Larsen: The U.S. can't fund compassion if it has no money

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  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    March 28, 2018 9:15 a.m.

    You're right; the US can't fund compassion if it has no money.
    "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." Eisenhower warned us in 1953. He concluded "This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron".
    There's a grain of truth in Ike's words. We may not be able to fund compassion if we have no money. But, we have money. It all comes down to priorities.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 28, 2018 6:37 a.m.

    To "The Real Maverick" tell us how well throwing money at poor people has worked to eliminate poverty?

    You should realize that the liberal method of throwing money at a problem does NOT work.

  • The Real Maverick Spanish Fork, UT
    March 27, 2018 2:05 p.m.

    I bet if we throw more money at rich people then the country will have a lot more money to give to other countries in foreign aid. Nothing makes everyone else rich than throwing money at rich people. Right repubs?

  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    March 27, 2018 10:46 a.m.

    To "pragmatistferlife" not all regulations and programs have to do with income inequality, but there are many that do. So again, if we are increasing the size of government and income inequality is getting worse, why are we making the government bigger? Why wouldn't we look at what the government was doing when income was more equal and go back to that?

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    March 27, 2018 9:34 a.m.

    Speaking of the military, conservatives are always ready to give it huge increases in funding. But let's look at a few facts. Our defense budget is larger than the next eight countries combined. They are, in order of outlays, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, UK, Japan, and Germany. The obvious question is why we feel that we need to have this much military. The Pentagon is one of the largest landowners on earth. The US has 800 formal military bases in 80 countries. We have 138,000 troops stationed abroad. Only 11 other countries have bases in foreign countries, 70 total, which includes between 26 and 40 by Russia, mostly in former Soviet satellites.

    To claim that our military is too small or is being starved is to simply entertain fantasies. We could cut our military footprint around the world by 75 percent, cut our costs drastically, and allow our allies (and some who aren't all that friendly) to protect themselves.

  • patrioticAMERICAN South Jordan, UT
    March 27, 2018 9:13 a.m.

    I thought this article well reasoned & thoughtful. But there is one flaw in it. It assumes our gov't is capable of reasonable & practical solutions. Nothing could be further from the truth right now, at least at a federal level--b/t the tennis vollying incompetence of the president, the tribalism of Congress & Trump's administration, & the bribing of officials by powerful business & special interest group lobbyists, nothing useful or practical will get done.

    When money in the form of huge tax cuts is handed to already wealthy corps on a silver platter, w/o any real incentive or mandate to share the wealth with their employees (& worker protections are being removed at alarming rate), don't expect the greed of the rich & powerful to subside.

    When the Pentagon can't account for $800 million taxpayer $$ it spent, & Trump & his cabinet members are wasting our tax dollars on expensive travel & unnecessary & extravagant furniture & equip., don't expect gov't spending to come under control or the deficit to be reduced.

    Nothing will happen until we alleviate the tribalism by electing more Independents, hold gov't agencies accountable & get rid of our corrupt , incomperent leaders.

  • pragmatistferlife Salt Lake City, UT
    March 27, 2018 9:04 a.m.

    Redshirt.."If government is the solution, why is it that things are getting worse as we get more government solutions?"

    Your question is nonsense. You make the assumption that all regulations have something to do with income inequality, otherwise why would you link the total of regulation growth to the growth of income inequality.

    You can't do jabbwerwockery and expect an answer.

  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    March 27, 2018 6:45 a.m.

    To "Roland Kayser" what does spending as a percent of GDP have to do with the size of government. I could have a small government that spends a lot of money.

    Here are the facts. In 1970 the federal register was 20,000 pages long. By 2016 it had grown to 95,000 pages. That is the growth of government in our lives. You see, it takes people to administer all of those rules, programs, and regulations, in addition to all of the money that it costs to meet those regulations.

    Now, as Marxist said, we have more income inequality now than we did 30 years ago. If government is the solution, why is it that things are getting worse as we get more government solutions?

  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    March 26, 2018 4:53 p.m.

    To "Roland Kayser" what does expenditures have to do with government growth??

    The facts are simple. We have more laws and regulations now than we did 30 years ago. That is government growth.

    We have gone from 20,000 pages of regulation in 1970 to 95,000 in 2016. That is growth of government.

    We are more regulated now than we ever have been. Has the nearly 5X increase in regulations made income equality go away or decrease? If you say anything other than No, you are a liar. However, as Marxist pointed out, income inequality has increased. It has increased as we regulated the economy more. If government is the solution, why is it making things worse?

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 26, 2018 4:38 p.m.

    @RedShirt: Federal spending in 1982 (Reagan's first budget year) was 22.21% of GDP. Federal spending in 2017 (Obama's last budget year) was 20.51% of GDP. Contrary to your assertions, government has not grown. Some regulations have increased, some have decreased. Your view is simply not supported by facts.

  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    March 26, 2018 12:28 p.m.

    To "marxist " lets review what has gone on over the past 30 years. We have more government and more regulation. That means we are moving towards the collectivist ideal that you and your ilk want. Why should we add more regulation and more government if we already have 30 years of those ideas failing? Do we just not have enough government? How much more government is needed until everybody is equally poor?

    To "JoeBlow" we don't have to pick and choose. First, we go through the Constitution, and anything specifically mentioned there will get funding. That means the Military gets funding. The only decisions to be made are the priorities after that, but we can't spend more than what is collected in taxes. So, that means if there isn't enough money for SNAP, then SNAP doesn't get funding. If there isn't enough money for SS, then that will also end up under funded.

    There will be pain for a decade or so, but after that, the US could get the debt taken care of so that the compassionate programs could be funded without adding to the debt.

  • Thomas Jefferson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 26, 2018 10:02 a.m.

    The most popular job in about 40 states is truck driver. What are those guys going to do in 10-20 years when we dont need them? At some time in the future there simply wont be jobs for everyone. What then Sutherland think* tank?

    Deficits never matter and there is always money for tax cuts for millionaires when 'conservatives' are in charge. Then when the dems take control (of even one of the houses or the presidency) the cry about deficits is deafening.

    Part of any solution for the future is single payer healthcare. Continue to ignore that fact at your own (and the rest of the country's) peril.

    *term used loosely

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    March 26, 2018 7:29 a.m.

    "The U.S. can't fund compassion if it has no money."

    This is a fabulously wealthy country, so much so that retirement should be comfortable for all. Why won't we make it so? Because our ideology has it that the market is almost always fair, i.e. transactions involve the exchange of equivalents. This is generally true, EXCEPT for the labor market. While labor gets what it needs to keep going more or less, labor's surplus is taken by capital as profit. Our system runs on the exploitation of labor.

    The treatment of labor in this system is justification for government to tax capital enough to make retirement secure for all.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 26, 2018 7:28 a.m.

    And the US cant fund the military either, if it has no money.

    Many want to pick and choose.

    You complain that we have higher corporate taxes than some other countries, and that is true. But let me throw a few facts your way.

    According to the Tax policy center, Corporate taxes collected in 2017 were just under $420 billion.

    In 2019 our defense/Military budget will be $700 billion.

    If the US spent $280 Billion on defense we could cut the corporate tax rate to zero.
    And, before you balk at a mere $280 billion for defense, that is well under what China and Russia spend combined.

    Bottom line is this. You cant cherry pick which numbers you want to compare to other countries without factoring in the spending.

    Tell me. Why do our politicians keep producing Abrams tanks when the military doesnt want them? Politics, plain and simple.

    How about we "starve" the military beast for a bit and force them to cut their fraud and abuse?

  • Ranch Here, UT
    March 26, 2018 6:42 a.m.

    Yet we have money to give another HUGE increase to the military.

  • Utefan60 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 26, 2018 5:51 a.m.

    They give trillions in tax breaks to the rich and then bad mouth the poor and supposed "entitlements" as an excuse to continue with their greed and dishonesty.

    Why is it every time a Republican is in office our deficits soar and then the next Democrat has to reduce the deficit and try to maintain important programs that have been destroyed by the GOP.

    Obama faced this issue head on after he inherited the previous Republican's disaster of an economy and deficits. He did what Clinton did, and reduced the deficit. Now we see Trump increasing the deficit by over 1.8 trillion as a give back to Corporations and the ultra rich.

    So those who say we don't have enough money for entitlements, I ask them why did we have enough money for the biggest entitlement of all, free money to the rich?

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    March 25, 2018 9:54 p.m.

    Again Roland nailed it. The problem with this analysis, as with all thinking from right-wing outlets (like the Sutherland Institute), is that they ignore the actual causes of our problems. Yes, as long as we remain one of the most undertaxed nations on earth, as long as we give massive tax breaks to the rich, and as long as we allow corporations to pay miserly wages, then of course we will have problems with budget arithmetic. But this problem is not hard to solve. If we taxed like our parents and grandparents were willing to do in order to pay off our WWII debt, then we would have enough to help the poor, the sick, and the elderly.

    And if we were really serious about eliminating the inexcusable inequality that four decades of supply-side economics has left us, we would require corporations, who are chartered by government (by us, the people), to share their wealth with all employees, through some form of worker ownership (ESOPs, profit-sharing, or other programs). As long as we treat workers as a cost to be minimized, we will always have massive inequality and too much poverty. This is not rocket science, except to conservatives.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    March 25, 2018 5:13 p.m.

    I support government assistance as a means to an end. I do not believe in a lifetime of food stamps or any other program. I believe poverty is highly individualistic and the situations surrounding it may require a minor adjustment for an individual or they may need major intervention.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    March 25, 2018 2:43 p.m.

    Here is a fact: the distribution of wealth in the United States has become spectacularly top heavy the last 30 years. The share of wealth claimed by the top 20% has exploded from 20% to over 50% during this time period. Now I know talking distribution is not PC, but it is a fact. Why has this happened?

    Marx's surplus value is a fact. It must be admitted to so-called mainstream economics. Surplus value is the portion of labor's addition to value for which it is not compensated. And the rate of surplus value has exploded over these 30 years. Any proposals to to deal with poverty, and the general plight of the working class must recognize surplus value.

    Unless Marx is let into the economics "mainstream" we will continue to blunder to the destruction of the current economic system.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 25, 2018 2:19 p.m.

    One point this piece omits is that taxes in the U.S. are just about the lowest in the developed world. Combine this with the fact the we pay far more for healthcare than anyone else, and you get to the root of our problem. Combine an moderate increase in taxes with a cut to medical costs to get them in line with the rest of the world, and the problem is solved.

  • What in Tucket Provo, UT
    March 25, 2018 2:10 p.m.

    Somewhere along the way we must get our spending order. One possible solution to the entitlement problem is the negative income tax. $13,000 given to every adult 21 and older. $3,000 is for health insurance. That is the bad part a dole. But this would eliminate Medicaid, Social Security, Medicare, and Welfare and the huge bureaucracies that run them. Worth discussing. Anyone earning over $25,000 a year pays back at the rate of a 20% tax until he earns $75,000 or more.