Words from a grave
by Albert 1

# 1. 6/26/10 9:07 AM by Jay - OR
As much as I resist the steady, almost inexorable, growth of the federal government (state and local as well, in some instances), I can acknowledge the many factors that play into programs for the aged--especially after the fact. I'm convinced that the ideal is something else, but have long despaired of any ideal where government is involved. It does trouble me that many government employees retire and thereafter receive pension benefits that nearly equal the monthly income of a large number of employed people in the private sector, and still draw their full Social Security benefits. It would seem that "security" is not an issue in such cases. This is particularly galling when I know that they often soon are drawing from both retirement and social security far more than they have contributed.

It can become very complicated. I don't know that I can go as far as Robert Ringer, and advocate that Social Security programs be abolished. But, even he recognizes that many of us have come to depend on them, and for that reason he suggests that there be a gradual reduction as younger people continue to enter the program.

I can see that there needs to be a paradigm shift of attitude, so that we recognize that such programs are far from self-sustaining and are, in fact, welfare for the aged and infirm.

Incidentally, If anyone should know (for reasons I will not offer), I should, that Mormons do not as a churdh have a practice of shunning. Individuals may--and I certainly have no knowledge of the counsel that may have mistakenly been given in some of every situation--but I have good reason to believe that the practice by individuals is discouraged. Your introduction of the idea into this subject does not square-up with my experience. (Also incidentally, all people have the agency to reject Social Security, and Mormons do as well. It is NOT preached against in the Church; and I would guess that most Mormons draw it when eligible.)

Editor's Note: Thank you for a very even tempered response. First I would agree to a "means test" where those not needing Social Security would not receive it. That would in no way relieve them from the obligation as a citizen to pay SS taxes fro derived income while earning wages.

Shunning is an individual thing I have read accounts of and I agree it is not official policy and also realize you may not have any personal knowledge of it.

Usually it is more prevelant in extreme cults however thare are enough cases of it to be recognized and it often may occur in s mild or subtle form harder to classify as classic shunning.

I think it would take a very dedicated idealist not to accept SS benefits that they have paid into over their lifetime..

BTW I do not disagree the program is partially a social welfare effort perhaps by design but definitely in practice.

# 2. 6/26/10 9:47 AM by Zjabs
Of course had he not been required at the point of a gun to contribute to the programs, his savings would not have been "meager" and thus he could have covered the costs himself....

Typical government- creates a problem (makes your father poor by taking his money) and then "solves" it by giving his money back, all the while taking a cut, and it then wants a pat on the back.

Editor's Note: A not unexpected opinion from you. You seem to ignore the fact that when a new program is instituted retroactive taxes are not involvwed so I Am very sure that both he and my Mother received much more in benefits that they paid in taxes.

Having said that I know the pr-ogram will continue to be solvent by it's design.

# 3. 6/26/10 10:38 AM by little john
thumbsup.gif The key word to me in this article is , "perspective."

I used to think conservatively and not "feel" the need of unfortunate Americans, who through no fault of their own were trampled by fate and destiny.

Social programs are just that. SOCIAL. If conscience and decency are attributes of social justice,of a CARING society, then I guess I believe there is a need for some social network.

As I have said before, the U.S. Military is not a capitalistic organization, but very socialistic, and designed to take care of the less fortunate of their rank and file.(and their families).

Socialized medicine, and socialized law, of a socialized hierarchy, with their own belief system of the UCMJ.

Volunteers who had a choice.(but I won't go there)

Editor's Note: You have a clear vision of the principle of the social contract. Thank you.

# 4. 6/26/10 12:10 PM by mk
I have some pressing commitments today, or I'd spend more time on this: I have been privileged to attend some training on this. So I will sum up: We are taught: To spiritually, emotionally,physically and financially

1. Pay a full tithing, 2.Manage our resources wisely, live a simple life. 3. Become self-sufficient and then 4.Use our excess resources to help others become self sufficient.

Essentially: once I get my crap together and my house in order financially- then I am free to use my excess (which I will have more of) to help others when I'm not burdened with debt. We also fast once a month for two meals, and donate the cost of those two meals or more if we want, "fast offerings" which are sacred funds to be used to help those who need help in our own area. The law of the fast- is an astoundingly simple law that does a lot with so little. It makes the widow's mite- mighty.

It's personal-no one knows anything about my finances,- these are personal challenges. The only thing anyone knows is the Bishop who asks once a year if I paid a full tithing. He does not ask about fast offerings or other donations.

The reason it works, is once a family is completely out of debt, they have the opportunity to save more- and be more prepared for difficulties, also- that frees up more resources to help others. Which in turn, if the economy changes, or you loose your income, each family is prepared to deal with those losses, without becoming a burden. We have been taught these principles, it's part of our culture. Last year when the housing market fell, some respected friends of mine with growing families were complete without income for over a year. They weathered the storm, because they had followed these principles. They are just regular people. But, they never became a burden because they had been taught by their parents, and leaders to prepare and they did.

Many LDS people have started charities,- foundations and done amazing things on small amounts of money, because they were able to get their house in order and use their resources to bless others.

Socialism, Social security and Welfare is the opposite of the church the church teaches each person to creat a solid foundation, and work with the excess.

The government is a teetering tower, top heavy,missing the concept of building a firm foundation. which is why- it's not long lasting and creates problems in the future, where as the

In the Lord's own Way, the solution never becomes the problem.

And I think our country would be better served in the future and the past, if we followed a model of everyone taking care and preparing for the future, and using our excess to help others, but it cannot be government mandated. Its a way of living, not a rule of law. It won't work, if we are forced to participate.

I don't have any qualms against social security or anyone who uses it, this is not a perfect world, but we have a Perfect Father, and His Son, and their plans are going to be much better than anything a man can devise. We are limited by our humanity- in some ways, and must over come ourselves and our limited vision.

Editor's Note: You exemplify the principle of personal responsibility as does your church that encourages it.

Unfortunately in my opinion every person is not born into circumstances that encourages or teaches this.

Your church is a good example of a sophisticated social contract under the umbrella of religion for which I respect it. It actually mimics secular government in that regard.

The end effect can be seen by some including me as competetive.

# 5. 6/26/10 1:51 PM by Nick - Irondequoit, NY
Your father worked hard and used the rules and programs in place to provide for your mom after he was gone. To me that is neither a political or religious issue, just a guy that loved his wife.

Editor's Note: I would say the point pf my column was then that programs were in place to help him achieve his goal of financial security in the face of medical costs and a need for his wife to also be financially secure.

# 6. 6/27/10 7:33 AM by Zjabs
"You exemplify the principle of personal responsibility as does your church that encourages it.

Unfortunately in my opinion every person is not born into circumstances that encourages or teaches this."

And Albert, what's going to change? We have more and more programs to KEEP people from having to take on personal responsibility. The only answer is to give up a generation- one generation that flounders and has tremendous hardship without government programs and without a culture of responsibility. Call it the Lost Generation. But the future generations will learn from that and we'll be a strong country again. Alas, we're on completely the wrong track. In 200 years, the people will wonder how we ever allowed the country to lose its way when we're a second-rate power, bogged down with regulations and filled with lazy people. Should anyone read this in 200 years, I saw it coming- no one would listen.

Editor's Note: Your political socio-political philosophy is well stated when you present somethineg as "the only answer".

I would never be so presumptious as not to think if my "answer" didn't work there might be alternatives that were even better.

In my opinion there are many "answers" some of which I never experience.

The answers I see that are working are some of the same ones you rail against.

I feel that is more important to better define the questions and know their involved factors before seeking answers.

I Am quite positive I would not want to live in a society based on the economic philosophy of dog-eat-dog and might makes right.

That includes economic power. Exploitation of the economic (poor) by the strong (rich) was once the hallmark of the industrial age.

I now am aware of a society where all benefit from each other much more when one class only seemed to exist to be exploited by another.

# 7. 6/28/10 4:55 PM by BF
Several years ago, one of my adult students (a Mormom) who had the temerity to openly disagree with her husband, was shunned by the members of her church and the church administrators (I do not know the proper terms so I do not wish to misname them pastor, etc).

The official rule may be that shunning is not official and not encouraged, but this student sure felt shunned by her church.

Editor's Note: Thanks BF. Although I have not had such an account related to me personallly I have no doubt concerning the experiences I have read about that were related by the victims of shunning.

I do want to clarify that I dont only mention this as it relates to mainstream Mormons as it seems prevelant in many social and religious philosophies both officially and as unofficially as an unwritten but still prevelant phenomonon.

# 8. 6/29/10 2:51 PM by mk
How is our church similar to the government program?

Editor's Note: It is a social group formed by consensus. People are members of such a group when they share a common belief in it's purpose.

A church when seen as a physical entity reoresents a social consensus as does a democracy.

Of course you could just as easily show me the differences I just chose to show you how I see both as similar since they both serve to regulate behavior between and among their memberships albeit under distinctly different philosophies.

Democracy only requires the consent of the majority of the governed whereas religion adds a top down approach of a higher Being or spiritual principle that someone claims authority to represent.

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