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Insulted by Socialism

For the past couple of days, I’ve been having a discussion with an LDS friend. It was sparked by my FaceBook link to an article called American Capitalism Gone with a Whimper from Pravda, referenced here by Kristen Chevrier.

My friend didn’t approve of the article. She is thrilled and delighted about everything Obama. When I asked what she liked about him, she said, ” ?his brains, drive, and ideology.”

Does Barrack Hussein Obama have brains and drive? (Before you Obamites get your knickers in a twist, please note that he has started proudly proclaiming his middle name now at least in the Middle East. Because, you know, we’re not a Christian nation, but we are “one of the largest Muslim countries.”) Yes, he is smart and ambitious. In spite of what you may have heard from MSNBC, even Republicans don’t get to the White House without a dose of both.

It was the ideology part that baffled me. So I asked what she liked about that. Although we’re some 42 exchanges into that discussion, I still haven’t heard an answer to that. But I have an idea.

My position is that those who currently support Obama ideologically (as opposed to those who were overcome by his winning smile and cool demeanor in the voting booth) come from one of two camps, each with two subsets:

  1. People who know that Obama has created a much more socialist/fascist/marxist country

    These include those who are:

    • Honest about his actual behaviors, and support him because they want a more socialist/fascist/marxist country.
    • Pretending it isn’t socialist/fascist/marxist because they realize that most Americans don’t like the ideas of socialism/fascism/marxism, but they think (correctly!) that the general populace is so uneducated about government that they can lie about it and no one will be the wiser.
  2. People who do not know that Obama has created a much more socialist/fascist/marxist country

    These include those who are:

    • Clueless about government and won’t take time to educate themselves and just think Obama is cute as a button and charming and they really, really like to scream, “Yes, we can!” because it’s totally empowering.
    • People who are brain dead or otherwise impaired.

So, I’d like to make this a jumping off point of discussion, just by defining the relevant political movements straight from the dictionary.

  • Capitalism
    An economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.
  • Socialism
    Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.

    A system of society or group living in which there is no private property.

    A system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state.

    A stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between Capitalism and Communism and distinguished by the unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.

  • Fascism
    A political philosophy, movement or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation , and forcible suppression of opposition.

    A tendency towards or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control.

  • Statism
    Concentration of economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government often extending to government ownership of industry.
  • Communism
    A theory advocating elimination of private property.

    A system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed.

    A doctrine based on revolutionary Marxian socialism and Marxism-Leninism that was the official ideology of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics.

    A totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production.

    A final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are distributed equitably.

Where were we in 1776? 1876? 1976? Today?

{ 152 comments… add one }

  • spande2 June 4, 2009, 11:36 am

    Yay, Alison! I love the dictionary definitions. Let’s incorporate them into our study group.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 4, 2009, 2:30 pm

    Thanks, Kristen.

    Here’s my take on the current situation.

    Government bails out banking industry. Government takes over banking industry, starts hiring/firing, deciding who stays and who goes, dictates business practices.

    Government bails out car companies. Government takes over auto industry, starts hiring/firing, decides how which stock is voting and which isn’t, decides what kind of cars dealers are going to make, owned by government and UNION.

    Government is making a grab for healthcare–hoping to take over by August. Obama now says that he’s looking at mandating that all Americans MUST buy into the plan.

    What’s on the docket now? Listen carefully. Bailing out states that are in financial trouble. California is the first getting a look at their $21 billion debt load.

    And what does the past 100+ days tell us will happen when the government bails out a state?

    Wake up, people.

  • facethemusic June 4, 2009, 3:16 pm

    Alison, in regards to your list of “camps” from which Obama supporters come, I think a group you left out are those who’ve simply been duped. I know they’d take that as an insult– like I’m saying they’re stupid or whatever, but that’s not at all what I mean. In all the honesty of my heart , I truly believe that they’ve been deluded and beguiled in the truest sense of the words.

    Taken from Merriam Webster:
    Delude implies deceiving so thoroughly as to obscure the truth .
    Beguile stresses the use of charm and persuasion in deceiving .

    And I think that it’s THIS group where most of the LDS who support Obama fall into. They’ve been deluded by deceit and beguiled by charm, persuasion and pretty talk. I know that will ruffle some feathers, but I honestly believe, 100% that it’s the truth.

    From a talk by Ezra Taft Benson (note the references — this talk was given at a BYU devotional in 1966 but he’s quoting OTHER apostles and then President David Ol. McKay from CONFERENCE REPORTS as noted within the text already and from letters sent out from the office of the first presidency)

    “Listen to President Clark ?s grave warning:
    I say to you with all the soberness I can, that we stand in danger of losing our liberties, and that once lost, only blood will bring them back; and once lost, we of this church will, in order to keep the church going forward, have more sacrifices to make and more persecutions to endure than we have yet known, heavy as our sacrifices and grievous as our persecutions have been. ? (J. Reuben Clark, Conference Report, April 1944, pp. 115-116; )

    Now that is the price we are going to have to pay unless we can help to reverse the course our country is taking. The Lord does not want us to pay that price, but we will pay it in full if we fail to fight to preserve our freedom. Often the Lord has to send persecutions in order to rebuke and try to purge the unfaithful. He has done it in the past, and He can do it again. If we deserve it ? we will get it.

    Next to being one in worshiping God, ? says President McKay, there is nothing in this world upon which this church should be more united than in upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States!. ?

    ..”There are some regrettable things being said and done by some people in the Church today. As President Clark so well warned, The ravening wolves are amongst us, from our own membership and they, more than any others, are clothed in sheep ?s clothing because they wear the habiliments of the priesthood ?. We should be careful of them.”

    This is especially true where freedom is involved. The Lord is letting the wheat and the tares mature before he fully purges the Church. He is also testing you to see if you will be misled. The devil is trying to deceive the very elect.
    Now at our last annual conference in April, President McKay issued a statement on communism. In order that there may be no misunderstanding by bishops, stake presidents, and others regarding members of the Church participating in nonchurch meetings to study and become informed on the Constitution of the United States, Communism, etc., I wish, ? said President McKay, to make the following statements that I have been sending gout of my office for some time and that have come under question by some stake authorities, bishoprics, and others…

    The position of this church on the subject of Communism has never changed. We consider it the greatest satanical threat to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God ?s work among men that exists on the face of the earth.

    …I have tried to warn you of the darkness that is moving over us and what we can do about it…

    Have you counted the cost if our countrymen and especially the body of the Priesthood continue to remain complacent, mislead through some of our news media, deceived by some of our officials, and perverted by some of our educators?We have been warned again and again and again. The Lords spokesman has consistently raised his voice of warning about the loss of our freedom. Now he that has ears, let him hear, and ye who praise the Lord, learn to also follow His spokesman.

    I know not what course others may take, but as for me and my house, we will strive to walk with the Prophet. And the Prophet has said that:

    No greater immediate responsibility rests upon the members of the church, upon all citizens of this republic and of neighboring republics than to protect the freedom vouchsafe by the Constitution of the United States. ?

    In this mighty struggle each of you has a part. Be on the right side.

  • Tinkerbell June 4, 2009, 3:24 pm

    I wonder when people will start realizing all the strings that are attached to government bailouts. It reminds me of Satan and his flaxen cords.

  • Tinkerbell June 4, 2009, 3:28 pm

    I totally agree with face. I think that the deceived group is a large part of it. The only way I can reconcile what is happening/has happened is to compare it to the mists of darkness in Lehi’s dream. It takes a lot of spiritual discernment to sort out what is going on, IMO.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 4, 2009, 3:42 pm

    Tracy, I had originally thought of that, but I’m not really sure how that fits or what that looks like. What does a duped person THINK?

    Do they THINK socialism is good? If so, I think they’re in camp one. Even if they’ve been fooled into being there, that’s where they ended up. Right? I think they could be in the first subset of camp one, due to listening to the second subset in camp one. But I still think they are in camp one.

    Do they THINK Obama isn’t a socialist? Then, sorry, I think they’re just clueless. It’s not hidden and it’s not complex. They can read, right? (If not, they’ve got that second subset to set two…)

    The sad thing is that Obama has done this so brazenly. Yes, there’s some pushback, but by and large it’s as if Americans are sitting in a stupor in front of their TV’s clapping and chanting YES WE CAN!

    Or thinking, yippeee! I can sit here on my backside and my next-door-neighbor (who’s working, while I’m [sleeping, blogging, eating cheetos, picking my nose]) can pay my mortgage! Yea, Obama!!!!

    OK, I’ll be honest here. I always thought President Benson was a bit over the top. Kind of in the Cleon Skousen camp, only a little more inspired. I also loved to note how he toned down his rhetoric when he became an apostle and even more when he was the president. Obviously he was more reasonable and seasoned as he became more righteous!

    And yet…and yet it looks like he was 100% spot on.

  • Tinkerbell June 4, 2009, 4:04 pm

    I think entitlement has a lot to do with it, too. And entitlement stems from greed. If you want to live on someone else or make “the rich” pay for everything, then you are more likely to excuse socialism or downplay it.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 4, 2009, 5:11 pm

    Tink, I agree. I haven’t fleshed this out, but I’ve been trying to think about WHO would WANT socialism. So far, I’ve come up with, very generally:

    (1) People who have little motivation and/or few skills and don’t want to or can’t increase their motivation and/or skills and so want to be provided for by others

    (2) People who will be in power and so can overcome the barriers inherent in the system

    Any other thoughts on this?

  • Tinkerbell June 4, 2009, 5:16 pm

    A lot of LDS people who support socialism (even communism) use the argument that God wants us to be a Zion people – that communism isn’t that far from the United Order. I disagree, but I do think their motivation stems from genuinely wanting to care for others. That’s where I think the duping and discernment come in.

    I think that what we’ve really seen happen in the U.S. is a few people who want power and control manipulating behind the scenes to deceive the masses. I am thinking secret combinations.

  • kitchen6 June 4, 2009, 5:25 pm

    As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests ? Gore Vidal

  • Deanna June 4, 2009, 5:57 pm

    “You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”
    John Gault/Ayn Rand

  • Deanna June 4, 2009, 6:03 pm

    And alison, the only #3 I would add are those whose hearts are in the right place–those who want to care for the poor but don’t think people will do it, so it’s the government’s job to take care of the poor through welfare. I think what they aren’t getting is that the government doesn’t have constitutional right to redistribute wealth like that, and it doesn’t have the ethical right to do something for its citizens that they cannot do for themselves. If we can’t go take our neighbors extra money to give it to someone else, we cannot hire some guy off the street to go steal it on our behalf and then give it to someone. It doesn’t matter if that some guy off the street is congressman. That right is still not ours to give, or theirs to take.

    Oh, and one last thought on President Benson and J. Reuben Clark–they both served in the cabinet or near cabinet. They also happened to be most vocal in their condemnation of the evils in the gov’t and secret combinations. That wasn’t a coincidence. They saw it first hand.

  • Deanna June 4, 2009, 6:06 pm

    Ok, really, last thought on this. I had to laugh the other day when I heard on the BBC an interview with Arnold in CA. He was bemoaning the voice of voters with the budget shortfalls and how California was in crisis. He said that they were going to have to totally revamp their tax structure because 1 percent (or maybe five?) of the population was paying fifty percent of the taxes, and that was unsustainable.

    No kidding. Really???

  • facethemusic June 4, 2009, 6:44 pm

    I do think their motivation stems from genuinely wanting to care for others. That’s where I think the duping and discernment come in.

    This is what I think as well. They buy into the idea that it’s charitable, Christ-like, compassionate, etc. It sounds compassionate and charitable to say “we need to give the little guy a hand up”. But if the hand up is actually forcibly taking from one to give to another, that’s not charity, It’s legalized stealing.

  • kilpatrickclan June 5, 2009, 10:14 am

    My husband lived in a socialist nation (Ukraine) and it sometimes baffles me how people confuse American politics with what happened in Russia and other communist countries. I don’t think it is the same. I am not saying that it will never happen, but I don’t think Stalin and Obama are the same.

    I do agree that the United Order and a Communist society (not so much Communism) theoretically share a lot, but differ in many ways. The biggest is total selflessness, which I don’t think we have reached yet as a society, let alone a church.

    I have read and studied social theory and worked in three state governments and I don’t think we are there yet. Nothin worse then working with the people who make decisions and realizing how very incompetant they really are. Especially why and how things are decided, using tax dollars. So, it will be no surprise to you that by profession I am a social worker and tend to be more liberal in my thoughts and ideas. Welfare is a tricky subject. Especially in these days and times. Many people are finding themselves in predicaments that only a few years ago they never would have imagined. What would be the alternative? Yes, we have the church system and in many ways it is far superior to the government system, however I believe a good government looks after the “least” of its bretheren. I have yet to see a decent solution brought to the table when you discuss health care and unemployment. Any idea?

  • facethemusic June 5, 2009, 12:32 pm

    Surely, Stalin and Obama are NOT the same. Stalin was certainly far worse, but the basis of their ideologies are very similar. If your husband was in the Ukraine, then he’s probably very aware of Stalin’s control of agriculture, getting rid of privately owned and run farms and such – it proved to be a DISASTER. Everyting was run by the government and communal. Obama is certainly taking over significant segments of American business. Stalin also controlled the media and created a “cult of personality” as it’s been called– which phrase started with Marx– and lo and behold, Obama had Marxist parents and even though he claims to be a freedom loving person, he has a distorted view of it and has embraced many of the Marxist tenents. He too has proven to be taking some control of the media– with several instances of only allowing those outlets who support him, access. He SAYS he’s not in favor of the Fairness Doctrine (which Ezra Taft Benson SPECIFICALLY addressed as being communist and socialist in nature) but there are serious concerns about his agenda with the FCC, that there’s an underhanded effort to employ the Fairness Doctrine without actually CALLING it that. (Much like he’d deny being a Socialist when his agenda and policies proves that he is). Stalin made himself out to be God-like as did his regime and followers, with symobls of his regime, his face everywhere –and this is exactly what’s happened with Obama as well. No other American president has had a personal symbol for their rise to power and/or their campaign, presidency, etc. (And I’m not talking about campaign poster things that say Obama/Biden -etc- I’m talking about PERSONAL symbols for THEM as a “leader”) But Obama has his “O” which looks like a rising sun, and the famous Obey prints of him splattered everywhere– where his face is the symbol of “hope”.

    As for the United Order and Communism– the main thing that separates them is THE crucial aspect— FREEDOM. People CHOOSE whether or not to participate in the United order— communism is FORCED upon you, whether you want it or not. That one thing– agency— makes all the difference in the world.

    To your question about health care and unemployment– we SHOULD take care of each other (mostly family taking care of family) but again, it’s criminal to forcibly take from my financial ability to provide for my own family’s healthcare, to provide for someone else’s. Families should be taking care of their own parents, rather than automatically expecting Medicare and Social Security to cover it. Think of the billions and billions of dollars Americans would have to pay for their OWN healthcare and to freely give toward organizations that provide it for the poor and needy, if it wasn’t being TAKEN from them with half of it being wasted on governmental red tape and bureaucracy, and much of the rest being handed out to millions who actually LIE about their financial/marital status to get it and/or abuse the system and use everyone ELSE’s money to provide for their healthcare, while they use their OWN money to go on vacations, buy the newest Nintendo systems, IPOD’s, etc.

    We discussed this some time ago here in quite a bit of detail– hope you don’t mind, but instead of writing it all out again, I’m going to cut and paste part of what I wrote before from my own experiences with Medicaid and government programs.

    How many thousands of dollars have come from taxes my husband has paid over the past 20 years, to pay for someone ELSE’s healthcare, food etc, and we can’t get our daughter a wheelchair that fits her? The money that we’ve paid in taxes that give other people healthcare, food, government paid rent, etc could buy her new chair or at least cover a large chunk of it. And what’s REALLY sick about that, is that someone who ISN’T working, who’s sitting at home for whatever reason– justified or unjustified, can get their medical needs paid for in full on Medicaid, and Sara can’t get her chair, even though we’re both working. Now, if I quit my job and stay home, then she’ll qualify for Medicaid, and she’ll get her chair for free instead of us having to save up for a few years. Do you see what I mean? The way the system is set up, it forcibly takes money from you, and gives it to someone else, even though you might really need it yourself. To make it worse, it PAYS for you to stay home and not work, while you benefit from someone ELSE’S work.

    I admit that I don’t necessarily have the “solution” for the problem– but it seems to me that if Americans gave $295 BILLION dollars to charity last year, then paying for all this stuff with taxes isn’t necessary. Taxes should be the last resort and LEAST contributor to [government] programs. Right now they’re the only contributor. Plus, if people weren’t paying so much in taxes (much of which is paying for other people’s food, housing, medical care, etc) then they’d have more to pay for their own and THEY wouldn’t need assistance. People pay taxes to cover other people’s needs, and then need to turn around and get assistance themselves.
    Okay– example— I just pulled out my husband’s W2’s from several years ago— he was making right around $27 K a year– I purposely pulled out THOSE taxes, because I know that we were getting WIC and Medicaid back then. So that year, they took out just over $3,000 in federal taxes alone, that doesn’t include state taxes, and $425 of that $3,000 was just for Medicare.
    So, how stupid is it, to take $425 dollars out of my husband’s check to pay for the healthcare of elderly people when according to the government, WE’RE so poor that we qualify for Medicaid?
    Why are a part of my taxes paying for food and groceries for the food stamp program, when we were so “poor” we qualified for WIC, and were getting $60 worth of groceries every month?
    (2 gallons of milk, 1 pound of cheese, 3 boxes of cereal, a carton of eggs and 3 or 4 cans of juice, for each week) Do you see what I mean? If they weren’t taking money from our pockets to pay for other people’s milk, cheese, cereal, etc, then we could have bought our OWN milk, cheese, cereal etc, with our OWN money, instead of needing WIC to pay for it.

  • Naismith June 5, 2009, 1:43 pm

    There are at least two other categories of people who might support some Obama proposals.

    First would be those who have lived in Western European or Asian democracies which have universal health care, but still have private property and private businesses, etc. Indeed, nothing fosters entrepreneurship more than the ability to provide health insurance at an affordable rate. When one sees how well things work in other countries, and that it is not as evil as some would make out, it does make one more open.

    Second would be those who believe in capitalism, but don’t think it works anymore. They have lost their jobs and health care, perhaps their homes, and are disillusioned about the American dream thing. They want something that works. And it’s not like President Obama had a conspiracy to take over banks and auto companies. The existing system failed and he was stuck with the problem.

    It’s also not like Obama’s health care proposals are a radical departure of what we already have in America. Study after study shows that Medicare has helped our eldest citizens to live better lives and stay out of poverty. Study after study shows that the SCHIP programs for children, run by each state with federal funding, help children live healthier lives and save on long-term medical costs. The only change would also be offering coverage to those in between.

    Writing in 1944, do you think that any church leader could envision a time when health care was so unaffordable? That CEOs would have such outrageous salaries? Or that the United States would be a second-rate economic power?

    As far as “fascism,” the Bush administration’s illegal wire taps and abrogation of human rights are the closest thing I’ve seen in my lifetime.

    I can’t figure out why the Obama proposals would be conflated with communism or fascism according the definitions given, as they don’t fit any of the criteria.

  • Tinkerbell June 5, 2009, 3:24 pm

    Writing in 1944, do you think that any church leader could envision a time when health care was so unaffordable? That CEOs would have such outrageous salaries? Or that the United States would be a second-rate economic power?

    Isn’t that the point of being prophetic? Rather they knew exactly what the struggles would be or not, they knew the warnings to give.

  • Tinkerbell June 5, 2009, 3:24 pm

    *Whether* not rather

  • facethemusic June 5, 2009, 4:56 pm

    I agree about Bush’s wire taps– so did MANY of the conservatives.

    Writing in 1944, do you think that any church leader could envision a time when health care was so unaffordable?

    “Church leaders” called as prophets, seers and revelators? Yes, I do.

    Or that the United States would be a second-rate economic power?

    Yes- in fact they WARNED us about it and Pres. Benson specifically warned about national healthcare. Socialized medicine is a CAUSE of a “second rate economy”.
    From a 1977 talk:

    “Once government steps over this clear line…into the aggressive role of redistributing the wealth through taxation and providing so called benefits for some of it’s citizens it becomes a means of legalized plunder. Examples abound in the world of the failure of alternative systems…what amazes me is that we cannot see from their examples of obvious failure of socialism, what it does to a nations economy…
    Great Britain is a tragic example of this…she has become a giant welfare state.Today government spending in Britain amounts to 60% of her national income. This is socialism. Medical doctors under socialized medicine are leaving Great Britain in record numbers as are thousands of others.

    (My uncle and Aunt who I’ve mentioned here before left England SPECIFICALLY because of the the POOR MEDICAL CARE.)

    Continuing his talk:

    “Americans have always been committed to taking care of the poor, aged, and unemployed. We have done this on the basis of Judaic-Christian beliefs and humanitarian principles. It has been fundamental to our way of life that charity must be voluntary if it is to be charity. Compulsory benevolence is not charity. Today ?s socialists ?who call themselves egalitarians ?are using the federal government to redistribute wealth in our society, not as a matter of voluntary charity, but as a so-called matter of right.The chief weapon used by the federal government to achieve this equality ? is the system of transfer payments. This means that the federal governments collects from one income group and transfer payments to another by the tax system. These payments are made in the form of social security benefits, Medicare and Medicaid, and food stamps, to name a few.
    Today the party now in power is advocating and has support, apparently in both major parties, for a comprehensive national health insurance program ?a euphemism for socialized medicine. Our major danger is that we are currently (and have been for forty years) transferring responsibility from the individual, local, and state governments to the federal government ?precisely the same course that led to the economic collapse in Great Britain and New York City. We cannot long pursue the present trend without its bringing us to national insolvency….If we continue to follow the trend in which we are heading today, two things will inevitably result: first, a loss of our personal freedom, and second, financial bankruptcy. This is the price we pay when we turn away from God and the principles which he has taught and turn to government to do everything for us. It is the formula by which nations become enslaved.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 5, 2009, 6:28 pm

    Such great discussion. Thanks to all.

    Posted By: kilpatrickclanI am not saying that it will never happen, but I don’t think Stalin and Obama are the same.

    Just to be clear, I don’t recall anyone equating them.

    I do agree that the United Order and a Communist society (not so much Communism) theoretically share a lot, but differ in many ways. The biggest is total selflessness, which I don’t think we have reached yet as a society, let alone a church

    .

    Ezra Taft Benson

    Communism introduced into the world a substitute for true religion. It is a counterfeit of the gospel plan ?

    Another notable counterfeit system to the Lord ?s plan is collectivized socialism. Socialism derives its philosophy from the founders of communism, Marx and Engels. Communism in practice is socialism ?Both communism and socialism have the same effect upon the individual ?a loss of personal liberty.

    Posted by: kilpatrickclanWelfare is a tricky subject. Especially in these days and times. Many people are finding themselves in predicaments that only a few years ago they never would have imagined. What would be the alternative? Yes, we have the church system and in many ways it is far superior to the government system, however I believe a good government looks after the “least” of its bretheren. I have yet to see a decent solution brought to the table when you discuss health care and unemployment. Any idea?

    I have a number of problems with your premise. I absolutely disagree that “good government” takes care of “the least of these.” Not because I don’t believe they should be taken care of or that we have an obligation to do so. It’s just that I believe it’s outside the scope of what government should be doing.

    Public schools, for example, often take care of:

    (1) Academic education
    (2) Oral hygiene
    (3) Visual testing
    (4) Immunizations
    (5) Breakfast and lunch programs
    (6) Sex education
    (7) Values clarification
    (8) Athletic teams
    (9) Performing arts groups
    (10) Socialization
    (11) College planning
    (12) Employment opportunities
    (13) Driver’s Ed
    (14) Ethnic clubs
    and on and on.

    Personally, I don’t think ANY of these things are what GOVERNMENT should have their hands in. I think they are out of the scope of what the government is allowed to do and certainly out of the scope of what they do WELL. But it’s an endless creep of taking over personal responsibility. And in the long run, I think it makes us WEAKER as a nation, rather than stronger.

    EVEN THOUGH I think most of these things are GOOD things and IMPORTANT things, I don’t think schools and the GOVERNMENT should be doing them.

    I think the answer is to educate people to their duty to be self-reliant AND their duty to help those who cannot.

    Posted By: NaismithFirst would be those who have lived in Western European or Asian democracies which have universal health care, but still have private property and private businesses, etc.

    My sister-in-law is Canadian. Her mother (also Canadian) just had surgery this week. (My sis is also an RN.) Let’s just say that are so not fans of universal health care.

    Indeed, nothing fosters entrepreneurship more than the ability to provide health insurance at an affordable rate.

    OK, I really have to ask: what the heck are you talking about? Honestly, are you an entrepreneur? (I sincerely don’t know.) We’ve been since 1985 (the year we married) and have made our entire income from our own businesses since 2001. Not only have we never, EVER remotely thought of providing affordable health insurance as a motive, but in all our dealings with hundreds and hundreds of other business owners, this has NEVER come up.

    In fact, it’s very rarely referred to in leading business publications.

    Let me tell you the ultimate fallacy of Obama’s “stimulus plan”–which is to steal from those who are working hard and spending on things like honey bee insurance and ACORN. Here is how you stimulate the economy in ONE easy step:

    (1) For each new hire, remove company payroll taxes for one current employee and for the new hire.

    The biggest hinderance to hiring (real business-people (aka not community organizers) call that “creating jobs”) is the government costs. As I’ve said before, if you got rid of government crappola, most businesses could DOUBLE their workforces.

    As for insurance, when we started our company, we didn’t offer it at all. We didn’t want to. And, of course, everyone who interviewed KNEW that. Instead, we paid well, gave profit bonuses, had good working conditions, etc. And we never had a shortage of employees. If someone wants to offer health insurance (as we later did) great. But sometimes another model works much better.

    Second would be those who believe in capitalism, but don’t think it works anymore. They have lost their jobs and health care, perhaps their homes, and are disillusioned about the American dream thing. They want something that works.

    It sounds to me as if “capitalism doesn’t work” means that “you might lose a job, health care, or your home.” But that IS “working.” You have opportunity. You have no guarantee.

    Study after study shows that Medicare has helped our eldest citizens to live better lives and stay out of poverty. Study after study shows that the SCHIP programs for children, run by each state with federal funding, help children live healthier lives and save on long-term medical costs.

    Let me give you an extreme analogy.

    Study after study shows that forcing everyone to keep the commandments results in more people not breaking commandments.

    Naismith, I promise you that if I went to every neighborhood in the US, took their money, and used it for fertilizer and lawn service, you wouldn’t even need a STUDY to prove that the yards across America looked better. If I went to every neighborhood, took their money, and forced orthodontic care on every teen, it would only take a few years to see much better looking teeth all across the country.

    It’s really not about whether or not taking money from those who earn it and spending it on whatever your agenda du jour is IMPROVES the results in your special interest. It’s about whether or not the government has the RIGHT to take money from people who work hard to spend it as THEY choose.

    Writing in 1944, do you think that any church leader could envision a time when health care was so unaffordable? That CEOs would have such outrageous salaries? Or that the United States would be a second-rate economic power?

    As far as “fascism,” the Bush administration’s illegal wire taps and abrogation of human rights are the closest thing I’ve seen in my lifetime.

    I can’t figure out why the Obama proposals would be conflated with communism or fascism according the definitions given, as they don’t fit any of the criteria.

    I assume you clearly see the socialism. Right?

    Fascist elements:
    “exalts nation above the individual”
    “centralized autocratic government”
    “severe economic regimentation”

    Communist elements:
    “A system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed”

  • facethemusic June 5, 2009, 7:46 pm

    It’s really not about whether or not taking money from those who earn it and spending it on whatever your agenda du jour is IMPROVES the results in your special interest. It’s about whether or not the government has the RIGHT to take money from people who work hard to spend it as THEY choose.

    AMEN and AMEN!! It’s a matter of PRINICPLE. Satan’s plan would certainly have “worked” in that everyone would have been without sin–right?

    Besides all that, as President Benson said, (and as history has proven) socialism NEVER works in the end.

  • Deanna June 5, 2009, 7:51 pm

    I can’t figure out why the Obama proposals would be conflated with communism or fascism according the definitions given, as they don’t fit any of the criteria

    The Obama administration is not compeletly “communist” like Stalin or “fascist” like Hitler. But I ?m not sure what definitions you are referring to. Did I miss them? I think what conservatives say when they accuse Obama as being a fascist or a communist or whatever is that they see him as having those leanings, or they see the path we are on as leading in that direction. Depends on where they are coming from. When I took my classes on this, the word fascism meant “one with whom another disagrees politically”. If they were to the political right of you, you called them a fascist. If they were left of you, you called them a communist. I think it has evolved back to it’s literal definition now.

    Elder Oaks gave a talk years ago in conference and asked us to ask ourselves “where will it lead?”.

    I think the really vocal group who are labeling things fascist or communist are just asking that question (maybe subconsciously?) and then stating the answer they see. Is it this new law a fascist move? A communist move? Where will it lead? Does the law or policy give us more freedom or take more freedom away? When a lot of the decisions have fascist or communist leanings (or heck, when Obama says that he sympathizes with marxists–in his own words!!) then it feeds that sentiment. True, bush’s administration did some things that were fascist leaning as well, but we aren’t under their administration right now. It’s the obama administration we are working with so fascist/communist and right/wrong discussions will be centered on that administration.

    I have debated posting the rest of this, because it is so long. So I apologize for the length, and for the typeos. I don ?t have time to go back and check it. I share because I think it might be helpful in understanding why people are screaming fascism or that the USA is ripe for a fascist takeover. I don ?t have time to do the communist side, but I think there is enough in this discussion already on socialism and communism that posting what my book says on those would be redundant.

    I have this book called Today’s Isms that was the text for my AP comparative politics class in high school. I loved the thing so much I got myself a copy. Frightening how truly nerdy I am. But anyway, I pulled it out to give myself a quick review and thought I’d share what it says. I ran out of time to do more, but really—enough is as good as a feast, right? The parallels with what is going on in our own country are striking.

    Under Facism:

    While communism has been historically linked with poor and underdeveloped nations, facism typically grew in comparatively wealthier and technologically more advanced nations.

    Fascists were unlikely to seize power in countries with no democratic experience at all. In such societies dictatorship might have been based on the miliatary, the bureaucracy, or the personal prestige of the dictator, but it lacked the element of mass enthusiasm and mass support (though not necessarily majority support) characteristic of fascism…Experience proved that in general, the more violent and terristic fascist movements were, the more popular support they tended to have.

    Another condition essential to the growth of fascism was some degree of industrial development. At least two principal points of contact existed between fascism and relatively advanced industrialization. First, fascist terror and propaganda required a good deal of technological organization and know how. Second, as a system of permanent mobilization for war, fascism could not hope to succeed without industrial skills and resources.
    It may be argued that the connection between fascism and modern industry went even deeper. Every industrial society brings about social and economic tensions. Such tensions can be dealt with in one of two ways: the democratic way or the coercive way. A democratic society recognizes the variety of economic interests and their inevitable conflict (such as between labor and management, skilled and unskilled workers) and seeks to reconcile such conflicts by the experimental method of peaceful, gradual adjustment. A fascist state denied the existence of divergent social interests (abhorring the notion of variety, especially in the form of departures from state imposed uniformity)

    Facism appealed to two groups particularly. First, it attracted a numerically small number of industrialists and landowners who were willing to finance fascist movements in the hope of getting rid of free labor unions. Where democracy was weak, as it was in Germany, itlay, and japan, it took only a few wealthy industrialists and landowners to supply fascist movements with ample funds ? Where democratic traditions were weak, leaders of big business found it possible to side openly with the cause of fascism.

    The second main source of fascist support–and numerically the most important–came from lower middle classes, mostly in the salaried group. Many individuals in this class dreaded the prospect of joining the paid by the hour working class and looked to fascism for salvation of their status and prestige. Salaried employees felt jealous of big business, into whose higher echelons they would have liked to rise, but fearful of labor, into whose proletarian world they would have hated to descend. Facism very cleverly utilized these jealousies and fears of the lower middle classes by propagandizing simultaneously against big business and big labor. Although such propaganda was neither logically nor politically consistent, its very inconsistency both reflected and appealed to the confusion of the salaried class, uncertain as that class was as to where to turn politically.
    Widespread negative emotions such as envy and fear were an important ingredient to allow a successful fascist movement, as was an enemy who could be blamed for social problems. Fascism and racism went hand in glove because racial hostility generally was stronger in psychologically more insecure lower middle class groups than in the better educated and more affluent middle and upper classes. .. In times of prosperity the divergence between labor and the salaried class may not have been too upsetting politically, but in times of crisis and economic depression the smallest class antagonisms could turn into political dynamite. …

    Although fascism was not a direct or necessary result of economic depression in capitalist states, as marxist communist theory suggested, there was a connection between the two. In times of economic depression, fear and frustration undermined faith in the democratic process; and where faith in rational methods weakened, fascism was a potential gainer. Owners of small businesses blamed big business for their troubles; big business blamed the unreasonableness of labor unions; labor felt that the only way out was to soak the rich; farmers believed they were not getting enough for farm products and that the prices they paid for manufactured goods were too high; and worst of all, there was a large mass of unemployed people.

    The worst feature of unemployment is not the economic suffering, but the feelings of being useless, unwanted, and outside of the productive ranks of society. It is among the spiritually homeless that fascism made serious inroads during a depression: By putting unemployed people into uniform, a fascist movement made them feel that they “belonged”, and by telling them that they were members of a superior race or nation, such a movement restored some of their self respect.

    Fascism cut across all social groups… In terms of implicit psychological background, fascism looked within all social groups for the great common denominators of frustration, resentment, and insecurity. These psychological attitudes could easily be turned into hatred and aggression, against both internal and external enemies.

    Fascist totalitarianism sought to control all phases of human life, political or not. Fascism began its control before birth by promoting certain population policies, and it reached beyond life into the grave by deciding who should live and who should die. Fascist doctrone held that within a nation, the elite is superior to the mass and may impose its will upon the latter by force. Similarly, among nations, the elite nation is superior to others and is entitled to rule them.

    The corporate state applied fascist principles of organization and control to the economy> the fascist economy was subdivided into state controlled associations of capital and labor. Though in the fascist economy some private owners of capital were allowed to retain nominal ownership and some of the fruits of their productive energies, this increasingly became less the case.

    As in politics, so in economics; Those countries that emphasize political freedom also practice economic freedom and those nations that have been politically unfree have also generally not practiced economic liberty.

    The philosophy of the corporate state rested on two assumptions. First, the individual should not be a politically articulate citizen. General political problems were assumed to be too complicated for the masses, who were expected to understand only those issues that bore directly on their vocational or professional work. Second, members of the ruling elite were supposed to understand broad problems that affected the entire society; therefore, they alone were qualified to govern.

    There is more, but I don’t want to swallow up the discussion :).

  • Tinkerbell June 5, 2009, 9:17 pm

    Very interesting, deanna. I want to hear more!

  • Deanna June 5, 2009, 9:34 pm

    When I get a minute tomorrow, I’ll see if I can get more typed up.

    I did want to address the issue of the do-gooders who really, truly want to help the needy. President Benson quoted this in The proper role of government. since i’m short on time tonight, I can just copy and paste this really quick for now and then can come back and type in a little more on fascism tomorrow.

    On the “do gooders”:

    On the surface this may sound heartless and insensitive to the needs of those less fortunate individuals who are found in any society, no matter how affluent. “What about the lame, the sick and the destitute? Is an often-voice question. Most other countries in the world have attempted to use the power of government to meet this need. Yet, in every case, the improvement has been marginal at best and has resulted in the long run creating more misery, more poverty, and certainly less freedom than when government first stepped in. As Henry Grady Weaver wrote, in his excellent book, THE MAINSPRING OF HUMAN PROGRESS:

    “Most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well-meaning people who ignored the principle of individual freedom, except as applied to themselves, and who were obsessed with fanatical zeal to improve the lot of mankind-in-the-mass through some pet formula of their own….THE HARM DONE BE ORDINARY CRIMINALS, MURDERES, GANGSTERS, AND THIEVES IS NEGLIGIBLE IN COMPARISON WITH THE AGONY INFLICTED UPON HUMAN BEINGS BY THE PROFESSIONAL ‘DO-GOODERS’, who attempt to set themselves up as gods on earth and who would ruthlessly force their views on all others – with the abiding assurance that the end justifies the means.” (p. 40-1; P.P.N.S., p. 313)

    … The Better Way
    By comparison, America traditionally has followed Jefferson’s advice of relying on individual action and charity. The result is that the United States has fewer cases of genuine hardship per capita than any other country in the entire world or throughout all history. Even during the depression of the 1930’s, Americans ate and lived better than most people in other countries do today.

    What Is Wrong With A “Little” Socialism?
    In reply to the argument that a little bit of socialism is good so long as it doesn’t go too far, it is tempting to say that, in like fashion, just a little bit of theft or a little bit of cancer is all right, too! History proves that the growth of the welfare state is difficult to check before it comes to its full flower of dictatorship. But let us hope that this time around, the trend can be reversed. If not then we will see the inevitability of complete socialism, probably within our lifetime.

  • Deanna June 5, 2009, 9:36 pm

    ack! allison!?!?!? why did it do that???

  • Alison Moore Smith June 5, 2009, 10:15 pm

    Just a little HTML issue–no close tag. I hope I fixed it like you wanted. :smile:

  • facethemusic June 6, 2009, 5:22 am

    Deanna, reading through all that it’s very clear that the REASON why it doesn’t work, (or at least, that it only works for a little while and ends up making things worse) is simply this– AGENCY is CRITICAL to the plan. Usurping someone’s agency NEVER helps them in the long run.
    Satan’s plan was ‘wicked’ because it sought to take away our agency EVEN THOUGH, as he said, it would bring us back to God “unscathed” so to speak.
    As the scriptures so clearly teach “Wickedness never was happiness”.

    Check this out fom the Ensign about the Church in the countries of Scandinavia and the economic travesty that socialism, through national healthcare, pretty much national “everything” etc has caused– funny how the more socialism a country adopts, the less religious and more wicked it becomes;

    DENMARK
    “Material prosperity has caused general spiritual problems throughout Denmark. One Danish father, Jorgen Ljungstrom, describes his family before the missionaries contacted them: We did not concern ourselves much about the spiritual life, but tried to make life comfortable for ourselves. ?

    Throughout Denmark there is relatively little interest in religion. Attendance at the state Lutheran church is only about 2 percent, according to Regional Representative and former Mission President Don L. Christensen.

    Hans Christian Christensen, a Dane serving a mission in his own country, calls prosperity one of the greatest trials we have. ? The government pays for most medical, dental, and educational expenses, as well as for unemployment compensation and old-age pensions, but it takes a whopping bite of taxes; a minimum 40 percent, frequently higher. Sales tax is another 15 percent, and prices are not low to begin with.
    After a Danish Saint contributes Church offerings, he performs the monthly miracle of living on about 32 percent of his income.

    Like most Scandinavian countries, Denmark ?s freewheeling laws on pornography and morality threaten homes already imperiled by economic conditions that make having more than three children a sacrifice and send a majority of mothers out of the home to work. President Pehrson calls one section of downtown Copenhagen a Sodom and Gomorrah situation ? and praises the efforts of young Mormons to live gospel standards. At the age of 14 or 15 they have to resist temptations that most people never see in their entire lives. ? Sex education starts in kindergarten; the legal age of consent is 14; and the illegitimate birth rate is about 25 percent.

    NORWAY
    Dean A. Peterson, Regional Representative and former Norway Mission president, sees four difficult areas:

    First, it requires tremendous dedication to stay active in view of the dominance of the state church. The Latter-day Saint Church is not recognized as Christian; members cannot perform marriages, register Boy Scouts, or conduct funeral services without state supervision. Only birth certificates issued by Lutheran priests are recognized.

    Second, members suffer the stigma of being called strange ? and are often discriminated against when seeking employment.

    Third, Norwegian Saints must continue to support the state church and are not allowed to deduct tithing from their income tax. Minimum federal taxes are 42 percent.
    But the greatest challenge, ? according to Elder Peterson, is the same for Saints everywhere to let their light so shine that their countrymen will recognize the influence of the gospel in their lives. ?

    President Albert H. Vedeler of the Bergen District explains: In Norway, every family with children under 16 depends on the state for child support and rent support. No matter how much a person earns, his income is insufficient without some form of government subsidy. ?

    Second jobs may be taxed up to 74 percent, says Brother Vedeler, expressing the frustration of honest and industrious members of the Church.

    SWEDEN
    In a country where citizens pay 55 percent of their income in taxes, tithing takes on a special meaning: members share beautifully simple, yet strong testimonies.

    Since the day of my baptism I have paid tithing, ? emphasizes Rachel Björklund of Göteborg. We are not wealthy at all, but we have never been without any essential things. The Lord has many ways to open his windows of heaven. ?

    Sister Björklund recalls times when she has found it impossible to buy clothing for her growing children. I hardly realize that one of our children needs a new coat or skirt or anything before we get it from a member, a friend, or even a neighbor. And that has happened many times, and mostly we get exactly what we need, in the right size. ?

    One man, before joining the Church, was unable to support his family, even though he and his wife both worked full time. Now, since paying a full tithe, he has purchased his own home, bought a car, and is contributing to a savings account every month. And his wife feels it is more important to stay home with their children than to work.

    That attitude sets LDS families apart. Most of Sweden ?s women work while government centers care for children over the age of six months. Sister Britt-Louise Lindblöm was tempted to work after marriage, but resisted: It is not fairto have others raise our children. We want to be able to say to our Heavenly Father, ?These children were given to us and not one has gone astray. ? ?

    Distances are another challenge that Swedish Saints conquer. It costs about $100 to travel the almost 2,000 miles to the Swiss Temple; but most go twice a year and each performs about 20 endowments for the dead.

    Most members must travel great distances to attend church, too. Two years ago, one family in Stockholm had to spend over $50 a month to attend church. Even though Sweden has a good public transportation system, the cost is too high for regular travel to church, so most squeeze together, sometimes 11 or 12 in one car.

    FINLAND
    Finland is quite a socialized country, with the state taking care of one ?s needs from the cradle to the grave, ? says Brother Felin. This includes a system of socialized medicine where a hospital room may cost only $2 per day. Costs of eyeglasses or dentures can be claimed against one ?s income tax.

    Finns pay income taxes ranging from 40 to 50 percent for the middle income group, a sales tax of 12.5 percent, and a 10 percent tax to support the state church, unless they officially declare a separation from it. There ?s even a special tax on their mökki (summer cottages).

    Rents and the general cost of living are also high, with a current inflation rate of 15 percent. Many mothers work just to help pay for rent and food, according to Ville-Matti Karumo, supervisor for a business machine company in Helsinki, and a former branch president. He calls a two-bedroom apartment an achievement. ?
    All education in Finland is free except for privately owned kindergartens. Children start grade school at the age of seven, and they complete their formal education at 16.

    Then they may prepare for either vocational school or education at a university. All boys are subject to military service at 19 and serve for nine months (11 months if they want to be officers), but this can be deferred until they complete their schooling.

    According to Brother Karumo, only one student in ten qualifies for a university education, which possibly is the basis of a better-paying job, but is not a sign of status. Many young men and women seek training in vocational schools for positions in industries such as textiles, porcelain and glass, agriculture, engineering, shipbuilding, and iron and steel production.

    I highly recommend reading the entire article.

  • facethemusic June 6, 2009, 5:35 am

    Here”s a FANTASTIC talk by Marion G. Romney– describing the Lord’s vision and plan for welfare/united order/helping the poor etc, VERSUS socialism, communism etc. I read this, and it very clearly demonstrates how Satan’s plans REALLY DO pose a wicked but very convicing counterfeit to Heavenly Father’s plan…. unfortunately, even members of the church start to buy into it.

  • facethemusic June 6, 2009, 8:24 am

    Sorry to be a posting hog– here’s a great article about the myths and manipulations of information regarding socialized care in other countries and the system here.

  • kilpatrickclan June 6, 2009, 8:26 am

    I appreciate the comments and know that we are just coming from two different places, in some areas. I do believe the prophets from Adam to now, but I also believe in modern day prophets…being President Monson and following his teachings for today. So, I will listen to what he says for this time period and what he recommends (which isn’t too different from past prophets, but if there was a difference, I would follow Monson over past teachings). I did read the Romney talk and it was inspiring.

    I just don’t think that Obama is the slippery slope to communism/socialism. I have a cousin in Norway who I talk with frequently and things are different there then here. She was able to stay home with her newborns and receive assistance for almost a year. She did not work after that period. However, marriage is not a big thing over there. She lived with her “Baby Daddy” for about 10 years and then they split up. Now she is working, but her kids are 9 and 7. Her health care needs have been taken care of. I don’t know to what extent, but in comparison with what I have seen over here, the cost of health care drives people to assistance. My own example, I had a baby about three months ago and even with insurance, the bill is high. It is going to take us a while to pay it back. I guess it was my choice to have a baby, but it means that I have to work part time to afford the bill even with my husband’s salary. I don’t think we need to apply for Medicaid or Wic or anything, but if he were to lose his job, I would be right in line. I have also worked with wards in assisting families and it doesn’t always work so smoothly either. Some bishops are more generous then others, some members are more greedy then others. It is VERY tricky and requires A LOT of prayer and even then, we get it wrong sometimes.

    I currently live in Detroit and the current auto crisis is right in my front yard. Fortunately, my husband and I are not employed with the car companies, but they reach into every sector of business, so at some point it may effect us. Anyway, the unions are weird. In some ways, I agree. Working conditions need to be protected, but this has caused huge apathetic feelings. No one is fighting for their rights. It’s weird. It is like they are so used to the Unions telling them what to do, that they don’t think for themselves. This reaches into the non-auto sector. I work with children who have disabilities. Recently there was a huge cut in services to families. These are really important services for these children. I worked in Utah and California and when stuff like this happened, parents were right on the steps of the Capital. Here, it’s like, meh…. People are mad, angry, sad, depressed, but they don’t do anything about it. My families that I work with are some of the first to actual appeal a decision and ask for a hearing with the county (the governing body in this area) due to me showing them the process. It’s just weird.

  • facethemusic June 6, 2009, 8:39 am

    I

    have a cousin in Norway who I talk with frequently and things are different there then here. She was able to stay home with her newborns and receive assistance for almost a year.

    You say that as though it’s a good thing. (Or am I misunderstanding?) It’s NOT a good thing. If the taxes there weren’t so high (in order to pay for all the social programs) then she wouldn’t have to work in the FIRST place and she could have stayed home from the very beginning and paid for her OWN needs, without needing “assistance”.

    Did you read what I copied and pasted above from the Ensign ABOUT Norway?

  • kilpatrickclan June 6, 2009, 10:09 am

    My cousin was able to stay home until they were older and the father left. The topic of which government values families is very interesting. When I was living in Utah, I found that for all the rhetoric I would hear from government leaders about family values this and family values that, there was so little for promoting the continuation of families. We did it, but it was a struggle. I had to use all of my vacation and sick time and then when I went back to work, there was nothing there for the now newborn who gets sick all the time. I had my 2nd baby in CA. I also used a majority of my sick and vacation, but the difference was I could take temporary disability (which I also paid into), which helped when I went back to work and provided me with enough time for the occasional sick kid. Now, I am working part time, but my husband and I juggle time with the kids (he’s off when I am on, vice versa). I get no benefits at all. No sick, no vacation…squat. If I want to take Christmas break off, I have to work extra the weeks leading. This was my choice, granted. I guess I just come from the school where I don’t mind paying into a system that supports not only myself but others and most of the people here, obviously do not. Back to the OP, I think the majority of the last 100 days (plus) have been to repair much of the PR damage that was done by the past administration. Time will tell of the future. I actually didn’t want the bail out of the auto industry. I agreed with Romney who said from the very beginning to let the companies go bankrupt….which eventually they did.

  • kilpatrickclan June 6, 2009, 10:15 am

    Yes, I did see what you put in about Norway. It is a strange country. Some good, some bad. Lutheran is the religion there, but no one practices it. They do the rituals, but there is very little day to day practice. My cousin is not a member, so I have no idea about that. I do see that the church is becoming more and more international, so the whole LDS Church and State topic becomes interesting to me, when you look at other countries and how they deal with doctrine v. government. Anyway, it is Saturday. The sun is shining and I need to get out. Interesting discussion. Thanks ladies.

  • agardner June 6, 2009, 6:51 pm

    This is totally off the topic so I decided to whisper it instead. I saw that you live in Detroit. What area? We are moving to Detroit – Canton actually. In three weeks!

  • Tinkerbell June 6, 2009, 10:07 pm

    face, what is the link to that Ensign article about Scandinavia?

    Interesting how government seems to replace religion, and that is exactly what a lot of people want for our country.

  • Tinkerbell June 6, 2009, 10:09 pm

    In the BofM, taxes of 50% were oppressive and burdensome (by the Lamanites on the people of King Limhi). Even taxes of 20% by King Noah on his own people were burdensome.

  • Deanna June 6, 2009, 11:58 pm

    We were out car shopping all day and so I haven’t had a chance to type up the rest of the fascism stuff, but I wanted to pop in and read the follow up posts before Sunday.

    Since we’re talking taxes, I’m feeling burdened. DH gets bonuses at work as a nice chunks of his income. I hate it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for whatever, but when they call it a bonus we are slapped with a 42 percent tax right off the top. Then if it’s a stock bonus, we are subjected to capital gains. And it increases our tax liability. By the time the government gets its paws off my money, sometimes up to sixty percent of it is gone, and that’s before tithing!!

    Maybe i’m just feeling a little sour since we paid in the ballpark of an additional 2 grand in taxes and licensing fees on the vehicle we just bought. I can’t remember what the warantee cost, but it may be closer to 3 grand.

    I’m not bitter.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 7, 2009, 3:09 am

    kilpatrickclan, I really appreciate your reasoned responses.

    Posted By: kilpatrickclanI just don’t think that Obama is the slippery slope to communism/socialism.

    My issue with this statement is that what Obama is doing IS socialistic, by definition:

    original articleAny of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.

    A system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state.

    Of course we aren’t entirely socialist at this point. But certainly dictating/owning banking, auto, health care industries are socialist responses to the problem.

    Posted By: kilpatrickclanWhen I was living in Utah, I found that for all the rhetoric I would hear from government leaders about family values this and family values that, there was so little for promoting the continuation of families.

    I suppose my question is, what SHOULD the GOVERNMENT be doing to “promote the continuation of families”?

    I had to use all of my vacation and sick time and then when I went back to work, there was nothing there for the now newborn who gets sick all the time. I had my 2nd baby in CA. I also used a majority of my sick and vacation, but the difference was I could take temporary disability (which I also paid into), which helped when I went back to work and provided me with enough time for the occasional sick kid. Now, I am working part time, but my husband and I juggle time with the kids (he’s off when I am on, vice versa). I get no benefits at all. No sick, no vacation…squat. If I want to take Christmas break off, I have to work extra the weeks leading.

    Look at all this from the point of view of a business OWNER. If you take time off, why should you get paid for it? What are you contributing to the company by staying home–for whatever reason?

    Honestly, I’m really baffled at this idea Americans have that they should get paid to sit on the beach or something. It really creates a misconception among employees because they THINK they are getting this great gig. When the truth is, the COST to the company is passed on to THEM. It always is. They just don’t see it (because their salary is just lower than it would be for a full year of work), so they think they’re getting this great deal with vacation/sick days. It’s all smoke and mirrors. If you had a set salary for 365 days of work (with the same hourly pay you get for your salary plus days off) employees would be MUCH more informed–and much more CAREFUL–about how much the “free” days really cost them.

    This is much the same as the discussion I had with Naismith some time ago about payroll taxes. You THINK you aren’t affected–as the employee–because you don’t SEE all the money the company pays for payroll expenses. But in truth, it comes out of the employees’ paycheck.

    This is the exact reason I WANT a fair tax and politicians do NOT want a fair tax. If you have ONE, lump sum tax (like a national sales tax) it’s really clear exactly how much they are sticking you for all the stupid stuff government should NOT be doing. But when it’s all spread out, a little property tax on your mortgage, a little on your car, a little sales tax, a bunch of withholding tax, some luxury tax, estate tax, company payroll taxes, sin taxes, city/state licensing and fees, self-employment tax, and on and on and on–you have no IDEA how much of your money is getting sucked up for honey bee insurance and a study about homosexuality in Brazil. And that’s how they WANT it. They want you to have no idea–so you won’t revolt.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 7, 2009, 3:16 am

    Tracy, there was a comment at one of your links that I thought was priceless:

    The funniest argument coming from the left is that they empathize with people who complain that insurance companies control which doctors they can see and what tests they can get as if national medical boards aren ?t going to do even worse if healthcare is nationalized.

    This is something I’ve discussed myself:

    One argument that must be raised is the statistic of just how many Canadians are coming to America for medical services on demand ? and how many of them are having life threatening cancer treated months before the time they would ?ve been initially seen in Canada.

    FWIW, a great many of the problems with our health care system (which is better than anywhere else in the world) are due to legislation that surrounds the industry. For example, with regard to insurance pooling.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 7, 2009, 3:27 am

    One thing I’d be seriously interested is WHO gets covered in the universal health care plans of these various countries.

    I heard that even Canadian CITIZENS who are away from the country for over 180 days are denied any coverage there.

    Golly, maybe if we stopped providing free health care to every illegal alien on the planet–the COST of health care to those who are willing to PAY might be more reasonable. (Because, again, the cost is transferred to those who pay.)

    FWIW, in Florida (and undoubtedly everywhere in the country) the illegal community had a very organized “how to have your babies [and other things] for free” network. They all knew which hospitals were easiest (Miami) and which doctors would help and how to play the system. I learned about it first hand from a friend who was a new convert to the church. It suddenly occurred to her that gaming cost everyone else and she wanted to know if it was “something Mormons do.”

  • facethemusic June 7, 2009, 7:15 am

    Oh– here’s the link to the Scandinavia article– forgot to put it in!!

    I’ll go add it above, too.

  • Deanna June 7, 2009, 8:39 am

    And something to think of on the Universal Health care bandwaon–have any of you seen what Daschle and others have said on the subject? Americans just need to be more accepting of terminal diagnoses like the europeans are. It’s all these experimental treatments (um yeah, the ones that make the US medical care some of the best in the world) that are driving up costs for everyone, so we need to put a halt to them. The elderly drive up health care for everyone. They need to be more graceful about accepting the broken bodies that come with age. If that means they die, they die. Certain diagnoses will not be covered. A national board will review all the nationalized electronic medical records to make sure doctors are conforming with nationally set protocols for treatment. No rogue doctors should go above and beyond in treatment past what the bureucrats in washington say they should for whatever the dianoses is.
    Yeah, that’s exactly the kind of strings I’d like tied to my health care, or that of my relatives.

  • Naismith June 7, 2009, 8:46 am

    I do believe the prophets from Adam to now, but I also believe in modern day prophets…being President Monson and following his teachings for today. So, I will listen to what he says for this time period and what he recommends (which isn’t too different from past prophets, but if there was a difference, I would follow Monson over past teachings).

    This is exactly my feeling, and why I don’t get too worried about a statement made in 1944. If it still mattered to us today, we would hear about it at General Conference. As a convert who joined after most of those statements were made, it was a great insight into the reasoning of some church members along these lines, so thanks for posting those archival references.

    Why don’t we hear about it nowadays? And in fact, the new white church welfare booklet specifically says that people might choose to accept government assistance as part of the way they are being helped. I think one reason may be because the slippery slope never happened. Decades later, those Western European countries remain democracies and constitutional monarchies, with free and fair elections, and private property never disappeared. The work ethic thrives. Having some things in common for the benefit of all did NOT make them communist in the Soviet sense.

    Before we go slamming the Danes, I have to say that I consider them among the most righteous people of all time because of their behavior during World War II, refusing to allow their Jews to be surrendered to the Nazis, and following up on those few who were sent to concentrations camps. It’s an amazing story.

    Also, I don’t see that those tax rates are so high, considering what they get for their money. If we added up all our taxes, plus what we pay for retirement and health care, it would be quite close. They don’t have the nickel-and-diming, nor the wide disparity between poor and rich.

    Yes, the church teaches that we should work for what we get. That’s an eternal truth. But in buying healthcare, I don’t think it matters so much whether we pay into Medicare or pay into a private plan. It is the paying that matters.

    Choice is important, but capitalism is not a guarantee of choice. Those “flaxen cords” that remove our choices take many forms. I’ve known many people who felt trapped in their jobs because they couldn’t afford to lose the health coverage for a family member with a special need or chronic condition, which would be considered pre-existing when they changes plans. Also, when I birthed a child in 1980, I could still pay cash because medical malpractice rates had only just started skyrocketing, but I could only afford to use a family practice residency program. That was the only affordable choice. My children use the state-run children’s insurance program for their children, and they have a choice of providers, and they were able to keep the same physician during the years someone had a job with health insurance. That sounds like much more choice to me.

    This is much the same as the discussion I had with Naismith some time ago about payroll taxes. You THINK you aren’t affected–as the employee-

    I am not sure what discussion you are citing, but of course I understand the employer’s side. I do work for a large business (university), but my job is not secure; I have to bring in business (grants) or I’m terminated the minute I stop covering my salary. I well understand that a grant pays over $10,000 per year for health insurance for a full-time employee. I personally think it ought to be taxed and tithed. But that’s how it is done in the current capitalist system that some of you think is so much better.

    Under universal health care, even if the government is involved at some point, both the individual and the employer do chip in; it’s just that they are able to enjoy more beneficial rates with a large group over which the risk is shared. Nobody thinks it is “free.” They are just willing to come together and have that in common for the benefit of all.

    You can tell your horror stories about health care in other countries, but of course people die every day in America from lack of insurance. And comparative cross-country studies continue to show that overall satisfaction is higher in other countries. America leads the pack in lower wait times for elective surgery, and more high-tech testing (some of which is defensive medicine due to our malpractice environment). But looking at the rates of people who put off an office visit or didn’t get a prescription filled or didn’t get an annual physical, all because of cost concerns–it isn’t even close. Saying that American healthcare is the best because we have the Mayo Clinic is like saying our transportation system is the best because we have the Space Shuttle.

    You can laud the benefits of free enterprise if you want, as your personal opinion, but please don’t try to make it sound like your way is the Lord’s way by quoting from warnings that are 30+ years old and never uttered by the President of the church.

  • Deanna June 7, 2009, 10:14 am

    You raise some interesting points, naismith. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the opposite side of the disucssion articulated so well. See, I’m glad I come here. I love learning something new.

    I know it is hard to transmit tone in a forum like this–so I have to state that I am asking this because I genuinely want to know :)

    what is your take on the stimulus plan’s health provisions–the one that went through congress back in feb? I save these statements from discussions in the news at the time. The references to Daschle are because at the time he was the HHS secretary nominee and the author was comparing the provisions in the stimulus bill to Daschle’s book on health care. By nominating Daschle, I think it’s safe to say that Obama was in agreement with him. On to the article:

    This one is from bloomberg:
    The bill ?s health rules will affect every individual in the United States ? (445, 454, 479). Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. Having electronic medical records at your fingertips, easily transferred to a hospital, is beneficial. It will help avoid duplicate tests and errors.
    the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and guide ? your doctor ?s decisions (442, 446). These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what Daschle prescribed in his 2008 book, Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis. ? According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and learn to operate less like solo practitioners
    Hospitals and doctors that are not meaningful users ? of the new system will face penalties. Meaningful user ? isn ?t defined in the bill. That will be left to the HHS secretary, who will be empowered to impose more stringent measures of meaningful use over time ? (511, 518, 540-541)

    What penalties will deter your doctor from going beyond the electronically delivered protocols when your condition is atypical or you need an experimental treatment? In his book, Daschle proposed an appointed body with vast powers to make the tough ? decisions elected politicians won ?t make.
    The stimulus bill does that, and calls it the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (190-192). The goal, Daschle ?s book explained, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs. He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept hopeless diagnoses ? and forgo experimental treatments, ? and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system.
    Daschle says health-care reform will not be pain free. ? Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt
    Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost- effectiveness standard set by the Federal Council (464).

    The Federal Council is modeled after a U.K. board discussed in Daschle ?s book. This board approves or rejects treatments using a formula that divides the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit. Treatments for younger patients are more often approved than treatments for diseases that affect the elderly, such as osteoporosis.

    In 2006, a U.K. health board decreed that elderly patients with macular degeneration had to wait until they went blind in one eye before they could get a costly new drug to save the other eye. It took almost three years of public protests before the board reversed its decision.

    If the Obama administration ?s economic stimulus bill passes the Senate in its current form, seniors in the U.S. will face similar rationing. Defenders of the system say that individuals benefit in younger years and sacrifice later.

    The stimulus bill will affect every part of health care, from medical and nursing education, to how patients are treated and how much hospitals get paid. The bill allocates more funding for this bureaucracy than for the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force combined (90-92, 174-177, 181).

    Hiding health legislation in a stimulus bill is intentional. Daschle supported the Clinton administration ?s health-care overhaul in 1994, and attributed its failure to debate and delay. A year ago, Daschle wrote that the next president should act quickly before critics mount an opposition. If that means attaching a health-care plan to the federal budget, so be it, ? he said. The issue is too important to be stalled by Senate protocol

    You know the perspective I am coming at this from. I don’t think handing the government the power to decide who is able to have their medical needs met is any better than the current system where those who need help but can’t afford it die from lack of care. I just see it as a shifting in the reasons why people can’t get care, only with the additional tax burden. I’m assuming you mean people die mostly from chronic diseases, since they can go to an emergency room under our current system. I truly would like your perspective, since you’ve articulated things so well :)

  • Alison Moore Smith June 7, 2009, 11:12 am

    Posted By: DeannaThe elderly drive up health care for everyone. They need to be more graceful about accepting the broken bodies that come with age. If that means they die, they die.

    Why didn’t Teddy Kennedy take that advice, rather than “drive up health care costs for everyone”?

    Posted By: NaismithI am not sure what discussion you are citing,

    To name a couple there was this one and this one.

    but of course I understand the employer’s side. I do work for a large business (university), but my job is not secure; I have to bring in business (grants) or I’m terminated the minute I stop covering my salary.

    Naismith, I appreciate your work experience, but working for a large business that requires its employees to have particular standards is not remotely like owning a business. And working for a university is generally even less so.

    it’s just that they are able to enjoy more beneficial rates with a large group over which the risk is shared.

    And why can’t such pooling occur now–more often than it does? Government regulation.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 7, 2009, 11:14 am

    George Will articulates my thoughts quite well on the disaster of having the government that runs AmTrak stepping in to run GM–or AIG or California.

    Washington mandates that Detroit must build cars for which there is much less demand than Washington demands that there be. Then Washington tries to manufacture demand with a $7,500 tax credit for purchasers of the electric Chevrolet Volt, supposedly GM’s salvation. So, GM is to be saved by a product people will not buy without a cash incentive larger than the income tax paid by 83.4 percent of America’s families.

  • kilpatrickclan June 7, 2009, 5:20 pm

    I guess I am in the middle on this one. I am not a huge fan of taxes, but I do appreciate when they work well. Detroit has this weird city tax (which I hear is in other cities too), where my husband pays a tax just for working there. Sheesh! My husband is also self employed and it always baffles me at the end of the tax year, all the extra we have to pay for family that is not living extravagantly (we rent, buy used cars, usually go 2nd hand shopping first, have our own garden, make do without, etc.). It irks. But, I guess because of my work, I see the flip side. I have seen many families receive assistance with tax dollars. Tax dollars have kept families together. I work with children who have disabilities and a little Medicaid funded respite goes a long way. I do run into a few families though that I think milk the system, though.

    On NPR this Friday, there was a good program on Medicare and a county in Southern Texas which has double the charges then the average Medicare cost. They looked at why. Doctors were milking the system. They had doctors that were having patients come in for test results because they could charge for an office visit, but not a phone call. I can relate. In my current job, I get paid per visit. Nothing else. So the hours I spend looking into services, making phone calls, talking to doctors, etc, I don’t get paid for. I have to balance it with my visits. So, I have to stay at a home for at least an hour. The longer I spend with the client, the more I get paid. It totally makes me inefficient because the majority of my work is spent in the office, not in the field. When I was working in Utah, we had the rare occasion of a shift in structure and had an interim director that was awesome. We looked at the way we did everything. We met with HICFA (Medicaid people) regularly. It was so interesting. They met with the actual social workers carrying out their policies. They had a completely different idea of what reality was. Once they heard from us, they began to change the policies to be more in line of what the workers could actually do. It was great. I think more of that needs to happen as far as government programs go. The people who are issuing the rules have very little idea of how they are implemented. There needs to be some sort of relationship between the programs and the tax payer. Then I think we would be more enthused about taxes. Although, you are right, the “special projects” would get blown out of the water.

  • kilpatrickclan June 7, 2009, 5:27 pm

    Oh, as far as time off goes, I guess it is just a benefit. I am sure it started as a way to get employees from competition. Now there is little competition and I am seeing a lot of these benefits go. Many businesses around here have cut health care/vacation/etc. I guess the only “benefit” I am seeing stick around are shortened work days and working from home to reduce overhead costs.

  • facethemusic June 7, 2009, 5:33 pm

    This is exactly my feeling, and why I don’t get too worried about a statement made in 1944. If it still mattered to us today, we would hear about it at General Conference.

    I think EVERYONE here would agree that what a modern prophet takes precendence over what was said by a previous one. But you’ll note that NO prophet has ever contradicted the warnings and prophecies of a previous one. Prophecy is prophecy.

    And don’t think the snotiness of “archival references” wasn’t noted. For your information, the “archival references” weren’t only from 1944– they came all the way through 1986 or so when he WAS the prophet, and the warnings have been repeated and quoted by succeeding prophets throughout the years.

    please don’t try to make it sound like your way is the Lord’s way by quoting from warnings that are 30+ years old and never uttered by the President of the church.

    Yeah, okay— I’ll listen to what NAISMITH says instead of Ezra Taft Benson who was CALLED AND ORDAINED as a prophet, seer and revelator. Who’d ALREADY BEEN CALLED as an apostle when he said the earliest of the above quotes and who was later called as THE PROPHET when other of the warnings were made.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 7, 2009, 9:04 pm

    I’d like to suggest something. I know Tracy pretty well. I’d say in most cases “her way” is to follow pretty much what the prophets teach–straight down the line–without weasel words or justification or looking for the exception.

  • Tinkerbell June 7, 2009, 9:10 pm

    I wonder how many other church topics we could just “dismiss” because the current prophet hasn’t touched on them recently.

  • Deanna June 7, 2009, 10:00 pm

    I had a thought on the whole “old prophet” line of thinking. The context of my ephiphany had nothing to do with me trying to think if President Benson was expressing opinion or if he was acting as a prophet or if he is or isn’t relevant today. I was studying out some policies on IMF reform, global energy governance, and the Bank of International settlements. One day it dawned on me that much of what I was reading about had its roots in things that happened immediately after WW2, and then again in the late sixties and early seventies. Then it dawned on me that was about the time he was being really vocal and “extreme” politcially. He was warning people when it was time for them to act and to do something.

    Just an aside.

  • Deanna June 7, 2009, 10:07 pm

    Also, I wanted to address this comment, since it was sort of directed at something I said–

    Saying that American healthcare is the best because we have the Mayo Clinic is like saying our transportation system is the best because we have the Space Shuttle.

    I didn’t say mayo clinic. But treatments that start off as experimental do end up in mainstream medical practice, improving the quality of healthcare for everyone.

  • facethemusic June 8, 2009, 12:25 am

    One day it dawned on me that much of what I was reading about had its roots in things that happened immediately after WW2, and then again in the late sixties and early seventies.

    Actually, the roots go back even a little farther– with the Depression and the “new deal”. But you’re right that his passion for the subject came as a direct response to what was happening and what he was witnessing with his own eyes. Then “apostle” Benson, after having served in the president’s cabinet and having SEEN first hand the socialist methods and programs being introduced in our country, the high taxes that were overburdening the people, the failure of the programs, the way they only worsened the situation and seemed to get bigger and bigger instead of slowly helping people OUT of it, after seeing the government intrusion into what should have been private business affairs, he became very intense and concerned about the direction our country was heading in. And he warned us, that it would get worse– that we were on a path of socialist destruction that would ruin our economy and our self-reliance as a country–that we were turning into a welfare state and were giving up our freedoms and using Satan’s “counterfeit” plan of helping the needy through the redistribution of wealth (his words), instead of doing it the Lord’s way- (his words also) and that’ we’d better wake up. But despite Naismith’s saying she’s “not too worried” about what was said in 1944, his warnings continued through his time as THE prophet, with many of his warnings given IN general conference, when he was one of the twelve AND when he was the prophet. I know Naismith wants to act like I’m just spewing my own personal opinion and trying to make “my way” fit into some old guy’s outdated and archaic paranoia… but I wasn’t touting “my way” as the Lord’s way, I was quoting the prophetic warnings of an apostle and prophet of the Lord.

    Ladies– (and the occasional drop-in gent) to me, it’s pretty darn simple. From the very beginning of the restored church, the prophets have told us that our constitution and our form of government was INSPIRED BY GOD. That is was HIS hand that guided the founding fathers to establish our system of government and constitution to make us a free society with EXTREMELY limited government, but they also waraned that the day would come when those principles and our very constitution would hang by a thread. Succeeding prophets taught the same thing. Over time, pieces and parts of OTHER forms of government have crept in, forms that apostles and prophets have called “Satan’s counterfeit government”, and an apostle of the Lord who SAW it with his own eyes because he WORKED there, but also FOREsaw it getting worse, stood like a watchman on the tower and WARNED us. And now here we are…

    You want government healthcare?? That’s called the VA, Medicaid and Medicare — GREAT programs, eh? The best care around, right? I’d love for anyone here to voluntarily have their next baby or next surgery in a VA hospital just to show how great government provided care is.

    You want government run businesses? We all know how efficient those government offices are… how good they are at handling money, right? I’m sure GM and all those banks and mortgage companies are in GREAT hands. And I’m sure the government will turn them back over to private enterprise REALLY quickly. Just like Amtrak! And we all LOVE Amtrak, right? That totally government owned company since 1971 is run SO well– they’re really raking in the dough and the QUALITY of service and the condition of the trains is absolutely fantastic. And certainly, the competition with other passenger train companies is what drives Amtrak’s constant progress — always coming up with newer, cleaner, faster, safer, more “green” trains– Wait…. what’s the name of those “competing” passanger train companies again???? I must be having a brain fart… they’re just so DARN popular and widely known— don’t know why their names are slipping my mind right now. But anyway, once the government turned the passanger train business back into private hands back in 19___ …. wait, what year was that? Hmmmm…. oh, that would be 19NEVER– iI forgot, it hasn’t happened yet!
    Sorry, my bad.

    You want government run welfare programs? We all know how great THOSE work right? They run so efficiently and REALLY help people get back on their feet. People are only on it for a very short amount of time because the system is SOOOO great at “lifting” people up. It’s certainly never a generational thing. And of course, only the really needy get it. There isn’t a deluge of fraud and waste going on.

    You want government run public schools? Yes, America is known throughout the world for it’s high achieving students. Of course, someone is going to have to find the dirtbag that’s making up all those phony statistics about the failure of the American public school system– especially that incredibly successful one right in the heart of our government seat– good ‘ol Washington DC. They have the BEST darn schools on the planet. Of course, that’s probably because they get almost $14,000 a year of taxpayer money PER STUDENT. Funny, because on average, private schools charge LESS than HALF of that and yet their students generally test higher. And certainly higher than DC students.

    Is it just coincidence that the MORE government sticks their hands into things, the WORSE those things get???
    Or is there just a smidgen of a remote possibility, just an eensy-teensy little chance that MAYBE the warning and prophecies of an apostle and prophet of the Lord, that were SPECIFICALLY warning about government overreaching it’s God-inspired constitutional bounds and leading us to social, moral, political and economic distress, even SPECIFICALLY NAMING socialized government welfare/healthcare programs , just MIGHT have had some plausibility of being correct? Maybe? Kinda sorta? I don’t know– maybe I’m just a stupid brainwashed Mormon who actually believes in and trusts the words of living prophets.
    What in the world was I thinking.

  • facethemusic June 8, 2009, 12:28 am

    See? I can be snotty too. And I’m better at it. :devil:

  • Deanna June 8, 2009, 9:10 am

    facethemusic, I wasn’t sure if you thought I was agreeing with naismith. Just to clarify, I wasn’t. I’ve just never heard anyone explain why they disagreed with privatized healthcare as well as she did. I’ve always heard some nebulous bit about caring for the poor, not an explanation of why they believe government healthcare to be superior to the system we have now. I think it’s good to know both sides of an argument, and I just was trying to let her know that I thought it was enlightening and I appreciated seeing the logic even though I totally disagree. I am still curious to see her take on the foundation for universal healthcare that went through in the stimulus bill, since that’s the form of the beast we are going to be dealing with. A good chunk of it was already passed, attached to a spending bill–and since she seems to genuinely believe that it’s ok to trust the government to provide the system that we all pay into as opposed to a private system, I just wanted to know her opinion of the framework the government has already legislated.

    And allison, about ted kennedy… didn’t you know? the kennedy’s are part of the “ruling elite”. The cost/benefit ratio must be worth it for him (or would be, if the system had been fully operational when he needed his brain surgery.) Isn’t that the beauty of government run healthcare? It becomes the business of bureaucrats to decide who is worth saving and who isn’t, based on a cost/benefit ratio. It’s hard to contain the excitement I have for my old age when a panel of political appointees make the tough decision on whether a doctor can treat me or if I can get medication that I need depending on if I’m too old to be a cost effective patient. You know, because the government knows better how to spend my money, and it may not necessarily make fiscal sense for them to spend it on me. Oh wait. I guess once they take it from me it isn’t mine anymore so it doesn’t really matter. At least it’s going to care for the poor people who are still young enough to make it worth the taxpayers while.

    Anyway, I just wonder if Naismith knew what program she was defending, Or if it was just the uotpian ideal that was so appealing to her? And if she does support the plan on the table, then I sincerely wonder why she believes that system to be superior to the one we have now, “broken” though she may feel it is.

    My husband lived in Europe and saw government health care at work. The standard of care is NOTHING like what we have here. He actually volunteered in a hospital there and said what he saw made him pray he never needed hospitalization. In italy, patients waiting for appendectomies would be left on hospital beds down a hall with no one to attend to them. sometimes they would already be under anesthesia, undressed for the surgery, with no sheet covering them. They’d just be waiting in the hall in line. Mentally ill patients were treated like dogs. It was ugly and much of what he saw was inhumane to the point that he’d rather not talk about it. It really bothered him. He was there to try to make a difference but the system was soooo beyond awful.

    I know a few years back when this debate was in the news, people were making a case on health care in england. People couldn’t get in to doctors in a reasonable time, so it evolved to where they were going to emergency rooms for colds and minor things. So the waits for emergency rooms was astronomical. Much worse than anything we have seen here. So the government stepped in to wave the magic wand and passed a law saying that emergency rooms had to see people within a limited timeframe of their arrival, and that people in ambulances would get priority. Didn’t address the underlying issue of the wait for seeing a practitioner at all. But they thought if they made it a law that people in ambulances would be seen first, then emergency cases would get priority. So then guess what started happening? People with colds started calling amulances to take them to the hospital. So hospitals responded by making a queue for ambulances. There would be ambulances lined up outside that would not be allowed in, because the hospitals weren’t able to see the patients in the time frame prescribed by law. The reason for the wait for dr’s went unadressed. People who don’t have to pay for medical care will go in for any little thing, swamping doctors offices. Not to mention the brain drain in the field. You think we’ve got a shortage of medical professionals now, wait until we are under a nationalized system. I’ve talked to 2 doctors wives. One is near retirement, and one is just fresh out of medical school. The one who was ten years off of retirement said they were going to retire early to get out from under nationalized healthcare if it came down to it. The one just out of medical school said they wouldn’t have taken on all those loans and given up 10 years of their lives to prepare for the profession had they known how quickly in the hubby’s career and how deeply the government was going to get involved.

  • Deanna June 8, 2009, 10:07 am

    And finally, here is the rest of the relevant stuff on fascism that I promised the other day :

    The democratic concept rejects the corporate approach to economic and political organization for several reasons… A free economy appears to be a prerequisite of a free political system, just as a command economy is appropriate only for a nondemocratic society.
    Second, deomcratic theory holds that only the one who wears the shoe knows where it pinches; the mystic knowledge or insight of a ruling elite is no substitute for the experience of the ruled–or, as Aristotle put it, the guest is a better judge of the meal than is the cook. Fascists insisted that the cook not only ought to be the final judge of the product but should impose that judgement on the guests, by force if necessary.
    Finally, democratic theory rejects the fascist assumption that members of one particular class are superior in judgement to the rest of the people and are therefore the nations’ natural rulers. It also rejects the assumption of fascist doctrine that only an elite group has insight into the public good. From the democratic viewpoint, only the divine has a perfect understanding of Truth with a capital T, but everyone is capable, at least partially, of seeing truth with a small t.
    What the one party state, with secret police and concentration camps, was to the political side of fascism, corporatism was to its social and economic sides. Just as in the political sphere fascism replaced the pivotal concept of individual liberty with unlimited state authority, so in the economic sphere it replaced the free welfare economy–be it capitalist, socialist, or middle of the road–with state coercion. The objective of the corporate state was to guarantee the power of the state, not to promoted the welfare of the individual.
    More specifically, the ultimate objective of corporate organization of the economy was the preparation of a permanent war economy, because aggressive imperialism was the ultimate aim of fascist foreign policy.

    skipping over the historical stuff on spain, italy, and germany…

    The very existence of an authoritarian mass movement like fascism depends on the desire of many individuals to submit and obey.
    Rational democrats may not understand why individuals would prefer to obey rather than to take responsibility of making decisions for themselves; rational democrats take it for granted that citizens should make their own decisions rather than have their actions dictated by others. But this democratic attitude overlooks the comfort of having others make one’s decisions for one. Children love the feeling of being sheltered and secure behind the benevolent power and authority of their parents. the mark of a mature adult is the willingness and capacity to stand on one’s own feet, to take responsibility and to be independent of others. Yet relatively few people fully attain this sort of maturity; the process of growing up is painful, and many people fear a cold, competitive world where they must struggle for themselves without the care and omnipotence of parental love and security. In human beings there is a latent tendency toward dependence based on the parent child relationship. The totalitarian system, whether communist or fascist, appeals to those who seek the parent child relationship, those who grasp for security through dependence.
    Dependence and submission in a totalitarian society give a person the security for which he or she hungers but deny individual self expression and self assertion, the needs for which are as deeply embedded in human nature as is the desire for security. Thus denied, these drives turn into repressed hostility and agression, for the epsression of which fascism provided two channels; one for the ruling class, and one for the ruled. Whithin the apparatus of a dictatorial party and government, there is a typical pattern: kneeling before the superior above, pressing down on the subordinate below. Only the leader need not kneel before anyone.
    Those people outside the ruling class, however, have no one to command; they have only to obey. How can they express their hostility and agressiveness? Since the vast majority of people in a totalitarian state form the group of those who must take orders but not issue them, this is a serious problem for every dictatorship.
    The solution is to direct this latent hostility of the people against real or imaginary enemies. To those who cannot be masters of their own fate, fascism promised mastery over others. .. If fascism could not deliver the triumphs it promised, the hatred of the people turned against thier leaders. …
    Government by an elite group was a principle that fascists frankly opposed to what they call the “democratic fallacy” which is that people are capable of governing themselves. The concept that only a small minority of the population–qualified by birth, education, or social standing–is capable of understanding what is best for the entire community, and of putting it into practice. The fascist leadership principle expressed the extreme form of the elite concept. The leader was said to be infallible, endowed with mystical gifts and insights. In a conflict between popular opinion and the fascist leader, the will of the leader prevailed; the leader alone represented the public interest–while the people expressed only individual whims and desires not necessarily in harmony with public good.

    Ok, there is lots more, but that will have to do. Reading that, it did remind me that historically fascism has been associated with the far right wing. I think things have evolved since the book was published in 84. I see the liberal left as having far more fascist leanings than the conservative right. Makes me want to go read Jonah Goldberg’s book called liberal fascism :) I think I get the title now and why he chose it. The liberals being the ones with the fascist leanings is a notable shift. Anyway, this post is way out of line with the direction the conversation has taken, but I wanted to be sure to follow up like I said I would.

  • mopaxpowers June 8, 2009, 11:29 am

    I’d like to jump in here – I just heard Allison speak at UHEA and I am now a fan! Love this website too. Some thoughts on our modern day prophet and why he hasn’t specifically addressed politics and/or Obama or current policies. First, I’m pretty sure (don’t know for 100% though) that when President Benson and others made the political comments that they did, it wasn’t done from the pulpit at General Conference. The Church position is generally to not “take sides” on political matters, with a few exceptions eg., abortion, gay marriage. Second, and most important, President Monson is the President of a now global church. There are now more members living outside the US than in it. If he were to speak specifically about the US policies or ideologies of our current leaders, that would be first, ego-centric, and second, he would then be expected to address the ideas and actions of the leaders in other church members’ nations. It is obvious that would quickly become a complicated quagmire, potentially dangerous, and could interfere with the spread of the gospel to all nations.

    Joseph Smith said of our church members, “We teach them true principles, and they govern themselves.” What are the principles the Church teaches? Self-reliance, combined with true charity, and agency, among other things. In its pure form, that would, and someday will, solve the problems of the world. The problems come, and always have throughout all time, when governments and corrupt men interfere. This is part of the inspired genius of the Constitution of the United States of America. Just as the Book of Mormon is given to us a pattern of history that will repeat itself, we can likewise us as a repeatable pattern the history of nations who control the things that should be left to the people, even in the name of charity and helping others. Again, our self-reliance coupled with charity will bless abundantly the needy of the world.

    The Lord has told us there is “enough and to spare”. This is an abundancy mindset. The government-mandated programs operate from a scarcity mindset. There’s a finite pie, the rich have too much, we must “take” from them, spread it downwards. (key word – take). This results in scarcity for everyone. The reality is, the Lord blesses abundantly, we in turn then abundantly give to those sick, afflicted, very young & very old, and otherwise needy, in abundance. This results in abundance for everyone. This principle in action has been shown whenever there is a crisis or disaster in the US. The American people pour out millions and billions of dollars (which the gov’t didn’t use well, as an aside) to help those in need. This is on top of the taxes that are involuntarily taken from us. Think what would happen if we were truly unencumbered, the way the Founding Fathers and our inspired Constitution intended. Of course there will always be those few who are greedy and do not share, but as we’ve seen, there are many more who are generous. The Church quietly operates one of the (if not the) most effective and helpful humanitarian aid program in the world, based on donations from a small fraction of the world’s people and wise business principles ONLY! The American people also could and would do it successfully, without the government getting in the way. This is what the Founding Fathers envisioned and was the brilliant progressive concept embodied in our Constitution. The socialist-fascist-communist thing is the same tired concept recycled over the centuries in many nations, which has always been ultimately unsuccessful, always results in eventual dictatorship and loss of freedoms, and scarcity for all.

    For the people of our nation to believe that we are different and immune to the inevitable effects of socialism (even in the name of helping needy people) other nations have experienced down through the generations of time, is both arrogant and foolish. This goes against the doctrines and principles of the gospel, regardless of whether our prophet has specifically addressed the topic from the pulpit.

    “We teach them true principles, and they govern themselves.”

  • kilpatrickclan June 8, 2009, 11:36 am

    I am a little lost as to who is who here, so sorry if I get the wrong person with the wrong quote. I also agree, we all follow the modern day prophet. AND, I agree that the reason they are Prophets are because they stand as a beacon to warn us of things to avoid, things to come and what not. But, I think that the reason we have a true and living prophet is to warn us of things in our time, utilizing the references and supporting documentation of the past. Each Prophet has also had their own personality and flavor to their presidency and it is not unknown as to where President Benson’s political leanings were. But, I also think that President Benson would be a big supporter of the party system and our ability to choose for ourselves.

    I subscribe on my google reader to a few Mormon Women websites. On one pretty liberal one, it always bugs me that anything “conservative” is deemed as mean, stingy, homophobic, bigoted, sexist, delusional, etc. Yet, I find similar behaviors here. Anything more “liberal” is deemed stupid, weak, unamerican, deluded, brain washed, and evil (giving in to Satan’s plan). I find that the words of the Prophet(s) are used on BOTH websites to support what the person is saying, using which ever leader appeals to whatever political leaning. Similarly, the scriptures are used as such as well. It really weakens that arguments of both and cheapens what they are saying, in my opinion.

    As far as fascism goes, not seeing it folks. Socialism is more likely. If I remember my history right, the fascists and the communists were at odds with each other…all the time. Also, for our own health care, I find it stinks all the way around. There is no good reason as to why my Mom, who is a retired widow, living on her own, has to pay over $600 a month on medications just to keep her alive and well. No reason at all. She pays more for her meds then her grocery bill.

    In the NPR program I noted previously, they looked at the Mayo clinic and had some interesting findings. They also looked at doctor owned hospitals, which tended to have the highest costs, due to the incentive for Doctors to make more money ordering tests from their own group that patients may not need. The Mayo clinic had a peer review board which helped to discuss patient care and what is provided and kept costs down with high quality. I just don’t think we can throw the baby out with the bathwater here. We are Americans. We have so many resources. I think there is some ingenuity that we could utilize to make a good health system for everyone. That’s just delusional, liberal me though…for what it’s worth.

  • Deanna June 8, 2009, 11:36 am

    that when President Benson and others made the political comments that they did, it wasn’t done from the pulpit at General Conference.

    mostly.

    this one came to mind– but there are many more. i’ve spent too much time doing this today so i’m going to have to dash, but I’m sure others can help bring more that he and others gave over the pulpit. here’s the one that came to my mind quickest

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZ-_sycEA5c&feature=related

    Edited to add–
    You can read the rest of the talk that specifically addresses socialism at lds.org

    And you are right, historically fascism and socialism have been at odds with one another. What is new is that conservatives (like Johan goldberg) are seeing fascist and socialist leanings in the progressive/liberal movement, whereas historically speaking fascism was an extreme right wing thing. They are strange bedfellows, and that’s what’s notable. It used to not be that way. Initially, when I posted about fascism, I guess I wasn’t that clear. I was hoping to add a little insight to why there are voices in society right now who are concerned with the parallells that exist between government is doing and the mentality of the populace and nations that turned fascist. I am among them, but I recognize not everybody sees it that way. I hope I wasn’t saying we are a fascist nation. That sure wasn’t my intent. I do think there are historical parallels with our nation and other nations that went fascist– and the reason I brought fascism up specifically was because socialism and communism had already been readily addressed. Not that I disagree with the socialist comments, just thought there was another dimension that hadn’t been brought up yet.

    I really appreciate the different viewpoints that are here. Maybe I ought to bow out of political discussions for a bit so I can get to know those here away from my big mouth :). I will continue to read this one with interest…

  • Tinkerbell June 8, 2009, 12:20 pm

    I think there is some ingenuity that we could utilize to make a good health system for everyone.

    I agree. There are lots of options to look at and consider. However, liberals seem hell bent on shoving universal healthcare down our throats.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 8, 2009, 1:31 pm

    mopaxpowers, welcome to you. Thank you for the very kind words. :) UHEA is a very fun convention. Always nice folks. :)

    The “old prophet” idea is interesting. Honestly, I do think it’s meaningful to look at differences. It can be problematic because what you infer may be incorrect.

    Benson happened to be a prophet who was more politically connected than most. It’s normal that he would have more prophetic speaking in that area than others. Hinckley was a master of PR and that perpetuated when he was the prophet. Monson has been a full-time church man since he was very young. I don’t expect him to be politically active or to make parallels between the gospel and heart surgery.

    Does the fact that Monson doesn’t talk about political issues necessarily mean that Benson was wrong or that counsel has changed? Personally I don’t think so and see no evidence pointing to that.

    Similarly we had a discussion some time about about women staying home. Benson’s talk about that was pointed and Naismith made a point to call it something like “the North American fireside,” but it was not only published by the church but has been reiterated and quoted by later prophets.

    But on some issues, I DO think that when prophets stop stressing things, it means that we can drop them as well. When policy/practice change, very often there is no official declaration. An example is the use of the right hand for sacrament. I was taught that by my parents. But when I last looked, sometime in the past decade, I was completely unable to find ANY reference to that in ANY current official publication. Not in the manual, the handbooks, the missionary discussions, nor the Principles of the Gospel. Other than word of mouth, I could find no way for a new member to hear that information. (Which would also be like the bra under the garments thing.)

    Personally, I see that as an indication that we don’t need to make an issue of it.

    Posted By: mopaxpowers This results in scarcity for everyone.

    Spot on.

    Sam and I were talking over the idea in this article the other day. While I do know that most good people want to be charitable, I still have a hard time making that another category of those who support Obama, because I think they must fit into one of the existing categories. And I think if their TRUE motive for supporting Obama is to help others, then it has to be because they are mistaken about what actually helps others.

    President Benson is still right. A socialist/fascist/marxist country is not the best way to raise people.

    Posted By: kilpatrickclanAs far as fascism goes, not seeing it folks.

    Well, tell me what you disagree with. Here are the parts that I see getting more fascist–from the actual definitions:

    Fascist elements:
    “exalts nation above the individual”
    “centralized autocratic government”
    “severe economic regimentation”

    How do you see it?

    There is no good reason as to why my Mom, who is a retired widow, living on her own, has to pay over $600 a month on medications just to keep her alive and well. No reason at all. She pays more for her meds then her grocery bill.

    Maybe you can explain this in more detail because I don’t understand the logic here. The fact that your mom is retired and/or a widow has no bearing on the cost of medication. If she needs a bunch of expensive meds to keep her alive, then the REASON she “has” to pay for them is because she WANTS to take them to stay alive. Right?

    Why should someone ELSE pay for the meds your mother wants to stay alive? My daughter got her wisdom teeth out last week. Does your mom want to pay for that?

    I think there is some ingenuity that we could utilize to make a good health system for everyone. That’s just delusional, liberal me though…for what it’s worth.

    kilpatrickclan, I agree completely. But I also think most of the problems with our healthcare COME from two sources: government legislation and lawyers.

    While company pooling is available, for example, legislation PREVENTS insurance companies from pooling most other groups. And you HAVE to pool risk for insurance to work. There is a HUGE market for other-group insurance pooling and, frankly, where there’s a market, there is a business willing to sell. Get the government out of the way, and companies will take action to offer competitive products to those people. (And I say this as someone who has obtained PRIVATE INSURANCE for our family–in spite of pre-existing conditions and other issues.)

    And maybe we could get some common sense back into the RECEIVER side of medicine. Maybe we can stop suing doctors EVERY SINGLE TIME something bad happens or someone dies. Maybe we can stop requiring ambulance transportation and/or autopsies or excessive exams on the elderly who die at home. (And I say this as someone who had two of their children attacked by a pit bull on private property–and had excessive medical expenses resulting–and didn’t even sue the owners who broke the law and let our their dog.)

    I know there are other factors and issues, but I see those two as at least being HUGE.

    And, on top of all that, I think that people should be able to CHOOSE not to get insurance and then LIVE WITH that choice. I do not think it’s fair or appropriate for someone to say, “No, I don’t want to pay for insurance, but now that I’m sick I want you to pay for my coverage (and my mortgage and my…).”

    I don’t want universal healthcare because the government is LOUSY at running almost EVERYTHING.

  • kilpatrickclan June 8, 2009, 2:38 pm

    Maybe you can explain this in more detail because I don’t understand the logic here. The fact that your mom is retired and/or a widow has no bearing on the cost of medication. If she needs a bunch of expensive meds to keep her alive, then the REASON she “has” to pay for them is because she WANTS to take them to stay alive. Right?

    Why should someone ELSE pay for the meds your mother wants to stay alive? My daughter got her wisdom teeth out last week. Does your mom want to pay for that?

    Being in her 70’s. she does not have the ability to work or obtain insurance. She is on a limited income and thanks to recent events with the stock market, even much less income then before. The 7 years we thought we had before she would have to sell her home is now down to 2. So, would $600 extra dollars a month help her…yes. Would I pay a bit of tax for that? Yes. Would I help as well because she is my mother? You betcha’. If this was your mother, would I also help? Of course. To me, it seems like a reasonable tax. For your daughter’s wisdom teeth, I believe it would be the same. To me health is universal. Everyone breaths, eats….lives. I think it is worth looking into. Actually, from what I recall, the plan that was put forth during elections is not that different from what Massachusetts has done. I think everyone is required to have health insurance there, right? I have not seen too many stats on that state though. However, healthcare is extremely expensive. I believe it is second to education. But, there has to be a way and I am willing to give a plan a try.

    The “old prophet” idea is interesting. Honestly, I do think it’s meaningful to look at differences. It can be problematic because what you infer may be incorrect.

    Not necessarily for this topic, but I agree it might be an interesting discussion. Count me as a life long member who never knew about the right hand thing until probably about 10 years ago. My friends were talking about it at a get together and I had never heard of it before. For garments, a matron at the temple sat us down on the day we took our endowments out and told us what to do with bra’s and periods and such. As far as I know, I am doing it right. So, there are things that perhaps go out of style at some point. Last I checked I am not required to cover up to ankle and wrist. Although, if we ever return to FLDS standards, I call the color peach! (That was a joke btw.)

  • agardner June 8, 2009, 2:47 pm

    if we ever return to FLDS standards, I call the color peach! (That was a joke btw.)

    Good one.

    Off topic – we are moving to Michigan in 3 weeks. Where do you live? I’m meeting Michelle on my way up – maybe I could meet you too! :-)

  • Alison Moore Smith June 8, 2009, 2:50 pm

    Posted By: kilpatrickclanBeing in her 70’s. she does not have the ability to work or obtain insurance. She is on a limited income and thanks to recent events with the stock market, even much less income then before. The 7 years we thought we had before she would have to sell her home is now down to 2. So, would $600 extra dollars a month help her…yes. Would I pay a bit of tax for that? Yes. Would I help as well because she is my mother? You betcha’. If this was your mother, would I also help? Of course. To me, it seems like a reasonable tax. For your daughter’s wisdom teeth, I believe it would be the same. To me health is universal. Everyone breaths, eats….lives. I think it is worth looking into.

    I understand the issues. I understand that $600 is a lot to spend on meds. But the question is why should someone ELSE pay for the meds that your mom wants? It’s the philosophy I’m trying to get at, not picking on an elderly person.

    Of course I’d help my own mom. And there are lots of others I’d help, too. But I wouldn’t go to my neighbors house and steal her car to pay for my mom’s meds.

    “Health is universal” doesn’t mean anything to me and it doesn’t mean “health CARE should be universal.” Pooping is universal, too. Should we have universal toilet paper distribution?

    In a lot of ways I think this comes back to what power the government has. Naismith once said something along the lines of health care being a basic human right. I disagreed, but she didn’t answer my questions about that issue.

    It’s pretty clear what rights we have and what rights the government has. And we have rights to neither health care (basic or not (and would $600 meds be included in “basic”?)) nor toilet paper. :smile:

    Although, if we ever return to FLDS standards, I call the color peach!

    Well, at least I look good in peach. If it’s pink, I’m apostatizing. :wink:

  • agardner June 8, 2009, 2:57 pm

    Baby blue for me.

    Healthcare is hard, because it is so difficult to see others suffer. However, there is so much that needs to be fixed. There was a news story a little while ago (I cannot remember where or I’d link it) that said that 80% percent of medical costs were either considered “self-imposed” medical issues (due to smoking, obesity, etc.) or were unnecessary procedures. THe whole thing is so messed up. One thing I know for sure though – the government taking it over wouldn’t make it any better. Can anyone name even one program they have managed that is better than the alternative?

    My insurance company does a really interesting thing. They offer a rebate at the end of the year if you follow a wellness program. Initially this requires a physical and labwork, and you are managed by a primary care physician who makes sure you have the medical attention you need. Then you earn a certain amount back for every challenge you complete – exercise daily, eliminate sugar from diet, eat a healthy breakfast, etc. I’m sure if everyone did these things, costs for ALL of us would greatly decrease. The cost for treating Type 2 diabetes alone is astronomical…and it could be greatly reduced by us taking care of ourselves. It makes sense to put money back in the pockets of those who are trying to live a healthy life.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 8, 2009, 3:40 pm

    Angie, how do they enforce such things as daily exercise? I think the idea is great, but unsure about implementation.

    A few years ago our company hired a guy whose wife was diabetic. We had…hmmm….ten to 15 employees then I think. Our entire company policy doubled.

  • agardner June 8, 2009, 4:07 pm

    Alison, it is totally the honor system for the challenges. The physical and labwork of course are a little more telling. You just report your results via their website for the challenge each month, and for every month you do the challenge, you get $10 back (total of $120 for the year, plus $100 for getting the physical and such).

    However, I should mention that the honor system might work a little better for this insurance company – it’s Deseret Mutual – almost all church employees, who I would hope are honest on their reporting! :-)

    A few years ago our company hired a guy whose wife was diabetic. We had…hmmm….ten to 15 employees then I think. Our entire company policy doubled

    See, that is just nuts!! And the sad thing is, it’s probably pretty representative. There are a relatively small percentage of people causing the overwhelming majority of medical costs. And stuff like Type 2 diabetes is only becoming more common all the time.

  • Ray June 8, 2009, 5:52 pm

    “Can anyone name even one program they have managed that is better than the alternative?”

    1) Education – if you mean the alternative that actually exists in places where it’s not universally available and if you include state governments – still major issues, but better than the historical alternative (and ALL of the systems in the world that produce the best measurable results are government run or regulated)
    2) Workplace safety – no disclaimers on this one
    3) Child labor – no disclaimers on this one
    4) Interest rate regulation – no disclaimers on this one

    Sorry – you said one – and I have been a registered Republican or Independent my entire life.

  • kilpatrickclan June 8, 2009, 6:11 pm

    agardner- That is great! I checked your blog and it looks like you are going to FH. That is very close. We live very near the temple. A gal in my book club is in your area. Actually, consider yourself invited. I can pass along the info. Michigan is actually very nice. The summers are great! Humidity is the pits, but it goes away. It is a little depressing lately. You will find it is a weird state. For such a blue state, there is a lot of red. I don’t think a prop 8 proposal would go very far here. The schools are great in the burbs. The city itself is like no other. In some places it truly looks like a war zone. They have had tons of corruption over the years. It is slowly rebuilding. Anyway, you can email me from my blog http://www.kilpatrick.wordpress.org. Hope you have a safe trip.

  • agardner June 8, 2009, 7:36 pm

    kilpatrickclan – I could not get your blog to work, it kept reverting to the wordpress home page. I would love to check out the book club, though…although we aren’t going to be as close as we originally planned. My husband will be working in Farmington Hills, but the house we are buying is in Canton. I have a cousin in Novi and a friend in Southfield, so I don’t feel completely alone! As for the weather, I say bring it on! This Louisiana heat and humidity is the worst part of living here!

    Ray – I should have clarified a bit. In my mind, when I said “alternative” I was thinking “the private sector”. Thus, regarding education I can’t agree with you. Regarding the others – you may be right, but it’s hard to tell because the government is the only one who has tried to be involved in those areas. The programs may be fairly well run when compared to other government programs, but If the private sector were running it, they very well may do a better job. Why do I think so? Because time again we have seen that anything the government touches breeds inefficiency and waste. In my opinion, of course.

    I’m not sure why you mentioned that you’ve been registered as a Republican or independent, because to me that doesn’t really matter. To others it might. Sincere observation though: I am a bit surprised to hear you say that, considering your ideologies seem to lean to the Democratic side. Not that it’s a bad thing, they just honestly seem to lean that way.

  • agardner June 8, 2009, 8:08 pm

    Oh, and kilpatrick – I’m coming from New Orleans so I get the war zone thing. From one to another…

  • Naismith June 8, 2009, 8:12 pm

    1) Education – [...]
    2) Workplace safety – no disclaimers on this one
    3) Child labor – no disclaimers on this one
    4) Interest rate regulation – no disclaimers on this one

    I would add…
    5) Interstate highways (NOT looking forward to driving in South America again) – these are a huge accomplishment.
    6) Public libraries – ours is amazing
    7) Public swimming pools – our kids and I learned to swim there
    8) Homeowner insurance regulations – it’s nice to know that we are covered for what we think we are covered for
    9) Garbage collection and recycling and hazardous waste – my city does a great job. We can recycle all plastics up through 6, and office paper as well as newspapers and magazines.

    I could go on, but there are lots of infrastructure things that the government does very well. I happen to see health care as a natural extension of infrastructure.

  • kilpatrickclan June 8, 2009, 8:13 pm

    Sorry. It used to be .org a long time ago, but now it is .com. That should work. Canton is a nice town. IKEA is there….(I like IKEA). Free babysitting for an hour if your child is potty trained. It is one of the best date night places around that we can do virtually free. You are still pretty close to the temple. It is a lot better weather wise then the south. The winter this past year was pretty bad, but it passes and we have a beautiful spring, summer and fall.

    I was just watching a program on charities and thought about what charity would I contribute to and it lead my thoughts to our tithing slip. I love the perpetual education fund and if I died this moment, I would ask people to contribute to that fund instead of flowers. What is nice is that it is by choice. I pay the 10% and everything after that I choose. Sometimes we have enough left over to contribute to the extra stuff, sometimes we don’t. I was thinking that perhaps tax law could be similar. Let’s say, we all have to pay 20% of our income in tax. At tax time, you go down a list and distribute as you see fit. So, in my area where we need roads and better homeless shelters and unemployment, etc…I could distribute it as such. I still would have to pay, but get some say in how it gets done. Anyway, what do you think? I am not sure how operations would go with it though.

  • kilpatrickclan June 8, 2009, 8:17 pm

    I have an ex-pat friend who is living in Argentina and Mexico for over 10 years. I will ask her how health care has been for them and get back to you here. It might be interesting for our discussion.

  • facethemusic June 8, 2009, 8:36 pm

    facethemusic, I wasn’t sure if you thought I was agreeing with naismith. Just to clarify, I wasn’t. I’ve just never heard anyone explain why they disagreed with privatized healthcare as well as she did. I’ve always heard some nebulous bit about caring for the poor, not an explanation of why they believe government healthcare to be superior to the system we have now. I think it’s good to know both sides of an argument, and I just was trying to let her know that I thought it was enlightening and I appreciated seeing the logic even though I totally disagree.

    No– it didn’t come across as “agreeing” to me– it came across just as you said . But just so you know- and so it’s clear to everyone else– I wouldn’t have had a problem even if you DID agree. I don’t have a problem with differing viewpoints and varying opinions– what irked me wasn’t the completely opposing point of view but rather the casual and convenient dismissal of the words of an apostle and prophet.

    I could be wrong– so I’ll say that right up front– but I have the suspscion that even if President Monson gave a talk in the next conference, stating that universal healthcare/socialized medicine was a socialist plan that had no place in America, and then reiterated the talks given by President Benson, she’d STILL find a reason to dismiss it and would continue to defend her point.

    people were making a case on health care in england. People couldn’t get in to doctors in a reasonable time, so it evolved to where they were going to emergency rooms for colds and minor things. So the waits for emergency rooms was astronomical. Much worse than anything we have seen here.

    That’s exactly why my Uncle and Aunt left– and she was FROM there. Her family was there, the business they’d started was there. But they could hardly get care for their children– so they left and started all over, here.

    First, I’m pretty sure (don’t know for 100% though) that when President Benson and others made the political comments that they did, it wasn’t done from the pulpit at General Conference.

    Actually mopax, much of it WAS. Some of it was linked– but I’ll go back and put in the references.
    Loved your comments– never thought of it in the terms of abundance vs. scarcity. Good insight.

    An important thing to consider about the high cost of healthcare and medications— a lot of the high cost is CAUSED by the very programs that are supposed to “help”. If a medication’s actual cost is $10, but half of the people using it are getting it for free because Medicaid is paying for it and only for a portion of it. The doctor is losing money. So everyone ELSE is paying a higher cost to make up the difference. Even though the person getting the free care isn’t actually forking over any money, they aren’t actually getting it for free— Medicaid is paying for it, or Medicare is paying a part of it, and that money comes from everyone else. AND it’s not JUST coming from taxes–the prices are RAISED for the people who ARE paying for their meds. It’s called “cost-shifting”. When Medicare/Medicaid pass costs to the private market by not paying the same rates, market rates rise. According to a study by Kaiser Family Foundation, shifting Medicare/Medicaid costs to private payers adds a “hidden tax” of $1,788 to insure a family of four. Plus, all the bureaucratic red tape the government adds with all it’s regulations and mandates, drives up costs, as well. Federal and state governments have placed thousands of mandates on the health care industry dictating what they must cover and how to process claims. Mandates increase administrative overhead and force up the cost of insurance.

    It’s just like this stupid credit card thing going on right now. All of us who are PAYING OUR BILLS are going to have our interest rates raised, to COVER THE MONEY LOST by the credit card companies who’ve been STOPPED BY THE GOVERNMENT from collecting payments and late fees from the people who AREN’T paying their bills.

  • Naismith June 8, 2009, 8:38 pm

    Similarly we had a discussion some time about about women staying home. Benson’s talk about that was pointed and Naismith made a point to call it something like “the North American fireside,” but it was not only published by the church but has been reiterated and quoted by later prophets.

    Do you really want to go there, Alison? Okay, you asked to discuss this again.

    Yes, I called it a “North American fireside” because it was, in fact, a North American fireside, broadcast only to the saints in the US in Canada. Yes, it was later published by the church in a pamphlet. Was it distributed outside of North America? I don’t know.

    I do know that when we moved to South America, nobody had heard of it. It never occurred to the women there that there was a problem with their lives. But their culture was very different: kids started school at age 3, and moms often took their children along to work. Every small business, and they were mostly small businesses in our town, had a playpen behind the counter.

    I loved the talk, and we prayerfully considered the counsel and changed some things about our parenting. In particular, his advice to “be at the crossroads” is something that we use every day. My husband, although raised in the church, was not raised in a family that used that approach, and I have to remind him about it. We get up with the kids for seminary, drive them ourselves whenever possible, stay up late to hang out with them when they get back home. So your accusation that I ignored that counsel in quite inaccurate.

    DId I drop out of grad school? No, I did not. I strongly felt that was where I needed to be at the time. But I scheduled all my classes and lab work either during the kids’ school day or when my husband was home to watch them. Before that talk, I was tempted at the idea of taking a class from Marvin Olasky, the great conservative author, who only taught classes at 4 p.m. But after that talk, I was reminded of my priorities, and always put our children first.

    Yes, I have a career. But we never put our kids in daycare. I worked part-time for many years, mostly at home, with kids underfoot, and in the evenings, when dad was home. Now that my kids are in high school, I did accept the first full-time job in 30 years, with the proviso that I really only have to be there 9 to 3, filling in the other hours around my children’s activities. It’s been great, because two of my children have worked for my lab as their first job their first summer out of high school, giving them a solid job reference and providing more time we spent together.

    And frankly, Alison, I honestly don’t see how our lives have been all that different. You speak at homeschooling conventions. I speak at professional conferences. How is that so very different? You aren’t a full-time mother by any stretch of the imagination; you are a CFO and CEO, have various business interests, and are writing a book. Not to mention that home-schooling may or may not be the best thing for kids–our preschoolers did not get near as much attention the year we homeschooled our high-schoolers.

    That’s fine if that’s what you want to do, and I applaud your efforts to fulfill the path that you feel is right for you in life.

    But please don’t claim that you were following the prophet any more than I was.

  • agardner June 8, 2009, 8:48 pm

    I was thinking that perhaps tax law could be similar. Let’s say, we all have to pay 20% of our income in tax. At tax time, you go down a list and distribute as you see fit. So, in my area where we need roads and better homeless shelters and unemployment, etc…I could distribute it as such. I still would have to pay, but get some say in how it gets done. Anyway, what do you think? I am not sure how operations would go with it though.

    In theory, I love the idea. I just wonder how they would manage if everyone said they wanted their money to go, say, to education and roads, and there is not enough money for welfare programs for example.

    Naismith, I’m not denying that the government offers some very valuable services. It’s just that the way they are managed breeds inefficiency in my opinion. Let’s take your public swimming pool example. In my town, you can join a gym for $100 month for the family. For that price, you can swim as much as you want, take lessons for another small fee, leave your kids to be babysat while you work out, etc. (I personally do not have a gym membership, so I’m not promoting it by any means). They have incentive to do a good job with their services because if they don’t, their members will leave and take their money elsewhere. The swimming instructors at your public pool may be just as good, or better – but if not, I’d bet they’d get away with being average or worse for a lot longer because they are going to get their money no matter how they perform…at least for awhile. If my private gym swimming teacher stinks, I make a complaint and/or discontinue my membership, and you can bet if that happens a couple of times there is going to be a change made. If my public pool swimming teacher stinks, I make a complaint and probably fill out 30 forms as to why I’m dissatisfied, and the next year they still send me a flyer saying, “Sign your kids up for swimming lessons with us!” My complaint is most likely never even taken seriously, and even if 5 of us complained, they might replace the individual teacher but I doubt you’d see any real change.

    I don’t know, I just got finished working the census and…oh boy…I don’t even want to go into the ineffiences and waste that is there. Holy cow. And my dad worked for the postal service – so yeah, it’s hard to convince me I guess.

  • facethemusic June 8, 2009, 8:53 pm

    This is from an article by Mac Johnson, explaining a large part of the reason why medications cost so much, and why they’re cheaper in OTHER countries, even though they’re MADE here. It’s really maddening. It’s discovered, invented, researched and paid for HERE by American companies and money then it gets sold somewhere ELSE for dirt cheap, then those countries turn around and SELL IT BACK TO YOU, cheaper than you could get it here. And guess what this traces back to??? Socialized medicine.

    In a nutshell, the scam works this way. A foreign government with a socialized medical system names a price at which they are willing to buy a drug and the drug companies get to agree to it. This price could be grossly unfair, but the drug companies will still have to agree to it because, if they do not, the foreign government will invalidate the patent protecting the drug in question.

    That would allow generic manufacturers to legally rip off that drug and sell it at a rock bottom price, since the generic company did not have to spend a single dime on all the research to invent the drug. And once a legal generic source is available in one country, the cheap generic knock-off will find its way into every corner of the world, ruining the world market for the company that actually invented the drug.

    Inventing a drug is an unfathomably expensive and lengthy process. It takes about 10-15 years and nearly $1 billion to bring a new cure or treatment to the market, and most of what you pay for when you buy a newly invented drug is that research. Manufacturing the drug is only a small part of the cost. Most of the price is aimed at recouping the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on discovery and the clinical trials to show that the drug works and is acceptably safe.

    The only reason private drug companies are willing to invest such huge sums finding and testing new drugs (that are then easy to rip off and under-price) is that most nations have historically been willing to grant patents — exclusive rights to profit from an invention for the first few years of its manufacture — to the inventors so as to encourage future innovation.

    After the patent expires, the invention then becomes common property and anyone can manufacture it. In this way, society encourages research and discovery. It means that new inventions are more expensive for the first few years, but that many more new inventions are discovered, so society continues to advance. After the patent expires, each invention becomes cheap and society ends up with the best of all long-term scenarios: a huge number of ultimately affordable technological innovations.

    The system has worked quite well for centuries, especially in Anglo-Saxon countries. The Founding Fathers thought the system was important enough to actually enshrine it as an enumerated federal power in the Constitution, and Thomas Jefferson served as the nation ?s first head of the Patent Office. Patents are the lifeblood of all high technology companies, including drug companies.

    So when a cost-cutting ? government threatens to invalidate patent protection, what it is really doing is threatening to seize the research investment of the patent holder and cause it a huge financial loss. Traditionally, drug companies have agreed to all sorts of extortion in smaller markets with price controls in order to protect their investments and make a profit in large markets, such as the United States. As foreign nations have piled on to the socialized medicine concept, the result has been that the U.S. market is now one of the last bastions of unfettered patent protection. Essentially, the U.S. is supporting world drug research.

  • Naismith June 8, 2009, 8:54 pm

    A socialist/fascist/marxist country is not the best way to raise people.

    I totally agree. I just don’t agree that is where we are headed.

    I am still curious to see her take on the foundation for universal healthcare that went through in the stimulus bill, since that’s the form of the beast we are going to be dealing with.

    I’d be happy to comment on a specific report if you want to post a link. I don’t want to waste time talking past other assumptions.

    And don’t think the snotiness of “archival references” wasn’t noted.

    No snottiness intended. I was sincerely grateful for your explanation of and insight into a time period of the church that I had no idea had existed.

    I went to East Germany before the Wall came down, and I share Pres. Benson’s horror of much of that system, regarding limited choices. But those folks weren’t all bad if they allowed a temple to be built. And I don’t think the democracies of Western Europe, Japan, Taiwan, etc. are anything like that. They have merely incorporated health care into their national infrastructure, along with their roads, mass transit, libraries, etc. It works very well for them and there is still private property, private enterprise, and a strong work ethic.

    About pooling for health insurance, that’s local regulations, neh? Lots of places allow it. And many states have high risk pools, so that the person with diabetes could be moved onto such a plan, allowing the employer to cover the other workers at affordable rates.

    I’m not particular in favor of a government-run health plan, merely universal coverage.

  • kilpatrickclan June 8, 2009, 9:11 pm

    Some of the things that have haunted me as a mother are Benson’s talk and Kimball’s writtings on mothers. I often think of what Kimball wrote about a child coming home and asking, “Mother, are you there?” I say haunted because as a mom, you want to do your best, but sometimes you best is not in line with everything. I had to work full time with both my first two kids. Believe me, there was so much blood, sweat and tears over it, but in the end, I felt that I needed to work to help the family. We were blessed in finding a sitter who was a member and was also low cost. I had a job that I could flex some of the hours and it all worked out. With my son (#2) we lived with relatives who helped and my husband was home bumping up his freelance career, so one of us was there. There was a time when my son went to a day care in a home because my husband needed two days a week to really focus on his work. We were blessed again with finding someone we totally trusted and our son loved. It was a good fit. With now #3, I am working part time. I am able to stay home more, but my kids still use the after school program (for an hour) at our elementary school and an extended day preschool. I felt a lot better when I was talking with #1 who asked about day care. She asked if she was in it as an infant. I told her yes. She didn’t remember A THING about it. Man, all those tears I had. I just felt a huge weight lift from that conversation. She did remember the trips that we took, the time we made a cake that burned and other things from her childhood…day care was not one of them. I would say that staying at home is a good choice, but I don’t totally discount a working mom home either. That is what I love about the gospel. When we were making these choices, I read what the Prophets said and then prayed about it. My answer was a little different then what some other women might have. I found that when I just concentrated on myself and my own issues and stopped comparing myself to Sister So-and-so, I felt much better about my life and my abilities as a mother. So, when my kids come home and say, “Mother, are you there?” I am, but sometimes it is after a long day of work.

  • facethemusic June 8, 2009, 9:58 pm

    Just went back through my posts to give dates and/or references where they might have been left out— and unless I missed one, there was only one reference from 1944. All the rest were all the way through 1988, and several were from the pulpit at General conference and are online at LDS.org in the conference reports. One was from a BYU devotional, but as was already noted within the text I posted, he was quoting other apostles conference addresses and President McKay’s comments also from conference addresses.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 9, 2009, 1:21 am

    Posted By: Naismith8) Homeowner insurance regulations – it’s nice to know that we are covered for what we think we are covered for

    Funny you should bring up contractual issues. Since Obama is in the process of sinking this into the ground. Even GINSBERG, for heaven’s sake, responded to this today! GINSBERG!

    Here’s the story if you all haven’t heard it.

    Chrysler

    By law, in a bankruptcy, secured shareholders and paid FIRST and unsecured AFTER. In the Chrysler “bankruptcy” the SECURED bondholders lost 86% of their value. The UNSECURED union lost 13%.

    Some of the bondholders (in particularly a TEACHER’S UNION who held a great deal of Chrysler stock in their pension plans) sued over the issue, since the government basically ignored the law in order to favor the…ahem…democrat-supporting union (yea, just a coincidence) instead of having all the union contracts become void–as should have happened in a legitimate bankruptcy.

    The case goes before the Supreme Court…and OBAMA files papers telling them not to hear the case. Did you read that?

    Contracts and law are ignored and the executive branch tells the judicial branch to ignore it.

    So, what was it you were saying about what you’re covered for? If contracts mean nothing–as Obama would like–then your policy is only worth the dirty paper it’s printed on.

    Posted By: kilpatrickclanLet’s say, we all have to pay 20% of our income in tax. At tax time, you go down a list and distribute as you see fit.

    :bigsmile: I’m totally on board with 20% AND with choosing where it goes. Now which politicians will go for that?

    Posted By: NaismithYes, I called it a “North American fireside” because it was, in fact, a North American fireside, broadcast only to the saints in the US in Canada. Yes, it was later published by the church in a pamphlet. Was it distributed outside of North America? I don’t know.

    Sure, let’s go there again.

    Since you already know that the church published the pamphlet AND that Benson has been quoted and paraphrased repeatedly in General Conference, the implications of calling it “the North American fireside” are ridiculous. Unless you meant “the fireside broadcast first in North American and then reiterated for the world.” Which kind of makes your insistence to label it “North American fireside” meaningless, doesn’t it?

    But it appears you got so wrapped up in the fact that I (factually) mentioned your name, that you didn’t read what I actually wrote. It had nothing to do with your mothering choices. And if you want to “go there again” you might remember that I’ve repeatedly told you that NONE of the discussions have been about your mothering choices. I don’t give a hoot if you work part-time, full-time, on your head, or in a bucket. YOUR work (or lack thereof) is not an issue to me. The principle and prophetic teachings (again, not to be confused with YOU) are an issue to me.

    In this particular case, the discussion wasn’t about work choices (and not, in particular, YOUR work choices), but about prophetic speaking and to whom it applies. The discussion was about “old prophets” or “current prophets.” (Again, not to be confused with whether or not YOU choose to work.) If President Benson speaks in the 1980’s about something, do his statements matter 20 years later? If he speaks in, say, North American, do they matter elsewhere?

    Please don’t confuse these questions with the almost identical question of whether or not it’s OK for Naismith to call herself a good Mormon while working outside the home while she had children at home!

    So your accusation that I ignored that counsel in quite inaccurate.

    Just as is your accusation that I accused you of ignoring prophetic counsel.

    Could you please quote me on that accusation again? Which response did I accuse you thusly? I must have been in a coma when I typed that! I don’t even remember!

    But please don’t claim that you were following the prophet any more than I was.

    Man, I’m REALLY losing it. Somehow I managed to also claim superior righteousness WITHOUT EVEN REALIZING IT!!! Someone stop me!!!

    Naismith, please, please, please, accept my sincerest apologies!!! If you’ll please just point to the post in which I said this, I will go back and remove such horrendous statements! And I’ll prostrate myself right there in the comment section! I deserve it!

    Posted By: Alison Moore SmithA socialist/fascist/marxist country is not the best way to raise people.

    Posted By: NaismithI totally agree. I just don’t agree that is where we are headed.

    I KNEW if I just apologized enough we’d find something we agree on! Now that we have common ground, what DO you think we’re headed for? At what point do government takeovers of business, banking, health care, BECOME socialistic in your view?

    But those folks weren’t all bad if they allowed a temple to be built.

    I really didn’t realize senility could hit so early. I’m ONLY 45! I assume **I** wasn’t also the one who said that those nasty East Germans were ALL bad. Golly, I’d probably only go with 98% pure evil. Who said they were all bad? I’m banning them as soon as I find out.

    I’m not particular in favor of a government-run health plan, merely universal coverage.

    I’m for really large pools, such as each company pooling across the country. In other words, each company has just one plan and you can opt in or not. But there is a long history of attempts.

    But I’m still for OPT in, not FORCE in. Just as I am with almost anything.

    kilpatrick, just so you get a little backstory…

    No one has ever, once told Naismith that she was less righteous or that she ignored prophetic counsel. In fact, we’ve bent over backwards to tell her–when discussing prophetic counsel on the topic in general–never her in particular–that if she received divine confirmation that she was doing the right thing, there was no way any of us could (or would) refute it. But we reserve the right to discuss the counsel in spite of whatever her choices were.

    If precedence holds true, you’ll get the same deference for your family and your choices.

    Interestingly, it is Naismith who will question whether others are doing the best for their families ["Not to mention that home-schooling may or may not be the best thing for kids--our preschoolers did not get near as much attention the year we homeschooled our high-schoolers."] all the while claiming that others are beating her up about her choices.

    It’s almost amusing.

    Naismith, maybe you just didn’t know how to homeschool your kids the righteous way by following prophetic counsel, like I do. :tongue:

  • ChanJo June 9, 2009, 1:58 am

    Nasmith, I mean no disrespect, but it seems that every time someone mentions the prophetic counsel for mother’s to “come home” from the workplace, you get very defensive. I haven’t read every single comment on MM, but I’ve been here a very long time and I’ve never once heard anyone make any of the statements you are claiming here. And in my experience every time they point out that your accusations are false, you just drop out of the conversation or ignore the corrections and go on arguing.

    To be frank, I think that is dishonest and unfair. You’ve made incorrect accusations over and over and I have never seen an apology from you. You just wait until the next opportunity to make the same dishonest claims. I say dishonest because I don’t think you’re a dumb woman, so I think you can read and say those thing as a diversion or as a way to make you look like a victim, even though you aren’t one. Does it make you feel better to pretend people have picked on you?

    It seems to me (just my opinion of course) that you feel guilty for working and so feel like you have to defend yourself every time the issue comes up even if no one said anything about you. Maybe you are the one that needs to be convinced that working with teenagers is ok instead of everyone else here.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 9, 2009, 3:24 am

    BTW, interesting if you look into the roots of ACORN. The movement was started in order to enroll masses of people on the welfare roles with the explicit intent to overwhelm the welfare system and cause a chaotic breakdown.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 9, 2009, 3:56 am

    So, anyway, can someone tell me where we obtained the “right to basic healthcare”? I’m still missing that one.

  • Tinkerbell June 9, 2009, 9:48 am

    My aunt emailed me this quote that is attributed to Ezra Taft Benson in a conference report in April 1965. I can’t verify it because the conference reports on lds.org appear to only go back to 1971, but here is the quote:

    The fight for freedom is God ?s fight. No mater what the temporary outcome; the Lord has endowed this matter of freedom with such everlasting repercussions, that it sifted the spirits of men before this world in the great war in heaven. And is seems today to be the central issue that is sifting those who are left in the world. No one can delegate his duty to preserve his freedom, for the price of liberty is (personal) eternal vigilance. You cannot effectively fight for freedom and not be attacked ? we also should not expect the Lord to do for us what we can do for ourselves. The basic purpose of life is to prove ourselves ?not to be the majority when it is wrong. Proving ourselves means showing whether or not we are going to stand up for freedom ?.less spiritually advanced people have to be commanded in all things. Those who are spiritually alert look at the objectives, check the guidelines laid down by the Lord, and then prayerfully act without having to be commanded. This attitude prepares men for godhood. Sometimes the Lord waits on his children to act on their own, and when they do not, they lose the grater prize. The more He has to spell it out, the smaller is our reward. Should the Lord decide at this time to cleanse the Church and the need for that cleansing seems to be increasing a famine in this land of one year ?s duration could wipe out a large percent of slothful members, including some ward and stake officers. To be on the wrong side of the freedom issue in heaven meant eternal damnation. How then can Latter Day Saints expect to be on the wrong side in this life and escape eternal consequences? Will they heed the counsel of the prophet and preserve their freedom? Those who want to lead the quiet, retiring life but still expect to do their full duty can ?t have it both ways. This fight for freedom might never become popular in our day, and if you wait until everybody agrees in this Church, you will be waiting through the second coming! The Lord will not protect us unless we do our part. This devilish tactic of persuading people not to get concerned because the Lord will protect them no matter what they do is exposed by the Book of Mormon. Today in this freedom struggle, many gentiles are showing greater wisdom in their generation than the children of Light. A good deal of the responsibility lies with the priesthood of this Church as to what happens to America.

    Also, have any of you heard of H.J. Res 5? In January, Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y. Introduced H. J. Res. 5, a bill that would repeal The Constitution’s 22nd Amendment which prohibits a president from being elected to more than two terms in office. It appears to be legit. Here are a few websites:

    Govtrack
    Washington Watch

    What is he trying to do? Make Obama the President for life? I object to this no matter who is currently in power. Everything going on reminds me of the book of Alma and the kingmen. Scary stuff.

  • Tinkerbell June 9, 2009, 9:53 am

    That’s the thing – the Book of Mormon is consistent with the teachings of Benson, etc. on liberty and freedom. The BofM is specific with the Lord’s counsel to this continent.

  • facethemusic June 9, 2009, 9:55 am

    Alison, I mentioned this to you in a private email– but for everyone else, there’s a GREAT explanation on Youtube of “rights'” vs. “privileges” as defined in the Constitution and by our founding fathers. It’s a clip from an entire class on the Constitution, and it’s all on Youtube.
    But here’s a brief explanation. “Rights” are based in property– and it’s a serious twist on those two ideas– “rights and property”, that make people think they have a RIGHT to healthcare.

    The REASON we have “unalienable” rights is because they are intrinsic to our “ownership” of our bodies and minds, which were “endowed” to us by our Creator. You have a “right” to life, because you are the owner of your body. You have a “right” to believe what you want to believe because you are the property owner of your mind. You have a “right” to liberty, BECAUSE you are owner of your body and no one “owns” you. That’s why slavery is wrong– because it attempts to USURP own’s ownership of their own body and will. Rights are something you have the sovereign ability to do/believe/think, etc because there IS no higher authority to get “permission” from. (even God doesn’t have to give you “permission” to think something or do something– we come here as free agents)

    PRIVILEGES on the other hand are things that are GRANTED to us from another person/power because we are NOT the owner, and someone ELSE has power and/or ownership. It’s a “particular beneift or advantage” given to you by someone else. Privileges are the exact OPPOSITE of “rights”. And understanding the difference between rights and privileges, and how critical a role “ownership” plays, is crucial to understanding the foundational principles of the Constitution. It’s AMAZING how once I understood that, how it TOTALLY fits and SUPPORTS Heavenly Father’s plan– it makes it very OBVIOUS why our prophets have proclaimed our Constitution to be inspired of God.

    A RIGHT ends with YOU as the authority or decision maker, a PRIVILEGE is extended, given and granted TO you by someone ELSE.

    A simple example would be that I have a RIGHT to grow tomatoes on my property. I can pick them and eat them at will, because they’re MINE and I grew them on my own property. I can also decide to light them all on fire. It would be a waste of good food, but they’re MY tomatoes, I grew them on MY property and I can do whatever I want with them. I can’t go on YOUR property and pick YOUR tomatoes and eat them WITHOUT your permission. If I do it WITHOUT your permission, I’m stealing. You can grant me the PRIVILEGE of going onto YOUR property and picking tomatoes, but doing so WITHOUT your permission is infinging on YOUR rights to govern YOUR property.

    I have a “right” to eat– but only to eat MY food, that I either grew or that I bought with my own money. When I OWN it, I have a RIGHT to eat it. But I
    I can’t go into YOUR house and take YOUR food and eat it WITHOUT you granting me the permission or PRIVILEGE of doing so.

    I also can’t go into a restuarant, order a meal then refuse to pay for it, claiming a RIGHT to eat. It’s not MY food to eat. If I want the PRIVILEGE of eating someone ELSE’S food by ordering it in a restuarant, I have to PAY for it. THEY paid for it, THEY prepared it, I’m on THEIR PROPERTY, so if I want to eat it, I OWE them for it. I can’t TAKE it and claim a RIGHT to THEIR food without paying for it just because I’m hungry. Even if I’m LITERALLY starving to death, I don’t have a RIGHT to TAKE what doesn’t belong to me. The restaurant owner could CHOOSE to be compassionate and GIVE ME a meal. In such a case, the owner would be GRANTING me the meal, which would be a PRIVILEGE, but it’s not my RIGHT. Even though food is NECESSARY for my existence, I don’t have a RIGHT to take YOUR food or the food from a restuarant because I don’t have a RIGHT to someone else’s property. It’s a complete contradiction of terms. If it’s someone else’s I don’t have a RIGHT to it.

    So do I have a RIGHT to healthcare? No! Where does healthcare COME from? From someone ELSE. You only have a RIGHT to what you worked for, what you acquired, what you OWN. Someone else has to PROVIDE me the care. Someone ELSE had to invent, discover, manufacture the equipment, medications, treatments, etc. Someone else OWNS it and/or has the power and or abilities that I DON’T have. Even though healthcare and/or medications may be NECESSARY for my existence, I dont’ have a RIGHT to walk into a pharmacy and TAKE medications off the shelf and demand a RIGHT to them even though I can’t pay for them. They don’t belong to me. Now– a compassionate pharmacist or pharmaceutical company may set aside a certain portion of money in order to cover the cost of giving free medications– but I don’t have a RIGHT to them. Same thing goes with a doctor’s care. You can’t walk into a doctor’s office and demand care, no matter HOW near death’s door you may be, claiming a RIGHT to their services without paying them. Now, I don’t know of a doctor on the planet who would let you stand there with your head half severed and ask to see your credit card first– but any service and treatment they offer you is being GRANTED to you, either in exchange for money, or as a compassionate gift. Should the doctor decide to reattach your head and bill you, or do it at no cost to you, merely as an act of good will and human kindness– either way, their service, knowledge from education, and their TREATMENT of your illness is a PRIVILEGE, GRANTED and/or GIVEN to you because you don’t OWN it and don’t have the ability or power to do it yourself.

  • Tinkerbell June 9, 2009, 10:10 am

    That is a really good explanation, Tracy. Thanks!

    Doesn’t the Lord Himself tell us in D&C that He gave us the constitution? Similarly, in the part of the BofM I read this morning (end of Mosiah, beginning of Alma), Mosiah tells us that the laws that governed them were given by God.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 9, 2009, 10:50 am

    Tinkerbell, thanks for the info.

    Repeal the 22nd article? Are you serious? And you wonder why no one has heard about this. While we’re all dealing with billions of dollars being stolen, Obama is printing trillions of dollars, monetizing our own debt, and now his cronies are trying to make him dictator.

    You know, I voted for Governor Huntsman and later said that he didn’t represent what I THOUGHT he did. Wonder if Obamites will ever do the same.

    Tracy, I’m going to go through your post in more detail later. Thanks for posting that.

    Quickly,and in general, my thought (I apologize if this is redundant) is that the constitution outlines very specific rights that we have FROM GOD. ANY rights the government has come only as WE assign rights that WE already have. The government has no rights in and of itself. We allow the government to use a particular portion of our INALIENABLE rights to use for our collective benefit.

    That seems to really highlight the inherent problem with a Godless society. Without God, there are no rights. We live at the mercy of the powerful.

  • facethemusic June 9, 2009, 12:20 pm

    ANY rights the government has come only as WE assign rights that WE already have. The government has no rights in and of itself.

    Right– because the government has no “unalienable” rights, and actually no “rights” AT ALL. All the government has is what WE THE PEOPLE give it “permission” to do. We agree to terms– for example, we AGREE to give a small portion of OUR money that WE own to the government, in order for it to build and maintain a system of highways. But the government doesn’t have a RIGHT to tax us. We give the government PERMISSION or the PRIVILEGE of using a portion of the money that WE own and earned, in the form of a tax, in order maintain the interstates.

  • ksjarvis June 9, 2009, 5:50 pm

    Hi, I’m new here. First, I just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed reading the posts and comments at this site. So enlighting and enjoyable to read. I love the counter points back and forth. They have served to open my eyes to new ideas and solidify others.

    I am probably not really adding anything new to the discussion here, but one thing that I have noticed in my short 32 years of life that in generable most people are innately good. Just think, they chose to follow Heavenly Father’s plan and come here to earth, so we know that there is good in them. I sincerely believe that most people (obviously not all) try to do the right thing. I think that Obama is a good person who wants to do good things to help people. Unfortunately he wants the government to be his agent in helping those people. I am one of those who is in the President Benson camp who believe that government should not force me to do something that I can’t force my neighbor to do. I can’t force my neighbor to pay for my groceries, so why should I be forced to pay for my neighbors. However if I know that my neighbor is in need, I am very happy to voluntarily go to him and help.

    I sincerely believe that if we returned to an entirely voluntary welfare system through charitable organizations, those that are poor or disabled would be receive much better help and care. There is a charitable organization that works in downtown Jacksonville, Fl that has a wonderful program for getting families off the street. It is a phased program where they help them first obtain food and clothing and provide a safe place to sleep. Then they help them find jobs, in some cases help them obtain training for specific jobs, and help them find more permenant housing. They rely soley on donations received to fund their operation. I really believe that if people were not being forced to pay taxes to cover the cost of welfare programs, they would donate SO MUCH MORE to these fantastic charitable organizations who are run mostly by volunteer man hours. Don’t you think that the peole that receive services from them can feel that they WANT to be there to help them and so are willing to go that extra mile to make sure that the persons receive the help they need? I think so. So much more love and compassion is seen there than in government welfare offices that have workers that don’t all necessarily want to be there and may not put forth that little extra effort to help you that you really need.

    Many people have become complacent about donating to charities because they feel that the taxes they pay are covering the needs of people. Wouldn’t it be so much better if we could choose exactly where our money goes to help others? I also think that we would see an increase in volunteer hours, and in consequence more compassion in our society in general, if there were no government offices handling welfare for us.

  • kilpatrickclan June 9, 2009, 6:06 pm

    agardner might know more about this, but I recall seeing something not too long ago about the rebuilding of New Orleans. The premise was that the government bureaucracy made it go at a snails pace. However, the charities that have gone in and done renovations (ala Brad Pitt) have made leaps and bounds. So, I am in some agreement about the inefficiency of government programs.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 9, 2009, 6:24 pm

    ksjarvis, welcome to MM!

    You bring up some interesting points. (And I agree kilpatrickclan.) The only point I might disagree with you is on how far you might take the “most people are good” point. We moved from Utah with something of a naive attitude. Most of the people we had dealt with our whole lives were basically decent–if imperfect–people. It was first in Florida that we met with real corruption–or at least it was the first time we were actually aware of it and saw what lengths people would go to for power and position.

    I am not prepared to say that I think Obama himself is incredibly corrupt. But he has very close ties to some who are. You’ve heard the names and the investigations of ACORN are showing web of corruption is so widespread as to be almost unbelievable. I think it would be disingenuous to say that Obama could have these friends, colleagues, and associates and be untouched by them AND unaffected by their ideologies.

    Maybe even more telling is that he came to where he is now through one of the most corrupt state governments in the nation. Did he do that without playing along with those in power there? Seeing that he launched his political career at Bill Ayers house, I’d say not.

    Posted By: ksjarvisMany people have become complacent about donating to charities because they feel that the taxes they pay are covering the needs of people.

    This is absolutely true. And maybe even more important is that people who have so much taken have little left to give.

  • Tinkerbell June 9, 2009, 6:29 pm

    I think there are some serious secret combinations going on behind the scenes.

  • agardner June 9, 2009, 6:32 pm

    You know, I’m a post-Katrina Louisianan, but I can’t tell you how many people have complained about the government process. I know as recently as a year ago I had a friend who was complaining because her government money hadn’t come through still. Not that people were happy with insurance companies either, but they were much faster at getting the situation assessed and settled than the government was. Brings a whole issue up about how FEMA handled the situation, and what the government should have or should not have done…but in the end they did make commitments to people whether they should have or not, and had a really hard time getting it done.

    Yes, there have been a lot of individuals and groups, both celebrity and non, who have come in here and achieved much. Habitat for humanity has done a lot, Brad Pitt’s foundation put up a bunch of homes almost overnight it seems, church groups (LDS and other) have sent crews to sponsor a family and donate the labor to rebuild. Our ward rebuilt a home for a less active man who was drowning in the red tape – a crew came in from Georgia and a group from our ward, and they built him a home in two weekends. So yeah, I think a lot of people do care and do a much better job of getting things done. Some people don’t, and they’d never give a thing if they weren’t forced to – but I think the majority would. Look at many members of the church – they pay tithing and fast offerings, they pay taxes, and still donate hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars for other causes as well – and amazing things happen.

    Welcome ksjarvis!

  • facethemusic June 9, 2009, 6:36 pm

    I think that Obama is a good person who wants to do good things to help people. Unfortunately he wants the government to be his agent in helping those people. I am one of those who is in the President Benson camp who believe that government should not force me to do something that I can’t force my neighbor to do. I can’t force my neighbor to pay for my groceries, so why should I be forced to pay for my neighbors. However if I know that my neighbor is in need, I am very happy to voluntarily go to him and help.

    I agree wholeheartedly– I don’t believe for one minute that Obama’s INTENT regarding helping the needy is evil at all. I DO believe that he’s adopted evil philosophies as a way to intercede– but again, not intentionally. He’s “bought into” them– they SOUND good, but as President Benson so aptly described them (and without actually going back to check the quote, I think he was actually quoting President McKay) ,the philosophies are “Satan’s counterfeit” system. What boggles my mind is that the system has SO CLEALY FAILED, and for the most part, has created a DEPENDENCY on welfare and government assistance– and it amazes me that people CONTINUE to think it’s a good system– and worse yet, even REFUSE to try another way!
    But i think alot of that is because of greed and stubborness. They’d have to admit they were wrong, and heaven knows they’d lose their constituency.
    Can you imagine if Obama suddenly said he was going to forgo the welfare system, stop taking out any tax that in anyway goes to welfare, food stamps, WIC, Medicaid etc and instead was going to encourage philanthropy and let non-profit organizations, churches, charities, endowments, volunteer organizations etc supply all those needs? He’d lose 90% of his base.
    One of THE most successful and amazing organizations for helping the needy, the homeless, the unemployed etc, is the Salvation Army.
    THEY are amazing! Look at the Bishop’s Storehouse, the church’s humanitarian efforts, the Perpetual Education Fund— if all the government programs were to cease, there’s no doubt in my mind that the people would rise up ON THEIR OWN, donations to charities (which are ALREADY incredible) would skyrocket, new ones would pop up everywhere covering the gammut of needs– educational, employment, food, healthcare, shelter– you name it.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 9, 2009, 7:00 pm

    You might remember in Eagle Mountain we had a situation where a man who would later become mayor was running on a campaign of completely erroneous information. His supporters didn’t like my questions. But my question to them was, “Is he a liar, or is he stupid?”

    If you take the position that Obama is just a really decent guy who wants to help and thinks the things he’s involved in are honest and fair, then you’re on the “he’s stupid” side.

    My opinion is that he’s an “ends justify the means” guy. “Yea, there’s lots of corruption, but better MY corruption than THEIR corruption because I like my ends better than theirs.”

    And, no, I don’t think nearly all his “ends” all altruistic.

  • ksjarvis June 9, 2009, 8:47 pm

    Awh, don’t knock Florida. I have lived here my whole life and love it! :cool:

    Corruption is found everywhere. But I still hold out that MOST people are good, or at least good most of the time :wink:

    And I agree, I think that Obama is an “ends justify the means” kind of person. That’s why while I think he is generally a good person, I can’t support him because I don’t agree with his means.

  • kilpatrickclan June 9, 2009, 9:29 pm

    I have only read a bit of this recent legislation, but it seems like the credit card bill (?) is a good one. I think there are truly some predatory means. When I was going to college, many moons ago, there were at least three tables set up in our Hub (eating area) that had credit card companies there. I also think it will be nice to see how long it will take to pay off balances. To have at least 21 days between bill and due date will be nice too. I have one company that send me my bill with about 5 days to spare. So, if I get too busy, I forget to budget for it and it is a pain when it comes in and I am not prepared. Anyway, from what I have read, it looks good.

    I did hear that the Chrysler deal is a go. Thank you for listing more of the story as far as who and what percent. The funny thing about the auto companies is that last year this time, we were getting reports that there was only like 3 months left in their budgets. So, it should have been no surprise. There are a lot of people in our ward that work for the car companies. I am a bit worried about them, but thus far they have been ok. It is the second and third tier companies that are losing people left and right. Our home teacher just lost his job. He works for gortex and they provide a lining for tires. We had one of the VP’s of Ford in our ward for a while. He left the company about this time last year…maybe it was a sign. It is not just the factory workers losing jobs. It is the sandwish franchise on the corner that the factory folks would patronize. It is the barber shop where the folks would get haircuts on lunch breaks. It is the little stuff that is dropping like flies.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 10, 2009, 12:08 am

    Posted By: ksjarvisAwh, don’t knock Florida. I have lived here my whole life and love it!

    To clarify, I didn’t knock Florida. It’s just a fact that it was in Florida that we had our first very close contact with a number of corrupt people. Until that time, we were just young students, not having a great deal of contact with people of any position. That changed when we moved to Florida and had some measure of success. It just goes with the territory…unfortunately.

    And I agree, I think that Obama is an “ends justify the means” kind of person. That’s why while I think he is generally a good person, I can’t support him because I don’t agree with his means.

    That’s why I don’t think he is “generally a good person.”

    FWIW, that is generally the meaning of the phrase. The “means” are undeniably bad, but some think that OUTCOME is such that it justifies the corruption.

    BTW, the supreme court let the Chrysler deal go. (Oh, I see you wrote that kilpatrickclan.) In other words, the government has determined that they can rewrite contracts. Let’s get really personal. What does that mean to YOU. What contracts do YOU have?

    Posted By: kilpatrickclanI think there are truly some predatory means. … I also think it will be nice to see how long it will take to pay off balances. To have at least 21 days between bill and due date will be nice too. I have one company that send me my bill with about 5 days to spare. So, if I get too busy, I forget to budget for it and it is a pain when it comes in and I am not prepared. Anyway, from what I have read, it looks good.

    I agree that many cc companies are predatory. But…WHY DO YOU DO BUSINESS WITH THEM? If, for example, you have a problem with a company that gives you only five days to pay, why do you give them their business???

    Although I think much of the bill is good and SHOULD have been honest business practice, I’m really mortified that we’re such babies that we have to have the government step in and coddle us. If we, collectively, had bothered to READ the contracts before we used the cards, and had been willing to reject those that had bad policies, the only companies that could have made money would be the ones that had GOOD policies. But the truth is, we WANTED the bad policies because they gave us some kind of reward in return–like credit we didn’t really deserve.

    There are a lot of people in our ward that work for the car companies. I am a bit worried about them, but thus far they have been ok.

    Of course they’ve been OK, because the “bankruptcy” was illegal. It totally screwed the people who had first rights and elevated the UNIONS–who were not secured. Had the bankruptcy followed precedence, the union contracts would have been voided and renegotiated. But the unions have a little string to pull in the name of political donations.

    So, here’s the problem. Companies need investment capital. Would you invest in a company knowing that the government may come in at any time and void your agreement just because, say, someone funding an election wants a better position?

  • kilpatrickclan June 10, 2009, 7:36 am

    Of course they’ve been OK, because the “bankruptcy” was illegal. It totally screwed the people who had first rights and elevated the UNIONS–who were not secured. Had the bankruptcy followed precedence, the union contracts would have been voided and renegotiated. But the unions have a little string to pull in the name of political donations.

    Actually, the folks in our ward are the white collar guys like executives (lower levels), accountants, etc. I don’t believe they are covered by the union. Not sure though. The ones that are on the line live in a different area closer to the plant, but the plants are halting work as well. You are right though. Had the world listened to Mitt Romney, the companies would have gone into bankruptcy and renegotiated the union contracts, which are seriously bloated. Don’t get me wrong, cars are tricky things. You don’t want too cheap of labor to make them because they are potential “killing machines.” You don’t want to drive a cheaply made car. From what I hear in my ward, Chrysler did that a few years ago and it is one of the reasons why they are sinking like the Titanic. But, $75K for working on the line is a little much, at least in my opinion. They also get vouchers for cars, nearing $25K. So, that would be like getting a $25K bonus every year. The unions actually caused a lot of job loss…see American Axel. They were out of work for so long that the company could not recoup the damage caused by the strike. Back to Romney, his father was the CEO of AMG (I think I have the name right) and ran it quite successfully. I was hoping that they would make him the “car czar”, but it didn’t happen.

    Oh, yeah. Detroit is full of corruption. If there ever were a place to strike, the people in that city should do it. My husband works for a private art college in the city. The photography teacher was going to provide a free class to high school students to get them involved in the arts. The principal of the school wanted some money under the table in order for them to do the project. The photography teacher was not going to do it, so the project did not go through. Don’t even get me started on the COBO center. The city council started singing, “Onward Christian Soldier” one day in response to the deal being blocked by our lovely Miss Martha Reeves and Miss Conyers (daughter of the senator). Weird.

  • Tinkerbell June 10, 2009, 8:11 am

    For the most part, I am happy about the credit card bill. Credit card companies have engaged in predatory lending and taken advantage of people like my mom and other relatives. Yes, my mom should be “smart” enough not to get in so deep, but she’s not. She’s desperate and addicted and because of the ease of credit, she sees it as her only option. Once she’s hooked, they start screwing around with her. It’s dirty and evil, IMO.

  • Tinkerbell June 10, 2009, 8:11 am

    Kind of like a drug dealer taking advantage of a drug addict.

  • kilpatrickclan June 10, 2009, 9:54 am

    I was driving around listening to Tell Me More on NPR and they had a segment on medical debt and bankruptcy. I thought it was pertinant to the discussion. I was taking notes during my lunch break, so some of the names may be off a bit, but I think I got it right. In an American Journal of Medicine article, they cited that in a study 62% of all bankruptcies came from medical debts. Of that number 80% had health insurance. This is alarming, but I can understand it too. I just came from a home of my client who is 10 and terminally ill. We are not sure when he will die, but his body is slowly shutting down. His mother just got a vest (it pounds your chest for you) that apparantly was $12,000. She also has to give him medications where 75 vials cost $2000. We have a program called Children with Special Health Care Needs, which supplements her current insurance plan. This is covering some of the costs, but she is not sure how much. She will find out later in a bill. It just seems like medical services are way out of control. I think if it were not so expensive in the first place, people would back down from Universal Health Care. I know personally, we just finished paying off a surgery I had last year and I am going to start paying off the birth of my latest child. I have insurance. I have no problem paying the debt, I just wonder why it has to be so expensive.

    For example, last year with my surgery, they had to give me a pregnancy test prior to my surgery. Even though I knew I was not pregnant, I guess you never really know. Anyway, the cost for the test was $40! Four times the price of what I would pay for THE SAME PEE STICK test at my local Rite Aid. If I would have known, I would have just picked one up on the way to the hospital. One of my doctor friends tried to explain it to me once, but right now I can’t remember. Something about they have to over charge because they are not sure if they will be paid. All I know is that it is out of control. And it is not like I can switch insurance companies or hospital networks. I pretty much have to do what the insurance company tells me to do. So if it comes through private insurance or some sort of public plan, I would like to see some reasonable cost structures.

  • Tinkerbell June 10, 2009, 11:29 am

    Yup – the people getting sacked by huge medical bills are the people who can “afford” healthcare and who have insurance. They are paying for everyone else.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 10, 2009, 1:27 pm

    Posted By: kilpatrickclanBut, $75K for working on the line is a little much, at least in my opinion.

    That’s roughly equivalent to $150k annually. Thing is, the union demanding (or “negotiating”) more than the market would typically pay for a type of labor doesn’t really help most workers. When someone, for example, gets a high union-contracted wage due to seniority–for a job that has about 2 days job training–management has a huge incentive to try to remove that person in order to manage costs. It happened to my brother-in-law who made an incredible salary (in the mining industry) and triple pay on holidays for passing out tools. (Yes, I’m serious.) Was a great gig, while it lasted.

    I appreciate you story about the under-the-table issues. Far too common.

    I agree that healthcare costs are out-of-control. I think there are a number of factors and, no, I don’t think most of them are due to horrible, greedy doctors. Some of the issues are:

    (1) medical malpractice costs and lawsuits — apparently we expect perfection in our doctors, I guess perfection is expensive

    (2) all the costs of providing for those without insurance, without the ability or willingness to pay are passed on (I told you about my friend in Florida and the Hispanic “network” for free babies and medical care)

    (3) We expect (and even think we have a “right” to) extraordinary care

    Posted By: kilpatrickclanI just came from a home of my client who is 10 and terminally ill. We are not sure when he will die, but his body is slowly shutting down. His mother just got a vest (it pounds your chest for you) that apparantly was $12,000. She also has to give him medications where 75 vials cost $2000.

    Would I pay this if it were my child? Yes. Nothing would be too expensive. But from a logical point of view–from a “who pays for it?” or “how do we afford it?” point of view–spending those kinds of resources for someone who is termina, who’s body is “shutting down” makes no sense. And because of the emotion, we NEVER stop to think about the opportunity cost of such spending. This money isn’t going to save this poor boy. But that money COULD save lots of lives used elsewhere.

    It’s not just a fiscal issue, it’s a moral one.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 10, 2009, 1:42 pm

    My sister-in-law’s mom (Canadian citizen) has surgery this past week. You know, after waiting about 40 years. Today she was taken the NRGH ER via ambulance. My sil, the nurse, (who worked forever in Canada before moving here when she married my brother) is, shall we say, not enchanted by government run health care. Either as a patient or as a health care worker.

  • Tinkerbell June 10, 2009, 1:53 pm

    For some reason, people seem to have this perception that socialized healthcare means all the free healthcare you want or need. And they forget to consider the costs. Kind of like how this bill on healthcare is being pushed through congress without addressing how it will be paid for.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 10, 2009, 5:51 pm

    No kidding. My sil wrote this about her mom’s ER trip this morning:

    They sent her home after they cleaned out the wound and packed it with no narcotics onboard in a dirty ER. Oh Sugar!!!

    That’s sounds tasty, doesn’t it?

  • kilpatrickclan June 10, 2009, 8:58 pm

    Here is what my ex-pat friend in Argentina wrote. Just a side note. She owns her own business there, so she has employees and I believe she pays health care coverage. She has been in either Mexico or Argentina for the past 10 years or so. She has a business in Mexico and 2 others in Argentina. Here is what she said:

    First off, health care is spectacular here: it’s good quality and it’s inexpensive. There is the free public health care, which is free for everyone in the public hospitals.

    Then there is private health care. Every company has the obligation to pay some type of private health care plan to their employees, no matter what their salary is. There are different coverage plans.

    I have no idea what the taxes for health care are.

    All my health experiences here have been spectacular.

    With my plan, which the company pays about $200 USD a month for (I think), I get all dental coverage, xrays, lab tests, doctors visits, a 40% discount on medication, and I also got free laser eye surgery in 2006.

    So, maybe we should move to Argentina? Actually, she loves living there.

    As for the poor dying boy on my caseload, I guess it is a moral issue. I know that the mom is conflicted about when to stop. Right now he is still at home and not on any life support (unless you consider oxygen and a feeding tube life support…but medically it is not). Anyway, if you can, keep him in your prayers. He is going to the hospital soon.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 10, 2009, 10:57 pm

    Posted By: kilpatrickclanWith my plan, which the company pays about $200 USD a month for (I think), I get all dental coverage, xrays, lab tests, doctors visits, a 40% discount on medication, and I also got free laser eye surgery in 2006.

    So did the doctors give her the surgery pro bono? And the manufacturers provided the equipment as a charitable donation? The surgery wasn’t free. The real question is, “WHO PAID FOR IT?”

  • kilpatrickclan June 11, 2009, 11:06 am

    Well, I am asuming that everyone pays for it because everyone pays into the system. I am not sure if doctors make as much out there as here. There is probably a capped salary like in other nations with similar plans.

  • Tinkerbell June 11, 2009, 5:06 pm

    A local radio talk show host put it well a few months ago. He said, “Government, you have two jobs. Pave the road and keep us safe. When you can do those two jobs well, we’ll talk about adding more”.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 11, 2009, 5:33 pm

    If the woman’s “free” laser surgery was really paid for BY HER, then it wasn’t free–and how is that “better” than a system that asks patients to pay for the services they choose to have? How is it even different?

    If it was paid for by someone else who did NOT get the “free” eye surgery, then she’s leeching off someone else who worked to earn the money for HER eye surgery. How is that a good thing?

    She’s getting elective surgery and either she is paying or someone else is. I say the former is better.

    I think your comment reveals the real issue. People have this notion that doctors make outrageous amounts of money and if they would just stop being so greedy, gouging the poor patients, we’d all have cheap healthcare. But it’s just not true.

    The median salary for physicians, pediatricians, family doctors, etc. is around $130,000 per year! Not only is that not a huge amount, but have you thought about how much stinking schooling these guys go through? To be a practicing physician requires about eight years beyond high school and then three to eight years of additional residency.

    How many of you were willing to pay to go to school for that long? We went through bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD programs while almost every person we knew took off years earlier to get real jobs with real money while we struggled. It was very difficult and a huge sacrifice. But we decided to make that sacrifice up front for opportunities on the other side. Doctor do so even longer. And the impact is huge.

    How many of you were willing to pay (read that “go into debt”) $150,000-250,000 for your POST-bachelor’s education? How many of you were willing to put your life on hold for years just to get educated? How many of you deal with the stress and liability of life and death decisions and situations daily?

    And who gets paid even more? Surgeons and anesthesiologists–those who have about SEVEN MORE YEARS of schooling than the “regular” doctor’s–who already have a lot of schooling. And a busy anesthesiologist–those in the upper pay scale– will work upwards of 60 hours per week.

    To top that off, docs pay up to a third of their salary for malpractice insurance–because our doctors have to be perfect.

    I would NOT want to be married to a medical doctor. I don’t think they get paid nearly enough for the requirements, liability, pressure, lifestyle, etc.

    On a related note, when Sam was a professor, almost none of the American students would even stay for master’s degrees–even the best students. They wanted to just get out and make “real money.” Even with assistantships and scholarships. It was the Indian and Asian kids, by and large, who would stay.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 11, 2009, 5:34 pm

    Tinkerbell, that is priceless.

  • ksjarvis June 11, 2009, 5:38 pm

    Healthcare is such a difficult issue. We all know our current system isn’t working, but I have yet to hear a plan that I think will really work well. I have heard a number of ideas that I think are rather promising to help with the problem though and I was wondering what your thoughts were on them.

    1.) Tort reform. I realize that means additional government oversite into who and for what reason a person can sue a doctor, but let’s face it the current system is just driving up costs. Even those frivilous law suits that get thrown out of court, still end up costing the doctor money because he/she still has to have a lawyer represent him/her. And of course those cost get passed onto to us. Somehow, some protections must be afforded to those who take on the responsibility to diagnose and treat us. There has got to be a balance somewhere.

    2.) Employers should get out of the business of being an insurance middle man. I would much rather have my choice of insurance companies and plans and instead receive a higher salary.

    3.) I really favor the idea of high deductable insurance plans with associated health savings accounts (HSA). The premiums for the plans are much, much lower and it makes the individual much more aware and responsible for their own health and makes them question doctors more about whether certain tests are truly necessary. And unlike flexible spending accounts where the funds HAVE to be spent during that calendar year, a HSA carries over the balance from year to year so that you can build up a reserve of money to cover possible future medical cost.

    Thoughts?

  • Tinkerbell June 11, 2009, 6:14 pm

    Amen to all of the above, ksjarvis, my ideas are in the same vein as yours.

  • agardner June 11, 2009, 6:21 pm

    I like all of those kjarvis, especially #3.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 11, 2009, 9:21 pm

    ksjarviis, I think #2 is a really great line of discussion. Just as I think any government education money should go with the STUDENT–not the school–I think any government money should go with the PATIENT, not the employer. Better said, insurance should follow the person not be tied to a job.

    Don’t HSA’s pretty much work like catastrophic plans? Very high deductibles? I looked into them about three years ago, but can’t recall the details. What are the differences?

    We got catastrophic when planning to get pregnant with our first daughter. The maternity was so expensive that we decided to forgo the fancy stuff and pay for it out of pocket.

  • agardner June 11, 2009, 10:01 pm

    Alison, that is exactly right. Education money should go with the student, medical money with the patient. You are brilliant (but you already knew that! :-)

    If the Mormon Mommas ruled the world…oh what a world it would be!

  • ksjarvis June 12, 2009, 6:26 am

    High deductible plans are similar to catastrophic plans, except that you get to choose your deductible. Kind of like auto insurance. The lower your deductible -the higher the premium you pay, the higher the deductible – the lower the premium you pay. We had one child under a high deductible plan and one child under a more traditional plan with co-pays and all that. It actually ended up costing us about the same for each child out of pocket, even though with the traditional plan we were paying higher premiums. Crazy, right?

  • Alison Moore Smith June 12, 2009, 2:49 pm

    One really good thing about the very high deductible plans is that the patient–the consumer–can really see the COSTS of all their medical choices.

    When your insurance writes the check and you have a baby, you might want the fancy private room with the cherry wood furniture suite and satellite TV for three days. But if you are paying out of pocket you might just choose the standard shared room for 24 hours.

    People just don’t seem to get that when the insurance pays, YOU pay — through the back door with higher premiums deducted and lower salary in your pocket in the first place. It’s funny money and it generally makes for very bad spending.

    When Jessica was born I opted for a shared room and a 12-hours-after-delivery stay BECAUSE I wanted to spend my money elsewhere.

  • kilpatrickclan June 12, 2009, 11:12 pm

    Again, for my friend in Argentina, It looks like she pays $200 a month. So, she is paying into something. The person who did NOT get the surgery, also paid for her eyes, but then she paid for his possible heart surgery or her maternity stay, etc.

    I have two friends that are doing the Health Savings Plan. I still don’t totally get their plan, but what I understood sounded pretty good.

    We have quite a few medical students in our ward, so I know it is difficult. What I don’t get….a lot of these families have used Medicaid to give birth to their children and then used Medicaid as their children’s insurance. All of the women that I know whose husbands are in medical school, all stay at home and I am assuming living off a student loan and have at least 2 or more children. This is about 6 families that I am talking about. What is odd to me is that the women don’t work. It seems like they are staying home and using Medicaid (someone else’s money), when they “could” go work and support the family, have less of a loan to pay off and possibly obtain health insurance for the family. When we got married, there was just no Medicaid option. We needed money, my husband’s job did not provide him with enough of a salary and so I worked. The farther he has gotten into his career, the higher his salary and the less I have had to work. Anyway, maybe I am setting off a firestorm here, but it also seemed to me like there were a lot of families with one or both spouses going to BYU who were also using Medicaid.

    I like the idea of health insurance being like car insurance. Not a bad idea. You could also shop around more and there might be more competition as far as coverage goes. I also agree about hospital costs. Similar to my surgery/pregnancy test experience, I wish I could have had a run down of costs prior to my stay with this last baby. I went home early for a variety of reasons, one being, if I want to be pampred for $1000 plus a day, I will go to a 5 star hotel…not a hospital.

  • kilpatrickclan June 12, 2009, 11:15 pm

    Before someone says it, I just think that if you are going to choose a profession that is very expensive to fund, you need to think about how you will manage those funds. If my husband wanted to be a doctor, I would have worked to have less of a loan to take out and some benefits…but that is just me. I am a bit cheap that way.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 13, 2009, 1:22 am

    Posted By: kilpatrickclanAgain, for my friend in Argentina, It looks like she pays $200 a month. So, she is paying into something. The person who did NOT get the surgery, also paid for her eyes, but then she paid for his possible heart surgery or her maternity stay, etc.

    I understand this, but the point is to balance the equation. How much does she put in? How much does she get out? If the former is less than the latter, then someone else is subsidizing her. If the latter is less than the former, she’s subsidizing someone else. If she’s getting “free” laser surgery, it’s only because someone else is paying for it.

    If, as you say, someone else paid for HER eye surgery and she paid for their heart surgery, then WHY NOT JUST PAY FOR YOUR OWN SERVICES?

    It seems like they are staying home and using Medicaid (someone else’s money), when they “could” go work and support the family, have less of a loan to pay off and possibly obtain health insurance for the family.

    I like to stick with principles as much as possible rather than address particular incidents that I don’t know enough about. Unless I intimately knew these folks situations, I couldn’t speak to them specifically.

    When we were students, I stayed home because President Benson said (1) don’t put off your families and (2) come home from work. But that left us pretty poor. We had WIC for a few months and applied for food stamps one semester — until he came back to BYU and told us not to be leeches on society. Then we dropped WIC and the food stamps.

    To be honest, I felt a bit slapped around by all that. I really didn’t (and still don’t) think President Benson knew what it was like to try to do **all** the things he told us to do in a culture and financial era that was far different from the one he lived in.

    But we did them anyway. And we survived, but it was very, very hard. And I started my first business at home way back then. And Sam worked freelance jobs in addition to his assistanceships, etc.

    Anyway, maybe I am setting off a firestorm here, but it also seemed to me like there were a lot of families with one or both spouses going to BYU who were also using Medicaid.

    There probably are. We never did, but when you weight the alternatives, what are you left with? Sometimes it might be between taking assistance and leaving your kids in daycare. Either way you are not following all the counsel given. If I had to choose which counsel not to follow, I’d probably choose the former. I figure I can always pay back what I used, but I can’t get my kids’ childhood back.

    Posted By: kilpatrickclanBefore someone says it, I just think that if you are going to choose a profession that is very expensive to fund, you need to think about how you will manage those funds. If my husband wanted to be a doctor, I would have worked to have less of a loan to take out and some benefits…but that is just me. I am a bit cheap that way.

    Generally med school isn’t covered unless there is some kind of weird arrangement — like working for X number of years in PungaWunga after graduation. And it’s really expensive. I’m not really sure how you “manage” something like that. Where do you come up with $250K unless you already have a really good job (and one that you didn’t get much education for)?

  • jennycherie June 13, 2009, 6:23 am

    Posted By: Alison Moore SmithOne really good thing about the very high deductible plans is that the patient–the consumer–can really see the COSTS of all their medical choices.

    I totally agree. I think this works both ways – for patient and doctor. I was horrified, when we had high deductible insurance for a short time and were paying for our doctor’s visits out of pocket at all the little “fluff” charges I never knew about it. I got an itemized bill for one of my children’s annual physicals: $90 for a vision check. They have a machine that they hold up to the child’s eyes which does a quick check to see if they have 20/20 vision. It’s not enough to DIAGNOSE vision problems, it is simply a screening tool. I saw that on our bill and I was horrified. I didn’t want my child’s vision checked – there was no need. At the time, that child was more than old enough to TELL me if he couldn’t see. When I talked to the doctor’s office, they were happy to remove the charge. At the next physical, I explained that we were paying for this ourselves and did NOT want a $90 vision screening. The nurse told me they would do it anyway, but not charge me since I was paying out of pocket. Initially, it seemed nice but after reflecting, I think – this is just a money-maker for our doctor’s office because most insurance companies WILL pay for it – but it’s really just a waste.

  • ksjarvis June 13, 2009, 8:28 am

    Posted By: Alison Moore Smith
    To be honest, I felt a bit slapped around by all that. I really didn’t (and still don’t) think President Benson knew what it was like to try to do **all** the things he told us to do in a culture and financial era that was far different from the one he lived in.

    There probably are. We never did, but when you weight the alternatives, what are you left with? Sometimes it might be between taking assistance and leaving your kids in daycare. Either way you are not following all the counsel given. If I had to choose which counsel not to follow, I’d probably choose the former. I figure I can always pay back what I used, but I can’t get my kids’ childhood back.

    This really is a touchy subject. I think sometimes that we forget that when counsil is given by the prophets that it is for the “rule” (i.e. for the majority of the members or in some case the ideal situation for members) and it is something that we should strive to follow, but quite often there are situations where it is not possible or reasonable for a person/family to follow said counsil. Each time new counsil is given, an idividual or family should prayerfully consider the counsil and determine if they can within reason follow it now, partially follow it now and completely follow it sometime in the not too distant future, or not follow it until sometime far into the future. I think that is where the principal of personal revelation comes in.

    I was very lucky or perhaps I should say blessed, in that I was able to receive scholarships for all of my schooling and didn’t have to take out any student loans. My husband actually joined the National Guard in order to pay for school, so he too never had to take out student loans. We didn’t meet until after I had finished my degree and so I was able to work for the first year and a half of our marriage full time (before our first was born) so that he could go to school full time. Once we had kids, he worked full time and took two night classes at a time until he got his bachelors and now 4 years later is taking night classes again to get his masters. That being said, I think our particular situation is unusual. Things working out like that, so that we could follow the prophet’s counsil, don’t always happen. Sometimes decisions within a family unit have to be prayerfully made to determine which counsil can be followed immediately, and which counsil has to be implemented gradually or in some rare cases not at all.

    Do I think that there are some students taking WAY too much advantage of the medicaid/food stamp/welfare program and could do much more to support themselves? Absolutely. But I also think that for some people it may be a path that they have prayerfully considered and are using it minimally and fully intend to pay back into the system as much as possible.

  • Naismith June 13, 2009, 8:37 am

    About HSAs and high-deductible plans, the thing to keep in mind is that they really haven’t been around that long–since 2003, but it took some companies a while to work out the bugs, decide if they were jumping in. So they haven’t really been around long enough to truly see the effect and study the impact.

    One concern is that people are not getting their routine preventive care and screenings. For all the problems with HMOs, that preventive piece was one of the few things they did really well, by making immunizations and cancer screenings virtually free and easy to members. It will be a few years before the expected uptick in later-stage cancer diagnoses, etc. that might happen if people aren’t still taking personal responsibility for this and continuing to get the appropriate screenings, etc. if they pay for them directly.

    As far as the lowered costs, that is controversial and has not played out as simply as expected. This study, for example, found that the most-expensive folks did not pay the full cost of their care. Those folks emptied their HSAs and met the high deductible, and then the insurance kicked in and paid and paid. That’s not sustainable.

    I’ve also seen many studies questioning the health care consumer aspects of such plans, whether individuals can make the best choices about their medical care, especially when they are ill, in an accident, etc. I totally believe in being an active consumer, but sometimes we don’t have the data or aren’t in a position to make a truly informed decision. One of the valuable services that insurance companies perform is vetting the credentials of their providers.

    As to the high cost of medical training (both money and time), I have to point out that is only in the US. In Europe, those physicians who earn so much less than USAmerican counterparts, also work much saner hours. In one of the Pres. Benson quotes, he talked about doctors fleeing England at the time the NHS plan was instituted, and that was accurate at the time. But it is not true any more. They don’t want to leave their better job conditions. Also, in Europe they make better use of midwives, nurse specialists, other medical auxiliaries who can provide care cheaper, and that the American Medical Association has fought against in this country. Alaska does all kind of innovative things with dental assistants and physician assistants that are illegal in the lower 48.

    Another problem with our current system is the high costs, mostly born by providers, of figuring out a jillion different policies and paperwork and drug formularies for various insurance plans. Most practices have to hire a staff person to do nothing but deal with insurance and billing.

    I can only agree wholeheartedly about the need for tort reform and medical malpractice suits.

    As for rationing, that happens in any system. It might be the health insurance company in some capitalist systems. I’m not sure someone dying because they can’t pay (which happens every day in America) is so much worse than a European country deciding that someone over 80 can’t have a kidney transplant, etc.

    As for volunteerism filling the gap, not likely when it comes to health care. I provide financial support to a clinic that provides such care, but delivering the care is really tricky as far as health providers donating time, etc. because of malpractice issues. Good samaritan laws often don’t cover health care professionals. Even our church has strict limits on how much they will pay for health care needs for members, according to the last training. There are still huge gaps for so many members in the US (but not in Europe, Taiwan, etc.).

    As far as when we decided health care was a “right,” I think the passage of Medicare opened that box.

    As far as the evil of mandated insurance, do you also object to auto insurance? How is this so very different?

    As far as the scriptural examples, yes, I think there are great examples that show there is no moral problem with having health care part of the infrastructure. Those bits about “having all things in common” and “neither rich or poor” seem to suggest that this is the ideal. Which makes Denmark spot-on as one of the countries with the least difference between rich and poor.

    Sure, agency is important, but that ends with one generation. A previous generation decided that all senior citizens should have some basic health care, and now we all pay.

    No easy answers to any of this.

  • ksjarvis June 13, 2009, 9:03 am

    My question though is, why can’t the decision for my healthcare be determined between myself and my doctor. If I shop around and find a doctor that I trust, why can’t we as a team determine what tests/precedure/actions should be taken for my personal healthcare? Why does an insurance company need to decide that for me and my doctor?

    Perfect example, for my last child, my insurance (which was a traditional plan, with co-pays, etc.) REQUIRED that my baby and I stay in the hospital a minimum of 36 hours after the birth. The birth went perfectly, no complications whatsoever, I didn’t even need any medicine for pain afterwards and my son was perfect in every way. Unlike those who paid in cash, why couldn’t my doctor and I have decided that we could go home after 12 hours?

    Also, the HSA that we had with my husbands previous job did have some coverage for preventative care. They paid 75% of the cost of wellness visits and the 25% that I paid was applied towards our high deductible, unlike the insurance we have now where we pay a $30 co-pay for wellness visits and it doesn’t even get applied to our deductible. Go figure.

  • Tinkerbell June 13, 2009, 12:42 pm

    ksjarvis, amen to that. I don’t believe that someone working in an insurance company can make a better decision than I can with regard to my healthcare. If I want professional opinions, I should be able to gain access to them.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 13, 2009, 1:04 pm

    Posted By: ksjarvisI think sometimes that we forget that when counsil is given by the prophets that it is for the “rule” (i.e. for the majority of the members or in some case the ideal situation for members) and it is something that we should strive to follow, but quite often there are situations where it is not possible or reasonable for a person/family to follow said counsil. Each time new counsil is given, an idividual or family should prayerfully consider the counsil and determine if they can within reason follow it now, partially follow it now and completely follow it sometime in the not too distant future, or not follow it until sometime far into the future. I think that is where the principal of personal revelation comes in.

    Perhaps it’s not always a matter of “forgetting.” I think we probably just disagree on this point to some extent. Yes, there are exceptions to rules. But I tend to think we are far to ready to find ourselves the exception when not doing so is really hard. (I’m not pointing fingers, I’ve done this myself — like my years of watching R-rated movies pre-marriage because I was sure I wasn’t affected by them. (I was wrong.)) Generally speaking, I’m of the mindset that if the prophet gives counsel, you follow. Go ahead and pray about it … WHILE your following it. I think it’s kind of backward to wait for a revelation to confirm prophetic counsel. I’d tend to follow UNLESS I was given compelling guidance NOT to.

    This discussion came up with Ray and the “getting serious pre-mission” discussion. I can’t think of a single time in my life when I legitimately made myself an exception to the counsel. As for staying home, I can tell you (from a number of situations I WAS intimately involved with) that there scads of parents who think they can’t stay home, but they really could. For most it simply wasn’t worth the sacrifice.

    Again, I’m not pointing at anyone in this thread. I don’t know any of you well enough! I wouldn’t presume to question personal revelation.

    I was very lucky or perhaps I should say blessed, in that I was able to receive scholarships for all of my schooling and didn’t have to take out any student loans. My husband actually joined the National Guard in order to pay for school, so he too never had to take out student loans.

    I agree that this is a great blessing. My husband worked very hard for his scholarships as has my daughter. They sacrificed quite a bit to keep those in place. My point was that medical school doesn’t often have this benefit–and, frankly, most in college don’t get substantive scholarships either. So if we tell those who really can’t get them that it’s irresponsible to go to school, we’re going to have a lot more less-educated folks.

    Do I think that there are some students taking WAY too much advantage of the medicaid/food stamp/welfare program and could do much more to support themselves? Absolutely. But I also think that for some people it may be a path that they have prayerfully considered and are using it minimally and fully intend to pay back into the system as much as possible.

    I agree. I’m sure some use it when they don’t need it. I saw it. Just most of the time I don’t know the situation well enough to make a reasonably fair assessment.

    I had good friends who drove nice cars and junked good furniture to get new stuff and went on vacations — while they put their kids in daycare and used some public assistance. (Sometimes *I* was the “daycare.”) All the while we sat on foam floor pillows and drove a 1979 VW Dasher that only ran if you heated it at night and ate Raman. And my friends told me how “lucky” I was to stay home with my (and their) kids. I’m a little touchy about it. I really wanted to ask them to define “luck.”

  • Tinkerbell June 13, 2009, 1:17 pm

    kilpatrickclan, I agree. It doesn’t seem right that so many members of the church are using Medicaid/WIC as their plan to have and care for children. And I agree with Alison that it is extremely difficult to balance multiple commandments. Be self-reliant, multiply and replenish the earth, get as much education as you can, stay at home with your kids, stay out of debt. However, I also don’t feel that it is right to assume that because one commandment is right, that everyone else should pay for that decision. Like choosing to have kids and stay at home while your husband is in school. If you make that choice knowing that you are going to use the government to pay for it, then you are saying that it is a righteous enough choice that warrants requiring others to pay for it. I don’t really see how this is different than other areas of entitlement just because the desire to have children is “righteous”. I know I sound like a jerk, but I was also in a ward with a LOT of students (chiropractic) using Medicaid to have babies and WIC. One of my friends’ parents bought her a house in their extremely posh neighborhood and bought her children designer clothes and paid for their dance lessons, etc., and my friend used Medicaid and WIC to pay for her children. I have a hard time with that.

    I know I’ve said it before, but our solution was student loans. We owe a lot and will take years to pay them off, but we felt that, for us, having children and me staying home and my husband furthering his education and being self-reliant (without government assistance) were the priorities. So, we have debt. But, I don’t feel like I took from anyone else to make my choices.

    I know that people need help when they need help. When my dad walked out on my mom with 6 kids, she needed help from the church and got free lunches for her kids from school. Stuff happens. But, I really don’t like the idea of making plans based on government assistance, which is what a lot of people seem to do. When my mom was at BYU, they told the students NOT to use government programs – that it was wrong. I never heard anything about it when I was at BYU. But, it just doesn’t seem to fit with being self-reliant.

    Sorry if I offended anyone.

  • Tinkerbell June 13, 2009, 1:22 pm

    Also, I don’t think that HSAs will be fully effective until the majority are using them. Our healthcare system in the U.S. is still based on managed care, which is what is ruining it, IMO. I think we need to get rid of managed care and change the system.

    If we lose our job and have to buy insurance on the open market, then at HSA is what I am going to go with. As expensive as insurance is, it is sure more expensive to not have it and end up in the hospital.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 13, 2009, 1:33 pm

    Angie, good examples. Yes, doctors tend to provide those services that will be covered by insurance without addressing the CONSUMER.

    A couple of things about the screening. Do keep in mind that you’re not just paying for the staff member’s time and an evaluation, but also amortizing the cost of the equipment — which can be huge.

    Another thing to think about (having a history of vision issues since I was 2 and having half my kids in glasses/contacts, including two before kindergarten (same condition I had)) is that very often kids do NOT realize how bad their eyes are. Even older kids. It’s hard to compare good eyesight to bad when you only see one side of it.

    That’s not to say that the cost is necessarily justified — I don’t know. But I can tell you that *I* have diagnosed at least a half dozen kids with lazy eye in lines at the grocery store. (You have to be tactful, but most people take it pretty well if you suggest a problem.) It was incredibly obvious if you’re familiar with it, but most people aren’t. The kid sees double and isn’t doing very well in reading and such, but nobody figures it’s his EYES, because they aren’t looking there.

    I don’t think it’s a good plan, just because it’s helpful in some cases, but I can see why it might not be just exploitive.

    Posted By: NaismithOne concern is that people are not getting their routine preventive care and screenings. For all the problems with HMOs, that preventive piece was one of the few things they did really well, by making immunizations and cancer screenings virtually free and easy to members. It will be a few years before the expected uptick in later-stage cancer diagnoses, etc. that might happen if people aren’t still taking personal responsibility for this and continuing to get the appropriate screenings, etc. if they pay for them directly.

    I have a real problem with presenting these things as “virtually free” because they aren’t. You pay for them.

    So it goes back to the nanny state. You stupid people won’t take responsibility, so we’re going to force you to be responsible. We’re going to take your money and pay for services that you wouldn’t get yourself and then–thinking that it’s “free”– you might actually use it because otherwise the money we took from you is going in the toilet.

    As I said before, I know that forcing people to do all sorts of things can have benefits. I just don’t think the benefits outweigh the cost in FREEDOM. How far do we let the government take over? How much of our lives and money do we let them regulate?

    If we outlaw all foods except fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and moderate amounts of lean meat, can you IMAGINE the health benefits for our flabby country? We will all be fit and trim and heart disease will plummet. Either that, or we’ll be bootlegging pork rinds.

    I think the gospel message has a great deal to do with being responsible, being self-reliant, controlling our immediate desires for a greater cause. I don’t see it as micro-management from Barney Frank. (As if he is the picture of self-discipline.)

    As far as when we decided health care was a “right,” I think the passage of Medicare opened that box.

    Naismith, the fact that the government at some point provides something is not remotely related to it becoming a “right.” I guess we have a “right” to swimming pools and city carnivals? Heaven help us.

    By the way, are you really going to pop back in here and ignore the fact that your last visit was full of erroneous accusations? Maybe correcting those would be a show of good faith. Whatever.

  • kilpatrickclan June 13, 2009, 3:18 pm

    I first need to apologize a bit. I fell victim to blogging at midnight. What is it? The Holy Ghost goes to bed at midnight? Anyway, I came off a bit snarky. As much as I would like everyone to believe how perfect I am, I am not. We had a very small student loan when we finished college and then my husband decided to get a Masters, which we are definitely benefiting from and making it easier for me to work less and hopefully someday not at all. We had to take loans for that too. Anyway, I guess I am looking at some of these families and wondering about their choices, because it wouldn’t have been my choice. But, there you go with free agency. I will say, we did have some friends that racked up huge student loan debts for dental school and periodontal training and also pawned kids off on everyone as well as went on frequent cruises, also Medicaid users. For some reason, the prodigal son story has been going through my head lately…I guess it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. I have to remind myself of that a lot. Maybe blogs aren’t the best way to get validation in that area.

    My husband and I were having a discussion today that health care is or is not a right. It is not clearly stated in the Constitution or Bill of Rights, but is it assumed? Would it not be part of “Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness.”

    From each according to his ability, to each according to his need

  • Tinkerbell June 13, 2009, 3:19 pm

    So it goes back to the nanny state. You stupid people won’t take responsibility, so we’re going to force you to be responsible. We’re going to take your money and pay for services that you wouldn’t get yourself and then–thinking that it’s “free”– you might actually use it because otherwise the money we took from you is going in the toilet.

    Excellent, concise summary.

  • kilpatrickclan June 13, 2009, 3:21 pm

    Sorry about that last part. Someone said something earlier on that reminded me of it and so I quickly wrote it down before I forgot. Then I decided not to use it …anyway…oops! Well, there is a little Marx for you.

  • Naismith June 13, 2009, 3:25 pm

    My question though is, why can’t the decision for my healthcare be determined between myself and my doctor. If I shop around and find a doctor that I trust, why can’t we as a team determine what tests/precedure/actions should be taken for my personal healthcare?

    Of course you can do that, as long as you are willing to foot the bill.

    Why does an insurance company need to decide that for me and my doctor?

    I agree that would be the ideal. But because the insurance company (private or public or whatever) is paying part of the bill, they do have a vested interest in seeing that the biggest bang for the buck is received. That helps keep your premiums down. So they might have requirements to have a second opinion before surgery, follow evidence-based medical guidelines, etc. Some of these procedures do keep people from care they want, but sometimes it provides better care (as when many doctors insisted in believing that ulcers were caused by stress rather than prescribing antibiotics decades after it had been proven that most ulcers are caused by bacteria–some insurance companies refused to pay for the outdated treatments).

    I am not conceited enough to believe that I know best about my medical care. It’s not rocket science, but sometimes it *IS* brain surgery. Numerous studies in the past five years show that many times consumers can’t always make good decisions about their health care, which is an underlying assumption of the superiority of HSAs.

    As I said before, I know that forcing people to do all sorts of things can have benefits. I just don’t think the benefits outweigh the cost in FREEDOM. How far do we let the government take over? How much of our lives and money do we let them regulate?

    And are you opposed to mandatory auto insurance?

    I think those are important questions, but sometimes freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. I am not particularly in favor of government taking over anything. I would like laws (such as Gov. Romney instituted in Massachusetts) that mandate universal coverage, to make private insurance work more effectively by expanding the risk pool.

    Naismith, the fact that the government at some point provides something is not remotely related to it becoming a “right.”

    That may be your opinion, but most health policy experts think that Medicare was a critical turning point in that it was the first time that the government got directly involved in providing care for all Americans, not as an act of charity (there is no income test). Which set a crucial precedent.

    By the way, are you really going to pop back in here and ignore the fact that your last visit was full of erroneous accusations? Maybe correcting those would be a show of good faith. Whatever.

    How would engaging in a game of she said/she said be a show of good faith? I am not willing to waste anyone’s time that way. I was reporting things as I saw them, and just because you disagree does not mean I have to correct anything. I think it is a show of good faith that I am accepting that you and I just see things differently, and am not arguing over it.

  • Tinkerbell June 13, 2009, 3:54 pm

    Naismith, for me, it still comes down to this: who do I want to make my healthcare decisions for me? Your first two paragraphs sound like a ringing endorsement for HSAs:

    Of course you can do that, as long as you are willing to foot the bill.

    That’s exactly the point. Someone is footing the bill. I would rather pay for my own care and foot the bill so I can decide (with my doctor) what tests/procedures/actions to take. If I am forced into managed care where I pay loads and loads for the premium and then someone else decides what is covered, I am still footing the bill for that coverage. And, likely, it costs the same or more than the treatment I really want if I just paid for it myself.

    But because the insurance company (private or public or whatever) is paying part of the bill, they do have a vested interest in seeing that the biggest bang for the buck is received. That helps keep your premiums down. So they might have requirements to have a second opinion before surgery, follow evidence-based medical guidelines, etc. Some of these procedures do keep people from care they want, but sometimes it provides better care (as when many doctors insisted in believing that ulcers were caused by stress rather than prescribing antibiotics decades after it had been proven that most ulcers are caused by bacteria–some insurance companies refused to pay for the outdated treatments).

    And when I am footing the bill, I have a vested interest in seeing that the biggest bang for the buck is received. That keeps my medical costs down. I am likely to seek a second opinion, follow guidelines.

    I am not conceited enough to believe that I know best about my medical care. It’s not rocket science, but sometimes it *IS* brain surgery. Numerous studies in the past five years show that many times consumers can’t always make good decisions about their health care, which is an underlying assumption of the superiority of HSAs.

    I completely disagree. Let’s assume that under both managed care and HSAs a doctor is involved in the decision making. Either way, the doctor has the “rocket science”. Under managed care, the doctor works within the restrictions of the managed care. So, who is really making the decision? Some guy/gal at the insurance agency. If I am paying for my own care, the doctor can give me all options and we can decide what treatment option is best.

    Numerous studies in the past five years show that many times consumers can’t always make good decisions about their health care

    To repeat this again, this is exactly what Alison addressed in the nanny state: you stupid people. You aren’t smart enough to make good decisions. You need someone from an insurance company or someone from the government to make that choice for you. I don’t believe that for a second. I think that when we assume someone in authority over us “knows better”, we open ourselves up to all sorts of abuse.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 13, 2009, 5:14 pm

    kilpatrickclan, FWIW, I didn’t think you sounded snarky.

    Posted By: kilpatrickclanMy husband and I were having a discussion today that health care is or is not a right. It is not clearly stated in the Constitution or Bill of Rights, but is it assumed?

    Only if you haven’t read the constitution. :)

    Would it not be part of “Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness.”

    No, that’s about chocolate.

    Kidding aside, no. None of those things implied free basic health care. Life is the right NOT to be killed, not to be given chemo and heart transplants and endless life support and cryogenics.

    To be clear, our rights are ENDOWED BY OUR CREATOR. They aren’t fabricated. It is ONLY because of this endowment that our rights have any meaning at all! God gave us life. He did not grant us Viagra!

    Posted By: NaismithOf course you can do that, as long as you are willing to foot the bill.

    Naismith, I knew you’d come around! I celebrate the return of the prodigal daughter! :wink:

    And are you opposed to mandatory auto insurance?

    That’s a good question. I am opposed to mandatory auto insurance for damages and injury to oneSELF and a car one owns outright. I’m not opposed to lending institutions (the actual car owners) requiring insurance until the car is paid off.

    I’m not opposed to mandatory insurance for damage or injury to OTHERS. I see an inherent problem with lack of insurance and lack of ability to pay for damage, given the incredible number of auto accidents every year AND the potential devastation they can cause. It’s a risk/reward scenario.

    I would like laws (such as Gov. Romney instituted in Massachusetts) that mandate universal coverage, to make private insurance work more effectively by expanding the risk pool.

    As I’ve said before, I am very interested in how Romney did this. It sounds like a reasonable solution, but I don’t know all the details. But I don’t want government to be the manager.

    How would engaging in a game of she said/she said be a show of good faith?… I was reporting things as I saw them, and just because you disagree does not mean I have to correct anything.

    She said/she said? What was said is hardly speculative. It’s in black and white. In this thread. It’s simply fact that you accused me of saying things that weren’t said. I asked you to point out where I said the things you accused me of. The words are right up there. Go find them.

    You said:

    So your accusation that I ignored that counsel in quite inaccurate.

    I ask again where I said you ignored counsel?

    But please don’t claim that you were following the prophet any more than I was.

    I ask again where I claimed to follow the prophet more than you?

    These were both pointed accusations that are utterly false. I did neither of them. Accusing someone thusly and feigning piety by not “arguing over it” is disingenuous at best. Good faith would acknowledge the truth rather than dismiss it in the name of “seeing things differently” when, in fact, what you said was simply untrue.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 13, 2009, 5:19 pm

    And while we’re talking about stupid people who can’t manage their health care, when is the government going to force Obama to stop smoking?

  • ChanJo June 13, 2009, 7:35 pm

    ___I am not willing to waste anyone’s time that way.___

    I hate to say I told you so.

    Naismith I will speak for myself when I say that I woouldn’t find your much overdue apology a “waste of time”. I don’t care if you sometimes have a different opinion. I even think thats a good thing and sometimes I agree with you. But in almost every discussion you are in you saw things that are unfair or untrue or they prove you are wrong. I dont thin kyou ever once in any discussion here ever said you were were wrong or apologized or anything. Even when its obvious like this time. YOu just think you can plow over everybody and keep saying the same stuff like you haven’t already been proven wrong.

    Sorry I’m just to the point of being sick of it. No one said the things you said they did, no one ever. Its not heresay its in print. You should grow up and admit it and stop playing games with words. You just have no credibility with me anymore.

  • agardner June 13, 2009, 7:39 pm

    He did not grant us Viagra!

    Not only did He not grant us Viagra, I have a strong belief that he actually opposes it. :-)

    when is the government going to force Obama to stop smoking?

    Seriously, not a bad question. Someone should point out to him the disparity in the healthcare costs of those who smoke vs. those who do not. This one is a no-brainer, folks.

  • Tinkerbell June 13, 2009, 8:47 pm

    I am actually for mandated catastrophic health coverage, and here is why: we have a law that says that if you go to an emergency room, you are guaranteed care. So, someone who decides they don’t want health insurance but has an accident that costs tons of money will get the care (unless they decide to stay home and die). Likely, they will not pay for it, which means that I and every other person getting services at that hospital WILL pay for it. So, unless we do away with the emergency care law (which I don’t think we should), I think we need for people to be forced to have a minimum amount of covereage (like a $20,000 deductible).

  • Tinkerbell June 13, 2009, 8:51 pm

    Obama is a “victim” of the smoking industry.

    “For over a decade, leaders of both parties have fought to prevent tobacco companies from marketing their products to children and provide the public with the information they need to understand what a dangerous habit this is,” said Obama, who has struggled for years to kick his own nicotine habit.

    (I think the bill sounds good, though)

  • facethemusic June 14, 2009, 11:21 am

    My husband and I were having a discussion today that health care is or is not a right. It is not clearly stated in the Constitution or Bill of Rights, but is it assumed? Would it not be part of “Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness.”

    You have to remember that the Constitution doesn’t GRANT or PROVIDE us our unalienable rights– we already have those, ENDOWED to us by our Creator. The Constitution only exists to PROTECT them.

    I know you already know the text, but I think it’s important to remember to phrase that comes AFTER “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” :

    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. –That toSECURE these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

    The Constitution doesn’t say that the government exists to GIVE us or PROVIDE us with our lives– God did that. The government exists to SECURE our right to live, which means to establish laws to protect it.

    It doesn’t PROVIDE us our Liberty– God gave us THAT too. But the government exists to PROTECT our liberties.

    It neither PROVIDES us with happiness or the chance to pursue it– God gave us that. But the government exists to PROTECT our God-given right to pursue happiness.

    So the government is there to PROTECT our right to live, but not to PROVIDE the food or healthcare that we need in order TO live.
    It goes right back to the “tomato” thing I talked about earlier. I have a right to eat, but that doesn’t mean that I can take YOUR food, or that the
    government is supposed to feed me. It’s just there to PROTECT my right to feed MYSELF and my family. If someone steals my food, the government is there to PROTECT my right to my property (the food), and my right to feed myself with the food I bought or grew. But it’s not supposed to PROVIDE me with my food, nor is it supposed to take YOUR food, or take your money, to buy MY food.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 14, 2009, 11:47 am

    Also important to stress is this:

    That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

    The ONLY power the government has is power GIVEN by US. It’s important to think through that. If we don’t have a particular right, we have no authority to give it to the government.

  • Tinkerbell June 14, 2009, 12:16 pm

    So the government is there to PROTECT our RIGHT to live

    This is rather ironic in light of legalized abortion and euthensasia laws.

  • kilpatrickclan June 17, 2009, 10:55 am

    I heard this today on NPR/ Fresh Air. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=105483669
    It was a pretty good program. It was about medical costs and how to address the health care of the nation, written from a doctor’s perspective, “Spend More, Get Less?”. If you want to read the New Yorker column, you can at this link. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/06/01/090601fa_fact_gawande

    Apparantly, President Obama has had a lot of interest into this article lately. Interesting.

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