SALT LAKE, UT

One of the last lines in the editorial perhaps strikes to the heart of what the real problem is, which is that we are no longer who we once were. Freedom - otherwise known as capitalism - doesn't work if we all have become liars, cheaters, and thieves. The middle class prospered when America was predominantly Christian in both name and in our hearts. It is unreasonable to expect that same prosperity to continue as we abandon that ship. A free society requires both trust and trustworthiness, both of which arise from common Christian ideals.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

Excellent editorial. Most Americans, particularly those who lean to the right, have a simplistic view of capitalism and have drunk too much of the free-market Kool-Aid for too long. A totally free market is one of the most disastrous creations that man has ever concocted. And an ideology that mistakes license for freedom is simply begging for abuse. The Right, which has elevated a simplistic view of freedom above every other civic good, has helped create a society that is everything but free. Our lives are controlled by a mass of authoritarian economic institutions that rule behind the scenes. We now have a government of the corporation, by the corporation, and for the corporation. And that small class of people who control these behemoths have used their money to make sure they gain an ever-increasing influence over government. The tail is certainly wagging the dog in America. Time to wake up, folks. Then again, resistance may be futile at this point.

Lane Myer
Salt Lake City, UT

Pops,

If what you are saying is true, why have the Europeans become better at everything when they also have become the least religious? Are the irreligious the most moral? Or have their governments placed laws that curtail lying, cheating and thievery?

What has made them successful when we are falling behind? It can't be religion. What do you really think it is?

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Excellent piece, thanks for printing it.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Before I get totally alarmed about the gap... I need to know if it's widening because some people are being uber-successful... or if MY standard of living is going DOWN...

MY personal standard of living isn't going down (and I'm the very middle of the middle-class).

If I'm earning more each year (which I am). And I'm able to provide for my family (which I am)... I don't really care what somebody ELSE is making... even IF there's a gap!

The gap only bothers ME if my income is down (it's not).

===

I don't understand the concern with what somebody ELSE makes.... That has nothing to do with me!

Whether somebody else's salary is "fair"... really not up to me.

Why would I try or expect to be able to control somebody ELSE'S salary...?

Why would I try or expect to be able to control my Bosses salary...?

That just isn't my job... or within my ability to control!

I see why people who think it is... get frustrated...

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

One thing I know for sure, unless the United States manages to moderate its brand of capitalism, we will go socialist. Too many people are desperate, and their numbers are growing. We socialists offer alternatives. More later.

anti-liar
Salt Lake City, UT

Lane Myer

"... why have the Europeans become better at everything when they also have become the least religious?"

------

Fair question.

To answer it, we first must define "religious." Perhaps the Europeans truly have internalized certain Judeo-Christian values as part of their basic culture, despite outward appearances of non-religiosity based on certain popular notions of what "religious" means.

To illustrate, there are many in the state of Utah for example who generally would be regarded as being "religious" because they go to church on Sunday, pay their tithing, don't drink tea or coffee, and are "morally clean," but who treat their fellow man like garbage, in the form of such things as, "lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor," "oppress the hireling in his wages," and despise and misjudge the poor.

With Capitalism and Free Market come responsibility. This point is lost on many. The moral disease of Greed rages in their hearts.

"And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matt. 19:24)

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Re: "why have the Europeans become better at everything when they also have become the least religious"?

I don't know how even this topic became about religion but whatever... Let's go there...

I think that's a false premise (that Europeans are better at everything).

I don't know what I would go to Europe for that I can't get as good or better here.

I wouldn't go there to have a surgical procedure done.

When was the last time you bought a European computer, or software...?

If Europeans are better at EVERYTHING...

Would you rather have THEIR military?
Their Government?
Their Businesses?
Their standard of living?

I've been to most countries in Europe... and the rich live very well there... but everybody's not rich in Europe. That's just all you see on TV.

I would rather be middle-class in America... than in Europe.

If I preferred EVERYTHING in Europe... why would I live here???

Obviously there's a reason...

If everything's better in Europe... why do YOU live here?
And why do thousands of people each year try to immigrate here (many from European countries).

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

"Or have their governments placed laws that curtail lying, cheating and thievery?"

Yes.

In Europe, the rules of conduct are much more tightly regulated than we would like here in America. They have much tighter work place rules, rules about truth in advertising, and libel laws. In many ways religion and certain moral boundaries are lower in Europe, but in other areas, they have much higher standards than do we.

The employee in EMEA has far more rights than they do in the states. In the US we have a bias toward the business over the individual. It will be interesting as we see emerging economies come on line where that bias lies as they grow and develop.

As a culture, it always amazes me that we are far more concerned by how well the corporate entity is doing, and far less so then the individual lives of those associated with that entity are. The definition of Success is totally and completely being driven by wealth accumulation. Family, personal integrity, trust and community all collateral victims of the quest for financial glory.

Spangs
Salt Lake City, UT

Excellent article, excellent comments.
Props to Deseret News for publishing a well-written, thoughtful piece.

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

Re: 2bits "I don't understand the concern with what somebody ELSE makes.... That has nothing to do with me!"

It has a great deal to do with you, because the super-wealthy have much more POWER than you do.

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

I have a suggestion for those on this blog.

Go to R. D. Wolff's website, and take (for free) his online classes on Advanced Marxian economics. It will open your eyes.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@marxist,
Wait a minute.. what? Somebody else has way more "POWER" than me.... now I really am ticked off!

No really... I've been around for awhile. I'm used to this. It doesn't bug me.

I can't change it... so why stress over it. And I for sure don't want Marxism as a reaction to this revelation (which I already knew)...

That kind of stuff mainly bugs leftist revolutionaries and anarchists. I'm not into the class-warfare rhetoric...

====

@UtahBlueDevil,
Re: "In Europe, the rules of conduct are much more tightly regulated than we would like here in America"...

Oh really? They have WAY more political scandals in Europe than we have here.

If you need to see a list of European political scandals... let me know before I use all my posts.

You seem to have such a cloistered, "hate America" culture you live in...

Europe is not super peachy for everybody... as leftists believe.

The Royals have it pretty good... the rest of the people wish they had what the middle-class has in America.

Even BMW isn't European anymore you know... Some models are only made in America (Spartanburg, South Carolina).

red state pride
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The notion that we have "free market capitalism" in America is laughable. You can't even buy a house with cash without a federal bureaucrat's stamp of approval. How do we have a "free market" when approx 42% of GDP is government spending? How do we have a "free market" when 87% of the land in Nevada is government owned?
5 of the 7 wealthiest counties in America are in the Washington DC area and they voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama. The big Wall Street money went overwhelmingly to Obama in the last 2 presidential elections. I'm tired of this ludicrous notion that Republicans are for big business and Democrats are for the little guy.
I'll be the first to admit that Americans love big government as much as any euro we (ya'll) just say you don't and certainly don't want to pay for it- hence the deficit and national debt.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I think BUILDING UP the middle-class... is a good thing.

But just tearing down OTHER classes... not a good thing. And that seems to be all the Left in America is about today. Class warfare rhetoric... jealousy... and knocking others down so they can feel good about themselvs.

We shouldn't need to knock somebody else down to feel good about ourselves. That's just jealousy and envy (which are bad things BTW)...

Now building others up... THAT... is a "GOOD" thing. I'm all for that!

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

@ 2 bits

"I think BUILDING UP the middle-class... is a good thing.

But just tearing down OTHER classes... not a good thing."

Then you must really hate Reagan's "trickle-down" economics. The rich have been tearing down the other classes over the past 30 years. Crushing unions, deregulation, transferring from pensions to 401ks, preventing min wage to increase, corporate welfare, etc the rich have lead the charge in redistribution of wealth.

The middle and lower classes don't necessarily want what the rich have. They just want back what used to be theirs but which the rich have stolen from them over the past 30 years.

Now building others up... THAT... is a "GOOD" thing. I'm all for that!

Mister J
Salt Lake City, UT

re: 2 bits @ 10:52a yesterday...

"That just isn't my job... or within my ability to control!"

Its par for the course in 21st century America to do things at less than 100% (the phrase wanted to use is not postable) and then whine and play the victim when things go south. I'd like to know why?

I'd also like to know why people think its more important to be friendly & have good people skills rather than be competent, knowledgeable, & efficient (The joys of a call center economy... ROFL!?)... This is a rant for another day.

re: 2 bits @ 12:09p yesterday.

For the most part, European products do not scream quality. Other than VW eclipsing GM as preferred car maker in China, I am hard pressed to come up with an example.

That said, China is who we should 'fear' now. But, I recall the 80's when Japan was the economic behemoth and now...

GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA

Wow! What's going on here?

This piece is far to reasonable to be in the Deseret News.

Of course it's time for a change in how capitalism is implemented in the United States.

The last truly major reform occurred during the Progressive era when Theodore Roosevelt took on the big oligarchic capitalists and humbled them by dismantling their monopolistic/oligopolistic control that had prevented small innovators from attaining a foothold.

After TR did his trust busters leveled the playing field, smart and capable entrepreneurs and innovators competed to create new high quality products and services at affordable prices; and that healthy competition resulted in win/win/win/win situations for consumers, businesses, government, and citizens.

We NEED another tweak to the current capitalistic socioeconomic structure. A mixed economy, with the appropriate mix of Capitalism and effective government intervention is crucial to make this nation competitive.

For a start, taxes for the highest earners should be raised to at least pre-Reagan levels.

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