Taxes are not punitive or evil in any way

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  • Owen Heber City, UT
    Dec. 8, 2012 10:39 a.m.

    REDSHIRT: Liar is such a strong word. Here's one from Appraching Zion. For others do your own simple homework.

    "The director of a Latter-day Saint Institute was recently astounded when [I] pointed out to him that the ancient teaching that the idler shall not eat the bread of the laborer has always meant that the idle rich shall not eat the bread of the laboring poor, as they always have. . . . He had always been taught that the idle poor should not eat the bread of the laboring rich, because it is perfectly obvious that a poor man has not worked as hard as a rich man. With the same lucid logic my Latter-day Saint students tell me that [the reason] there were no poor in the Zion of Enoch [was] because only the well-to-do were admitted to the city." Hugh Nibley

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Dec. 6, 2012 6:26 p.m.


    I was also thinking about a lot of uncontrolled greed on wall street. I would even add, dare say, that the American people generally are to blame for living way beyond our means and relying on our homes as a financial plan. I know that last statement isn't popular with a lot of people...

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Dec. 6, 2012 4:21 p.m.


    You seem to think that taxes are what makes our world so great. It isn't taxes to the federal government that has separated America from the rest of the communist world - it is the free enterprise market. Yes UtahBlueDevil it is freedom FROM taxes that generates economic growth which in turn generates jobs and prosperity for all classes of people. Interestingly enough - in 2007 when the Bush tax cuts began the US revenue to the Federal Government was at an all time high. The reason was because FREEDOM from taxes allowed small business to expand and hire and more tax payers means more tax dollars. Look it up - 2007 was a GREAT year for revenue. Obviously every country needs a minimal tax system to support basic functions in society but it is when that tax burden becomes so great that it destroys prosperity that we really ought to take a second look - ya think???

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Dec. 6, 2012 12:30 p.m.

    To "LDS Liberal" did you see that Romney just got a new job? He is now on the board of directors for the Marriott hotels.

    Beyond that, I look forward to not knowing what church calling Mitt Romney or any other millionaire has. For all anybody knows, Mitt could be called to be a Nursery leader or a Cub Scout Den leader, both help to build the Kingdom of God. Remove the beam from your eye before worrying about the mote in anybody elses.

    Why do you insist that any Mormon Millionaire be called to be a Mission President or other similar calligns? Isn't a Sunbeam teacher just as valuable as a Mission President?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Dec. 6, 2012 10:44 a.m.

    USS Enterprise, UT

    So, what that means is that if a millionaire quits working, and lives off his investments, he is not idle, if he is working to build up God's kingdom.


    Then I will look forward to Mitt Romney (or any other Mormon Millionares) to be called as a Mission Presidents or such...

    You know - Time, Talents, ect...

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    Dec. 5, 2012 6:24 p.m.

    Redshirt how like you to pick the only Nibley reference to the idle (among at least six) that does not refer to the idle rich.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Dec. 5, 2012 5:39 p.m.


    To disagree with you, I don't think taxes are the reason why we are in a mess. Tax rates were as high or higher during Reagan's terms and the economy generally prospered. The tax rates were certainly higher in the 1950's and our economy was humming. I think we can get taxed too much but we also must keep some historical perspective.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Dec. 5, 2012 5:32 p.m.

    Though I agree with Mr. Samuelsen here or there on his posts over the years I will disagree on whether taxes are punitive. Certainly, the can be punitive. If they are too high, they are punitive. If they are put on the people without their consent or representation, they are punitive. This sometimes occurs and has occurred in our history. I would say some taxes that are ill conceived, whether it was intentional or not, are punitive. I am not a fan of sin taxes and I'm not a fan of sales taxes on food items. Both seem to hit the poor harder than the rich.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Dec. 5, 2012 4:39 p.m.

    To "Eric Samuelsen" if we are so far from the point where taxes hurt the economy, at what point do we go over the curve? What tax rate pushes the US over the curve?

    If tax rates are no so high that they cause problems for the economy, explain why businesses are firing people and are shrinking rather than growing as the Obamacare taxes begin to take effect.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    Dec. 5, 2012 3:22 p.m.

    I am very familiar with the Laffer curve. And yes, at some point, you can tax enough to hurt an economy. I don't know any responsible economist who would disagree. What we can say with confidence is that we're very far from that point now.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Dec. 5, 2012 3:03 p.m.

    "We should all love taxes. Just look in the mirror and repeat the phrase "I love taxes"."

    You don't have to say you love taxes.... just like I don't love mowing my lawn or cleaning out the gutters, changing diapers, or honestly - paying tithing.

    But I do all these things because they are the right thing to do.

    I am so tired of all these people who want all the blessing of living in this country - and yet when it comes to paying the tab.... oh.... no...... its not fair.

    Give me a break.... love taxes. No one says you have to love taxes. No one loves going to war for their country. No officer loves going to domestic disputes. No doctor loves trying to pull together a life shattered by an accident. No one loves picking up your trash that you leave at the curb once a week. I doubt many wake up thinking they want to go out and work with hot tar on a 90 degree day in the middle of summer - fixing pot holes in the roads you drive on.

    You don't have to love what your are doing to do the right thing.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Dec. 5, 2012 1:13 p.m.

    Taxes must be level to not be punitive? Say what. Even Mr Smith - who fathered the notion of capitalism some centuries ago acknowledge that for the system to work, the tax system needed to be progressive to have proportional liability of taxes. I have read the most warped interpretations reality going on here. Even those who don't pay "income" taxes, still pay many taxes including payroll taxes, medicare, social security, property, sales, etc. Then there are all the indirect taxes which are pass through taxes. Buy an airline ticket - you paid federal taxes.

    So lets get over this myth that there is this huge class of people that don't pay taxed.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Dec. 5, 2012 12:27 p.m.

    We should all love taxes. Just look in the mirror and repeat the phrase "I love taxes". Do this everyday before work and suddenly you will be whistling down the sunny side of the street with the rest of the Obama zombies.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Dec. 5, 2012 11:23 a.m.

    To "Owen" how sad. You can't even be honest enough with us to explain what Nibley defined as an "idle person".

    According to "Work We Must, But the Lunch is Free" by Nibley, states that "An idler in the Lord's book is one who is not working for the building up of the kingdom of God on earth and the establishment of Zion, no matter how hard he may be working to satisfy his own greed.". So, what that means is that if a millionaire quits working, and lives off his investments, he is not idle, if he is working to build up God's kingdom. However, a poor person working 12 hours a day and avoiding building up God's Kingdom is an idle person.

    Idle and working, according to Nibley referrs to God's Kingdom, not earning money to live.

  • dwaynerichards Provo, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 11:51 p.m.


    "Taxes are evil when they create and maintain a culture of dependency, where he who is idle (the easy-chair millionaire) eats the bread and wears the garment of the laborer (the underpaid guy mowing his lawn)."

    That "easy-chair millionaire" shouldn't eat the bread and wear the garment of the "underpaid guy mowing his lawn" and should mow his own lawn for nothing and let the unemployed guy fend for himself. The rich man who is idle should not be dependent on others. Dependency is bad! We all know this so if a wealthy person is dependent on others they should stop it. Fire all those low paid people and do it themselves. They shouldn't employ people for more than what they would pay themselves. What are they thinking? Not only are they dependent on the laborer but they are paying them for something they can do for nothing. I didn't realize how lazy and stupid wealthy people were until you explained it to me. People making a low wage to mow a lawn or do someone's laundry has to stop. Give them $30 an hour to do it or do it themselves

  • wrz Ogden, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 11:43 p.m.

    "The small tax hike the president is proposing is very reasonable, will have no appreciable negative effect on the economy..."

    The tax increase will have approximately zero effect on government budget and the national debt. So, why are the Democrats so insistent?

    "... and is something he proposed in every debate and campaign speech prior to the election."

    But his position on taxation is not what got him elected. What got him elected was: support for abortion, providing amnesty for illegal immigration, support for gay marriage, that he is a minority (African American), and tacit approval of the use of marijuana and other illegal drugs.

    "Taxes are not punitive or evil in any way."

    Excessive taxes are punitive and evil. So is a bloated budget and a obscene national debt.

    "I suggest applying payroll taxes to income earned through investments, by simply raising the ceiling from $110,000 to $300,000, which would fully fund both Social Security and Medicare."

    What you propose is just another method of redistribution. The wealthy would get only a fraction of any SS and medicare tax paid in.

  • ravonal Syracuse, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 10:59 p.m.

    Eric misses the point of his own argument. The tax revenues collected via increasing rates on those $250 K and above won't even sniff at the $16 Trillion+ debt Uncle Sam is lugging around these days. Furthermore, BHO disses those "wealthy" with regular impunity. All this from a commander in chief who has operated without a budget his entire Presidency and wrote checks to anyone who bought into his self adoration. He then hammers the middle class with huge taxes (remember the Supreme Court ruling) couched as "health care reform" and then has the audacity to proclaim how he is preserving their futures. Obama treats us as if we are a bunch of lab rats and he is entitled to experiment on us as he pleases.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 8:09 p.m.

    Redshirt, Lost in DC: Huh? My only point was to try to get you to look at the scripture you quote from the opposite perspective. The same perspective one of your most prominent scriptorians (Nibley) did. That is the "idle" are usually the rich who no need to work because they rely on "laborers" who are sometimes oppressed to the point of not having bread.

    As for taxes, I have no problem with the government asking me to do something God has already commanded me to do: provide for the less fortunate without judging whether or how they came to be that way. Neither the government or God forces me to do anything. But because I fear hell more than jail, I'll obey God even though government is the vehicle for my contribution.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 7:18 p.m.

    I think Obama and the democrats should call the republicans on their tax strategy bluff. Immediately the democrats should pass a law that any person making more than 250k shall pay no taxes what so ever. Since these job creators have no "incentive" to even get out of bed since Obama was re-elected this should give them plenty of incentive to create jobs.

    These job creators will probably become more generous to with their employees too since they will not have to pay any taxes. Walmart will actually pay a decent wage and stop selling stuff made in china. I can really imagine it.

    Of course government has to be funded some how. We could start off with the forty seven percent. From what I heard from republicans they are pretty worthless. They add nothing to the economy and apparently the money they spend at businesses disappears into the wind. The other 50 percent are just whiners. So the ninety seven percent should fund the government because the money we spend apparently does not drive the economy.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    Dec. 4, 2012 6:26 p.m.

    @Mountanman (continued)
    #3 Free competition is good for capitalism. But the government also has a role in breaking up monopolies, creating consumer safety standards, and prosecuting people who cheat or harm others in pursuit of capitalism. I'm happy that my taxes can support that role.
    #4 Don't pretend that government only hinders businesses. The government also helps companies to compete by enacting laws to favor small businesses, cracking down on monopolies, negotiating free trade agreements and opening up foreign markets, etc. The Waltons can thank the State Department for paving the way for our shelves to be covered in cheap Chinese goods.

    I'm unconvinced that American businesses are fleeing repressive government taxes and interference for communist, authoritarian China; rather, they're moving there to exploit dirt-cheap labor rates that continue to be artificially pushed down by Chinese regulations. Which highlights a criticism of capitalism that's impacted millions of Americans - companies can move their assets overseas without any problem, but the folks who were supposed to benefit from free trade (US!) can't cross borders nearly as easily. The American worker gets the short end of the stick.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    Dec. 4, 2012 6:24 p.m.

    @Mountanman, 11:15am;
    #1 The private sector does drive the economy, but the government is indisputably a major economic driver regardless of whether you think that's a good thing or not. The government has a spending problem, but simply cutting spending has a negative economic impact on GDP that must be considered.

    #2 The government doesn't just take your tax money out back and burn it. The money's spent, not consumed. Some goes to things you don't like, some goes to things you do; it's part of living in a republican democracy. Your mention of Lockheed and Boeing as exemplars of innovation is ironic considering that the vast majority of their business comes directly from your tax money. Believe me, I know because I'm one of those dastardly government employees who pays them BILLIONS for national security. It's hardly an endorsement of real capitalism! You can't argue against government spending of your taxes and extol defense contractors in the same breath! They're responsible for a good portion of that $16 trillion debt!

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 4:49 p.m.

    Too many of the liberals on this forum have swallowed hook, line, and sinker the absolute LIE pushed by the Democratic party that most rich people are 1) lazy, 2) inherited their wealth, and 3) don't care about anyone poorer than themselves.

    I know plenty of rich people and they work harder than anyone else. Almost every one of them were poor or middle class while growing up. They are the most generous people I know (and by generous, I mean they will step in and help out voluntarily -- not that they are anxious to hand all their money over to a government bureaucrat to throw from a helicopter).

    Get over your envy and bitterness that someone else has more money than you.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 4:00 p.m.

    taxes do not establish the system you describe, the millionaire enjoying the labor of the underpaid (under-qualified and under-educated, likely by his own bad choices) laborer.

    taxes supporting a wealth re-distribution system establish the welfare and dependency mentality where everything is owed to them because somehow someone who worked harder or had a few lucky breaks is better off than they are

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 3:46 p.m.

    What is with people who want to pass the buck to others? Why would any American who believes in America think that he is so important that someone else should pay his tax for him? Is that what being American means? Have we become a nation of "pass the buck" people? Are we so self centered that all we care about is that our wallets are full while the "rich guy" has his wallet emptied in the name of "social justice"?

    What kind of people would "pass the buck"? What kind of people, when told that the responsibility for citizenship, is paying taxes, would tell us that the "rich guy" should pay for everything - as they enjoyed the protection afforded by the military, the roads and all of the other things provided for in Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution.

    Have we become no more than sniveling children who whimper and complain? Part of the RESPONSIBILITY of being an American is to participate fully in paying taxes - equally. No one is exempt. The rich are not required to pay the taxes of those who receive the blessings of citizenship - who think that they are exempt from responsibility.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Dec. 4, 2012 3:41 p.m.

    To "Owen" what about the able bodied person that does not work who eats bthe read, is housed, given medical care, and is given clothing at the wealthy person's expense? By your definition taxes that support that lifestyle are "evil when they create and maintain a culture of dependency." Using your definition, even social security and Medicare are evil. Is that how you view the modern welfare state, Medicare, and Social Security?

    That is based on your definition.

    To "Eric Samuelsen" let me get this right. Taxes are not punitive, but they are a fine?! Aren't fines meant to be punitive? The SCOTUS declared the Obamacare fine a tax. See "Supreme Court upholds Obamacare individual mandate as a tax" at ABC. You better get your story straight.

    While you are looking up the fact that the Supreme Court deemed the fine in Obamacare a tax, go and learn about the Laffer curve. It is an economic theory where the more you tax a nation, you can only tax them so much before tax revenues drop, which means that economic growth is slowed.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 2:53 p.m.

    Redshirt: "Now which political philosophy allows people to make the most decisions on their own, and who wants to save everybody so that not one soul is lost?" Why ask such rhetorical questions? The party of choice is that party that allows people to make decisions.

    Lost in DC:
    Taxes are evil when they create and maintain a culture of dependency, where he who is idle (the easy-chair millionaire) eats the bread and wears the garment of the laborer (the underpaid guy mowing his lawn).

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 4, 2012 2:47 p.m.

    How many people have lost their jobs since Obama became President? With more than 46.7 million people on welfare, were all of those companies "mismanaged"? Did they suddenly become "mismanaged" when Obama took office? Did the owners of those companies collectively lose their ability to run a company?

    Pull your head out of the sand. Look at the "real" picture. People are hurting. They are hurting because Obama does not care if they have a job or if they stand in line waiting for some bureaucrat to hand them some crumbs.

    Raising taxes during a recession is completely insane. Even Obama admitted that fact. Here are his words: "Now, I’m not going to raise taxes on anyone because when the economy’s growing slow like this, when we're in recession you shouldn't raise taxes on anyone."

    Why would Obama argue with himself? Was he lying then or is he lying now?

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Dec. 4, 2012 2:38 p.m.

    To "Kent C. DeForrest" No, the rich do not "punish" the poor. Many of poor (not all) have made decisions where their skills are not unique. If I can buy pencils 10 for $1, why pay $2 for the same pencils. Unfortunately those that choose to make decisions that cut into their potential income levels are mearly reaping the effects of their decisions.

    Now, if the government decides that they will "rescue" people from their bad decisions, where is the incentive to earn more? The studies are out there that a single mother making $29000/yr would have to earn $69000/yr to improve her lifestyle. So, where is the incentive to do better?

    Your myoptic view of the Republican party is wrong. The Republicans want to cut government regulation, and spending so that we can have a more even distribution of income. Your ilk forgets that the closer you approach socialism and communism, the larger the wealth disparity. Just look at the nations that are embracing socialism, you have the poor and the wealthy, with very few inbetween. Look at the US before we had all the regulation and socialistic control of the economy, the middleclass was strong.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 2:30 p.m.

    Taxes aren't punitive. I am aware that people don't like them. But let's look at your examples: the Obamacare decision. SCOTUS ruled that charging people money for refusing to buy insurance is a fine. I agree, it is. The Obama administration called it a 'tax' for political purposes; trying to get some bi-partisan support. But SCOTUS, rightly, said 'this is punitive. It is therefore not a tax.'
    Making cigarettes more expensive is intended as a disincentive. It's not punishing people who smoke, but it is trying to incentivize people to not smoke. Also sin taxes are qualitatively different from most other taxes.
    The USA Today example and the Medved example are op-ed pieces written by conservatives. They call taxes punitive because that's what conservatives believe. I'm not a conservative; I wrote a letter saying conservatives are wrong on this point.
    But as to your larger point: the belief that raising taxes is punitive and restricts economic growth is not supported by facts. The periods in our history when economic growth has been most robust has historically coincided with periods of very high taxation on rich people.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 1:36 p.m.


    Do the rich punish the poor by refusing to pay them enough so that they can live without government assistance?

    The tea-drenched Republican Party wants us to believe that it is unfair to stack the deck so that a certain segment of society keeps getting a larger and larger portion of the wealth (that's what happens over time when incomes are unequal) and then ask them to pay a larger portion of taxes to make our society workable over the long run. All you have to ask is where, exactly, this linear trend will land us in 20 more years. Is this the sort of society you want to live in? Do you really want 100 million people without basic health care? Do you want half the population starving to death?

    If not, please explain just how your vision of taxation and spending cuts will produce an equitable society where everyone can expect to live in reasonable comfort and health without the constant fear of slipping between the widening cracks of corporate capitalism.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Dec. 4, 2012 1:23 p.m.

    To "Open Minded Mormon" but God has not always told his people to sit down and shut up when it comes to people ruling over his followers.

    To Pharoh he said "let my people go", then proceeded to KILL and harm the egyptians.

    The Sons of Mosiah went into Lamanite territory, and rebelled against the laws of the Lamanites in order to preach to them.

    Jesus influenced people to abandon the law when he intervened with the Adultress.

    If you want to get into a deeper discussion of politics and how religion is reflected in it, look at this.

    God's plan was for us to make our own decisions, Satan wanted to save everybody and ensure that they all did his will. Now which political philosophy allows people to make the most decisions on their own, and who wants to save everybody so that not one soul is lost (even to their own bad decisions)?

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Dec. 4, 2012 1:04 p.m.

    Eric Samuelson, you are wrong, and Obama would also say that you are wrong. Taxes are punitive or at least used as punitive instruments.

    See the recent ruling on Obamacare. The Supreme court ruled that the "fine" for not having a health insurance plan is in fact a tax.

    Taxes have been used for years to "punish" smokers by making tobacco more expensive.

    Since you are just some average Joe, lets see what the ever so intelligent media is saying about taxes.

    From USAToday "Obama's Tax Hike Plan Punishes Small Businesses" and "Medved: Punishing the rich is impractical, unethical" Both articles speak of how the Democrats (Obama) are using the tax codes to punish the wealthy.

    From CBS News "Forbes: Hiking capital gains tax punishes rich".

    It seems that the liberal media can see that taxes are used to punsih people, why can't you?

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 1:00 p.m.


    They are requested to put in some time, not required to do so. Back when my mother was relief society president, there was one family in our ward who was on church welfare for a long period of time and when the bishop confronted them and asked them to put in some time, they moved to another ward. I really wouldn't know much about it except they were neighbors, so their situation was pretty much common knowledge. And they were "able bodied" as well.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Dec. 4, 2012 12:19 p.m.

    @ Open Minded. Last time I checked, if a person goes to the LDS church for welfare, he is asked to work for what he receives. Otherwise all we do is create dependence and harm people's sprits. That's the difference.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Dec. 4, 2012 11:38 a.m.

    Some say we are a "Chrisitan" nation,
    What did God himself say about this matter?

    Setting, this takes place a few decades after the Great tax revolt against the Romans, Jerusalem - about 6 A.D.
    Many conservative Jews then felt the same way many Conservative Christians feel today -
    His answer:

    Luke 20:
    22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?
    23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me?
    24 Show me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar's.
    25 And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's.

    Our Coins are minted by the U.S. Government.

    Now, Be good Christians and follow the Master,
    Pay your taxes and stop the rebel rousing and silly Secession letters.

    BTW my fellow Mormons - Lucifer and his followers were cast out for Rebellion, not for their plan.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Dec. 4, 2012 11:15 a.m.

    @ SG. Let me try to explain some economic realities.
    #1:If I work for the government and pay taxes of lets say, 25%, then 75% of my salary has to be paid for by OTHER taxpayers. Obviously the private sector does actually drive the economy.
    #2:The government produces no wealth, whatever it spends has to be taken from someone else. It produces no product, no wealth, creates nothing and only consumes wealth. Can you name one product the government created? If you claim NASA, think about Boeing, Lockheed Martin and dozens of other private sector contractors that actually produce the results.
    #3:If a private company isn't efficient, its competitors will take it out. Free competition is the oil that lubricates capitalism.
    #4:Every time the government takes money from the private sector, it makes them less able to compete, especially with China who can produce goods for much less than we can in America, partially due our government's restrictions, taxes and regulations. Been to Wal-Mart lately and looked to see where the vast majority of products are produced?
    I rest my case!

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 11:07 a.m.

    SG in SLC
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I call "BS" (Bogus Story) on Mountanman's claims why taxes are punitive.


    I second that.

    BTW - did anyone else take note of the DN monitor/editor's bias?

    That ridiculous comment was selected "Top Comment" with a Gold Star by the Deseret Newsroom, and only has 3 "Likes" by it's mostly conservative readers.

    And then yet, I wonder why so many of MY comments falling well within DN monitored guidelines, get "denied".

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 11:06 a.m.

    old man,
    "refusal to simply regurtiate canned talking points"

    THAT's why you said, "Christian, just change one word in your comment and you'd be right. Change Republicans to Democrats and you'll have it correct."

    No canned talking points there.

    Of course we know why dems cannot cave on their values - they have none.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 10:44 a.m.

    Mountainman, I have read Stossel's book. That one and a wide variety of others. By reading not only material provided by only one side of the question, I try to read widely and obtain enough information -- pro and con, left and right -- to be able to make informed decisions.

    I hope that is reflected in my refusal to simply regurgitate canned talking points.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Dec. 4, 2012 10:35 a.m.

    @ one old man. A better read is the excellent book, "No They Can't" by John Stossel. It may even open your eyes!

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 10:25 a.m.

    (…part 2)

    #3: If you honestly believe that waste, corruption, and unethical practices don't exist in the private sector, then I have a landmark bridge in NYC to sell you. Oligopolies and businesses with "status" brands and high brand loyalty seem to be the most susceptible to this. OTOH, some of the hardest-working and most efficient employees I know happen to work in the public sector.

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 10:23 a.m.

    I call "BS" (Bogus Story) on Mountanman's claims why taxes are punitive.

    #1: Those tax dollars that Mountanman claims are siphoned out of the economy and vanish down some mysterious black hole really go to hiring government employees and funding grants and government contracts. Those government employees use their salaries to pay for housing, transportation, food, clothing, healthcare, entertainment, etc., funneling that money back into the economy. Grant recipients and government contractors purchase supplies, services, and durable goods, and pay employees (who spend their salaries more or less like the government employees do), again funneling that money back into the economy.

    #2: Corporate taxes are not the main reason that businesses relocate overseas. The #1 reason that businesses relocate to other countries is labor costs. The very existence of WalMart is based on the fact that for some merchandise, it is cheaper to manufacture in some sweatshop in Macau or Sri Lanka and import than it is to manufacture domestically. The flip-side is that the sweatshop laborers earn less than 1/10th of what they would here, work 60-70 hours/week, and have a standard of living comparable to our homeless.


  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 10:06 a.m.

    One old man,
    You've been talking about the Hedrick Smith book for some time now. It sounds interesting; I put it on my Christmas list. If my kids don't get it for me, I'll get it myself.

  • Ford DeTreese Provo, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 9:58 a.m.

    The U.S. accounts for 47 percent of all military spending on the planet. We have 700 to 800 military bases in foreign countries. We employ about 80,000 military personnel in Germany, another 50,000 in South Korea and Japan. The Pentagon is one of the largest landowners on earth. According to Republicans, we need to increase our military presence. Really now.

    World War II ended almost 70 years ago. The Cold War ended over 20 years ago. We need this much military might to fight Al Qaeda? To keep a presence in Iraq and Afghanistan? Or are we planning on invading Iran and North Korea?

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 9:46 a.m.

    Excellent letter, Eric. What most of the commenters here don't understand is that Obama's proposal will affect only those with TAXABLE income over $250,000 (really $223,050 for married filing jointly). That means after all credits, deductions, and exemptions. If you work up a simple form 1040, with minimal credits and deductions, you find that a small business owner would have to clear at least $400,000 in profit before the Obama tax increases have any effect at all.

    Obama's proposal raises rates only in the two top tax bracket, one from 33 to 36 percent, the other from 35 to 39.6 percent. The first increase would apply only to TAXABLE income between $223,050 and $398,350. The second would apply only to TAXABLE income over $398,350. To reach the threshold for the top bracket, a small business owner would have to clear profit of well over a half million dollars. That's after all business expenses. The effective tax increase on someone earning $400,000 would be a little over 1 percent.

    And this is what all the fighting is over? No, liberal larry is right.

  • Henderson Orem, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 9:27 a.m.

    "Take another $10 million from Bill Gates and he probably won't even notice it. Give $10 each to a million homeless drunks on the streets who will immediately go buy a bottle and drink themselves into a blind stupor."

    And then you folks wonder why your party is looked at as the party for the rich? The party who demeans so many Americans?

    Is it any question why you folks are losing ground politically with each passing day? Shessh!

    What hateful hogwash!

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 9:24 a.m.

    I think that it is the level of taxation and the individuals and entities that are taxed that are the problem.

    Consider that over sixteen percent of our workforce works for government and is wholly paid for by the taxpayers.Although this is less than the proportion supported in socialist Sweden and the other Scandinavian nations, but it is more than in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, often referred to as "socialist" European nations) and less than Israel incidentally.

    Our Corporate tax is the highest in the world which drives corporations into foreign nations whose taxes are not so punitive and regressive. It robs us of jobs and increases dependence. We have substantial taxes levied on income, business, purchases, property which collectively are a drag on the eonomy and a burden on most of the people.

    There is room for cuts in what is called "defense" but is often not defensive at all, and there is also much room for cuts in expensive and negative bureaucracies which could be obtained fairly quickly through attrition, early retirement options etc.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 9:23 a.m.

    There's an excellent book everyone who cares should read. Doesn't matter if you think of yourself as right, left, Dem or Repub.

    "Who Stole the American Dream?" by Hedrick Smith is a carefully researched and objective look at how we got where we are now. It lays responsibility on those who deserve to bear it. Democrats, Republicans, Banks, Wall Street, corporations. He lays the facts out for readers to digest and then decide for themselves.

    Please read it if you care at all about trying to make America a better place for everyone.

    All of us who comment here have a responsibility to at least make an effort to learn facts rather than simply spouting empty opinions.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 9:11 a.m.

    Take another $10 million from Bill Gates and he probably won't even notice it. Give $10 each to a million homeless drunks on the streets who will immediately go buy a bottle and drink themselves into a blind stupor.

    That may make a bunch of people happy for a day. It might stimulate the business of the local bar or liquor store, but if you think such action will be a net benefit to society, you are just plain wrong.

    The best place for that $10 million is in the hands of the guy who earned it - Mr. Gates. He will probably use it to employ a 100 people to build something useful for the rest of us.

    My example may be extreme, but that is what happens to far too much of our tax money. Take it away from those who would use it productively and give it to those who would waste it away because they never earned it. Do that 16 trillion times and the nation goes the way of Greece.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Dec. 4, 2012 8:40 a.m.

    Taxes are indeed punitive for at least three reasons;
    #1: Taxes takes money out of the private sector that could have been used to build business, hire people, create wealth and expand economies. California, one of the highest taxed states in the country is an excellent example.
    #2: Our progressive tax system punishes success and forces business over seas (China). The legacy of high taxes in America= "Made in China".
    #3: Much of our taxes are wasted and squandered by the government. Solyndra, GSA scandals, fast and furious are some recent examples. Unlike the private sector, the government has no competitor to force them to be efficient.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Dec. 4, 2012 8:38 a.m.

    There is still something wrong with the story Mr. Richards is telling. The owners he is talking about own businesses that need capital improvements..can't get loans..& make profits over $250,000 a year. I dare any of you to call your local loan officer and check this's nonsense. These guys are spewing pure right wing ideology..and I'll bet all of them are in business in four years. The alternative is that they have a very bad bank. Also, if you make over $250,000 and have to close your business because you're going to pay an additional 3% in taxes on the monies you make over $250,000 you're not a very good manager or...and extremely greedy person.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 8:35 a.m.

    "Cut the military? The proper role of government is to protect life, liberty and property."

    Absolutely cut the military! How much do we need to outspend China before you folks consider us safe? 10x? 20x? 100x?

    Do you realize that we spend over 5x as much on defense spending as #2 China? 10x as much than #3 Russia? I'm pretty sure if anybody wanted to start something, we could handle them, easily.

    The other issue is with nation building. As long as we keep giving our children away and blank checks to the government, they'll keep putting us into voluntary wars. Much like your "starve the beast" mentality when it comes to taxes, lets "starve the beast" in military. Only then, will we use our armed forced for real threats, NOT NATION BUILDING.

    Lastly, why is it that repubs suspect all social programs in the government to be full of corruption and incompetence but give the military a free pass? If food stamps and SS are being abused, why not the military? Do you realize that they spent $5 billion on new pixilated uniforms which don't work? Now they're going back to the originals. Talk about wasteful spending!

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Dec. 4, 2012 8:33 a.m.

    Mike Richards,

    If the tax rates under consideration are no higher than what we had under Reagan or Clinton, then that they would be rates proven not to be problematic, right? Rates that have supported economic good times and have had republican support, true?

    As to the flat tax, I don’t think you would find any political appetite for someone making $10/hour paying the same taxes as the person making $100/hour. NTW though, whenever I have talked taxes with high earners, they are paying less than the middle class (as a percentage).


    The military is certainly a constitutional role. But what should be the percentage of our GDP going to the military? Ours outstrips ANY other country by huge margins. I’m not calling for disarmament, but we may need to take a hard look at whether we need all we pay for.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 8:31 a.m.

    Christian, just change one word in your comment and you'd be right.

    Change Republicans to Democrats and you'll have it correct.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 8:27 a.m.

    Maverick, your reply to Mike is simply outstanding. Thank you.

  • Christian 24-7 Murray, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 8:23 a.m.

    Well Eric, the plan congress and the president put in place, which we call the fiscal cliff, will pretty much do just that. So let's just go with it and see how it turns out. Republicans have no need to cave on their values.

    Just remember, they set this plan up to be so awful that it would force them to negotiate a long term coherent plan to replace it, so they wouldn't crash the economy. It would be better to go with a short term trial to find out it fails, than put a long term disaster just like it into law.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 8:20 a.m.

    If the increase is so small and will have no appreciable negative effect on the economy, why shouldn’t all pay it? Why not roll back ALL the cuts, including the payroll tax cut that has taken 1/6 of SS’s funding?

    What do you consider small? 4.6 is over 13% of 35, so you are really talking about an increase of over 13%; a 13% increase is small? And at 39.6%, the top tax rate would be nearly twice what King Noah levied on his people (before considerin local taxes). But I guess since it is other people’s money you are talking about, you have no problem taking it.

    As for increasing the wages on which SS taxes can be levied – all that does is kick the can down the road, since the level of SS benefits is based on the amount paid in – increasing the wages subject to the tax increases the benefits later paid to those who paid in.

    Taxes are evil when they create and maintain a culture of dependency, where he who is idle eats the bread and wears the garment of the laborer.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 8:07 a.m.

    "All the businesses that I work with are on the verge of closing."

    That's funny Mike, because the business that I work for is expanding. In fact, after being local for most of it's history, we've been expanding during this "Great Recession."

    Perhaps the businesses you work with are being mismanaged? Perhaps you folks are out of touch with not providing a product or service that is in high demand?

    While you're too busy complaining about the economy and taxes and blaming everything on Obama, many companies, like mine, are flourishing.

    Take a look at yourself and your failing businesses. Be accountable. Before you blame other persons or things on your failures. Be accountable. Many of us are seeing great success right now.

    Provide a good/service in high demand and it won't matter what the tax rate is or who is President.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    Dec. 4, 2012 7:15 a.m.

    Eric, nice letter, but you are missing the point of Grover's tax cutting efforts. He isn't trying to balance the budget, he is trying to make the federal government powerless and ineffective.

    "My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub".
    Grover Norquist

    For conservatives tax cutting is not about economics, it's about "starving the beast"!

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    Dec. 4, 2012 7:11 a.m.

    Cut the military? The proper role of government is to protect life, liberty and property. The President takes an oath of office to protect tis country from all enemies foreign or domestic. We need the military to protect us from our enemies and help other countries so they don't attack us. Of course military can't be everywere but should be were our national interests and prosperity lie.

    Taxes should be used for protection of life liberty and property, City and state taxes have far more basis like Education and fire and police. Not to take something someone else earned and give it to another. Since government can't create wealth that would dry up things real quick.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 4, 2012 6:54 a.m.

    If taxes are not TO BE punitive, they must be raised on everyone, equally; otherwise, by definition, they are punitive.

    Eric may think that taking another 2% or 5% of someone else's money would do no harm. If that is the case, then he should be first in line to ask the President to raise his taxes by that percent.

    All the businesses that I work with are on the verge of closing. Technically, all of the owners are part of that "rich guy" group targeted by Obama's tax increase. All of them need to make substantial capital improvements to their companies. Capital improvements come out of owner's equity - profits. They can't get loans and Obama is telling them that he has more right to their money than they do. They will close their businesses before they allow Obama to "target" them.

    ALL citizens must pay taxes - equally, I.e., the same tax rate. Anything else is discriminatory.