State of Mankind

A New Way Of Thinking

Month: April, 2012

The Attack On The Middle Class

The American middle class is being systematically destroyed.  Three of the major contributors to this are globalization, inflation, and taxes.  We will take a brief look at each of these.  The following article looks at these and a lot more numbers to advance the same argument: http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/25-signs-that-middle-class-families-have-been-targeted-for-extinction_04182012.

Is globalization good or bad?  It is really tough to blanket it with a single good or bad label.  It creates opportunity for business.  For those of religious ideas, it would seem that globalization is somewhat necessary to prepare the world for the reign of Christ, who will rule over the whole earth.  On the flip side, over regulation often causes that mainly big business thrives on globalization, while small business has a harder time dealing with laws and realities of transportation.  The New World Order method of removing borders by transferring power to the United Nations and running wealth-redistributive schemes is much closer to evil than the good side of the gospel of Christ uniting the people of the world.  Relating to the middle class, globalization is a tough pill to swallow, as labor has become a global commodity.  American labor is 10-20 times more expensive than much of the abundant foreign labor.  This means that higher paying jobs generally flow outward or down in the pay scale.

Next comes inflation.  We’ve been taught by the media how great inflation is.  Inflation is actually a hidden tax which raids savings by constantly devaluing it.  Years ago, if you wanted to get into the middle class, perhaps start a small business, you could work, save, and then use your savings to help you get started.  Thanks to inflation, it is now much harder to save, thus start a business or invest in real-estate or whatever you may want to do.  About the only way you can come out ahead saving is to, wait for it, invest in big business (called the stock market).  Then it is generally tied up in retirement labels so you have little access to it should you desire to do your own thing.  According to the referenced article, since 1970 (when Nixon legalized money printing with no accountability) the US dollar has lost 83% of its value.

Finally, a look at taxes.  The middle class is taxed like crazy, and in many different ways.  Higher end taxes (the evil $250,000 earners) hurt small business.  It is difficult to run a business when you can’t keep your profits and are thus dependent on borrowing for expansion or hard times.  Sounds like a banker’s dream.

The one thing all these problems have in common is the over-reaching arm of government combined with big business to slant the field against the middle class.  As was well said in the cited article, “If America is going to be great again, it is going to need a thriving middle class.  But right now the Federal Government and the big corporations are gobbling up all of the power and all of the money and the middle class is shrinking rapidly.”

 

Agency And Freedom

The following is from a talk by Howard Hunter called The Law Of The Harvest.  If we look closely, this is not a right/left political speech, but an establishment of principle.  Once again, for those not of the LDS faith, I believe there is plenty here to contemplate without religious bias.  Only a small portion of Hunter’s words are quoted here.  I do encourage everyone to read the entire talk, found at: http://www.latterdayconservative.com/howard-w-hunter/the-law-of-the-harvest/.

Right of Free Agency

The right to own and control private property is not only a human right; it is a divine right.  We will be judged, if I understand the Savior’s teachings correctly (see Matthew 25), by how we use our property volutarily for the blessings and benefit of our Father’s other children.  President McKay continually teaches us that this right of free agency is our most precious heritage.  It is our greatest gift in this world and is to be valued even more than life itself.

If you deprive a man of his right to fail in the righteous use of his property, you also deprive him of his right to succeed.  If you remove from a man his right to “go to hell,” you likewise remove his free agency to go to heaven.  Satan’s entire philosophy is based on a “something for nothing” philosophy:  salvation without effort–a free gift.  This counterfeit doctrine was rejected by God our Father.  Our Elder Brother, Jesus Christ, accepted our Father’s plan and agreed to pay the infinite price to become our Savior and Redeemer and to show us the way back to the Father.  The way is often the hard way.  It is the Law of the Harvest.  It is the same basic law in the spiritual realm which the farmer must obey in the physical realm.  He plants in the spring and cultivates, waters, weeds, and nourishes the ground and its new life and then harvests in the fall.

Working on the Roots of Prosperity

…What is the real cause of this trend toward the welfare state, toward more socialism?  In the last analysis, in my judgement, it is personal unrighteousness.  When people do not use their freedoms responsibly and righteously, they will gradually lose these freedoms.

Let me illustrate:  If I, as an employer, in my policies and practices exploit my employees, I will either lose them and my business, or my employees will gather together and threaten to strike me.  They will strive to exercise an influence on the legislative process so that laws will be enacted dictating fair employment policies and practices, thus limiting my freedom to determine these things for myself.

If man will not recognize the inequalities around him and voluntarily, through the gospel plan, come to the aid of his brother, as outlined by Brother Romney, he will find that through “a democratic process” he will be forced to come to the aid of his brother.  The government will take from the “haves” and give to the “have nots.”  Both have lost their freedom.  Those who “have,” lost their freedom to give voluntarily of their own free will and in the way they desire.  Those who “have not” lost their freedom because they did not earn what they received.  They got “something for nothing,” and they will neither appreciate the gift nor the giver of the gift.

Under this climate, people gradually become blind to what has happened and to the vital freedoms which they have lost…

About all I could add is an emphasis on the statement that “Both have lost their freedom”, and that “people gradually become blind to what has happened and to the vital freedoms which they have lost”.  Is this where we are today?

 

 

 

In Mine Own Way

Sometimes there is reason to worry that we just don’t get it.  In saying this, there is no reference to anyone in particular, but just to our society as a whole.  Do we really care about those who are less fortunate or have we accomplished mass apathy to our destruction?  This question is to be answered by the individual conscience.

My apologies to those not of my faith, but we’ll look at this question in the light of the Doctrine and Convenants (Section 104).  Whether you agree with my faith or not, I do believe there are some important things to consider.  Starting with verse 13:

13. For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures.

14. I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine.

15. And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.

The quick summary:  The Lord owns everything.  We own nothing, but he gives us stewardship to see whether we will be wise or foolish, to see whether we will seek his will or our will with what he gives us.

16. But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low.

Another pause for understanding.  Marion G. Romney explained how the poor are exalted and the rich are made low:

The United Order exalts the poor and humbles the rich.  In the process both are sanctified.  The poor, released from the bondage and humiliating limitations of poverty are enabled as free men to rise to their full potential, both temporally and spiritually.  The rich, by consecration and by imparting of their surplus for the benefit of the poor, not by constraint but willingly as an act of free will, evidence that charity for their fellowmen characterized by Mormon as “the pure love of Christ.”

Brother Romney also explains how the United Order works in our day:

Furthermore to use again the words of President Clark:

“In lieu of residues and surpluses which were accumulated and built up under the united order, we, today, have our fast offerings, our welfare donations, and our tithing all of which may be devoted to the care of the poor, as well as for the carrying on of the activities and business of the church.”

What prohibits us from giving as much in fast offerings as we would have given in surpluses under the United Order?  Nothing but our own limitations.

Continuing with D&C 104:

17. For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.

Translation:  The Club of Rome is wrong.  We don’t need a world government to take our agency to protect our “dwindling” resources.  We don’t need the Federal government running our charity.  It is to be personal choice.  We are to be agents unto ourselves.  But, if we are to use our agency to be servants of the Lord and run our stewardships as he would, what does he desire?

18. Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.

Strong words.  They aren’t mine, they come from a higher source.  To give my opinion straight up, I would say that we, as members of what we profess to be the Lord’s church, have his commandments and make covenants to live accordingly.  However, too often the pursuit of material things or entertainment seem to take priority in our lives.  As I watch some people pay for trips or stuff on a credit card, I have to wonder if they realize the decision they are making.  Instead of being wise stewards, remembering the poor, and making sure there is a surplus for them, we seem to spend all of our surplus and go into debt just to provide for our wants.  Do we understand verse 18?

I understand that King Benjamin (Mosiah 4:24-25) suggests that those who have no extra are not required to give.  But what is the application here?  He says that our hearts must be for giving to the poor or we will be condemned.  When the good people of the west side of Salt Lake (among whom I reside) pretend they can’t give, but somehow are buying new cars or going on multiple vacations every year, or buying houses twice as big as their parents, it raises red flags in my mind.  By the standards of King Benjamin’s day, even we are generally rich.  Do we give likewise or do we try and justify our pride because others have more?

In conclusion, I simply hope we see the great opportunity that we have to fully live the laws of the Lord.  The Church welfare program, as well as other good charities, or helping others directly, give us the tools we need to live fully according to the law of consecration (United Order), if we will so choose.  Those of other faiths have many charities which they can support.  By so doing, we can have the peace and assurance that comes from knowing that the Lord is pleased with our efforts.  By choosing another path, we can spend our lives in pursuit of that which will not satisfy.  I hope we can sit down and seriously analyze our stewardships and decide if we are really following the Lord’s plan, or if we need to re-read verse 18.

 

PS-There will be no new posting for a day or two, as I believe this is a really important point that needs contemplation.

 

 

A Thought For The Weekend

Enough of in-depth analysis of the issues of the world for this week.  Here’s a simple idea to think on:

“If you would create something, you must be something.” (von Goethe)

Have a wonderful, enjoyable weekend!

 

The Other Healthcare Scam

In talking to a friend about yesterday’s post on how healthcare legislation incentivizes cost increases, he brought my attention to another part of this issue.  The government describes the law as follows:

…insurance companies will be required to spend 80-85 percent of premium dollars on medical care and healthcare quality improvement, rather than on administrative costs starting in 2011.  If they don’t, the insurance companies will be required to provide a rebate to their customers starting in 2012.

http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2010/11/medical-loss-ratio.html

My friend brought my attention to the fact that his company’s health insurance went up drastically this year, and they also started a rebate program for people who will accomplish some fitness goals.  Nothing against fitness, but come on, this is a joke!  It looks like a fitness program probably qualifies as a “healthcare quality improvement” program.  This would mean in raw math that our $100 of payment of which $70 went to the doctor and $30 went to the insurance company last year has, in this case, done just as we suspected, only in a slightly different way.  Now the payment has increased substantially, we’ll say to $120 just for fun of which $24 is allowed to the insurance company, probably about $75 to the doctor and $21 goes to the “healthcare quality improvement” program, from which the insurance company gets the rest of what it needs, and passes the rest back as an “earned” rebate.

I’ll grant that I don’t have exact numbers and I don’t have “smoking gun” evidence that this is what has happened, but if it smells like a rat…

The bottom line is simple.  When we legislate community action and self interest is involved, the self interested simply use it as a way to cause the entire community to act in their own self interest.  We get our pockets picked just about every time.  They even start a rebate program to give us back a portion of what was taken so we’ll feel good about it.  Where do I sign up for free market healthcare, which went away years ago with, oh yeah, low prices?