Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Taxes and Fairness

It is often heard said, most notably from President Obama, that millionaires should pay their fair share of taxes. That in itself is not controversial; it is likely that everyone would agree that millionaires should pay their fair share of taxes. Should they pay less than their fair share? Few would believe that is proper. Should they pay more than their fair share? That does not sound any fairer than paying less than their fair share.

Rephrasing the question with a slight difference might make the answer less unanimous. Should the middle class taxpayer pay his or her fair share? Most people would agree that is fair. Should the middle-class taxpayer pay more than his or her fair share? Or less? No. Most people would say they should pay their fair share.

How about the poor? Should the poor taxpayer pay his or her fair share? Or more or less than his or her fair share? No.

Most people would say every taxpayer, rich, poor or middle, should pay his or her fair share.

OK, that entire dispute is settled. It is not even a question. The real question is, what is each taxpayer’s fair share of the burden of providing whatever services the government provides?

News in recent days covered Mitt Romney’s tax burden, and Warren Buffett makes frequent news discussing his, as compared to that of his secretary. Mitt Romney and Warren Buffett each receive certain services from the government. Their roads are paved, like mine are, their borders and airways are defended, like mine are, their enemies are shot in middle-Eastern hideaways, like mine are. For the services I receive, I pay some tens of thousands of dollars annually. For the exact same services, Mitt Romney pays $3 Million annually, and Warren Buffett pays, I suppose, more than that. For those same services, some people pay a few hundred dollars per year and many millions pay nothing at all. Is that fair? Is it fair to charge a rich family millions of dollars for what I get for thousands and another family gets for free? What is Buffett's "fair share" of my "fair share?"

On the other hand, some very high income taxpayers pay only 13-15% of their incomes in taxes each year, while middle-class taxpayers pay 25-30%. Is that fair? Is it fair that Buffett’s secretary pays a greater percentage of her income to fund the services she receives than Buffett does?

I would suppose that Buffett’s secretary would like to pay 15% of her income as taxes, but would not want to pay $3 Million per year. I would suppose that the poorest would not like to pay 15% of their income in taxes. What is fair?

If I go to the movies, I pay $10.25 to get in, as do the multimillionaire next to me and the poor person behind him. Some would say that is fair; we are all going to watch the same film, though the ticket price is X% of my income, ¼X% of the rich man’s income and 3X% of the poor man’s income. It might be fairer if they charged me $10.25, charged the poor man $1 and charged the rich man $100. But then, of course, the seats would all be filled with the poor and the rich man would decide not to go.

With the government, however, if the rich man decides he does not want to see the movie, and is not going to buy a ticket, he is told, “The hell you’re not! You may not want to see the movie, but you are buying a $100 ticket.”

The problem now is that the very voices that are demanding that each should pay his or her “fair share” want to determine what that “fair share” is. Yet, I remember an old adage that says that something that is not fair to everybody is not fair to anybody.

An even more fundamental question, one that most of our politicians do not even like to hear asked, is this: What is the “fair share” of everyone’s total income that the government should be seizing from the people and spending? If the takers are the ones who get to define what take is “fair,” then any amount is fair. And if we all get to decide what the other guy’s “fair share” is, then I might feel inclined to vote that my fair share is $10, and yours is everything you get. Except, of course, that that would not really be “fair,” would it?

So the question of whether everyone should pay his or her fair share is already answered. The answer is yes. We are left with two questions: 1) What is your, my and his “fair share,” and, more fundamentally, 2) Is it possible to determine anyone’s “fair share” of an unfair burden?

Saturday, January 14, 2012


With all the discussion in the news of late about the Mormon Church, Americans have the right to know what these people really believe and practice, and the oaths and covenants into which their priesthood (basically all active male members) enter.

These are found in documents internal to the Mormon Church, (officially The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and little known outside the church. All of these references are to Mormon documents themselves and have been verified.

1. THE MORMON BAPTISMAL OATH. When anyone is baptized into the Mormon Church, he or she is required to undertake certain promises and covenants. Among these promises, seldom mentioned outside the circle of Mormonism, are:

to bear one another’s burdens;
to mourn with those that mourn;
to comfort those that stand in need of comfort;
to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.

(The Book of Mormon, Mosiah 18:8-9)

It is plain to see that these people are bound by these oaths to stand up for each other and to defend their religion.

2. THE MORMON MISSIONARY. These young men, and increasingly, young women, are almost ubiquitous these days. In every large city in the free world and in nearly every small town, you can see them on their bicycles and in their cars, or on foot, preaching what they hold out to be the "gospel", according to their beliefs. But what are they themselves taught? What indoctrination is required of them? What qualifies them for this service?

A look at internal Mormon documents written by their founder himself, Joseph Smith, gives insight into the kind of things these young people are sent forth to do. This charge, word for word, is still taught to every one of these missionaries today, as it has been since 1829.

Ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
If ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;
Faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.
Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.
Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

I am not making this up. This is taken directly from the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 4, and is required of EVERY Mormon missionary.

3. THE MORMON PRIESTHOOD. As mentioned above, every Mormon male who participates in the church is ordained to their priesthood, starting with boys at age 12, who work their way through various offices in the lesser priesthood until they become Elders in early adulthood. Many older men, with years of church service and increasing responsibility, become High Priests in their church.

And what power do these men hold over the church as they advance and exercise their authority in congregations? Again, we learn this secret directly from their own sacred writings, in passages that are drilled into the mind and heart of every Mormon man who can call himself one, from the time he is young. He learns about power and influence and how to wield it.

This, from the words purportedly revealed to Joseph Smith, their prophet, in 1839:

No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile.

Doctrine and Covenants, Section 121, v. 41-42.

So you see how they use persuasion and such mind-influencing tactics as gentleness, meekness, kindness and unfeigned love to enforce their power and influence over the people? Ask a Mormon about this! He cannot dare deny it. That is how their leaders, and even their husbands and sons, are taught to operate every day of their lives.

They are even instructed, when they must scold someone over something, to show increased love for the person afterwards so that they will know they are a faithful friend and not an enemy. (Same section, verse 43.) These things are taught regularly to every Mormon man and boy.

4. WHAT OF THE WOMEN? Not content to have only the men participate in their various schemes and oaths outlined above, the Mormon leaders organized the women early on into a group that works alongside the men to accomplish their goals. A popular Mormon song, rarely heard outside the church but known to most participating Mormon women, describes their role in carrying this out:

As sisters in Zion we'll all work together;
The blessings of God on our labors we'll seek.
We'll build up his kingdom with earnest endeavor;
We'll comfort the weary and strengthen the weak.

Plainly they see themselves as a team with a common goal.

5. EVEN THE CHILDREN. Yes, while it may seem enough that the Mormon men and women participate in these things and teach one another their oaths and promises, that is not sufficient for these Mormons. They teach their children from an early age to hold fast to their belief system and not stray from it. To justify this, they quote (again from their "Book of Mormon") in Mosiah, 4:14-15:

And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil . . . .
But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.

They drill these things into their children from the time they are little.


We can take that right from the words of their founder, Joseph Smith, which every Mormon learns from childhood, and none can dare deny:

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous and in doing good to all men. Indeed we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul; we believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things and we hope to be able to endure all things; if there is anything virtuous, or lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things. --(Article of Faith 13)

7. AND THEY SAY THEY ARE CHRISTIANS?!? Yes, so they claim. They base that on such passages as:

"I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from Hell,"


"There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives. . . . And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ,"

both from their "Book of Mormon."

These people are EVERYWHERE IN AMERICA, especially in the west. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!