The image you see here is taken from page two of Form 1040 of the U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. This has probably been posted numerous times by anti-tax or anti-government folks, but this is the first time I think I have noticed it. (Click on the image for higher resolution.)
So the IRS expects blind people to check the box on their own income tax return? Tell me, how is a blind person going to do that? No offense to the sight impaired is intended. This is pretty humorous to me.
The Tabernacle was a portable temple revealed to Moses by the LORD as Israel wandered through the desert. The laws and ordinances associated with this sanctuary were governed by the Law of Moses. It is important to remember the Law of Moses was meant to teach and direct all people to Jesus Christ.
"...This is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal." Alma 34: 14
The whole design, layout, and function of the temple is a symbol of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a symbol of the path that leads back to the presence of the LORD. It is a symbol of at-one-ment. It is a symbol of children of God seeking the way back into the Garden of Eden after expulsion. "So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." (Gen. 3: 24). The entrance to the tabernacle was also placed facing east. For man to regain the presence of the LORD, he first had to become pure by adhering to the pattern the LORD had set forth to return.
Upon entering the outer courtyard of the tabernacle (symbolic of the Telestial Kingdom) the first thing a person would see is the Altar of Burnt Offerings.
The Altar of Burnt Offerings is described in Ex. 27: 1-8 and the ordinances associated with it are detailed principally in Lev. 1-10, and sporadically in other books. The altar itself was five cubits square and three cubits high. This converts to 7'6" square and 4'6" tall. It was made of acacia wood and overlaid with bronze.It was hollow on the inside which allowed air to flow through to feed the fire and made the altar lighter to carry. The network of brass is essentially comparable to a grill upon which the sacrifices were to be burned. The fire that was lit upon the altar was originally lit by the LORD Himself (Lev. 9: 23-24) and was not allowed to be extinguished. The Priests were responsible to make sure there was always enough fuel to keep the fire burning.
This altar was used for various sacrifices as prescribed by the Law of Moses. The Law of Sacrifice under the Law of Moses, which required the shedding of blood of sacrificial animals has been superceded by the LORD's new requirement:
"And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and burnt offerings. And ye shall offer unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken hear and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost..." 3 Ne. 9: 19-20
Contrite is defined in the 1913 Webster's dictionary to mean: broken down with grief and penitence; deeply sorrowful for sin because it is displeasing to God. So that is the new requirement. This is the point I want to stress, the new required sacrifice appears much easier than the sacrifices required under the Law of Moses. I believe this is why it is important to learn about the animals sacrifices made. As you learn and comprehend the effort that went into them, it might make you stop and think of what a broken heart and a contrite spirit truly means. In other words, does my broken heart and contrite spirit equal and surpass the effort that went into animal sacrifice under the Law of Moses?
So lets learn about the various sacrifices required. I will only touch on a few of them.
The following is my summary of the sacrifices and offerings of the Mosaic Law as detailed in full here. I will summarize the Burnt Offering, and the Trespass Offering. To keep this article shorter, I will touch on the Sin Offering during another article.
The Burnt Offering
This was offered publicly two times a day and four times a day on the Sabbath. The burnt offering is another name for the ordinance of sacrifice practiced by the patriarchs from Adam down to Israel. It had to be a male bull, ram, goat, turtledoves, or pigeons (based on economic conditions of the person offering the sacrifice).
It is interesting to note that the Lord required the applicable sacrifices to come from herds and domesticated flocks (Lev. 1: 2). "In the clean animals, which he had obtained by his own training and care, and which constituted his ordinary live-stock, and in the produce obtained through the labour of his hands in the field and vineyard, from which he derived his ordinary support, the Israelite offered . . . the food which he procured in the exercise of his God-appointed calling, as a symbol of the spiritual food which endureth unto everlasting life [see John 6:27; 4:34], and which nourishes both soul and body for imperishable life in fellowship with God. . . . In this way the sacrificial gifts acquire a representative character, and denote the self-surrender of a man, with all his labour and productions, to God.” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 1:2:275–76.)
Training a bull, a beast of burden, was a labor intensive venture. It was also an animal that had many functions such as plowing, towing, hauling, and food. To offer such an animal represented a significant sacrifice. Again, how can you fulfill the LORDs required sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit that would be equal to the burnt offering?
The Trespass Offering
This offering was, in part, for violations of the law against other people. It is a principle of repentance, and in my opinion, a more equitable system of justice than we have today. In Leviticus 6, it details that if a man lies to his neighbor, or steals, or swears falsely, he is required to make a trespass offering and restore unto the person that which he had deprived them.
For example, if Jones steals an ox from Smith, and Jones later confesses, he was required to restore the ox (or if the ox had been killed) or the cost of the ox plus an additional 20%. In other words, if Jones steals $100 from Smith, he would be required to restore $120 to Smith. Jones would then offer a Ram without blemish upon the Altar(Lev. 5:15, 18; 6:6, 19:21). Thus justice is met for the Smith.
This is the principle of restitution, which is a component of repentance. This principle does not exist in or current judicial system. Consider the following perversion of justice. Jones steals $1,000 from Smith. The authorities arrest Jones and throw him in prison. Jones' violation is considered a crime against the state and not against Smith. Through taxes that Smith pays, he is now forced to pay for the court costs, food, and shelter in the form of imprisonment for Jones. Where is the justice for Smith?
Repentance is not only necessary for our eternal progression, it also makes things much more pleasant for life here on Earth. Repentance and forgiveness in marriage, and in other family relationships fosters harmony, understanding, and genuine love. Unlike the Law of Moses, the Gospel requires more self initiative. Instead of being prescribed the exact things to do in order to make restitution, the LORD now only requires a broken heart and contrite spirit. It is up to each individual to learn how their own personal sacrifice can be a true sacrifice. Remember the whole purpose of repentance is to change our nature into something better and greater.
The Book of Mormon alluded to the treasures of people becoming slippery. The stock market goes up and down like a roller coaster, and the price of a barrel of oil follows the same pattern. The current subprime mortgage crisis has led to another bailout of incredible proportions. The financial markets are in turmoil. The federal reserve, and fractional reserve banking is the leading culprit in these tumultuous times.
Wise men and women in my life have taught me the importance of being prepared for the unexpected. My many years as a Boy Scout ingrained into my mind the motto: "Be Prepared". After viewing all of these events, I need to put into practice what I have been taught on a much more urgent level. Food storage, financial reserves, and disaster preparation are necessary subjects to be familiar with.
One subject I plan to study more is investing in real money, (i.e. Gold and Silver) instead of the slippery fiat currency our government forces us to use. In the future, my posts will include material related to my findings. Needless to say, make sure you have your financial house in order as soon as possible. Even if nothing happens (which I doubt), peace of mind is one of the greatest treasures you can have!
My philosophy is based on the principle of self-ownership. You own your life. To deny this is to imply that another person has a higher claim on your life than you have. No other person, or group of persons, owns your life nor do you own the lives of others.You exist in time: future, present, and past. This is manifest in life, liberty, and the product of your life and liberty. The exercise of choices over life and liberty is your prosperity. To lose your life is to lose your future. to lose your liberty is to lose your present. And to lose the product of your life and liberty is to lose the portion of your past that produced it.
Jones hires Smith to build a fence for $1,000. Smith voluntarily consents to using the near future (life) and present (liberty) to build a fence for Jones in exchange for $1,000. After the fence is complete, Smith has used a portion of his life and liberty to voluntarily build the fence. Jones then gives Smith $1,000 for the product of Smith's life and liberty.A product of your life and liberty is your property. Property is the fruit of your labor, the product of your time, energy, and talents. It is that part of nature that you turn to valuable use. And it is the property of others that is given to you by voluntary exchange and mutual consent. Two people who exchange property voluntarily are both better off or they wouldn't do it. Only they man rightfully make that decision for themselves.
In the previous fence example, we can see that the fence Smith built was a fruit of his labor. It was the product of his time, energy, and talent for fence making. Smith took wood, nails, a shovel, and concrete to create something of value for Jones. Smith wanted $1,000, Jones wanted a fence. Their voluntary exchange was mutually beneficial.At times some people use force or fraud to take from others without willful, voluntary consent. Normally, the initiation of force to take life is murder, to take liberty is slavery, and to take property is theft. It is the same whether these actions are done by one person acting alone, by the many acting against a few, or even by officials with fine hats and titles.
When Jones pays Smith for the fence he had built, in the eyes of the IRS, this is a taxable event. The IRS uses coercion to force Smith to pay $200 (20%) without his consent. Smith pays the IRS $200 to avoid having his wages garnished (future-life), to avoid imprisonment (present-liberty), and to prevent the IRS from seizing his assets (property-past). If the IRS did not use the threat of coercion to collect taxes, Smith would not pay the income tax. If you believe the IRS has a right to collect $200 from Smith, then you believe the IRS has a higher claim on the life of Smith. Income taxation is a denial of self-ownership.Frank Chodorov expounds this point further: "It is told -1 Kings, Chapter 12 - that the people of Israel petitioned their new king, Rehoboam, son of Solomon, to relieve them of the "yoke" his father had suffered them to bear. The "yoke," we learn from the story, was the cost of maintaining the political establishment; it was an income tax. The designation of a levy on one’s production as a "yoke" is interesting; it shows how keen is the mind unencumbered with erudition. The yoke symbolizes the beast of burden, who, of course, has no right of property. When the human is similarly deprived of what he has produced-which is the essence of income taxation-he is indeed degraded to the status of an ox. The Israelite, who maintained that he was made in the image of God, sensed the indignity; he wanted none of the "yoke."
You have the right to protect your own life, liberty, and justly acquired property from the forceful aggression of others. So you may rightfully ask others to help protect you. But you do not have a right to initiate force against the life, liberty, or property of others. Thus, you have no right to designate some person to initiate force against others on your behalf.This is the essence of our government. We the people, have consented to ask other people, through election, to help protect us. Every human being has the inalienable right to defend themselves from the forceful aggression of others. The Constitution is the means whereby the people ask their elected leaders to help them do what they have the right to do themselves. It is theft if I use coercion to take away the justly acquired property of someone else. No rational person would believe they personally have the right to take $200 from Smith. If you do not have the right, then how can you bestow the right on the government to do that which you do not have the right to do? If you believe otherwise, I seriously urge you to reconsider your mind set. Our government is built of people elected from amongst ourselves. If you believe the government (made up of human beings) has the right to take the product of a person's life and liberty, then you would have to logically conclude that you have a right to go to your neighbor's house with a gun and demand they pay you a portion of their income.
You have a right to seek leaders for yourself, but you have no right to impose rulers on others. No matter how officials are selected, they are only human beings and they have no rights or claims that are higher than those of any other human beings. Regardless of the imaginative labels for their behavior or the numbers of people encouraging them, officials have no right to murder, to enslave, or to steal. You cannot give them any rights that you do not have yourself.Consider this: If someone approaches you on the street, pulls out a knife and begins to attack you, and you kill them in self-defense, it is not considered murder. You have the RIGHT to defend yourself. The same applies to police officers. The people have consented, asked the police to do what they themselves have a right to do, defend themselves from attack. The operative word is DEFEND. If I attack someone in any act other than self defense and kill them, it is murder. Therefore, I do not have the right to ask the police, elected leaders, or anyone, to kill another person on my behalf in any act other than self defense.
If we the people ask our elected leaders to kill other people in anything other than self defense, and the leaders do it, we then are accessories to murder. If a war other than self defense is begun, and you know it is a war of aggression, and not self defense, you are supporting murder. Remember, ours is a government of the people. You cannot bestow rights on elected leaders to do things that you do not have the right to do. If you disagree with this view, please, I beg you to reconsider the logic upon which our government was conceived.Since you own your life, you are responsible for your life. You do not rent your life from others who demand your obedience. Nor are you a slave to others who demand your sacrifice. You choose your own goals based on your own values. Success and failure are both the necessary incentives to learn and to grow. Your action on behalf of others, or their action on behalf of you, is only virtuous when it is derived from voluntary, mutual consent. For virtue can only exist when there is free choice.
This is the basis of a truly free society. It is not only the most practical and humanitarian foundation for human action, it is also the most ethical.Problems that arise from the initiation of force by government have a solution. The solution is for people of the world to stop asking officials to initiate force on their behalf. Evil does not arise only from evil people, but also from good people who tolerate the initiation of force as a means to their own ends. In this manner, good people have empowered evil throughout history.
Please read and study the Constitution. Please study in depth the people whom you will be voting for in this November's election. Do they believe in the Constitution based on their acts (not their words)? Do they advocate principles that will restore dignity to all human beings who live within the United States of America? Liberty is precious, human beings are precious, become active in your conversations with people regarding these principles of liberty. Liberty can only be preserved by diligence! People can make a difference. The Founding Fathers are proof that people can make a difference! I will close with the last paragraph of the Philosophy of Liberty:Having confidence in a free society is to focus on the process of discovery in the marketplace of values rather than to focus on some imposed vision or goal. Using governmental force to impose a vision on others is intellectual sloth and typically results in unintended, perverse consequences. Achieving the free society requires courage to think, to talk, and to act - especially when it is easier to do nothing.
"Nor is war justified in an attempt to enforce a new order of government, or even to impel others to a particular form of worship, however better the government or eternally true the principles of the enforced religion may be." David O. McKay, Conference Report, April 1942, p.43
"When I review the performance of this people in comparison with what is expected, I am appalled and frightened...We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel—ships, planes, missiles, fortifications—and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become antienemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” Spencer W. Kimball, "The False Gods We Worship".
"Nothing in the Constitution nor in logic grants to the President of the United States or to Congress the power to influence the political life of other countries, to "uplift" their cultures, to bolster their economies, to fee their peoples or even to defend them against their enemies." Ezra T. Benson (Unable to find source).
"The Book of Mormon narrative is a chronicle of nations long since gone. But in its descriptions of the problems of today’s society, it is as current as the morning newspaper and much more definitive, inspired, and inspiring concerning the solutions of those problems. I know of no other writing which sets forth with such clarity the tragic consequences to societies that follow courses contrary to the commandments of God. Its pages trace the stories of two distinct civilizations that flourished on the Western Hemisphere. Each began as a small nation, its people walking in the fear of the Lord. But with prosperity came growing evils. The people succumbed to the wiles of ambitious and scheming leaders who oppressed them with burdensome taxes, who lulled them with hollow promises, who countenanced and even encouraged loose and lascivious living. These evil schemers led the people into terrible wars that resulted in the death of millions and the final and total extinction of two great civilizations in two different eras." Gordon B. Hinckley, "A Testimony Vibrant and True"
"As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are a people of peace. We follow the Savior, who is the Prince of Peace. We look forward to His millennial reign, when wars will end and peace will be restored to the earth (see Isaiah 2:4)." True to the Faith, p.183
I made this for my wife's Sunday School Class. I thought everyone might enjoy it as it is a good acronym to carry around in your noggin!
"There is no possibility of confrontation here between Good and Bad. This is best shown in Alma's duel with Amlici. The Amlicites are described as coming on in all the hideous and hellish trappings of one of our more colorful rock groups, glorying in the fiendish horror of their appearance (see Alma 3: 4-6). Alma on the other hand is the "man of God" (Alma 2: 30) who meets the monster Amlici "with the sword, face to face" (Alma 2: 29), and of course wins. Yet the Nephites consider that debacle to be "the judgments of God sent upon them because of their wickedness and their abominations; therefore they were awakened to a remembrance of their duty" (Alma 4: 3). The moral is that whenever there is a battle both sides are guilty.'Nobody knows that better than Moroni, whose efforts to avoid conflict far exceed his labors in battle. When he sees trouble ahead, he gets ready for it by "preparing the minds of the people to be faithful unto the Lord their God" (Alma 48: 7). His military preparations are strictly defensive, and he is careful to do nothing that will seem to threaten the Lamanites; all of his battles are fought on Nephite soil (see Alma 48: 8-10). We are repeatedly reminded that Moroni is "a man that did not delight in bloodshed" (Alma 48: 11). By him "the Nephites were caught to defend themselves against their enemies, even to the shedding of blood if it were necessary; yea, and they were also taught never to give an offense, yea, and never to raise the sword except it were against an enemy, except it were to preserve their lives" (Alma 48: 14). Any thought of preemptive strike is out of the question; Moroni even apologizes for espionage, for if they only have sufficient faith God will "warn them to flee, or to prepare for war, according to their danger; And also, that God would make it known unto them whither they should go to defend themselves. "This is a great load off their minds "and his [Moroni's] heart did glory in it; not in the shedding of blood but in doing good, in preserving his people, yea, in keeping the commandments of God, yea, and resisting iniquity" (Alma 48: 15-16). Resisting iniquity where? In the only place it can be resisted, in their own hearts. Not only is a preemptive strike out of the question but Moroni's people have to let the enemy attack at least twice before responding, to guarantee that their own action is purely defensive (see Alma 43: 46). The highest compliment that Alma can pay Moroni is "Behold, he was a man like unto Ammon" (Alma 48: 18), who, as we have seen, renounced all military solutions to the Lamanite problem.
"Later it is the decision of the Nephites, after a series of brilliant victories, to cake the initiative against the Lamanites and "cut them off from the face of the land" that makes a conscientious objector of Mormon, their great leader, who "did utterly refuse from this time forth to be a commander and a leader of this people" (Morm. 3: 10-11). "And when they had sworn by all that had been forbidden them by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that they would go up unto their enemies to battle, and avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren [a perfect John Wayne situation], behold the voice of the Lord came [to Mormon] saying: Vengeance is mine, and I will repay" (Morm. 3: 14-15). So Mormon, from being top brass, becomes a detached observer and reporter for our express benefit, "I did stand as an idle witness. . . . Therefore I write unto you, Gentiles, and also unto you, house of Israel" (Morm. 3: 16-17). He explains that the fatal mistake of the Nephites was to take the offensive: "And it was because the armies of the Nephites went up unto the Lamanites that they began to be smitten; for were it not for that, the Lamanites could have had no power over them" (Morm. 4: 4). Then comes the bottom line: "But, behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked ace punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed" (Morm. 4: 5). The battle is not between Good and Bad--the wicked shall destroy the wicked."Mormon places the Nephites and the Lamanites side by side for our benefit. As the war between them continues, each sinks deeper and deeper into depravity. First, after a Nephite victory, are four years of peace devoted not to repentance but to warlike preparations as the Lord removes his beloved disciples from among the Nephites because of the wickedness and unbelief. The Lord even forbids Mormon to preach repentance, which preaching will now do no good "because of the hardness of their hearts the land was cursed for their sakes" (Morm. 1: 17). They have passed the point of no return. The people have begun to worry and seek safe investments, to "hide up their treasures in the earth." But the Dow Jones keeps going down as their riches "became slippery, because the Lord had cursed the land, that they could not hold them, nor retain them again" (Morm. 1: 18). It is interesting that amid all this military fury riches still hold the number one position in their minds. Then, as at the end of the Antique World, total lack of security forces people to turn in desperation to "sorceries, and witchcrafts, and magics" (Morm. 1: 19)--they feel haunted, helpless, surrounded by demons. "The land was filled with robbers"; insecurity is total but "notwithstanding the great destruction which hung over my people, they did not repent . . . and it was one complete revolution throughout all the face of the land" (Morm. 2: 8). Then come those awful words, "and I saw that the day of grace was passed with them" (Morm. 2: 15). Though Mormon relents under extreme pressure and leads the army to more victories (see Morm. 5: 1), "nevertheless the strength of the Lord was not with us; yea, we were left to ourselves" (Morm. 2: 26). After all the Lord has done for them, the poor fools "did not realize that it was the Lord that had spared them, and granted unto them a chance for repentance"--his arm is still stretched out (Morm. 3: 3).
"Meanwhile, what are the bad guys up to? The Lamanites have been sacrificing Nephite women and children (see Morm. 4: 15), yet "notwithstanding this great abomination of the Lamanites, it doth not exceed that of our people," who practice cannibalism "for a token of bravery" (Morm. 9: 9-10). When things reach this state, Mormon says: "I pray unto God that he will spare thy life, to witness the return of his people unto him, or their utter destruction; for I know that they must perish except they repent" (Morm. 9: 22; emphasis added). "O the depravity of my people! They are without order and without mercy" (Morm. 9: 18). Mormon plays for the people he had loved and led, though he knows his prayer cannot be answered (see Morm. 3: 12). "And if they perish it will be like unto the Jaredites, because of the willfulness of their hearts, seeking for blood and revenge" (Morm. 9: 23). And all this is meant for us: "These things must surely be made known. . . . A knowledge of these things must come unto a remnant of these people, and also unto the Gentiles," by being "hid up unto the Lord that they may come forth in his own due time" (Morm. 5: 8-9, 12). As to Mormon's own people, the Lord has reserved their blessings, which they might have received in the land, for the Gentiles who shall possess the land (see Morm. 5: 19). But they will have another chance, for "after they have been driven and scattered by the Gentiles, behold, then will the Lord remember the covenant" (Morm. 5: 20). Then it will be our turn to be concerned: "And then, O ye Gentiles, how can ye stand before the power of God, except ye shall repent and turn from your evil ways?" (Morm. 5: 22). That hardly describes us as good guys; there is only one hope for us: "I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace," says Moroni, "that they might have charity"--that is the only thing that can save us, unilateral generosity; if I expect anything in return for charity except the happiness of the recipient, then it is not charity. The Lord's answer to Moroni is chilling: "The Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee" (Ether 12: 36-37). Mormon was shown our generation, which) he describes with photographic accuracy: "Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing" (Morm. 8: 35). He then proceeds to describe a people immensely pleased with themselves: "There are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities"--the high-living fiercely competitive crime-ridden world of the 1980s. And then to the heart of the matter: "For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches [Communists do not adorn churches], more than ye love the poor and the needy, the underprivileged to "pass by you, and notice them nor," while placing high value on "that which hath no life" (Morm. 8: 36-37, 39). All the meanness and smugness of our day speaks in that phrase; and these very self-satisfied, church-conscious, and wicked people are about to be destroyed by war: "Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer" (Morm. 8: 41)."We have nor mentioned the case of the Jaredites; it should hardly be necessary to tell the story of Shiz and Coriantumr, each obsessed with the necessity of ridding the world of his evil adversary. Both sides were exterminated. Not many years ago all of this Book of Mormon extravaganza belonged even for Latter-day Saints to the world of pure fantasy, of things that could never happen in the modern civilized world--total extermination of a nation was utterly unthinkable in those days. But suddenly even within the past few years a very ancient order of things has emerged at the forefront of world affairs; who would have thought it--the Holy War! the ultimate showdown of the Good Guys witch God on their side versus the Godless Enemy. It is the creed of the Ayatollah, the Jihad, Dar-al-Islam versus Dar-al-Harb, the Roman ager pacatus versus the ager hosticus. On the one side Deus vult, on the Bi'smi-llah; it is a replay of the twelfth century, the only way the "good people" can be free, that is, safe, is to exterminate the "bad people" or, as Mr. Lee counsels, to lock them up before they do any mischief--that alone will preserve the freedom of "us good people."
"And now there is even talk of Armageddon with Gog and Magog, the two giants of the North, ending in extermination. There are those who insist that we are the good guys fighting the bad guys at Armageddon, bur there is no such affair in the scriptures, where the only actual fighting mentioned is when "every man's sword shall be against his brother"--the wicked against the wicked. Then God intervenes with pestilence, "hailstones, fire, and brimstone" (Ezek. 38: 21-22), with much slaughter, but no mortal army has a hand in it. In the New Testament version it all happens after the Millennium, when fire comes out of heaven and destroys the army besieging the Saints, but there is no mention of a battle anywhere (see Rev. 20: 7-10). We have seen that for us there is only one way to prepare for the great events ahead, and that is to be found doing good when the Lord comes, with no one taking advantage of temporary prosperity "to his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken" (JS-M 1: 52)."Mormon's message to us is not without a word of hope and advice: "Behold, I speak unto you as though I spake from the dead; for I know that ye shall have my words. . . . Give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been" (Morm. 9: 30-31). His address is expressly to the inhabitants of "this land" into whose hands "this book" shall come-- specifically, it is meant for us."
SOCIAL SECURITY AND THE ELDERLY
Since the beginning of time, people have sought economic security to provide for their own well being during the course of their lives. The traditional sources of economic security come in the form of personal assets, labor, family and charity (DeWitt, 2003). The ancient Greeks would keep stocks of olive oil to provide nourishment in times of famine. The feudal governments of medieval Europe provided economic security through an exchange between feudal lords and serfs of labor for physical protection. One of the most significant forms of economic security has come in the form of family support.
The elderly in our modern age have faced many sweeping changes that have affected the traditional forms of economic security. Three “important demographic changes happened in America beginning in the mid 1880’s that rendered the traditional systems of economic security increasingly unworkable (DeWitt, 2003).
1. The Industrial Revolution
America was transformed from an agrarian society to a more urbanized society. Workers on a farm were self employed and relied on their own labor for sustenance. A person’s work on the farm directly related to their own ability to survive. Their well being was thus directly under their own control.
The switch to an industrial society has created a setting were one’s economic security is laid upon forces outside of your control. Such forces include economic recessions, layoffs, and failed business ventures. During this time the American society dramatically shifted in demographics, with a much larger percentage of the population living in cities instead of small rural communities.
2. Family Structure Altered
The agricultural society prior to the 1930’s created a strong core of support for the elderly in the form of an extended family. Families lived in much closer proximity in this era and children were able to care for their parents when they became unable to perform the physical labor found of a farm. The switch to a more urbanized society led to the decline of the extended family to the form of the nuclear family.
3. Increased Life Expectancy
The rapid increase of technology as a result of the industrial revolution had many benefits to the quality of life people enjoyed. Advances in pubic sanitation and medicine led to large increases in life expectancy. The obvious result is a large increase in the elderly population.
HISTORY OF SOCIAL SECURITY
The first programs resembling social security can be found as far back in American history as the Civil War. At the conclusion of the war, there was a large percentage of the population who were disabled, widowed or made orphans. The people in general felt the need to care for these persons through generous pensions. The Civil War pension program began in 1862 and was limited in the fact that it did not extend itself to the general public. This program expanded such that in 1894 military pensions accounted for 37% of the entire federal budget (DeWitt, 2003).
The Civil War pension program provided a model for the future social security program as we know it. “Following the outbreak of the Great Depression, poverty among the elderly grew dramatically” (DeWitt, 2003). At the time it was estimated that in 1934, over half the elderly persons in America lacked sufficient income to provide for themselves. To combat this rising problem, as many as 30 states began limited pension related programs by 1935. Benefits were extremely limited however, and only 3% of the elderly actual received any actual support.
Social Security as we know it today came as a result of the Great Depression. The aforementioned demographic changes coupled with the Great Depression created a large demand amongst the populace of America for a government system to provide for economic security.
HOW IT WAS CREATED
The Social Security Act was created by President Roosevelt and passed by Congress as part of Roosevelt’s New Deal. Roosevelt signed the Act into law on August 14, 1935. “This act provides benefits to retirees and the unemployed, and a lump-sum benefit at death. Payments to current retirees were (and continue to be) financed by a payroll tax on current worker’s wages, half directly as a payroll tax and half paid by the employer” (Social Security Act, 2006). The Act has undergone numerous amendments and changes since its creation.
The purpose of Social Security was to address the issues of economic security aforementioned by “creating a work-related, contributory system in which workers would provide for their own future economic security through taxes paid while employed” (DeWitt, 2003). In theory, Social
Security is a government mandated retirement program designed to help the elderly. It is important to note that at its inception, Social Security did not cover the disabled or medical benefits. The sole purpose of Social Security was to provide economic security for the elderly.
There were no major changes to Social Security until 1950. The three person board set to oversee the program was replaced by the Social Security Administration, headed by a Commissioner. Amendments were made to the program to cope with the effects of inflation to those on a fixed income.
Another significant change to Social Security occurred in the early 1980’s. In 1983 Amendments to Social Security signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, a previously enacted increase in the payroll tax was accelerated, additional employees were added to the system, the full benefit retirement age was slowly increased, and up to one-half of the value of the Social Security benefit was made potentially taxable income (Social Security Act, 2006). These actions led to a large surplus of funds which were then invested into a trust fund. The government uses the surplus funds to purchase special bonds from itself for the purpose of increasing the value of the trust through interest payments.
CURRENT STATUS OF SOCIAL SECURITY
Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security currently account for nearly 10% of the GDP of the United States. In 2002, the cost of these programs amounted to nearly half a trillion dollars.
COMPLIANCE WITH ORIGINAL PURPOSE
The Social Security program has seen numerous changes to its original purpose. In 1954 President Eisenhower added a disability insurance program to “help” the “public with additional coverage during economic insecurity" (DeWitt, 2003). This amended the original Social Security program to provide benefits to disabled workers between the ages of 50 – 64. In 1960 President Eisenhower made further changes to allow disability payments to all disabled workers of any age and to their dependents.
On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the most significant changes to the Social Security program with the creation of the Medicare bill. This law gave the Social Security Administration (SSA, 2006) the responsibility to administer a new government medical insurance program. Medicare extends health coverage to nearly all Americans aged 65 or older.
RESULTS OF DEVIATION
The added amendments to the Social Security program demonstrate a deviation from the programs original purpose. Beginning in 1972, the public began to become aware that Social Security was facing serious financing problems due to the added programs. Social Security was
facing a funding shortfall due to the increased costs associated with the amendments, changing demographics associated with the baby boom generation, and a bad economy during the late 1970’s. The SSA reported in 1975 that “the Trust Funds would be exhausted by 1979” (DeWitt,
The financing shortfall was addressed in the 1977 Social Security Amendments, which raised payroll taxes and increased the wage base to a much larger percentage of Americans. These fixes were temporary band aids, as their effect was estimated to only balance the program for the next 50 years. Appendix A demonstrates the growth of the Social Security program through 1937 until 2002.
FUTURE OF SOCIAL SECURITY
Since the 1983 Amendments to Social Security, total revenue into the program has exceeded total expenses. In 2004, total revenue exceeded expenditures by more than $150 billion (OASDI, 2005). If there are no changes in current law regarding taxes, benefits, and the retirement age in
Social Security, it is anticipated that expenditures will exceed revenue beginning in 2018. The surplus revenue generated up until 2018 will be completely exhausted according to most estimates between 2041 or 2052 (SSA, 2006). The most significant change resulting in these results is due to the retiring “baby boomer” generation. Through shifting demographics, the percentage of people receiving benefits will be greater than the amount of people contributing to fund those benefits.
IF THINGS DO NOT CHANGE
According to the Government Office of Accountability (GAO, 2006), the status of Social Security in future years is not promising. By 2080 Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will account for 25% of the GDP. The future of the Social Security Program is best summarized by a report issued by the GAO: “GAO’s simulations lead to an overarching conclusion: current fiscal policy is unsustainable over the long term.
Absent reform of the federal retirement and health programs for the elderly -- including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – federal budgetary flexibility will become increasingly constrained. Assuming no changes to projected benefits or revenues, spending on these entitlements will drive increasingly large, persistent, and ultimately unsustainable federal deficits and debt as the baby boom generation retires” (GAO, 2006).
Nearly everyone is in agreement that Social Security will face issues in the future that will need to be resolved. Funding for the system will become a serious problem in the near future, and actions must be taken to continue offering benefits promised by the program. In recent years, there has been increased debate on dealing with these issues. Politicians regard Social Security as the third rail of politics. President Bush attempted to offer reform to the Social Security program after his 2nd term election as did President Clinton before him. The Congress and people of the United States did not agree with the changes he proposed to the system, the most notable change being Privatization accounts. People who receive benefits to from the system represent a large voting bloc of the United States. Indeed, the largest and most powerful political action group is the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP, 2005).
There are many different proposals to amend the Social Security program. Only two will be discussed here. The two proposals are that of taxation and privatization.
In order to meet the expected revenue shortfall that is projected to occur around 2020, revenue will have to be increased in the form of taxes to fund the program. Thomas N. Benthell, noted economist advances the following nine ways to keep the system solvent:
1. Raise the cap to 90% of taxable earnings. (This essentially taxes higher income workers).
2. Increase payroll tax rate. (This would affect lower-wage workers adversely).
3. Raise taxes on benefits.
4. Preserve tax on estates over $3.5 million.
5. Extend coverage to newly hired state and local government employees.
6. Invest a portion of the trust funds.
7. Adjust the Cost of Living Allowance.
8. Increase Nominal retirement age to 70.
9. Index benefits to prices, not wages. (Benthell, 2005).
A few of these changes could cover the expected shortfall alone, while a combination of two or more would have the same effect. These changes can be summarized into the concepts of raising taxes, reducing benefits paid, and increasing the retirement age. These are the only means available to those who oppose any structural changes to Social Security to keep the system afloat in the future. All people who support these aforementioned proposals are generally opposed to privatization of Social Security.
REASONS AGAINST PRIVATIZATION
Opponents to privatization of Social Security are numerous. One opposition group who is generally more famous for their skilled argumentation against privatization is the Social Security Network also known as the Century Foundation. The arguments of this group are extensive and each of the following points is exhaustively backed with supporting data. Only a brief summary of the groups 12 points will be listed:
1. Today’s insurance to protect workers and their families against death and disability would be threatened.
2. Creating private accounts would make Social Security’s financing problem worse, not better.
3. Creating private accounts could dampen economic growth, which would further weaken Social Security’s future finances.
4. Privatization has been a disappointment elsewhere.
5. The odds are against individuals investing successfully.
6. What you get will depend on whether you retire when the market is up or down.
7. Wall Street would reap windfalls from your taxes.
8. Private accounts would require a new government bureaucracy.
9. Young people would be worse off.
10. Woman stand to loose the most.
11. African Americans and Latin Americans also would become more vulnerable under privatization.
12. Retirees will not be protected against inflation (Anrig, 2004).
Opponents to privatization feel that there are less costly and easier methods to reform Social Security than through privatization. Such persons are not ignorant to the fact of Social Securities impending problems, only they do not feel privatization is the answer.
LET’S PRIVATIZE SOCIAL SECURITY
Privatization gives individuals the ability to set up retirement accounts in privatized or non government systems. This method potentially gives individuals the means to earn much higher rates of return than offered under Social Security. Workers would choose on their own which securities or other investments their accounts would be entrusted in. In addition, the amount of money placed into the retirement account could be passed down and inherited by the workers’ heirs. Sweden, the United Kingdom and Chile are examples of nations which have a privatized system and are cited by proponents of privatization to bolster their argument.
Privatization gives people the ability to invest their money in the way they feel is best. Proponents feel that individuals are the best decision makers about how much risk they should take when investing their monies. Proponents have also lamented over the fact that Social Security has always offered much lower rates of return than is available through other investments. It should be noted that most proponents of privatization do not favor 100% removal from the current Social Security system. The most popular proposal put forth is a combination of the two systems.
REASONS FOR PRIVATIZATION
Numerous calculations have been made regarding the benefits of privatization. One notable think tank has made an exhaustive investigation into the benefits of privatization and came up with the following scenario: “The Heritage Foundation calculates that a 40 year old male with an income of just under $60,000, will contribute $284,360 in payroll taxes to the Trust Fund over his working life, and can expect to receive $2,208 per month under the current program. They claim that the same 40 year old male, investing the same $284,360 equally weighted into treasuries and high-grade corporate bonds over his working life, would own a PRA at retirement worth $904,982 and paying an annuity of up to $7,373 per month” (The Heritage Foundation, 2006). It should also be noted that with the increased amount of funds available to retirees, their spending would increase, thus boosting economic conditions.
Proponents feel that Social Security does not offer retirees the amount of money they should have underneath privatization. “Too many Americans reach retirement age without a nest egg adequate to meet their need. Social Security, pensions, and retirement accounts should work
together to help Americans amass the assets necessary to provide income security in retirement, without burdening future generations” (The Heritage Foundation, 2006). Furthermore, proponents feel that if privatization does not occur, Social Security funding issues in the future will become much more extreme. For example, the choice will need to be made in the future to raise taxes, decrease benefits, or raise the retirement age in order to fund Social Security. All of these choices will be very hard for politicians to implement.
The privatization program has the benefit of not raising taxes to fund Social Security. This point is the proponent’s main emphasis for supporting privatization. In supporting the privatization of Social Security, President Bush has also used this point as a reason to support privatization. This benefit is exactly offset however, because the President has not promised a reduction in government spending to pay for the reform. Therefore, whatever the benefits there are from tax dollars being diverted to the private sector are thwarted from the increased government borrowing. Reforming Social Security in the manner put forth by privatization will take a lot of money. The money put into the reformation will not be less than the money saved through private accounts. A numerical analogy written by Robert Murphy can be found in Appendix B and illustrates this point well.
As we have seen, Social Security has strayed from its original purpose. Whether it should exist or not is not part this current argument. All persons who have paid into Social Security or are currently receiving benefits have been cheated by their government. For the last several decades people have in good faith been paying a substantial part of their incomes into Social Security with the original idea that it was solely for the benefit of the retirement. By adding other persons and programs to the fund, it took away from the surplus of those who paid in. As the surplus decreased to pay for those who had not contributed, taxes had to be raised on current contributors to make up the difference.
The government has so entirely squandered the fund, that the surplus is gone, and those who are justly receiving the monies they paid in, are being paid by current workers. This is the textbook definition of a Ponzi scheme. I believe that all people who paid into the system have a right to receive the monies they paid in. One possible exit from this system is through a sunset policy. All persons who are born after XX/XX/XXXX will not pay Social Security Taxes nor receive benefits, it will be a cutoff age to ensure a smooth transition. To cutoff benefits to those who justly paid into the system in good faith would result in chaos. Needless to say, this is a complex issue, and one that the Federal government should never have become involved in.
At the risk of boring the reader, let's go over a hypothetical example (with nice round numbers) to illustrate my point. Suppose that initially the government of a large country takes in $600 billion in regular tax revenues, and another $200 billion in Social Security contributions (from both employers and employees). At the same time, this government spends $100 billion in Social Security benefits, while it spends $750 billion on everything else (such as education, defense, welfare, etc.). Thus the Social Security system has an annual surplus of $100 billion ($200 billion minus $100 billion), while the Treasury has a deficit of $150 billion ($600 billion in regular tax revenues and $750 billion in non-Social Security expenditures).
In order to finance the deficit, every year the government takes the extra $100 billion raised by the Social Security system and spends it, and places a Treasury Department IOU in the "trust fund." Even so, the government is still short $50 billion every year, and so it borrows this money from the private sector in order to pay its bills. Now a reformer comes along and signs legislation that allows all of the money raised by the Social Security tax (i.e., the contributions of employers and employees) to be diverted away from present government spending, and into private accounts. Proponents rightly point out that this has raised the supply of savings by $200 billion, and will thus tend to reduce interest rates and foster private investment.
However, if the government continues to pay the same level of benefits to current retirees, and if it refuses to cut spending on other government programs, then it must now borrow not $50 billion but rather $250 billion from the private sector, in order to finance its activities. (This is because total current expenditures are still $850 billion, while the government now only has the general tax revenue of $600 billion.) There is simply no way around this; if the government spent all of the Social Security revenues under the status quo, then it must borrow that much extra whenever any portion of these revenues are diverted away from current spending. Thus the $200 billion in extra savings channeled into the private sector is exactly offset by an increased (official) deficit of $200 billion.
Interest rates on net will not fall, because the rightward shift of the supply curve of loanable funds is matched perfectly by a rightward shift in the demand curve for loanable funds. Really the government has done nothing but placed the $200 billion into the loan market with its left hand, in order to borrow it right back with its right hand. The only difference between the status quo and the "reformed" situation is that Treasury IOUs now pile up in the hands of private creditors rather than in the Social Security "trust fund."
Murphy, Robert. “Bush’s Impossible Social Security Plan”. Ludwig Von
Mises Institute. May 12, 2005. Accessed on December 5, 2006.
REFERENCES AND WORKS CITED
- Anrig Jr., Greg. (2004) “Twelve Reasons Why Privatizing Social Security is a Bad Idea”. The Social Security Network. A Century Foundation Project. http://www.socsec.org/publications.asp?pubid=503
- Benthell, Thomas N. (2005) “Social Security: What’s the Big Idea?”. AARP Bulletin. Accessed on December 1, 2006.
- DeWitt, Larry. (2000) Pre-Social Security Period. Historical Background and Development of Social Security. SSA Historian’s Office. Updated March 2003. http://www.ssa.gov/history/briefhistory3.html.
- Government Office of Accountability. (2006) “The Nation’s Long-Term Fiscal Challenge”.
- The Heritage Foundation. (2006) “Social Security, Personal Retirement Calculator”.
- Murphy, Robert. “Bush’s Impossible Social Security Plan”. Ludwig Von Mises Institute. May 12, 2005.
- OASDI Trust Funds. (2005) http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/STATS/table4a3.html
- Social Security Act. (2006) Aug. 14, 1935, ch. 531, 49 Stat. 620 (42 U.S.C. 301 et seq.) Short title, see 42 U.S.C. 1305. http://www.law.cornell.edu/search/index.html.
- Social Security Administration (SSA). (2006) “Status of the Social Security and Medicare Programs”. A Summary of the 2006 Annual Reports. http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TRSUM/trsummary.html
- Steinreich, Dale. “Social Security Reform: True and False” Free Market. October 1996. Volume 14, Number 10. http://www.mises.org/freemarket_detail.asp?control=160&sortorder=articledate
Technology has created the means whereby a woman can have the needed ingredients of a man to whom she has no relationship placed in her to create a child. Although a male is required for the child to be created. This is an unnatural relationship only to the extent that absent current technology, such a procedure would not be possible.A same gender relationship cannot produce a child. Therefore this relationship is unequal to a male + female relationship.
- Male + Female = Child
- Male + Male ≠ Child
- Female + Female ≠ Child
The relationships are thus unequal in terms of being able to produce a human being. The one being the natural state of the human relationship, the other being unnatural. This inequality has been established by nature, evolution, or in my belief, by God.This inequality by nature is the reason the government has fostered, through favorable laws, the male + female relationship, aka marriage.
Technology originally designed to help a male and female incapable of having children, has been used by single females, and same gender relationships as a back door to becoming "equal" with the male + female relationship. Two women who want to have a child can now have a child. Note however that a man was and always will be part of the process.Technology has allowed the human race to participate for the first time in history, in unnatural relationships that can closely, but not fully mimic the male + female relationship. The governments favorable treatment of the male + female relationships is now viewed by those attempting to mimic it, as discrimination against unnatural relationships.
As we have already discussed the traditional male + female relationship, it should be noted that the government prohibits certain male + female relationships from being legally recognized and worthy of favorable treatment. Such relationships involve a male + female relationship where the parties are blood relatives.Current California law prohibits, (or in the view of those attempting to mimic that natural male + female relationship, discrimination against) the following marriages (the following quotes are straight from California law):
2200. Marriages between parents and children, ancestors and descendants of every degree, and between brothers and sisters of the half as well as the whole blood, and between uncles and nieces or aunts and nephews, are incestuous, and void from the beginning, whether the relationship is legitimate or illegitimate.Section 300 and 301 of the California code deal with persons under the age of 18 and the recognition of marriage. The current law regarding marriage also includes:
308.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.Theoretically a male + female relationship where the two parties are a male and female of the same mother, could join in the natural state as described previously to create a child. The government will not recognize such a relationship with the bestowal of favorable treatment.
In terms of the natural state, this male + female relationship is more natural than the same sex relationship as a child can be produced. Yet the state prohibits such action. For what reasons would the marriages of such parties listed in 2200 be prohibited from being recognized by the state? If a same gender couple is in favor of receiving favorable treatment from the government for the unnatural state of their relationship, they cannot logically be opposed to favorable treatment and recognition of a blood brother and sister relationship (or any mentioned in 2200) which is more natural than their own union.It is important to realize the governments refusal to acknowledge same gender marriage is not discrimination. Women can give birth, men cannot, they are inherently different. Two men cannot produce a child. Two women cannot produce a child. To bestow the same favorable treatment to people who cannot produce what the other can is to disadvantage those who produce and treat the producers unfairly.
Four theories of thought or courses of action could be followed:
- Rescind all laws that treat any person or relationship as being unequal. The implementation of such a denial would invalidate most social programs or income redistribution programs, progressive income taxation, tax laws catering to specific groups or income levels, ect. (aka dramatically reduce the size of government).
- Affirm the favorable treatment and bestowal of continued rights upon the natural male + female relationship. (aka amend the Constitution as proposed).
- Grant favorable treatment and bestowal of rights to same sex relationships reserved for the natural male + female relationship. Since the favorable treatment was designed to foster the raising of children in the natural state, additional rights for acts which cannot be accomplished in the unnatural state are being bestowed. (This would be akin to me receiving additional battlefield pay reserved for soldiers in combat, even though I am neither in the military nor in a combat environment.)
- Something I haven't even thought of or considered...
Therefore, the courts ruling of May 15, 2008 which overturned the will of the people of California as expressed in Prop. 22, on the basis of discrimination is invalid. The people have a right to petition their government and overturn the court's ruling by the constitutional amendment process. The current amendment as proposed for the November 2008 ballot reads:Section 2. Article I, Section 7.5 is added to the California Constitution, to read:
Sec. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.If the people of California become opposed to the amendment to the constitution affirming the common definition of traditional and natural marriage, they can amend the constitution to recognize otherwise. Using the courts (for judge shopping) to declare discrimination when none exists, and thus pass laws that give favorable treatment to same gender relationships violates the principles of a constitutional republic form of government.
NOTE: I did not discuss the following principles in this discussion that do have a major impact on my reasoning and point of view.
- The government should only be involved in marriage to resolve breech of contract issues (i.e. divorce and its implications with property and children). Marriage is a religious ceremony. Would you condone government approved baptism?
- Marriage is universally defined by all peoples and cultures as a union of men and women. This is the definition of the word. The state begins to walk in shady territory when it begins tampering with the definitions of language. In my view there is no contest as to what marriage is. If the people want to change the definition of marriage they would have to amend the constitution to read that marriage is defined as the union of two consenting adults regardless of gender. I doubt the people would pass an amendment condoning same gender marriage. Which is exactly why those in favor go judge shopping.
- I have not discussed my religious views in this article.
- Getting back to my everlasting hatred dislike of income taxation, the type of social engineering that takes place through income taxation is one of the points (by those in favor of same gender marriage) as evidence of discrimination. A married man and woman receive favorable tax treatment, a same gender union does not. Same gender couples have an argument. Yet another way income tax is the root of many evils in our society.
 - The government treats the male + female relationship of traditional marriage preferentially by allowing the following:
- Joint parental rights of children
- Joint adoption
- Status as "next-of-kin" for hospital visits and medical decisions
- Right to make a decision about the disposal of loved ones remains
- Immigration and residency for partners from other countries
- Crime victims recovery benefits
- Domestic violence protection orders
- Judicial protections and immunity
- Automatic inheritance in the absence of a will
- Public safety officers death benefits
- Spousal veterans benefits
- Social security
- Joint filing of tax returns
- Wrongful death benefits for surviving partner and children
- Bereavement or sick leave to care for partner or children
- Child support
- Joint insurance plans
- Tax credits including: child tax credit, Hope and lifetime learning credits
- Deferred compensation for pension and IRA's
- Estate and gift tax benefits
- Welfare and public assistance
- Joint housing for elderly
- Credit protection
- Medical care for survivors and dependents of certain veterans
According to Lamda Legal Defense fund, these are just of few the hundreds of benefits afforded to married couples. Many of the items listed above are also granted under current domestic partnership laws.
A paradox is defined by Webster as: 1. A tenant contrary to received opinion. 2. A statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true.Kennedy believed that if the government wanted to increase revenue (from tax collection) it should reduce the tax rate. This seems like a contradictory statement yet each time the government has reduced tax rates in our nation's history, its revenues have shortly increased. President Kennedy proposed a significant tax cut which was subsequently passed by the Democrat led congress. Kennedy believed that cutting the tax rate would lead to increased private investment (resulting in job creation),and increased consumer spending, which would lead to increased revenues. History proves Kennedy's policy of tax rate cuts to be true.
Ronald Reagan signed into law tax cuts which led to a twofold increase in government annual revenue from approximately 500 billion at the beginning of his term to 1 trillion at the end. Unfortunately he did a tremendous disservice to this concept by increasing government spending and increasing the national debt threefold during the same time. The national debt increased from $908 in 1980 billion to $3.2 trillion in 1990. . These actions gave people the impression that tax cuts resulted in the large increase in the national debt. The real culprit was increased spending. The tax cuts made by President Bush have also increased government revenues, but again, spending has not been reigned in.If I began to spend more than I make each month, I would soon become insolvent. If I receive a large raise, but increase my spending beyond the level of the raise I would also soon become insolvent. You CANNOT spend more than you make in the long run, it is a principle of nature.
Kennedy was right. Tax cuts do increase government revenues in the long run. When people have less of their own money stolen taxed, they have more to spend, more to invest, more to save, more to do with it what they will. When people have more of their money stolen taxed, then have less incentive to work harder or invest. This has been proven time and time again by both political parties actions. . - http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/histdebt/histdebt_histo4.htm
 - When I say stolen it refers to income taxation. I do not consider duties, tariff's, or consumption taxes as theft.
The Seventeenth Amendment of the Constitution was ratified on April 8, 1913. The first part of the amendment, which is the subject of this discussion reads:
“The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof for six years…”
Unbeknownst to most people, this amendment has had a dramatic effect on our nation’s government. The 17th Amendment amends Article 1.3.1 of the Constitution which reads:
“The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the legislature thereof, for six years…”
The only difference the 17th Amendment has, while it may seem small, is to have Senators elected by the people instead of chosen by the state legislature. Why did the Founders want Senators chosen by the legislature? Why did the people in 1913 want to elect senators themselves? What effect has this amendment had?
THE FOUNDER’S WISDOM AND REASON
Our Nation is a democratic republic. We choose our representatives; we grant them the authority to administer the laws and affairs of the Nation or our behalf. The checks and balances devised by the Founders to restrain the passions of men were brilliant. The Legislative branch, the Executive branch, and the Judicial branch all have checks and balances against one another to make sure no one branch gains too much power.
The Senate is in the Legislative branch along with the House of Representatives. Currently there are 435 Representatives, and 100 Senators which form the Legislative body of our nation. The House of Representatives were to be elected by the people, by popular vote every two years (Article 1.2.1). “This provision is what gives the American people the RIGHT to vote for their own representatives, thereby making the United States a democratic republic.”i Thus, we the people have representation in our government through the Representative in our district.
Each person in the United States lives in a sovereign state. As sovereign states, each has an interest in its own well being, rights, respect, and fair dealings with its neighbors. (Just like you personally, or the United States as a whole, in relation to other nations of the world.) Our country is a union of sovereign states banded together for common defense, trade, commerce and diplomacy. Thus as each state is part of a union, the Founders wanted each State to have a representation in the federal governments process just like the people have representation.
As previously mentioned in Article 1.3.1, “this provision was to give each state legislature the RIGHT to choose its special representatives in the United States Senate.”ii Pay close attention to the following quote by Cleon Skousen regarding the importance of State representation in the federal government:
“Since Representatives in the House are elected by the general population of a state, they represent the individual citizens of the state. People have different anxieties and desires as individuals than they do collectively as a state. In fact, most individual citizens are not even aware of what the state must do to protect its people and their rights. The sovereign state therefore stands on different ground than the individual sovereign citizen. This is why it was important to have the state legislature appoint two of its most experienced and popular elder statesmen to go to Washington as the guardians of the interests of the whole state. Their original purpose was to sublimate the constantly shifting demands of the individual citizens who are represented in the House. The idea was to provide balance.”iii
The Founders had devised a system that provided competition in government! Competition in economics leads to increased efficiency, innovation, better services, and a non centralized form of government. History supports the argument that government is constantly seeking greater power. The federal government’s natural inclination would be to assert its power over the states, while each individual state would be naturally inclined to assert its own power against the federal government. The Founders and early Americans saw themselves as both citizens of their home state and the United States equally, and had a divided allegiance.
Frank Chodorov illustrates this point further with the following excerpt:
“To the early American his state government was at least on a par with the federal government in his esteem. Illustrative is the following incident: President Washington was about to arrive at Boston on a visit, and Governor Hancock was perturbed over a matter of protocol; would he be compromising the dignity of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts if he went to meet the “father of his country” on arrival, or would it be more proper that the President call at the state Capitol? The Governor finally settled the problem by pleading illness…. The sequel to that incident is worth noting. President Washington was asked to review the Massachusetts militia; he refused on the ground that the militia was the military arm of the state, not the federal government; after all, the tacit understanding in those days was that the militia might be called upon to face the federal army.”iv
James Madison in number 45 of The Federalist writes: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite.” Madison continues that it was the duty of the federal was on external forces such as war, peace, negotiation and foreign affairs. The states were to be responsible for internal affairs, daily commerce, and things that happen in the daily lives of their citizens. The idea was, the more local the government, the better it could serve your needs and the more accountable it would be. If this concept seems foreign to you, it is because it has been almost completely lost from our thought process. Yet it was such a critical feature to the smooth and efficient operation of our government, not to mention a barrier to the erosion of personal freedom and prosperity. Why did the people choose to amend this article of the Constitution that provided state legislatures the right to choose Senators?
WHAT HAPPENED IN 1913?
The income tax began (16th Amendment), the 17th Amendment was passed, and the Federal Reserve was created. These three acts alone had the effect of a revolution in terms of the power given to the federal government. It was peaceful, but it was a revolution because of the implications each of these acts had on the future of our government.
The movement to give people the right to choose senators for their state began to gain its momentum at the time of the Civil War.v C. H. Hoebeke, in his book “The Road to Mass Democracy: Original Intent and the Seventeenth Amendment” provides insight into reasons for the momentum:
“…It was thought that the nation’s highest legislative body was no longer serving the country in the capacity for which it was intended. Steadily since the Civil War, it seemed whatever esteem a senator might claim lay more in “money-making talent” than in any civic or intellectual virtues…Senatorial elections had ceased to be determined by the deliberated concurrence of the state legislators, hinging instead on the dictates of the party bosses who ruled the legislative “machines.” The senators, themselves, no longer valued as the sagacious and disinterested legislators of the national welfare, more closely approximated, in the opinion of Henry Jones Ford, a “Diet of party lords, wielding their powers without scruple or restraint in behalf of those particular interests” responsible for placing them in office.”vi
In short, corruption in the selection process created the anger in the general populace which fueled the fire. A number of Senators at the time were charged with corruption, bribery, and were perceived as being in bed with large companies. This hasn’t changed much today. Skousen maintains however that “historians admit that a majority of those in the Senatorial Old Guard were honorable and upright men of high personal integrity, but from the standpoint of agrarian radicals and progressives, they were to generally associated with large business enterprise, too conservative, and too far removed from popular Democratic influences.”vii
In 1909, William Lorimer, a Republican, was selected by the Illinois state legislature to be a United States Senator. It was soon discovered by the Chicago Tribune, that Lorimer had paid $1,000 to an Illinois Assemblyman for his vote for U.S. Senator.viii This event, coupled with several similar circumstances over the years gave the final push needed for the 17th Amendment’s ratification. Lorimer’s election to the Senate was declared invalid by the United States Senate on July 13, 1912.
The politicians of that day, and those who serve currently do such incredible harm and disservice to freedom and liberty when they become corrupt. Truly we can “see the great wickedness [wicked men] can cause to take place.”ix Corrupt politicians looking after their own interests instead of the well being of the people or states they were elected to represent have caused unfathomable harm.
While corruption in the selection process of U.S. Senators has a much longer list of grievances than will be mentioned here, it is sufficient to say the passage of the 17th Amendment was a result of corruption. The Senators or the companies who bribed them, had an allegiance to something else (most likely dollars) other than states they represented (in the case of the senator, not the companies).
WHAT EFFECT HAS THIS HAD?
Instead of 435 members of the House, we now have an additional 100. The House remember, is elected by the people directly by popular vote. Now that Senators are elected by the exact same process, they are nothing more than an additional 100 representatives. Each sovereign state however, has lost all representation in the federal government.
The federal no longer has to compete with each individual state in terms of power. Instead of being focused on the external events associated with a nation as we have discussed, the federal has decided it needs to do what the states were originally supposed to do. This is an infringement on the states sovereignty. But who is going to stick up for the states? Their representation was swept away with the 17th. In addition people’s allegiance which had heretofore been divided between the state and the federal was now removed.
Chodorov points out the critical importance of divided allegiance:
“The citizen of divided allegiance cannot be reduced to subservience; if he is in the habit of serving two political gods he cannot be dominated by either one. History supports this argument. No political authority ever achieved absolutism until the people were deprived of a choice of loyalties. It was because the early Christian put God above Caesar that they were persecuted, even though they paid homage and taxes to the established political establishment.”x
With no other government to compete against, the federal government only had the will of the people to contend with in order to expand its power. Chodorov and Hoebeke assert in their writings that the party system was a major factor in the corruption of government. On thinking about this point, one remembers the warning given by our first President George Washington regarding political parties.
Whether it is a master plan of the federal government or the weakness of the people to understand its implications, our two party system is where most people hold their allegiance. There will be no evidence offered in this discussion about the differences between the Democrat party and the Republican party. If you examine what they actually do as opposed to what they say, any rational person must conclude there is little if any difference.
Thus many in today’s society believe they still have a divided allegiance; the party and the nation. The divided allegiance between state and nation is considered an interesting footnote of history. The so called religious right believes their “Christian” principles will be upheld by the GOP, and thus their perceived first allegiance to God remains intact through a political party. The GOP will then uphold their values in their second allegiance the nation, thus maintaining a divided allegiance. The progressive left believe their values will be upheld in their party which will then enact such values on a national basis similar to the Right’s method.
It does not take a deal of pondering to come to the conclusion that nearly all people in the United States have a greater allegiance to their political party than anything else, even the nation! Each person who considers themselves by proclamation or vote, as a Democrat or a Republican, believes their party will save the country.
There are only two powers involved here, but a perceived third has been created. The actual two involved are the people and the federal government. (The 17th removed the third power the state). Now that the political parties are involved, the people are fighting amongst themselves instead of against the federal. Since there is no real difference between the two parties, (yet people have the greater portion of their allegiance to them), the federal is nearly free to continue on providing ever poor service with no accountability.
When President Clinton was in power, he tried to offer Social Security reform similar to the one offered by President George W. Bush. The Republicans killed Clinton’s reform. The Democrats killed Bush’s reform. The result, the same broken Social Security system continues on unfixed, while the two parties blame each other for the failure, and the people blame the other party for the nation’s woes. The real problem, disregard for the Constitution goes unnoticed.
The allegiance of people to the Constitution MUST be greater than allegiance to a political party if we are to maintain our liberty, prosperity, and quality of life. When a Representative, Senator, Judge and President take an Oath to their respective offices, they take an Oath of Allegiance to support defend and uphold the Constitution. Men and women in the military take a similar Oath to support and defend the Constitution. No ONE takes an oath to support a political party above the Constitution. Unfortunately there is a great difference, for nearly all, between what people say and what they actually do.
Please take time to study and understand the Constitution of the Untied States. The original intent of the document was to secure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people. Each article in the Constitution has a purpose. Each article was debated and argued over by people of wisdom and sound understanding. The prosperity of the United States is a testament to that wisdom.
If a generation of people do not understand the Constitution and the reason for certain articles that were included, we run the risk of inadvertently enacting changes that will limit our prosperity. Such is the example of the 17th Amendment. While corruption does exist in our government, ours is a government of the people. The problem is not with the people, but with the system. The current system has departed from wisdom of the Constitution. We still have the document, and it still secures a lot of freedom not enjoyed in many parts of the world.
Too many people however, are unaware of the changes made to the Constitution that have altered is original purpose. Too many people are unaware of the dire unintended consequences that have resulted from a lack of allegiance to its principles. The freedom and prosperity the Constitution has secured has almost no precedent in human history! Pledge true allegiance to the Constitution and not to a party. Support candidates that truly uphold the Constitution. Talk to people about the meaning and intent of that wonderful document so that our lives, liberty, and pursuit of happiness can continue.
Let this quote from George Washington find true meaning in your heart:
“The Constitution is the guide which I will never abandon.”
iSkousen, W. Cleon. “The Making of America”. The National Center for Constitutional Studies, 1985. p.264
ivChodorov, Frank. “Income Tax: The Rood of All Evil”. The Devin-Adair Company, New York, 1954. p.59
vAlso known as the war to prevent Souther Independence.
viHoebeke, C.H. “The Road to Mass Democracy: Orginal Intent and the Seventeenth Amendment”. Transaction Publishers, 1995. p.17-18