Saturday, February 28, 2009
The Prophets...the New Deal...and our New Deal
Yes this is long...but you should read it.
Marches Ensign has 4 articles on various principles of self reliance. This is not a new topic for the LDS people to hear about. The prophets have long spoken on the need to be self reliant...to eschew socialism...and to truly "Stand independent above all other creatures". This means to take responsibility for our own welfare...and the welfare of our families and to not rely upon others for our support...including our governments.
As the financial peril escalates in the US...those in office that promote the welfare state and those that suck at the udder of the welfare state...seem to be trying to get every last bit of milk from the shriveling teet of the taxpayers before it dries out. Many who have not even considered such handouts in the past are now considering it their only hope of keeping their heads above water as things get financially harder for their families.
Ezra Taft Benson spoke prophetically when he said...
“When government presumes to demand more and more of the fruits of men’s labor through taxation, and reduces more and more its actual income by printing money and furthering debt, the wage earner is left with less and less to buy food, to provide housing, medical care, education, and private welfare. Individuals are then left without a choice, and must look to the state as benevolent supporter. When that happens, liberty is gone!” (Ezra Taft Benson "An Enemy Hath Done This")
I'd encourage you to read that again several times so you understand what he said and see the application to our present situation.
Many who are hoping for a government dole fail to realize that in reality they are seeking their opportunity to take a piece of someone elses pie...made available through the oppressive burdensome forced taxation of their fellow citizens. They are partcipating in the legalized plunder of their brothers and sisters. For government does not produce wealth...and when the government puts any red cent into someones pocket for a grant...a welfare benefit...a bailout...whatever you want to call it...it had be taken from someone else who earned it through their labors. Though such handouts may be "legal" and alluring...especially when we too may be standing on the edge of financial ruin...we must remember that as Marion G. Romney stated in Marches Ensign...
"We cannot afford to become wards of the government, even if we have a legal right to do so. It requires too great a sacrifice of self-respect and political, temporal, and spiritual independence."
and that Ezra Taft Benson told us that those who accept unearned benefits...should be reminded of the Lords moral code that "Thou Shalt not Steal".
It is a truth that we seldom seem to learn from history. Sure we may remember dates that things happened and such...but we can fall prey to the fallacy of thinking that we are somehow an exception to the rule...that "That was then and this is now. It is totally different now....they were primitive...and we are advanced!" Perhaps we too have fallen into the trap of thinking...like the people of Ammonihah that we are so great that we cannot be destroyed!? And yet we know that Ammonihah was destroyed and in "one day it was left desolate". We may also selectively read the Book of Mormon and embrace the parts that talk about how this is a choice land and the many blessings attending it...and fail to finish the words of the Lord where he tells us that we must serve Him or be "swept off". Yes...our God "raiseth up a righteous nation" but he also "destroyeth the nations of the wicked" (1Nephi 17:37)
Lest we think that we are somehow above calamites happening "here" Ezra Taft Benson reminded us in General Conference in 1980...
"Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake ... cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them.
Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen, that they will somehow be set aside because of the righteousness of the Saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion."
If we do not learn from our scriptures and the worlds history...then we may very well repeat the same mistakes. We would do well to learn from other countries whose monetary systems collapsed and to not walk their same path. We would do well to learn from economists that practice sound gospel centered principles. We would do well to read the words of the prophets!
Ezra Taft Benson outlined some of the events that led to the fall of rome. We seem to be following that same path without deviance...
“It is written that there were vast increases in the number of the idle rich, and the idle poor. The latter (the idle poor) were put on a permanent dole, a welfare system not unlike our own. As this system became permanent, the recipients of public largesse (welfare) increased in number. They organized into a political block with sizable power. They were not hesitant about making their demands known. Nor was the government hesitant about agreeing to their demands … and with ever-increasing frequency. Would-be emperors catered to them. The great, solid middle class—Rome’s strength then as ours is today—was taxed more and more to support a bureaucracy that kept growing larger, and even more powerful. Surtaxes were imposed upon incomes to meet emergencies. The government engaged in deficit spending. The denarius, a silver coin similar to our half dollar, began to lose its silvery hue. It took on a copper color as the government reduced the silver content."
The federal reserve note fiat "dollar" continues to lose even more of it's "silvery hue" every day as our government spends every last cent we don't have...and as a result many of the worlds largest countries have dumped it as their reserve currency. The economists I believe fully expect the collapse of the dollar in the not too disant future. We may want to keep our wheelbarrows in good repair to hold all of the cash we may need to buy a loaf of bread...if one is still available.
As we listen to the news of our day there are many comparisons being tossed around regarding the similarities of our current situation and that of the Great Depression. There are comparisons being made between Obama's actions and that of FDR's "New Deal". Many of these news agencies make it sound like we may see this "New New Deal" in the future...and yet it is apparent that much of it has already begun. The first New Deal created more regulatory bodies and put people to work on the taxpayers dime. That is what is happening now! The taxpayer is paying for government work projects! Infrastructure construction projects getting back online...companies that can't compete being funded by you...regulations being set up to try to monitor this mass redistribution of wealth...planned raises in taxes. Many of these plans are being painted as being a short term fix for a long term benefit. These Keynesian economic principles that are being employed to get us out of our economic woes...in my opinion will not work. Our country is being bankrupted and communism is growing as the state gains control of more and more of our wealth as they pick up our businesses...mortgages...etc for cheap...all under the guise of "saving them". Karl Marx would be sooo pleased...his 10 planks getting even stronger in America!
Many of the first New Deals programs and policies were set up in the same fashion and have turned out to be anything but short term. Many of those socialistic...over-regulating organizations still are running full force today. Heck...we recently bailed out Fannie Mae which is one of them! Much of the legacy of the first New Deal has been hanging onto the body of America from a short swim through muddy water...like a leech hanging on by it's teeth....drinking at the blood of our prosperity all these years.
Now...in what may be more troubled days in our future...there may be even more pressure to sup at the table of the welfare state (perhaps you think the socialized medicine plan sounds great!) There may be some eloquent and stirring speeches that tear at your heartstrings making you feel all softhearted about supporting socialism. There may be events that take place that scare you into thinking that "This is the only way to save America". I encourage you to turn off Amalikiah's propaganda being shouted from every tower in this nation (Alma 48:1)...and look to God and the prophets for the truth regarding the basics of welfare...and how we should feel about the direction our country is headed in.
This Marches Ensign includes a powerful article by Marion G. Romney. This is what the prophets would have you hear...right now regarding these policies...read carefully...
"The practice of coveting and receiving unearned benefits has now become so fixed in our society that even men of great wealth, and possessing the means to produce more wealth, are expecting the government to guarantee them a profit. Elections often turn on what the candidates promise to do for voters from government funds. This practice, if universally accepted and implemented in any society, will make slaves of its citizens."
In closing I'd like for you to read a letter that The First Presidency wrote that was written in opposition to the "New Deal". I will bold some of the points that I think are especially noteworthy.
Letter from the First Presidency (Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., and David O.McKay) to the U.S. Treasury, dated September 30, 1941.
"Thus, according to the gospel plan under which the Church is established and operates, the care of the widow, the orphan, and the poor, is a Church function, is a part of the brotherhood of man which underlies our whole social and religious life. As God’s children all, and as brothers and sisters in Christ, we must as a matter of spiritual responsibility and pursuant to positive divine command care for the helpless, the unfortunate, and the needy. Furthermore, it is essentially a neighbor to neighbor obligation. It is not a function of civil government.
This is fundamental….The primary aim of this program is to provide for the material wants of faithful members of the Church who find themselves now in difficulty, to rebuild them spiritually, and to restore to them the proper concept, pride, and appreciation of American citizenship…No effort has been spared to teach the people to be self reliant, independent, to take a humble, righteous pride in being, individually and as communities, fully self supporting. These things have been told in order that you may have a background and understanding of what we are now to say. Viewing all of these things it will be easy for you to understand that the Church has not found it possible to follow along the lines of the present general tendency in the matter of property rights, taxes, the curtailment of rights and liberties of the people, nor in general the economic policies of what is termed the “New Deal”. The great bulk of what these people are trying to do is, in the final analysis, absolutely contrary to the fundamental principles of which we have spoken. It is the considered, long considered opinion of President Grant and those who are associated with him, that our nation cannot be preserved if the present governmental policies shall continue. We do not believe that any other great nation or great civilization can be built up or maintained by the use of such policies.. .. As we see it, there is no way in which we can, to use your own words, “preserve and perpetuate our freedom—freedom to govern ourselves, freedom of speech, and freedom to worship God according to our own light,” except we shall turn away from our present course and resume the normal course along which this great country traveled to its present high eminence of prosperity, of culture, of universal education, and of the peace and contentment which we enjoyed prior to the inauguration of the “New Deal,” We have done in the past, we are doing now, and we shall continue in the future to do everything within our power to secure this turning of which we speak We confess to you that it has not been possible for us to unify our own people even upon the necessity of such a turning about, and therefore we cannot unfortunately, and we say it regretfully, make any practical suggestion to you as to how the nation can be turned about. But the President of the United States could do it in good part if he were willing to exert his effort along that line, but this he appears not to be willing to do.
This we feel we can definitely say, that unless the people of America forsake the sins and the errors, political and otherwise, of which they are now guilty and return to the practice of the great fundamental principles of Christianity, and of Constitutional government, there will be no exaltation for them spiritually, and politically we shall lose our liberty and free institutions.
Returning to your original letter and our reply thereto regarding the selling of Defense Bonds. The Church as a Church does not believe in war and yet since its organization whenever war has come we have done our part…. we do thoroughly believe in building up our home defenses to the maximum extent necessary, but we do not believe that aggression should be carried on in the name and under the false cloak of defense. We therefore look with sorrowing eyes at the present use to which a great part of the funds being raised by taxes and by borrowing is being put.…We believe that our real threat comes from within and not from without, and it comes from the underlying spirit common to Naziism, Fascism, and Communism, namely, the spirit which would array class against class, which would set up a socialistic state of some sort, which would rob the people of the liberties which we possess under the Constitution, and would set up such a reign of terror as exists now in many parts of Europe. We trust you will pardon this long letter, but we feel we must say that you invited it.Trusting that the Lord will point out some way, will somehow bring about a rejuvenation of the American spirit along with a true love of freedom and of our free institutions, and for Constitutional government, we are,Faithfully yours, /s/ Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., David O. McKay. "(First Presidency letter to U.S. Treasury, September 30, 1941) (As found in THE GREAT AND ABOMINABLE CHURCH OF THE DEVIL by H. VERLAN ANDERSEN© Copyright 1972H. Verlan AndersenALL RIGHTS RESERVED.Fifth Printing 1994 by his Sons and GrandsonsISBN: O-9644552-O-XLibrary of Congress Catalog Card Number: 94-74044WHAT TO DO, TO HAVE UNITY WITH THE PROPHETS)