A child’s curiosity and natural desire to learn are like a tiny flame, easily extinguished unless it’s protected and given fuel. This book will help you as a parent both protect that flame of curiosity and supply it with the fuel necessary to make it burn bright throughout your child’s life. Let’s ignite our children’s natural love of learning!
May 11th, 2011
Of Soft Hearts and Social Safety Nets
I received a Facebook message this morning from a woman with whom I am not “friends” on that website. She asked if I had said the following:
I’ll be blunt: under the proper system that abolishes Medicaid and relies upon private, charitable assistance as a “social net,” people will die. Needs will go unfulfilled. This happens around the world every day, of course. People die. People suffer. It’s life.
I replied that I had indeed said that. The comments stem from this Facebook conversation, where a discussion on the war on drugs took a tangent to Medicaid, and elicited the above response. That response, however, is an edited of version of what I really did say. I’m not sure who sent this woman my comment, and if it was they or she who edited it, but here is the full comment:
Switching gears to your Medicaid example, I’ll be blunt: under the proper system that abolishes such a system (whether immediately or after a transition of a few years) and relies upon private, charitable assistance as a “social net,” people will die. People won’t get the medical care they want, or think they deserve. There will be needs that will go unfulfilled.
This happens around the world every day, of course. Few Americans would tolerate a system that taxes them at a rate of 90% to better provide vaccinations, food, and supplies to impoverished people around the world. People die. People suffer. It’s life.
Call it ideal, but I can’t endorse a system, even for pragmatic reasons, that uses immoral means to pursue moral ends. As bad as it would be to know that people are dying of hunger or sickness in a system that doesn’t forcibly tax people to provide for them, it is only that system that has any moral standing.
If we support a system that pragmatically sets aside the ideals in favor of “helping” those in need, where is the line drawn? There is no line drawn, as the foundation is a sandy, shaky mess. Seeing where that pragmatic system has led us in the past 70 years is sufficient evidence, I think.
Having received confirmation that I had indeed said that, this woman replied with the following:
You have a child. It is possible that one day that precious child could be the one whose needs you are saying may need to go unfulfilled. I hope that statement never comes back to haunt you. [Utah Senator] Dan [Liljenquist’s Medicaid reform] has a security net that keeps us from sinking to the level of nonchalantness you seem to possess. I hope you will soften your heart. There is a happy medium.
One might expect that I took issue with this reply. So, the following is my response, which I decided to openly share so that others might hopefully stop perpetuating the falsehoods in her comment.
In objection to my stance that taxation-based social “safety nets” should be done away with, you advise me to have a softened heart. You point to the fact that I have children, suggesting that should they have any severe medical needs in the future, I would be a willing and grateful participant in the system, using what money I could get from the government to assist my child.
You don’t know me, so allow me to share with you some personal insight in response. I do so not to boast, but to dispel a dangerous myth that persists in our society, namely, that those who oppose government intervention in the private charity system are cruel and hard-hearted.
I have a soft heart. My softened heart has led me to serve the people in Honduras, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. It has taken me to Africa, along with thousands of dollars and dozens of boxes of supplies raised for the impoverished children there, to witness the extreme temporal suffering of God’s children on “the other side,” as my friends in Zambia would say. That soft heart led me to organize a fundraiser last fall for the widow and children of a slain LDS Bishop, raising $70,000 for their ongoing needs.
That heart, along with my wife’s, leads us to sponsor two children in poor countries so they can be well clothed, sufficiently fed, and receive a good education. It leads us to be investors in dozens of entrepreneurs around the world who are looking to improve their lives through industry and innovation. It leads us to identify family members and friends who are going through financial hardship, taking advantage of opportunities to help them directly.
I could go on, but at this point it feels both awkward and invasive. You hopefully see my point. In case you don’t, let me explicitly state it: Recognizing that all that I have comes from God, and that He has commanded me to help those in need, I proactively and repeatedly seek out opportunities to share the resources with which I have been blessed. I do so not out of a sense of obligation, but out of a sincere desire to improve others’ lives, as my own life is in turn improved. I have had a number of deeply spiritual and humbling experiences throughout this process.
In contrast, I would argue that one’s support for or reliance upon a government welfare system is an indication not of a soft heart, but of a hardened one. That hardened heart endorses the use of violence against those who would prefer not to be forced to contribute into a system riddled with fraud, mismanagement, inefficiency, and bloat. That hardened heart, rather than being sensitive to the factors involved, willingly ignores this basic fact. It desires to not concern itself with the reality that it employs immoral means to pursue moral ends.
A soft heart looks for ways to solve the problem and assist those in need, and encourage others through persuasion to do the same. A hard heart looks to the government to force participation in a system that supposedly will solve the problem.
A soft heart shuns violence, accepts the trials of life, and is appreciative of the aid of friends, family, and strangers alike who seek to help relieve a burden. A hard heart focuses only on the end result, gladly accepting (and in many cases demanding) any source of assistance in relieving or removing the burden.
A soft heart respects the life, liberty, and property of others, and does not seek to force a burden upon another person, instead relying upon their voluntary consent. A hard heart demands that others provide their assistance.
Now, as for my children. I can honestly say that I would sell all my worldly possessions in order to pay for any needed medical expenses before even exploring the thought of participating in a government welfare system. I would turn to family and friends for aid, and incur whatever debt was required in order to help my children. Only in the most extreme of circumstances would I even give thought to using government programs, let alone decide to actually use them — and this only because I have been forcibly taxed already.
This by no means is any sort of support for that system, for as I have said previously many times, I support the complete abolition of such “safety nets.” It is a dangerous argument to make, for the system is perpetuated by those who think they have paid into it, and therefore are free to use it. This, of course, is a vicious cycle which (as costs rise) only adds to the size and scope of the system. I cannot in good conscience consent to that cycle.
I hope I’ve made myself clear. To argue that I do not have a soft heart (especially when you do not know me, but only judge me based on a single political position) is naïve and misguided. To assert that if I did have a soft heart, I would support the use of violence (forcible taxation and the penalties for non-compliance) seems, to me, to be a blatant oxymoron.
The charitable care and welfare of our fellow man must be carried out through moral means. The use of government to pursue those means immediately introduces an element of immorality into the process (the use of force against peaceful people), and should therefore be rejected.
65 Responses to “Of Soft Hearts and Social Safety Nets”
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No, a soft heart does not equal ignorant! Education of principles is the key! “….In questions of powers, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” Thomas Jefferson
As usual, very well spoken!
By the way, well said Connor. We live in a world where false concepts have been handed down and people have grown to EXPECT entitlements as if it their constitutional right. In fact, they fight for them as if it is a liberty those who understand seek to take from them! Now tell me the public educational system hasn’t caused the majority of this evil!
“Now, as for my children. I can honestly say that I would sell all my worldly possessions in order to pay for any needed medical expenses before even exploring the thought of participating in a government welfare system. I would turn to family and friends for aid, and incur whatever debt was required in order to help my children. Only in the most extreme of circumstances would I even give thought to using government programs, let alone decide to actually use them — and this only because I have been forcibly taxed already.”
Connor, there are those of us who have already done this very thing. We have fund raised. We have relied on family. We have sold more than there is space to type here. We did keep our home. Why? Because I was the general contractor on this home. I hired my own subs. Reed did a vast amount of work on this home. Our monthly payments are just barely more than the teeny apartment married by tomorrow daughter and son in law are renting. It didn’t make much sense to sell this home and then try and rent for more than what we are paying now. I have other kids who need a home too. However we did empty our savings accounts. Emptied my kids college funds. Sold everything but the one car that fits all of Parker’s medical supplies in, and we already owned outright. My husband drives a 1985 VW that was gifted to us.
I won’t tell you how hard we fund raised. Unfortunately we were unable to raise anywhere near $70,000 dollars. And we figure that it would take close to $80,000 dollars AFTER our insurance pays out to keep Parker alive, on an on going basis. That amount doesn’t include surgeries. Parker had two this year alone.
I think it is kinda disingenuous to say you would do away with these programs without FIRST working to put up new structures in place. For me, to shrug and simply say, “Hey, people die.”, is unacceptable.
The difference between you and I Connor is that I would be out there fighting to help you keep your two beautiful little ones alive.
You, in turn, look at me and tell me that I should realize that it’s simply life for my son to suffer and die.
You are right. Medicaid is riddled with fraud and other things. Maybe, before we throw the whole system out, we could deal with the issues of fraud, mismanagement, and inefficency. There are those, like myself, who would head the fray in doing this. As a matter of fact I’m working to get Dan L’s reform plans out to the entire special needs community in our state.
You say my heart is hardened because I have turned to Medicaid for Parker. No. My heart is beyond HUMBLED because of my need to turn to Medicaid for Parker. I realize where this money has come from. I tread on it as lightly as possible. I cloth diaper rather than rely on diapers from Medicaid. I create a blenderized diet rather than use the formula from Medicaid. And I just paid out of pocket for a prescription that Medicaid would have paid for, but I knew I could afford.
There IS a middle ground. It can be attained. And it can save lives.
There are many in our country who do NOT have a problem with their tax dollars going to the very needest in our country. Not everyone believes these tax dollars are robbing them.
I invited both you and Carl Wimmer to my home to meet Parker. I invited you to come and witness the real life other side of this coin. But I heard back for neither of you.
John Dougal and Holly Richardson both chose to come and talk.
I wish you had too.
(I’m writing this a bit on the fly. I want you to know that my thoughts here come with sincerity and respect.)
Tammy, I believe you have isolated your creativity. Does God want you child alive? At least, I am sure he wants His power to be manifest in your boy (miracles.mrandrew.com). But you cannot expect others to be forced against their will to have compassion. This is the whole reason for there to be a great war in heaven. There is no middle ground. Hot or cold are your only options. Not to sound insensitive….
It sounds like what you need is a miracle (GOD), not “socialism” (other people’s money or a doctor).
Although I genuinely appreciate what you have said here, I currently don’t agree 100% with your conclusions (which is really different for me because I usually want to comment “ditto” on most of your blog entries, heh).
I might be a misguided, still-ignorant heretic but I’ve seen too many people in the situation of Parker’s family above, for example, and I think it a bit presumptuous of those who seem to blithely assume that God himself would certainly disapprove of those who make use of such benefits. Or that God certainly disapproves of communities and nations that vote to provide such benefits.
I agree with many of your sentiments about hard-heartedness versus soft-heartedness. I agree that our current U.S. safety nets are riddled with misguided and — sure, even clearly — immoral principles and tenets. Nevertheless I believe abolishing them entirely instead of reforming them might be more immoral than continuing to bless — however inefficiently, inexpertly, and haphazardly — those who truly are blessed and helped by our current system.
I’m simply not as anarchist as many here might be. I believe that good and wise government was indeed “instituted of God for the benefit of man” (D&C 134:1) and *can* include some official benefits provided to the truly poor and needy. To argue that doing so *always* violates the very next verse regarding “free exercise of conscience, [and] the right and control of property” is something that I currently don’t agree with – though perhaps when I get to read the rest of your book you might finally convince me. 😉
Until I see more well-run charities that I could trust that might reasonably be able to help the most needy amongst us (and I’ll be honest, my current belief is that God *does* appreciate when our current government programs help out good, honest people in horrible circumstances due to our free choices as a nation in electing to continue these opportunities) then I’m going to stand with many US Founding Fathers — and many LDS Church authorities who have publicly disagreed with certain other LDS Church authorities (for example) on their more extremist non-doctrinal declarations regarding this topic — who expanded their vision of ‘good and proper government’ to include some choosing to provide certain things like libraries, roads, and social safety nets for the good of the assenting government community. I know that there is always a delicate balance there (the tyranny of the majority, the questions of assent) but I do not believe that it is an absolute *either/or* — in fact, I believe that to postulate such a thing is to advocate either complete tyranny *or* complete anarchy . . . which seems less wise to me than really working on that balance.
Finally, and perhaps a bit too off-topic, I recently read the biography of William Wilberforce that inspired that great film ‘Amazing Grace’. I was intrigued by his passionate devotion to promoting the choice of community (and even national) governments to provide social safety nets. He was convinced that God wanted communities to choose to vote to do so. I’m still not convinced otherwise.
Tammy: The difference between you and I Connor is that I would be out there fighting to help you keep your two beautiful little ones alive.
You, in turn, look at me and tell me that I should realize that it’s simply life for my son to suffer and die.
Tammy, knowing Connor, you are absolutely wrong. He would be out there fighting to help you keep your two beautiful little ones alive. He’d be on the front lines of that battle. He would simply refuse to coerce anyone into helping, and in so doing, he would keep his integrity alive. You would jeopardize your integrity by using coercion to do so. THAT is the difference.
In all reality, if we turn to violence and coercion, we have already lost the battle. Integrity is more sacred than life itself.
The ultimate in hypocrisy from these alleged “soft-hearted” God-fearing Christian people, is that in accusing us of having a hard heart because we strongly oppose legal plunder, is that in believing that God is a God of miracles, He must also have a hard heart for letting his children suffer and/or die when he could have merely stretched out his hand and saved someone from their trials.
Having lost my wife to cancer and seeing the many wonderful things that were a part of that difficult and trying experience, I feel even stronger in trusting in the Lord and not in my government than I ever did before. Those who call you hard-hearted for your honorable position which is perfectly aligned with God’s plan, are actually showing their selfish side, as well as their lack of faith in God’s plan. Their belief that “God wants the government to steal from you in order to save my son because I lack the faith to let Heavenly Father do His work on earth” is a very short-sighted point of view.
I should add that I strongly second Jeff T.’s comments . . . apparently I skimmed that comment too quickly to notice the unfair accusation of Connor. These are tough questions and situations. I hope we can try to be “soft-hearted” in our discussion of them, heh.
Certainly I do not want to put words in Connor’s mouth, but Connor never said he would do away with entitlement programs without putting something in their place, or without some sort of transition. He has merely stated the ideal–a lack of government force, which therefore means the end of government-provided entitlement programs.
Politically moving to this ideal from one day to the next is likely untenable. But what if we had a 5 or 10 year transition period? What if during that period the programs were financed not by taxation, but by the sale or lease of government assets, or some other form of revenue legitimately available to the federal government?
Regardless, there is no morally justified position for programs like Medicaid as long as they are funded by forcefully taking from one group to help another. It is no different than me breaking into my neighbor’s house and stealing their money to pay for my child’s treatment. The only difference is that we have a government that has said this is legal as long as they are in charge of the process. But it is a form of theft just the same.
To say it is morally acceptable because we voted for it doesn’t work, because not all of us voted for it. This is no different than if you and your neighbors got together and voted to take all the possessions of another neighbor. Just because a majority voted for it doesn’t make it right.
But regardless of the moral perspective, Medicaid will disappear. Just as individuals with credit cards but no financial skills eventually face reality when their cards max out, our country is close to maxing out its credit cards. We are headed towards a debt crisis that threatens to eliminate many of our government programs, and Medicaid is likely to be one. The real question is not whether we keep Medicaid in its original form or reform it to make it more efficient, but whether we want to phase it out, giving those who have become dependent on it time to adjust and make preparations, or if we want to ignore the problem until things become so bad that Medicaid disappears overnight. It seems to me much more compassionate to look for ways to phase it out.
Monte! God is a god of miracles; well said.
I get where you are coming from. Pragmatically, I tend to vote for people who espouse the same principles you are promoting. I voted for Utah Senator Mike Lee who advocates phasing out the untenable Social Security system and that is one of his platform positions that makes sense to me. I am a huge fan of Ron Paul (again somebody I’ve actually voted for when given the opportunity as in the GOP Presidential Primary) who also speaks quite often about the mess we are in with unfundable mandates and corrupt socialist systems — but again, Ron Paul is one who advocates wisely and compassionately phasing these things out rather than calling for their immediate abolishment whereas he does call for the more immediate abolishment of other programs like the Federal Reserve, corporate welfare, and expensive, unnecessary wars of aggression.
That said, it’s the idea that ‘a community cannot vote for anything that isn’t unanimously assented to’ that intrigues me most. That’s where the balancing act comes in for me. You say: “This is no different than if you and your neighbors got together and voted to take all the possessions of another neighbor. Just because a majority voted for it doesn’t make it right.”
Do you feel the same way about roads? Education? National Defense? Where do you draw the lines and why? Imho, my most intellectually honest friends who do espouse such views *do* feel the same way about ‘government education’ and ‘government infrastructure’. Few feel ‘national defense’ is quite so inappropriate — and they cite principles articulated in the US Constitution to explain why, but even then my question remains: if your elected representatives were to vote by majority that outrageous and untenably expensive actions constituted ‘national defense’ (or ‘general welfare’ or ‘interstate commerce’ or ‘naturalization’ or some other enumerated Constitutional power) — and you do not agree — at what point has their vote become an immoral theft of your property and what is the appropriate remedy?
Doug, that is the problem. The context to the Con Con has been lost. So a representative under the confines of the Bill of Rights CANNOT have the ability to take our guns and have security at an airport violate the 4th amendment. HOWEVER, because the context is lost and evil men have put their own spin on what is right and what is wrong, we are lost. And to the tune of your latter statement I believe our sentiment and action should be that of our founding fathers, “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” Personally I would try a vote of no confidence and attempt to re-establish order first and then, if that failed I would take up arms given I had enough people to affect the restoration of freedom. If I go to prison for such talk, then so be it. I side with the founders and they put their lives and fortunes on the chopping block. Should we be any different?
Very well put Connor, Thank You! I would go a little further on the last line of paragraph 15 which states,”It desires to not concern itself with reality that it employs immoral means to pursue moral ends.” My opinion is that it employs immoral means to pursue the “appearance of'” moral ends. A ” social net” to me would be like selling you an apple in a shiny new container, the apple is rotten , but you are not allowed to see the apple, only the container. Sorry if I am being picky, maybe I am more cynical of what the government is doing than you are. Thanks for clearly teaching the concept. Ryan
Hi Doug, with regards to roads and education I’m in favor of privatization. As with Medicaid, these services are provided to specific people by forcefully taking from others. The only place where I feel force is justified is in national defense, and there only because if a country is attacked, then those who will not contribute to its defense but whom enjoy the protections thereof are effectively aiding the enemy and committing a passive act of aggression. Perhaps my mind could be changed on this matter, but that’s how I see things currently.
But to answer the latter part of the question, theft occurs when something you own is taken from you against your will. The options a person has when they feel they are not well represented by their government officials are:
1. Move to another jurisdiction.
2. Try to convince their officials to change the policy or policies in question.
3. Replace the officials.
These are solutions for anyone, anywhere, regardless of the government. Within the United States there are two more options, each a bit extreme, but I believe justified under certain conditions:
Of course these last two are not options available to individuals, but rather states.
This all does get a bit tricky with national defense, because how do we define national defense? Some would say it’s something on the order of 1% of what we currently have. Other think the 900+ military bases and troops in 134 countries around the world is necessary for our national defense.
Rats, I have to run, otherwise I’d ramble on a bit more, but I’ve got to cut things off there.
“To say it is morally acceptable because we voted for it doesn’t work, because not all of us voted for it. This is no different than if you and your neighbors got together and voted to take all the possessions of another neighbor. Just because a majority voted for it doesn’t make it right.”
I’d like to point out that your argument also works in the inverse here. To say that Medicaid should be ended because only a few feel that way doesn’t work either.
It doesn’t work from an ecclesiastical stand point when I meet with my Bishop AND Stake President and a friend of my parents who is a member of the 70 and EACH of these men reply that if we have done all we can ourselves, and we have turned to our family, community and fundraising, then they feel it is indeed acceptable to then turn to the state.
It doesn’t work from a constitutional stand point when I talk with many legislators who believe a state run program for the very weakest amongst us would be constitutional
“Certainly I do not want to put words in Connor’s mouth, but Connor never said he would do away with entitlement programs without putting something in their place, or without some sort of transition. He has merely stated the ideal–a lack of government force, which therefore means the end of government-provided entitlement programs.”
If Connor does have plans to create something in the place of the existing social infrastructure, I’d love to hear about it.
“Tammy, knowing Connor, you are absolutely wrong. He would be out there fighting to help you keep your two beautiful little ones alive. He’d be on the front lines of that battle. He would simply refuse to coerce anyone into helping, and in so doing, he would keep his integrity alive. You would jeopardize your integrity by using coercion to do so. THAT is the difference.”
Jeff, that may very well be true. I’m going off of what Connor has written above:
“Switching gears to your Medicaid example, I’ll be blunt: under the proper system that abolishes such a system (whether immediately or after a transition of a few years) and relies upon private, charitable assistance as a “social net,” people will die. People won’t get the medical care they want, or think they deserve. There will be needs that will go unfulfilled.”
“People die. People suffer. It’s life.”
I sincerely believe that there is a way to make infrastructure for the weakest work. Make people accountable. I even told those floating the idea of making people work for Parker’s Medicaid to sign me up.
There are only 80 kids in the entire state that have waivers. 80. It’s not the disability based Medicaid that is causing the fiscal issues. This community has grown at a constant 3% over the years.
Andrew, Parker IS the miracle.
Through blessings and time in the temple, I know my responsibility to make sure Parker is able to receive the care he needs.
“Having lost my wife to cancer and seeing the many wonderful things that were a part of that difficult and trying experience, I feel even stronger in trusting in the Lord and not in my government than I ever did before.”
“Those who call you hard-hearted for your honorable position which is perfectly aligned with God’s plan, are actually showing their selfish side, as well as their lack of faith in God’s plan.”
Monte, PROVE to me that it isn’t God’s plan for Parker to live. While it has taken me awhile to get to this point, trust me when I say I have the ultimate faith in God’s plan. Without that faith I would have jumped off a cliff months ago.
For you to infer that I don’t have faith in God’s will because of Parker’s medicaid waiver is quite simply ridiculous.
If someone gets into a car accident……should we simply allow them to die in the street rather than take them to the emergency room? Because if God meant for them to live, well, they wouldn’t need that emergency room now would they?
“Their belief that “God wants the government to steal from you in order to save my son because I lack the faith to let Heavenly Father do His work on earth” is a very short-sighted point of view.”
My faith is strong. I’ve been through hell and back and am closer to my Father in Heaven than I ever was before.
Our family is stronger than it has ever been before.
To try and tell me that I should allow my son to die to increase my faith is ludicrous.
There are more then 80 kids on a waiver. There are more then 80 kids that are disabled that are on medicaid in Utah. Oh my that is just sheer ignorance to think otherwise.
Beyond that there is more then just the waiver that Parker is on in Utah. If you qualify for SSI in Utah as a child, that automatically qualifies you for medicaid. Primary or secondary depending on what one has insurance.
Point blank there are multiple studies that have been done. The disabled cost the most by shocking amounts then the “poor” on medicaid.
Think of it this way. Parker costs aprx $70-$80K on medicaid. Do you actually think your average child who is on medicaid due to very low income actually costs that much? Do the math. In the end these are the ones that need to have the focus on …not on how to kick them off, but on how to make it efficient. To try and get as many of them on regular insurance as possible. Do you know that many states will actually pay for the insurance premium of a child disabled…just to keep them on regular insurance….why? Ask tammy how much his insurance pays for him. Not to mention Now that “obamacare” has made it so that parents of children who are 18-26 can stay on there insurance. Utah should be working to get as many of those parents to do so as possible.
Do you understand though, that when that ex: Adult with down Syndrome turns 27 there is no way they can stay on there parents insurance. There is NO WAY they can get , currently, private insurance. Private insurance refuses to insure people with down syndrome. That adult with down syndrome …now must go on medicaid..as there is literally nothing left, no other options. Has it even occurred to you folk who want to abolish medicaid that there are these adults on medicaid who have and have always been disabled that cannot be insured otherwise. What do we do with them if we don’t???
I’m sure that there will be more that I’ll respond later too. ..but our country is not just founded on the gun rights, and freedom of speech. Remember “we are created equal”. Do we really have to go back to “we are created equal unless your born with an extra chromosome…then we will just house you in a cage until you die”. I don’t want to go back to that. and most of our country..cannot stomach it either.
fyi for the private education. Same issue. We are created equal. We are not allowed to discriminate when it comes to a child’s schooling. That pesky supreme court put a stop to that..and it’s not going to get undone because that is exactly what we will get. your rich…you get school. your poor. you do not. FYI this country grows because we are all schooled. The more uneducated people we have..the more we will falter. All you have to do is look at the dark ages and see how on earth they got out of that (they started teaching everyone to read).
Tammy, I don’t have much to add to the mix here except best wishes for you and your son.
Indulge me in the telling of a story. There is a sick, homeless man named Bill who resides on the sidewalk of a town. One day, another man named Tom comes along and says “Bill, I’ve decided to take care of you.” Tom picks Bill up, takes him to a barber to get cleaned up, to a doctor to get checked out and get him on some meds for various conditions he’s picked up by living on the streets, and then puts him up in an apartment. Bil is duly grateful, and amazed at how his life has suddenly improved.
This goes on for several years, Tom supporting Bill financially and taking care of him. But one day, it all unravels. It turns out Tom has been breaking into homes, stealing money and valuables, and it is with this ill-gotten gain that he has been supporting Tom. But now Tom has been caught. Those who have been robbed by Tom take him to court, and demand justice.
However, at the court those who have been robbed are stunned by the ruling of the judge. The judge rules, not that Tom must repay those who have been robbed, but that Tom be established as the permanent caretaker of Bill, at the continued expense of those who have been robbed. The judge reasons that if the flow of cash that has been passing through Tom’s hands on the way to Bill suddenly disappears, then Bill will be back out on the street. It would be very bad for Bill, the judge reasons, and we cannot do this to him. And since Tom has been taking such good care of Bill, it’s only reasonable to allow him to continue doing so.
The plaintiffs cannot believe what is happening, but when they complain to the judge, the judge chides them for being selfish. Can’t they see how good this is for Bill? Do they just want to throw poor old Bill out in the street to rot? What’s Bill supposed to do, just roll over and die? How dare they complain.
Our government can only give to one if it takes from another. If paying into Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, etc. were voluntary, that would be one thing, but it is not. What is rightfully ours is taken from us, under the threat of violence, and given to others. Yes, in some cases it is given back to us, but still, the process does not allow anyone to opt out. As laudable, noble, and beneficial the intended or actual results may be, and whether or not they are deemed constitutional, legal, etc., these programs remain a form of coercion and theft. There is no moral justification for their existence, any more than there is for Tom to steal in order to give to Bill.
If Bill does go back out on the street, who is to blame? We should not blame those who are trying to defend themselves from a thief, but we should blame the thief. In the real world outside this story, far more damage is done than just the theft itself. Government interference in health care has led to wildly inflated costs, inefficiency, and slower rates of innovation. Drugs and treatment that would take a few years to develop take several years if not more than a decade. Many medical treatments go completely undeveloped because the cost of complying with government regulations makes it financially impossible. The work that would be done by charities is stifled, because money that would go to charity instead goes to inefficient, bloated government programs.
A world without Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and many of the other government programs that hold us back would not be dreary, cruel, and frightful, but on the contrary would be bright, innovative, and hopeful. The transition could be rough, but once there, we would see unprecedented innovation in health care and medicine. Conditions and diseases that are untreatable or extremely expensive to treat might be cured within 10 years instead of 20 or 30. Others that would never come to light due to government regulations would. Somehow we assume that things would be worse without the massive government interference we currently have, and have had for decades. But reality is precisely the opposite of this, and the sooner we realize that these entitlement programs are designed to enslave us by buying our votes, the sooner we can free ourselves and enjoy the rewards of living in a free society.
Sarah, in my research and in talking to Parker’s case worker there are 80 spots on the Travis C. Waiver and three other waivers *combined*. As the acuity grid gets raised….kids get kicked off. In the overall scheme of Medicaid in Utah waivers are a very small part of the whole.
Now, not all kids are on Waivers.
Then there is DSPD with it’s now 10 year waiting list. And the SSI connection that you mentioned.
As far as the Math goes, according to Utah Senator Dan Liljenquist, the Medicaid that goes to the disabled population is MUCH less over all than the Medicaid that goes to the general population. When Obamacare came into being it made it MUCH easier for those in the general population to qualify for Medicaid, this in turn created an explosion. Obamacare also encourages Medicaid fraud within the general population. I was seriously shocked at how much fraud happens within this area of Medicaid in the state of Utah.
That’s not to say that fraud doesn’t happen within the disabled population.
You are correct about adults with Down syndrome. And my insurance won’t touch a dime for anything that is Ds related.
Joshua, the only way I would buy into your theory is to have you put it into effect AND proof it BEFORE you did away with any and all social infrastructure.
That’s not to much to ask is it?
Thank you Clumpy.
Tammy I wonder if Dan is getting numbers that may possibly not be actually counting all the disabled on medicaid.? Could it be that they are just looking at those on the waiver…and or have a computer system not set up to differentiate between all the other programs. I’ve linked below the articles/studies…there are plenty more if I keep googling. I really wonder if this is a statistic issue where they are just not realizing the full grasp of how many disabled are on medicaid in utah.
Now one way Utah does keep the costs in check..is they do have the 10 year waiting list..where most states do not do this….what is sort of scary..and shooting themselves in the foot..is one way to nearly be a sure to get yourself to the front of the list for DSPD services is for your child to just burn through there million cap services (this should improve with obamacare…as there are no longer limits..not sure how that affects those that have already maxed out…but Utah should be making sure they can’t get any of those kids back on there regular insurance..even if medicaid is secondary as it will always be cheaper to have medicaid secondary then primary.
Here are several studies showing that the disabled population on medicaid statistically cost much more as just plain and simple..there stuff costs more. They are hospitalized more, they need equipment, home health care, and of course things like trach’s and tpn are crazy expensive, require nursing which regular insurance most often refuses to pay for…and often this is an area where parents get pushed into relinquishing parental rights because without nursing they often cannot keep there child home. Which of course costs Utah even more money.
For people in general who are reading this..tammy can you estimate per day how much the trach and necessary equipment and meds cost? I know for TPN it’s about a $1000 a day.
one thing to note in Utah that they could improve. The elderly if they are poor enough at age 65 can qualify for mediciad as seondary to medicare. The biggest issue with this is that this is what ends up paying for nursing homes. The delima that you see in Utah…but not in every state..is Utah has nearly no section 8 housing/sliding scale income for elderly or disabled. We probably have more available sliding scale housing in my town of 10K then the salt lake valley has.
(Note utah has very little sec 8 housing in general, compared to other states.
I live in a little dinky town in the middle of nowhere Kansas. Our sliding scale places (complexes) here..primarily for the elderly and disabled that can live on there own. There income is taken in and out spits there rent cost with water/gas/electric included as well. it is not generally allowed for non disabled/elderly. There is strict criteria in what is allowed behavior wise. As our friends here on this page are rolling that the feds and the state help pay for these very poor elderly/disabled housing it is cheaper then a nursing home. way way cheaper. Substationaly cheaper. It on average could cost per individual apartment a few hundred dollars…to the very most poor person $400 ish or so. Everyone has to pay some kind of rent though.
The nursing home costs are around $2000 and up. If your on medicaid you pay none of it…although your social Security is mostly taken (your left with less then $100 or so a month) Not to mention it ties up the nursing homes to people who actually need to be there. The phenomenon in Utah that goes on…is an elderly person no longer can safely stay in there home and who has a very meager retirement, not able to take care of the yard ect.. They do not have the money to pay for a normal rented apartment. Even living meagerly if your low income enough you can’t even come up with a very cheap studio rent. This person can still live on there own…but not maintain a home basically. Here in Kansas they move to the sliding scale apartment…and many do not get put onto medicaid. In Utah since there is nowhere to put them they are as quick as can be..put on medicaid so medicaid can fork out the $$ for the nursing home..and they are moved there. This can cause all sorts of problems especially with the men there..that treat the nursing home as there dating scene…cause they don’t “medically” need to be there. And the costs are dramatically more.
In Kansas They can keep the elderly out of the nursing home until they actually “need” to be there. A lot of the money that comes for this, comes from block grants, money from kansas..ect.
In conclusion for tonight…the real problem with Utah medicaid is that the think penny wise, pound foolish. They have this impossible time looking 2-3 steps ahead to see what costs more. When a state looks logically and realizes how to use things to there advantage to keep there costs down they find themselves having the ability to use the same money…but fund more people that need it.
As an example I can spend the money on a disabled child through out there child hood and give them the medical care they need to stay as healthy as possible and give them the therapy they need so that they can become as highest functioning as possible..because in the end..when that child is 21 (now 27) when we are speaking of children who have ID (intellectually disabled) they will end up on medicaid. as there is nothing else for them at age 27. but if I’ve spent the money on early intervention, on there medical care, on all the therapies they need so that they can achieve there highest potential…we will have produced a child who costs us less….and since they live on average to there 50’s it’s probably very very important that we find a way to make them cheaper.
I realize it’s all sucky to look at numbers…but if you look at it as penny wise, pound foolish. ..the foundation being a good foundation is the best choice. Not to mention the ethical one.
Unfortunately the looming debt crisis means we’re going to see these entitlements disappear one way or another. We can either phase them out, or watch them disappear overnight. We don’t have the option of keeping them. The better course would be to embrace the change rather than resist it. Resisting will only prolong the painful parts of the transition.
Just to put in my two cents my son who has a developmental disability is on our private insurance and has TEFRA Medicaid. Our private insurance which we pay out of pocket for (it is a group plan through my husband’s small business but we pay the majority of the premiums ourselves) does not pay for my son’s therapies (OT, PT, speech). It is the Medicaid that pays for therapy. My son is healthy *knock on wood* so the Medicaid only pays his copays when I take him to the dr and for the therapies. Tell me why we have private insurance which we have had since before my son’s diagnosis doesn’t pay for his therapies. I don’t know why we have it when it only pays $50 when I take him to the dr. Oh and we were getting the program that Sarah mentioned but since my son’s medical claims are so low and his private insurance doesn’t pay for his therapies they decided it wasn’t worth it for them to keep paying his premiums.
Tammy, the proof that our current system has failed is all around us, it takes a minimal amount of looking around to see that costs are out of control. You’ve experienced it yourself. But if everyone wanted a proven working example of anything before they would believe in it, society’s progress would be halted in its tracks. There are books out there like The Innovator’s Prescription by Clayton Christensen that shows us the problems and solutions. We don’t need to see these things put into effect to know they would work. We can use our reason to reach logical conclusions.
And one of the logical conclusions you’ll reach if you do some research into the matter is that the current health care mess is the result of government interference. In the name of helping those in need and protecting the patient/consumer, government has slowed medical progress, made it more expensive, lowered quality, and prevented life saving and life altering drugs and treatment from reaching those whose lives they might have saved or changed.
Government has tried to tell us that the problems are caused by the free market, and that were it not for government we’d all be at the mercy of big pharma, big health care, big insurance, etc. The truth is, we haven’t had a free market in the health care arena for 50 years, and we ARE at the mercy of big pharma, health care, and insurance, because they’re in bed with big government. They write the regulations for their own industries to prevent small competitors from threatening them. The result is a corrupt system that benefits politicians and big business, but which harms consumers and entrepreneurs who threaten the status quo. Government and big business play bad cop/good cop with us, and we buy into it, never realizing they’re on the same side against us. We’ve all been duped, and the sooner we realize it and throw off the shackles our government has placed on us to buy our votes, the sooner we’ll start to see things improve.
Connor has stated, ” people will die. People won’t get the medical care they want, or think they deserve. There will be needs that will go unfulfilled… People die. People suffer. It’s life.”
The counter argument seems to be that accepting such a proposition is “cold hearted”, and the clear implication is that there is a solution out there that will make it so people won’t die, people won’t suffer, people’s needs won’t go unfulfilled, etc…
That is the great fallacy.
It is easy for someone who is living under the conditions of the current system to say that they NEED a government safety net. It is easy for someone living under these conditions to believe that there is no alternative for them.
But an understanding of the basic principles of economics would lead to a different conclusion. Economics is generally defined as the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. But it is actually much more than that. It is the study of basic human decision making.
Without getting too deep into it, suffice it to say that when you live in a country riddled with government involvement at every level, it is fallacious to assume that goods and services that are not currently being provided by private individuals and organizations would not be provided by private individuals and organizations if government extracted itself from the process.
The laws of economics are NOT intuitive. People make assumptions which are completely fallacious. This leads me to my mention above “That is the great fallacy.” I said this referring to the assertion that to accept that people will die, and people will suffer, and to admit that “it’s life” is “cold hearted.” To make such an assertion, one must believe that there is an alternative in which people will not die, and people will not suffer. At the very least, to make such an assertion, one must believe that there is an alternative in which fewer people will die, people will suffer less, and the needs of people will be filled more often. Again, that is the great fallacy.
A system of government compulsion and asset confiscation, even with the lofty goal of saving lives, relieving suffering and providing for people’s needs, will inevitably lead to more death, more suffering, and more needy people. It is difficult for those that don’t understand the basic laws of economics to see past their current situation. That is why we see populist politics throughout the world leading to powerful dictatorships and powerful socialist regimes, with the same end result of more death, more suffering, and more needy people. The irony is that the people of those nations clamor for more government intervention. They clamor for a government which will promise them even more. They clamor for a government that will provide even more for them. It seems obvious to me, sitting from our vantage point, that the people of those nations suffer and die more BECAUSE they have a government intent on providing them with more, making life more fair, alleviating hunger, suffering, death, etc…
The USSR was, of course, the prime example. The thing about principles, true principles that is, is that they are eternal. They do not change. They do not vary based on circumstance. The principles that lead to decades and decades of suffering and misery behind the iron curtain ARE the exact same principles upon which proponents of US safety nets like Medicare and Medicaid base their positions. Those principles, whether slowly nibbled at (as has been done in the US), or swallowed whole (as was done in the USSR), inevitably lead to more death, more misery, and more needy people.
There is no magic threshold. Upon which principle could there be? My point is that no one in the US (well, at least no one reading this thread) would suggest we swallow whole the “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” slogan popularised by Karl Marx, but somehow there are people who believe that we should go down that road just a little bit. My question for them is: Where should we stop?
In other words, surely they recognize that under our current entitlement systems, there are still millions of people who suffer and die and whose needs are not met. Imagine touring the country, passing through the poorest parts of every state and asking the people that live there what needs they have, and what kind of government program would benefit them and their families. The list would never end, would it? So, for those that oppose the abolishment of our current entitlement programs, are you so cold hearted that you do not want to create new entitlement programs to help those who are still in need? If not? Why not? Is it because the current entitlement programs meet YOUR needs and that’s all that matters? Or the current entitlement programs meet the needs of the people you know and associate with and that’s all that matters? Where’s the threshold? Where’s the magic line that we must not cross?
Do you see now the fallacy?
Connor’s statement was hardly cold hearted. In fact, the wisdom of his statement is summed up in the following:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
It is not cold hearted to recognized that we live in a world in which there will always be suffering and death. As Connor stated, that is life. That is, in fact, the purpose of life. That is why we are here on this earth. From the beginning (even before the beginning) there have been those who would have us believe that there is an alternative, a system that will remove suffering and death. There is no such system.
It is up to each of us to do everything we can to provide for ourselves and for our families, and then after that it is up to us to see the needs of others and do everything we can to meet those needs.
In conclusion, I submit that if our country is able to move back to its Constitutional roots, to remove government interference from our lives, to reduce government regulation, to decriminalize where the rights of no individual have been breached, to tax less, to simply allow us to live our lives as we see fit, we would see another great explosion of advancement of the human condition, a new explosion of innovation, invention, and improvements in everything from health care to agriculture to transportation to welfare. There would be far less suffering, far fewer needy people, and less death.
For those interested, and even as somebody who believes in a minimal safety net, here’s a fantastic article on the many ways our health care system is broken in the United States, and why only approaching this problem from the angle of who is uninsured and overregulation are causing inestimable further damage:
JJL9, And I’m supposed to be the cold hearted one here?
“So, for those that oppose the abolishment of our current entitlement programs, are you so cold hearted that you do not want to create new entitlement programs to help those who are still in need? If not? Why not? Is it because the current entitlement programs meet YOUR needs and that’s all that matters? Or the current entitlement programs meet the needs of the people you know and associate with and that’s all that matters? Where’s the threshold? Where’s the magic line that we must not cross? ”
A little backdoor insult to make your day a little brighter?
Those that know me in real life know that I have always….all of my life…..advocated for children, especially children with special needs. I have spent many hours tutoring for free (I hold degrees in both ECE and Elementary Education. So I must REALLY be evil in your book.) I create curriculum for those who teach kids with disabilities….and charge not a cent.
I’m putting together a local Bountiful Baskets to help people in our community have easier access to fresh fruits and vegetables for excellent prices.
Through my exceptional coupons skills I can often pick up groceries for very cheap. I give these to my Relief Society President to pass on.
I work with women all. over. the. world. in connecting them with the medical care their child needs. I also work with prenatally diagnosed soon to be mothers as they make the decision to abort or keep their children.
BTW, almost 90% of all those prenatally diagnosed with Ds are aborted. The number one reason? Not being able to afford that child and provide them with healthcare.
These mothers, when given a choice, often would rather not bring their child to term rather than giving them life and watching them die.
No, JJL9, when I advocate I advocate for all children, not just my own.
Plainly stated, I believe in first doing as much as you can for yourself. Then turning to family for support. Then when we have exhausted every option we have, turning to the Church.
Which, interestingly enough, is exactly what my ecclesiastical leaders have told us to do.
I plan on working closely with Holly Richardson in eliminating the fraud and waste and scam.
“At the very least, to make such an assertion, one must believe that there is an alternative in which fewer people will die, people will suffer less, and the needs of people will be filled more often. Again, that is the great fallacy.”
I VEHEMENTLY disagree with you on this comment. What fallacy? But unlike you, I plan on being part of making things better. You stay in your little corner insisting that people sacrifice their children to your altar self righteousness.
I’m walking away from this discussion now. I’m sure I don’t need to explain why.
Interesting that you quote my questions, and then you fail to answer them.
You have either not taken time to understand what I was actually saying, or you do not have the moral courage to attempt to answer.
I can tell by the tenor of your response that you likely did not understand my point of view. As such, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and I’ll state a few points more clearly.
I think it is our responsibility as God’s children to help those in need. This applies to all needs, but since the focus of this discussion is healthcare, I will limit the remainder of these comments to that specifically. The beauty of all of God’s laws is that there is no conflict between what we are supposed to do and what will benefit us the most and bring us the most happiness. As such, there is no need to clarify, as Connor did above, as to whether or not we are helping others out of a sense of moral obligation, or out of a genuine desire to help others. The two motivations are not mutually exclusive. We should do that which we know is our moral obligation to do, and we should also have a genuine, inherent desire to do those things.
My point is that I don’t want people to suffer, and I don’t want people to die. I want to help others as much as I am able. But I also want our form of government to be the one that leads to the least amount of suffering and the least amount of unnecessary death. That form of government is one in which government itself does not attempt to alleviate said suffering and death.
You quoted me: “At the very least, to make such an assertion, one must believe that there is an alternative in which fewer people will die, people will suffer less, and the needs of people will be filled more often. Again, that is the great fallacy.”
Your response to that quote indicates (as mentioned above) that you do not understand what I am trying to say. I believe that a less intrusive government inevitably leads to a greater outcome, in every possible aspect. More innovation. More invention. More wealth. More prosperity. Better healthcare for everyone. More people could be self reliant. More people, who under the current form of government can’t make ends meet on their own, COULD make ends meet on their own. More people, who can’t currently pay for their family’s needs, including healthcare needs, WOULD be able to pay for their family’s needs. More people would have more wealth and resources to share with others. More people would want to share their wealth and resources with others. People would have more. Goods and services would cost less. The quality and effectiveness of healthcare goods and services would increase dramatically. The net result of all of this would be that there would be less suffering, less death, fewer needy people.
So the comment that you quoted above does not mean that I don’t believe there is an alternative to today’s system that would lead to fewer deaths, less suffering, and fewer needy people. Quite the contrary. It means just the opposite. It means that there is a system that leads to all of that, and it’s not the current system.
You stated, “But unlike you, I plan on being a part of making things better.” Again, proof positive that you didn’t understand what I was saying. Sometimes you are so emotionally attached to your point of view that you simply don’t allow yourself to understand the opposing point of view. You are so sure that it is wrong that you literally don’t allow yourself to process what they are saying.
It is one thing to say that you disagree with me and that my method of “making things better” is misguided, but quite another to state categorically that I don’t want to make things better. I do, and that’s why I’m not walking away from this discussion right now. I’m sure I don’t need to explain why.
I’m grateful for the sincere and respectful comments which have been made here- in attempts to be reasonable, compassionate as well as principled. I have a member of my family with down syndrome and she has major health problems-always has. It hasn’t been easy. But this trial is not something we felt justified in forcing others (directly or indirectly) to share with us, nor have we used emotionalism as a tactic to either justify the manner in which we finance her bills, or to label others as heartless. The “compassion card” should not be used to end the debate on the proper role of government. At the same time the “liberty card” should not be (secretly) played to justify our inaction. I think if we want liberty to triumph we need to be more caring and giving. As someone here has already pointed out- if government weren’t taking away our property and incentive to be charitable by creating these “safety-nets” then people would have more motivation and financial means to take care of the needy. This is true but I wonder if we can do more. I hope we don’t focus solely on what’s been taken from us but more on what we can still give. I think many people here have intellectually put forth sound arguments in favor of voluntary charity and against the immoral nature of government welfare programs but I wonder if we can more effectively renew Tammy’s faith in liberty by contributing to Parker’s Tip Jar…if we can.
Jim Davis, I second your comment. Well said.
Although, Jim, the link you posted would not work for me. 🙁
Oops! Thanks for the heads up!!
If you click on Tammy’s link then the Tip Jar is towards the top middle. Hope that helps.
You just can’t force others to do what you want.
You can not force them to give… even the Lord does not do this.
He asks, he petitions, he pleads, he encourages us to be good, to do good and to help others. But it is not his way to force others to be charitable (the other side takes that particular stance and sells it very well may i add)
“Know this, that ev’ry soul is free To choose his life and what he’ll be;
For this eternal truth is giv’n: That God will force no man to heav’n.
He’ll call, persuade, direct aright, And bless with wisdom, love, and light,
In nameless ways be good and kind, But never force the human mind.
Freedom and reason make us men; Take these away, what are we then?
Mere animals, and just as well The beasts may think of heav’n or hell.” – Know this that every man is free
My heart aches for those who have children with such health struggles as have been mentioned above. More than the financial strain, it is agonizing to see your own child suffer.
To an extent – though perhaps not equal to many of you – I understand the severe trial of healthcare’s financial burden.
In the end, though, I stand with those who demand to be free of the de facto slavery that is forced charity (i.e. social programs). I believe that interfering with agency, by forcing somebody to do something that would otherwise be a worthy and moral cause, cannot be a worthy pursuit.
What was wrong with Lucifer’s pre-existent proposition? Wasn’t HE actually the one with the softer heart, by the definition that many of you are using? I mean, he wanted to enact a program that would ensure that “not one soul shall be lost.” With Jehovah as Savior, there is a chance that some – perhaps even many – will be lost . . . FOR ETERNITY. So, why exactly did Heavenly Father NOT pick Satan? Or, perhaps more to the point, why was Satan cast out of Heaven? Because he “. . . sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him.”
I strongly believe that when you try to do a good thing by interfering with someone’s agency, you are swimming in some extremely treacherous waters.
For those of you who have mentioned such extremely difficult medical trials, my heart goes out to you. Honestly, I can’t say that I blame you for using the “safety nets”. It’s a tough call, especially when you’ve exhausted every other option, and the “public assistance” option exists. But I have to admit that I would still vote against any and all social programs if I had the chance.
OK, so here’s the thing, and I’m afraid I’m going to be taken for a ‘Korihor’ here — but, for what is it worth, I promise that I’m trying to be sincere: I worry that this debate sometimes turns more Pharisaical than it needs to be.
In other words, I really do believe that there can be an appropriate balance for community — even official “government” safety nets — and making up extra rules about how justice always needs to trump mercy in this case seems counterproductive. In the place and society in which I live, I don’t see a better viable option.
I believe that Connor *does* have his heart in the right place as well as most of the posters on both sides of this issue. So I’m glad that most of the slanders about hard-heartedness have been well addressed.
That said, I’m not sure that it is directly analogous to compare all attempts at caring for widows, orphans, and the truly needy and honest of heart — that have any “government” involvement — that the people vote for should automatically be dismissed out of hand due to what I am calling “extra” [and inappropriate] “rules” about what a people can and can’t choose to involve their government in.
I am convinced that the further a community gets from its governance that the less that community should let that government do — because large, centralized, and far away government tends to be inefficient, less aware of specific local issues and needs, and much more corrupt. That is just the nature of things. Consequently I want to see phasing out of Federal Social Security, Medicare, the Federal Department of Education, and all sorts of social safety net stuff at the Federal level. At some point things get inefficient enough that the central government either collapses or does inappropriate things to spend money it doesn’t have. Taxes go up, borrowing becomes uncontrolled, money gets “fabricated”, wars rage in foreign climes and are often at least tangentially related to the financial insolvability of the nation . . .
So yeah, bad stuff. And it needs fixed. But I don’t think it’s fair to say that it all stems from some kind of basic and indisputable evil equatable to breaking into people’s homes and stealing. That is the argument that can be applied to *all taxation* and *all government*. It is a good reason to keep it in check; to keep it wise and minimal. But I think it very hypocritical to say “raise Doug’s taxes to fund X, Y, oh yeah and also that Z thing that I really want my government to do for me but don’t you dare help out any of the honest poor or helpless and suffering because that would be like breaking into my house and stealing my stuff and redistributing it to evil crack mommas who didn’t earn it and don’t deserve it”
Bottom line, do you feel exactly the way you do about ‘social safety nets’ as you do for every other government intrusion, interference, or tax? If not, then who died and made you the Chief Pharisee?
I do feel the same way about ‘social safety nets’ as any other government program that I tolerate with a balanced eye towards the reasonable and carefully watched. There are a very few things that I appreciate a reasonable social structure and government for. If my community can manage these questions and projects with continual re-evaluation then I like to support them. I see the good in *some* mass transit, *some* defense and courts, and *some* social safety nets. I want all of it watched like a hawk and as close to the community affected by it as possible. If many communities band together and truly believe that something should be kicked up to a higher level (ie an extreme example: national defense) then I can support that if it is watched closely, constantly re-evaluated, and administered by “the honest in heart”.
For me those are the core questions to be asked. Many of these other arguments honestly smack of “Pharisaical” and hypocritical rule-making.
Finally, I don’t think the reference to Satan’s plan to destroy liberty is being well applied to these questions in some of the comments. The War in Heaven — to my understanding — was not a question of being sent to mortality with either complete responsibility or no responsibility. There is that delicate balance of justice and mercy. Heavenly Father’s plan — again, to my understanding — involves a great deal of mercy and grace that none us are able to merit . . . that’s just the way it is. Satan’s plan — to my understanding — did not allow for justice or learning or progression or well, many of the things I am impressed that this life *is* about — probably not because he was soft-hearted but it seems indicated that it was more likely because he was hard-hearted, prideful, faithless, etc.
I hope that in making political decisions like these (validity of social safety nets?) we take care to avoid needlessly accusing those who disagree with our current thinking of being actually Satanic. It’s pretty tempting (even for me who wants to turn these arguments around) but generally not very compelling unless it is a clear moral issue (like *actually* breaking into a home, murdering the inhabitants, and plundering their goods and not figuratively). My faith is that every person considering these questions chose to follow the Savior in at least one crucial period (before this life) and could likely be persuaded to make good decisions here again.
I’m still of the opinion that choosing to create some government ‘social safety nets’ is not necessarily always a bad decision despite having encountered a lot of powerful rhetoric arguing the reverse. But I’m still willing to listen, re-think, and re-evaluate. Thank you for this engaging discussion.
I am afraid that I have already impressed many on here as being cynical.
I am a senior citizen, and I’ve observed a lot.
1–I am not convinced that the medical ‘establishment’ is a positive benefit to the world anyway, so why support it with government insurance?
And, not to offend anyone who is dependent upon it, because I had two (one very young; one much older) close family members who leaned heavily on years (in the case of the young one) and decades (the older) of insurance (not government) in order to get medical treatment to insure existence–
and both died brutally and without ever gleaning any health benefits anyway.
I know the desperation of parents who will do ANYthing to save the life of a child and then are still saddled with huge medical debt and burial expenses.
It’s ugly, and I’ve seen it firsthand, so I can’t praise medicine anymore.
And, since I can’t praise medicine, why would I support governmental support of it?
Forgive me for what appears to be brutality, but I’ve been around this block twice.
My loved ones are now ‘safe’ in the Spirit world, having suffered more than anyone should have had to have suffered–
and they made a lot of money for a lot of highly educated medical specialists–
and left us in deep debt on top of the sorrow.
All these government programs do is prevent people from finding alternatives–
2–I know someone (not close to me at all) who lives an ugly and brutal life, because her life was saved after an accident–
for 20 years she has lived like this and expressed the desire that “they had let me go”–
At the point of life where I am right now, I am so sick of Babylon and all ‘her’ lifes–
I am so sick of those who make money off other peoples’ heartaches–
healing is a spiritual gift; it should have been left there–
knowledge of how to live so that one can be healed should be universal; anyone who keeps this information, this power from anyone is evil indeed–
So, now that I’ve brought this up–
all this radiation; does anyone on here believe it, or is everyone watching MSM?
See, I warned you; I am very cynical.
With these high levels of radiation . . .
even low levels, continuing over a long period of time, who knows how long–
how long before multitudes begin to die of cancer, etc.?
And then if Jesus does not come, as per Matthew . . .
if He does not foreshorten His time–
even the elect will perish–
To the mother of the ill child–
oh, I am so sorry you have to endure this–
forgive the overuse of the word “brutal”–
please, and forgive my cynicism.
It just seems to me that some of this discussion, considering so many things . . .
in case you don’t believe that I understand–
I have a child (legally adult) who is suffering now from . . .
a condition for which no tip jar will ever ease the pain.
Thre is NOTHING we can do, nothing.
Nothing that this person did brought on the pain; it was . . . something explicable and organic–and not
solvable as the world now stands, as in caused by physical dysfunction–but for which there is no remedy that would not be worse than the condition, which is bad enough–
No amount of medicare; no amount of SS; no amount of any kind of government or pviate aid could help–
Perhaps that is why I am cynical, but please believe me when I say I have a right to speak about this–
I liked your comments. Some people really do take the full anarchist’s side of things, but most don’t argue against the government building traffic lights, or highways, or providing for the country’s defense (all of which represent a “coercion” in the name of providing a service). We seem to be fine with the government protecting helpless citizens from the bayonet of an invader, but not from leukemia. I’m not sure why the line is so hard and fast.
The constitution says that the government is to provide for the general defense, it does not say it is to protect our health or reinstate it.
The biggest problem with government solutions to social problems is that they are by the very nature of govt. interventions always accompanied by an intrusion into our lives deemed necessary to accomplish the goal.
I don’t think that the majority of the sentiments expressed here, put into practice, would pass muster with King Benjamin as expressed in Mosiah 4.
I have a disabled child. I have spent all that I could spare, and what my family and other kind souls were willing and able to spare. None of it comes close to covering even a fraction of what my daughter needs.
For those of you who would say stop there, let her suffer the consequences, pray for a miracle – we have. It is not the Will of God that she be healed. Question not our faith nor our righteousness; for having a disabled child is not a sign of our sins. For those who say; let her die – she is not your child, and had she been yours, you would have failed in that charge which Heavenly Father set you as a parent.
Some would say go to the Church; but try asking the Bishop, who struggles with meeting the welfare needs of other members, to pay for wheelchairs, specialists, and CAT scans. It doesn’t happen – and when the Bishop rejects you, there is no meaningful appeal.
Some point out that there are parents who have disabled children and refuse government assistance. Frankly, I don’t think that is moral; but I suppose it is their choice. They, not I, will stand accountable for their choices at the last day.
And “involuntary taxation?” Unfortunately, we have entered through adhesion into a civil contract. As part of joining together as a civilization, we end up paying for services we don’t want and might not use.
Does the fact that a hardcore pacificist not like war justify him from refusing to pay the portion of his taxes on national defense? Would a rejection of the Church’s position on same-sex marriage justify, in the Church’s eyes, a refusal to pay tithing? If I don’t want streets built in an area where I don’t live, should the government heed my view? Are people evil for living in that area, and driving on streets that I never wanted to be forcibly taxed for?
Our lawfully elected representatives came together and worked out our welfare system. It has withstood court challenge; it is there to serve a purpose and it is legal according to our system. It ain’t perfect – far from it, as those of us who rely on it can testify – but it has a purpose that only it can fulfill and it does so to a reasonable extent.
I’d challenge you all to live a day in my shoes, but obviously that wouldn’t happen. This isn’t so much soft hearts and hard hearts, as it is a simple lack of empathy. It’s awfully easy to advocate no medicaid for disabled children, when you don’t have one and don’t actually carry the burden.
This is, in fact, why I don’t believe in the false religion of libertarianism anymore. Where Ayn Rand’s foul Objectivism would characterize my five year-old daughter as a parasite, and her words highly influential in libertarianism, I cannot but find this belief system completely opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Best of luck to you all in trying to rationalize this, but I don’t think that you will have much success in using the Gospel to allege that government-based welfare is inherently immoral. Scripture strongly indicates that denying these children succor is evil.
Bob, would you break into your neighbor’s house and steal from him to get your daughter the treatment she needs? What is the difference between this, and government officials passing laws saying it’s ok for the government to take money from Person A, by force, and give it to Person B?
Aside from the moral issue, how is it sustainable? At the moment Person B is largely compliant, but what if Person B gets to the point where he says “No more!” Or what if Person B simply does not produce enough to meet the promises government has made to Person A on Person B’s behalf? Then Person A will be worse off than had the redistributive program never existed in the first place.
Regarding the problems you mention regarding defense, roads, etc., all these problems would not exist within a free-market economy. People would pay for the services they want/use, and would be forced to pay for nothing else.
As for empathy, I would invite you to stand in our shoes. Many of us give considerable portions of our income to help those in need. We might give more if so much weren’t taken from us by the government. Many people might be inclined to give more to those in need if they didn’t assume the government was taking care of everyone. But mostly, we might be more inclined to give more if we didn’t feel as though we had just been robbed every time we looked at our paychecks and saw how much was being taken to fund things we don’t support, or to fund things we might support by choice if we weren’t being forced to support them already.
David O. McKay:
Ezra Taft Benson:
Boyd K. Packer:
…By the mouth of two or three witnesses…
The assertion that all taxation is forced, unjust and unlawful is not held up by history or by our constitution. As the Founders sought to craft the US constitution, they based their arguments on the political philosophies of Hume, Locke, and Hobbes, among others.
A key concept advanced by these philosophers was that of consent. They argued government should be based on the consent of the governed, rather than on the divine right of kings, or some other outmoded principle. They further identified different types of consent, or different ways that consent can be given.
The first and most basic way they identified is through “original consent,” which they viewed as being given either when the people elected representatives to craft and vote on legislation on their behalf (for example, when the Constitution was ratified), or when people whose ancestors had so consented were born. New citizens also participate in original consent when they freely qualify for and accept citizenship in the US.
“Periodic consent” occurs when individuals participate in elections, thus renewing, in a sense, both their consent to existing legislation and their consent to new legislation enacted by their local and federal representatives.
Even if you didn’t vote for an official, you are bound by the constitution to which you originally consented to uphold all constitutional laws that he/she enacts, and even if you deem a law to be unconstitutional, until it is officially declared unconstitutional through the de facto process of judicial review, most law enforcement officials will feel obligated to employ force to require you to comply with it. Centuries of political philosophy, beginning with Hobbes, back up the use of government force to ensure compliance with consented-to laws.
Since our constitution grants Congress the power “to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States,” and since you originally consented to this constitution, it is (in principle) lawful for Congress to force you to pay taxes.
Your legal recourse, if you object to a particular form of taxation, is to either 1) flee the US and disavow your citizenship; or 2) promote the election of officials who will overturn such legislation; or 3) support court cases that may eventually lead the legislation to be declared unconstitutional. You may, of course, pursue other illegal means of avoiding the consequences of this legislation, but you won’t be justified by the same political principles espoused by the founders. There are, of course, extreme conditions under which good people may feel themselves compelled to revolt against a completely corrupt system, as described in the Declaration of Independence.
“You may, of course, pursue other illegal means of avoiding the consequences of this legislation, but you won’t be justified by the same political principles espoused by the founders.”
Really? Did they or did they not openly commit high treason against their government?
Of course, they could have simply 1) fled the English colonies and disavowed their citizenship; or 2) promoted the election of officials who would overturn the injustices they faced; or 3) supported court cases that might have eventually lead to the ends they sought.
Just a guess here, but I don’t that would have accomplished what their illegal acts accomplished.
Carl, interesting that you mention the political principles espoused by the founders in the same breath as you try to convince that people should submit to the will of their government.
In as much as the Constitution protects our individual rights, no “original consent” is required. No consent at all is required. These rights our ours. They are inate. They are inherent. They are God-given. They are natural. No consent is required. No authorization is required. No man-made law is required.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
In other words, the Constitution does not provide for us these rights, but its adoption as the Supreme Law of the Land was meant to officially recognize that these rights exist, and to prohibit the Federal government from infringing on them.
The act of being born in the United States does not bind one to adherence to laws that are formed contrary to those rights.
You mentioned the “de facto process of judicial review.” It appears that you recognize that the judicial review process as currently practiced is not authorized by the Constitution. Why, then, would one be compelled to accept such a process? Where is the “original consent”?
JJL9, Jefferson himself acknowledged in the Declaration that the right to revolt against unjust government is and should only be exercised as a last resort. If you feel we’re at that point now, go ahead.
The Constitution is much more prescriptive than you acknowledge. It enumerates specific powers far beyond the vagaries of the Declaration. You are not entitled to disregard it at your convenience without significant repercussions, just as you are incapable of disregarding judicial review without consequences. This is because there is a large accumulation of human experience and will behind it that acknowledges and accepts it. True, not all people do, but a sufficient number does that you will find difficulty in disregarding it with impunity.
The Declaration and Constitution did not arise in a vacuum either. They are the result of the cumulative experience of civilization, as embodied in philosophy, science, common law and myriad other branches of human knowledge, obtained by the blood, sweat and toil of those who have gone before us.
Many of the same people who signed the Declaration also signed and ratified the constitution, and they believed that the Congress had the power to tax and the executive branch had the power to enforce such taxation.
The doctrine that most of these Founders accepted held that, in choosing to give birth to you, your ancestors, who originally consented to be governed by the constitution, also were consenting (on your behalf) that you be governed by it.
When you reach the age of majority, you are free to disavow your citizenship and thus withdraw your consent to be subject to the laws of the US. But until you do, you have already consented to allow the government to compel you to comply with its constitutional laws.
This doesn’t mean that the laws are fair, but that you only have certain legal means at your disposal to change them.
I already acknowledged that there are other illegal means at your disposal. You are, of course, entitled to make use of these. This seems to me like the course you are advocating, and which you correctly point out, the Founders pursued.
I would also add that the Founders acknowledged in the Declaration that governments were instituted among men to “secure” the unalienable rights you refer to. So there is strong evidence that they felt additional measures were necessary beyond the mere existence of these rights to ensure their protection.
Carl, thank you for the response. I’m glad that at the very least you have thought it through, and your opinions are not completely based on emotion and logical fallacies.
As to your statement, ” You are not entitled to disregard it at your convenience without significant repercussions…” and much of the accompanying argument (“result of the cumulative experience of civilization, as embodied in philosophy, etc…”), while it is obviously true, the exact same statements could be applied to virtually any other government today.
The point of the debate is not, what is the current system?, but rather, what should it be?
I would also point out that you are spending a lot of time battling straw men. Our argument that extracting from those that are producing to provide certain goods and services (in this case health care) to those that are not, is not in harmony with the original intent of the Constitution and the principles upon which it was based, is NOT the same as arguing that no federal taxes at all are justified. You seem to assume that such is the case. Recipricol thinking on our part would accuse you of believing that there is no limit to the amount that the Federal government can tax us or for what purposes.
The argument, that I can simply flee the US and disavow my citizenship, is not logical in the context of a discussion about natural liberty. It’s not as though there are a bunch of unclaimed continents out there, just waiting for libertarian ships to sail to them. Under your logic, any government system at all is justified as long as citizens are allowed to flee at their option. Where would they flee to?
The answer used to be to The United States of America. It still is to a great extent, but to a much smaller degree than it was 100 years ago.
Ironically many people, such as Jim Rogers, see China as the place to flee to. When people start seeing China, India, and Singapore as the lands of the free where there is real opportunity, just as America was for Europeans 300 years ago, you know something has gone wrong with the great experiment of the United States. If the US and China both continues on their current trajectories, how long will it be before they cross each other going in opposite directions?
JJL9, My argument is much more limited than your characterizations. I am not arguing that the government can do whatever it wants. Each branch is always, to some degree, reigned in by the others, such that any legislation that obviously goes too far beyond the bounds of constitutionality is rarely risked by legislators. They do, undoubtedly, push the envelope, but they can only do so much before attracting too much opposition. So they are at least somewhat limited by the weight of precedent and strong counterbalancing vested interests.
Notice I also said that you are bound to adhere to all “constitutional” laws. You are not bound to adhere to unconstitutional laws, although, as I said, if they manage to get past the executive, most law enforcers will uphold them until they are struck down.
In stating this, I’m not attempting to argue for why you should obey the government. In fact, throughout my argument I have made no claim that you should not pursue these other illegal means I acknowledge. I’m just saying that you only have certain modes of legal recourse.
I was explicitly bringing up the power of Congress to tax because some participants in this thread did actually seem to be arguing that no taxes could or should be enforced by the government, which contradicts the Constitution.
I recognize that you are arguing about a more specific issue here, but I felt it was important to step back and clarify what seemed to me to be an important misunderstanding.
“any legislation that obviously goes too far beyond the bounds of constitutionality is rarely risked by legislators.”
JJL9, really. We didn’t get to where we are with a single piece of legislation. It takes a long time.
Then what was the founders intent on what they can tax if they all shared the sentiment that whatever debt they accumulated it had to be paid off by the same generation that accumulated it?
Isn’t it great when government is in charge of spending your hard earned money?
Once again you explain the issue at hand very well. Marion G. Romney gave a talk in general conference in 1966 dealing with this very issue. I think it is one of the best ever given on this topic. http://www.latterdayconservative.com/articles/marion-g-romney/is-socialism-the-united-order/
It’s bad enough that the government is in charge of spending our hard earned money, but it’s far worse that almost everyone likes it that way.
Almost everyone would rather be a slave than be free, for freedom requires too much work & personal responsibility. Thus why the Telestial Kingdom will be so crowded.
AV, apparently you too fall into that category, inasmuch as the Telestial Kingdom is the “world in which we now live.” Instead of expressing your gratitude that “[you are] not as other men,” why not work to improve things? (Luke 18: 10-13)
After all, according to Brigham Young, that is the ONLY way you will ever see a better kingdom than the one you are in now. (Journal of Discourses 3: 336)