The Welfare StateCreeping Socialism
If Congress can employ money indefinitely for the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every state, county, and parish and pay them out of the public treasury, they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union: they may assume the provision of the poor . . . . Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the. limited government established by the people of America.
James Madison, quoted in The Dan Smoot Report, 9/9/63
Paternalism Predicted. I fear this, that under existing conditions [in 1932] we are gradually drifting toward a paternal government, a government which will so entrench itself that the people will become powerless to disrupt it, in which the lives and liberty of the people at large may be jeopardized.(1) They are pouring millions of dollars in this time of need into sources for the benefit of the people and it is a great benefit and perhaps salvation, but it is going to result in thisI am going to make this statementthat if the present policy is continued it will not be long until the government will be in the banking business, it will be in the farming business, it will be in the cattle and sheep business, for many of these debts will never be paid. That will mean the appointment of innumerable agencies. The government now is overloaded with commissions and agencies, some of them administering the very laws that Congress itself has enacted. Someone else should be administering those laws. If you want to save yourselves from the bondage of debt and political influence which are not of your own choosing, I ask you to think of what I have said. (Anthony W. Ivins, CR-10/32:111-2) [p. 343]
I am sure that it is regrettable and a point of real hazard to individual liberty that in many countries, even to some extent in our own beloved America, there is a clearly discernible tendency to relieve people of responsibilities which they have long been accustomed to bear and to extend paternalistic solicitude and care to vast portions of the population.(2) However well intentioned such policies, I am confident they are destined to result in weakening of moral fiber, increased dependencies, and, more importantly and worse than all, eventually, a destruction of the fundamental concepts and philosophies that have been responsible for the progress of humanity in the world. (Stephen L Richards, CR-4/39:42)
The Sin of Covetousness. Consider the condition in the world, the number who are determined to take from the rich man not what belongs to themselves, but that which belongs to the others. God has permitted men to get wealth, and if they obtained it properly, it is theirs, and he will bless them in its use if they will use it properly . . . .
We must not fall into the bad habits of other people. We must not get into the frame of mind that we will take what the other man has. Refer back to the ten commandments, and you will find one short paragraph, Thou shalt not covet. That is what is the matter with a good many people today. They are coveting what somebody else has, when as a matter of fact, many of them have been cared for and provided with means to live by those very ones from whom they would take away property. (President George Albert Smith, CR-10/49:171-2)
Most of the nations are losing the liberties they have had because they have not kept the commandments of the Lord.(3) Most of the difficulty is the bid that is made by the leadership of nations to people that if they will follow the plan that the leaders map out, they will be fed and clothed without having to work so hard for it, but it does [p. 344] not work. People are being misled with the idea that they can get something for nothing and are not encouraged to work for what they need and desire. (President George Albert Smith, CR-10/50:7)
Roman Welfare State. We are constantly urged to adopt policies supposedly new and untried and discovered by our intellectual pseudo giants who either do not know their history or are deliberately misrepresenting it. The first Roman Code ever framed in the history of Romethe Theodosian Code of 438 A.D.contained provisions, as summarized by scholars, including such modern problems as price fixing, black markets, excessive taxation, socialized medicine, conscription of labor, anti-Semitism, inflation, corruption in government bureau, the relation between church and state. Students of modern social and economic legislation, state controls, and the development of the welfare state will find that many modern concepts and practices derive from the patterns outlined in the Code. (J. Reuben Clark, CN-4/9/60)
Not An Eleemosynary Government.(4) I would like here to recommend to all of you that you read the first two paragraphs and the last paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, for the purpose of getting a view as to why this government was set up. It was not set up as an eleemosynary government to feed and clothe and nurture all the rest of the world . . . . and when you have read those paragraphs read the Preamble to the Constitution itself.(5) (J. Reuben Clark, CN-2/20/52) [p. 345]
Use Constitutional Methods. I am convinced that the problem of relief for the unemployed and the care of the maimed, decrepit and old, will equally yield to solution by constitutional methods. Over-reaching of Constitutional functions and Constitutional powers are not necessary. As a principle, and as a practice, the Federal Government should not undertake the solution of these problems and the meeting of the needs incident thereto.(6) These burdens should be left where they now legally restwith the local State government.(7) Speaking generally, there is no major area community, of which I am aware, where to allow the burden so to rest would be either un-equitable or impossible . . . .
Weapons For Civic Debauchery. The care of the indigent poor and the aged, of the sick and maimed, except those injured in wars, of the unemployed, was left to the States.
Where the franchise is universal, the opportunity for its corruption must be limited to the smallest possible political unit, if free government is to live.
A weak fancy may picture how those shrewd, experienced, politically minded patriots of the Constitutional Convention would have viewed a proposal that the Federal [p. 346] Government should take over the sheltering,(8) feeding, and clothing of great groups of its voting citizenry, without cost to those getting the help.(9) The occasional old Roman Triumph with its feasts and gifts, with its military reviews and gladiatorial games, was, compared with this, a puny weapon for civic debauchery and yet those Triumphs helped to pull down Rome in ruin.(10) (J. Reuben Clark, 2/22/35)
A Communistic Idea. We are placed on this earth to work and the earth will give us a living . . . . It is our duty to strive to till the earth, subdue matter, conquer the globe, take care of the flocks and the herds. It is the governments duty to see that you are protected in it,(11) and no other man has the right to deprive you of any of your privileges. But it is not the governments duty to [p. 347] support you.(12)
I shall raise my voice as long as God gives me sound or ability, against the communistic idea that the government will take care of us all, and that everything belongs to the government . . . .
It is wrong! No wonder, in trying to perpetuate that idea, that men become anti-Christ, because those teachings strike directly at the doctrines of the Savior.
No government owes you a living. You get it yourself by your own actsnever by trespassing upon the rights of your neighbor, never by cheating him. You put a blemish upon your character the moment you do. (President David O. McKay, CN-3/14/53)
The Greatest Curse Today. We now have lawmakers who go out wilfully and intentionally to put upon our statute books legislation which is contrary to the Ten Commandments, and as they do so they are sowing seeds of destruction for that state or nation . . . .
The greatest weakness, the greatest curse we have in the worm today is governments that try to remain in power by robbing us of our individualities, robbing us of our individual responsibility. We were not born into this world to be taken care of. It is not humanitarianism to rob us of the God given right to take care of ourselves. We should elect to live in keeping with the eternal laws of God. (Henry D. Moyle, CN-11/17/62)
Destructive Trends. You have already heard much today about certain trends that would engulf us and destroy us. As President McKay was talking about the freedoms which we seem ever more eager to exchange for bread, my thoughts went back to old Israel, who, becoming hungry, went south to Egypt and found corn. That corn tasted so good to them that they continued eating the corn of another people. Eventually they accepted the grain and the security it symbolized in full payment for their liberty. Chains and abject slavery came to them and [p. 348] to their children and their childrens children. Their suffering accelerated in intensity until a great Moses, under God, came to emancipate them. Thank the Lord for a deliverer! But how much nobler if people could accept the advice of Gods leaders before the bondage comes!
Some of these destructive trends remind me of the river which drops from Niagaras precipice. Time and again I have stood on the banks of this river far above the falls and watched its waters flowing normally toward the sea. At this point a small craft, manned by strong oarsmen, could be controlled and sent up or down or across the stream. I watched the river farther downstream. Having started downward there is no stopping. Faster and faster it goes, splashing, boiling, frothing. The boat in full control on the upper reaches would now be at the merciless fury of the lashing stream. Even strong men who a few miles above could control their movements would now, at the nearing of the falls, lose power to guide their boat to safety. Suffering, sorrow, and destruction are inevitable after a certain point has been reached.
Not only the Israelites but more modern people have also fallen victim to this evil. Our pioneers came across the plains and developed a great commonwealth here by their toil and industry, frugality, and their own hands and efforts, but many of their descendants have embraced, against counsel, the destructive philosophy that involved and well-nigh destroyed the ancients. (Spencer W. Kimball, CR-4/50:41-2)
Something-For-Nothing Spirit. I have been impressed with the fact that there is a spirit growing in the world today to avoid giving service, an unwillingness to give value received, to try to see how little we can do and how much we can get for doing it. This is all wrong. Our spirit and aim should be to do all we possibly can, in a given length of time, for the benefit of those who employ us and for the benefit of those with whom we are associated If we do that, the reward is sure to come to us.
The other spiritto get all we can, and give as little as possible in returnis contrary to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not right to desire something for [p. 349] which we do not give service or value received That idea is all wrong, and it is only a question of time when the sheep and the goats will be separated, so to speak. (President Heber J. Grant, 1940, E-43:137)
There are always, I believe, striving with us two spirits, one that is the inspiration of the Lord and one that is not . . . . the spirit that inspires work is from our Heavenly Father. The spirit that would have us get something for nothing is from the lower regions. (President Heber J. Grant, 1937, CWP-70)
Thou shalt not take thy brothers garment [property]; thou shalt pay for that which thou shalt receive of thy brother. (Revelation to Prophet Joseph Smith, 1831, D&C 42:54)
A Vicious Curse. Today we have a special curse, a vicious one, to meet and conquer. Our social order has so changed right before our eyes that we are almost unconsciously expecting to receive everything from someone else without any effort on our own part. It is selfishness in its worst form. We are unconsciously, unwittingly assisting in perpetuating and strengthening these selfish desires, by not impressing upon the children . . . that it is their obligation to merit by their own efforts that which they receive. (Henry D. Moyle, Primary Script, Summer, 196061, P. 4)
When we cease to be a God-fearing people we fall easy prey to the false philosophy of evil-designing men and nations. This was true in the days of Israel, as a study of the Holy Bible reveals. It is true today as history now unfolds itself. For this reason we are discarding, even in this great nation of freedom-loving people, a God-given constitution of freedom, inspired for free men that they might worship according to the dictates of their own conscience, for the doctrines of collectivism produced to enslave mankind and rob them of all freedom and make them puppets of dictators rather than children of our Heavenly Father, living in freedom, at liberty to exercise their God-given free agency.
No doubt some of you have been attracted by the promises of some such false philosophies, hoping to get [p. 350] something for nothing. Never will this be the case. Beware lest you part with your birthright for a mess of pottage. Such a course presents a one-way street and marks out a path to pursue from which there is no return. (Henry D. Moyle, CN-6/19/49)
Always A Price Tag. There is no such thing as getting something for nothing. That cannot be done. The individual may seem to obtain gratuities out of the treasury without giving anything in return. But that is a delusion. In the first place, somebody had to work to accumulate the taxable property and earn the income from which the money is taken in the form of taxation and put into the treasury. There is no other way for it to get there. It is the fruit of someones toil.(13)
But besides and beyond this, the individual, or state or municipality which takes anything from the Federal Treasury always finds certain conditions attached. The government demands as a condition of the gift certain supervisory rights, or the right to prescribe enabling conditions. Thus, the recipient gives, if not money, something which may be infinitely more precious.14. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd. (Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America 2:339)14 He has been compelledor IT has in case of a subordinate governmental unitto exchange some freedom of action, to part with a degree of independence and to recognize a degree of direction from another never before owed. (Albert E. Bowen, 1946, CWP-91)
The Abundant Life. The abundant life, for example, as the prophets of every dispensation have taught it, was a term used to refer to the living of a Christ-like life of service and sacrifice, the forgetting of oneself into immortality. But today that term has become politicalized, [p. 351] if there is such a word, and prostituted by politicians into what I fear has become something of a national ideal of comfort and ease reflected in each political era by such slogans as: the full dinner pail; ham and eggs Thursday; two chickens in every pot; two cars in every garage; a pint of milk a day for the whole world, etc.
The abundant life in other words, to many has come to mean simply getting more and more for less and less. (Harold B. Lee, CN-6/6/51)
An Old Time Slavery. It has always been contrary to law, to order, and to morals since society was organized, for John to take the property of James without paying for it, even though some James has, in fact, always taken some Johns property by robbery. The Johns have always resented this; they have devised such phrases as that a mans house is his castle. Thou shalt not steal and thou shalt not covet came from the thunders of Sinai. When government was organized for the protection of all, it became necessary to take some of the property of each for the joint benefit of all. Government is a joint enter prise for the joint welfare. Sound government has the purpose prescribed for it in the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States. But when government goes beyond these purposes and undertakes to clothe and to feed its society and then begins to take Johns property without compensation to feed James and clothe him, while James lolls in unnecessary public office or lazes away his time at home or loafs all day on the street corner, then this is making John work to support James in idleness, and this is the old time slavery.(15)
You may try to hide this ugly fact of slavery or dress it up, or disguise it, you may call it by all sorts of fancy, high-sounding names, but the fact remains it is slavery. [p. 352] And slavery is an anachronism in todays human society, a reversion to an abandoned type, a setting up of an outgrown, outworn system that will lead, as always, to the wiping out of the people who practice it. The ages of the past are filled with this constant human experience. The earth belongs to him only who works for it. Neither nature nor God gives something for nothing. Work must be done for whatever man has. (J. Reuben Clark, 1937, E-40:474)
A Shocking Pattern In History. History teaches that when individuals have given up looking after their own economic needs and transferred a large share of that responsibility to the government, both they and the government have failed.
At least twenty great civilizations have disappeared. The pattern is shockingly similar. All, before their collapse, showed a decline in spiritual values, in moral stamina, and in the freedom and responsibility of their citizens. They showed such symptoms as deficit spending, excessive taxation, bloated bureaucracy, government paternalism, and generally a rather elaborate set of supports, controls, and regulations, affecting prices, wages, production, and consumption.(16) (Ezra Taft Benson, BYU, 2/28/62)
The Four Freedoms. Some time, if you would have a stimulating mental exercise, sit down and carefully analyze the full implications of those vaunted four freedoms about which so much is said today. If you examine literally two of them, absolute freedom from all fear, and absolute freedom from all want, you may find yourselves not far from the principle for which a third of the spirits of heaven contended. After a long struggle they were rejected to a place on this earth, where they could make a [p. 353] second stand in an attempt to destroy human agency and the right of individual struggle and effort.
Remember, if you will, the wisdom from the Sermon on the Mount: Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; blessed are the poor in spirit. And on another occasion Fear God and give glory to Him. Would you wish to have men freed from such wants and such fears? (Harold B. Lee, CN-6/6/51)
Evils of Time-Wasting Schemes. In a material way, man at his birth gets from Nature time, mind, and muscle, and this is all that he gets. Mankind works out its material destiny by the use of these three component elements. Destroy any one of these and we are lost. No amount of sorrow or remorse or repentance can bring back the destroyed elements, nor the social, economic, and cultural achievement forfeited by the destruction.
Gearing our productive activity down to the lowest level destroys the time element; it also impairs the efficiency of the other two.
As to time: The ancient saying goes, Rome was not built in a day, which means that brain and brawn must have time to work out their material achievement. History proves this, too, in every epoch of the worlds progress. The greatest economic criminal is the time-waster. Time wasted cannot be recovered or compensated for. The old school readers had this to say: Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever.
I repeat, neither sorrow nor remorse nor repentance nor effort can bring back wasted time. It is gone forever. The world itself is poorer by the time I waste and you waste. The land I might have plowed in the time I wasted, the automobile I might have built, the cloth I might have woven, the lathe I might have madenone of these will ever be, for the time of their doing and making is gone forever. That I may plow this same acre later, that I may build an automobile thereafter, that sometime I may weave a yard of cloth, or after a while make a lathe, is not to the point, for these last when made, will be made in their own time, and not in the time I wasted. If I had [p. 354] made the first in their own time, I could have made these others in their own time in addition to the first, thus doubling my output and adding this double production to the nations resources. So any plan or scheme that cuts down mans production by wasting his time, as, for example, through gearing down his production speed, is a criminal conspiracy against the whole of society. It should be so understood, branded, and properly penalized. (J. Reuben Clark, CN-12/14/46)
Congress Responsible. Eminent men and able men of great experience and wisdom are blaming the people for looking more and more to the Federal Government to meet their wants and to exercise governmental control over them, and this to the destruction of local self government, the rights of the States, and the rights of the people, all which are the basic factors of our social, economic, and constitutional life.
Might I humbly question whether the people are primarily to blame for this?
Nearly two thousand years ago, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, the Master miraculously fed 5,000 people. They immediately wished to make Him king. One who could feed them without their working for it, ought to be made their sovereign. This would solve for them the all important problem of earthly existence. Perceiving their thoughts and to avoid being dragged forth as the seeming head of a rebellion, the Master dismissed them and Himself fled their presence, going up into a mountain apart to pray. That night He crossed over to the other side of the sea, and the multitude learning of it, took ship and also crossed over, and came to Him again. They gathered about Him, deceitfully worshipping, declaring: Of a truth thou art the Son of God. But He discerning their thought and purpose, reproved them saying: Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled.
He then preached the great sermon on the bread of life, and the sacred record declares: From that time many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him. [p. 355]
He was useless to them, except as the gratuitous provider of their bread and meat.
So do multitudes.
If our Congressmen would stop the march of the people to Washington for their government and their substance, they should cease distributing the loaves and fishes from the steps of the Treasury Building across the road from the White House. You Congressmen have the absolute power to stop it; have you the courage? If it is not done, you, not the people, must take on the censure.
There is one principle as old as human government, indeed as old as human relations: He who holds the purse strings, rules the house, the nation, the world.
If Congressmen wish to restore local self-government, and the rights of the States and of the people, let them send back to the States, to the local communities, to the Churches, and to the children of indigent parents, where it belongs, the duty of caring for their own sick and decrepit and aged, their own unfortunate and underprivileged. Then the march on Washington will cease and the countermarch back home will be a Marathon.
I am not forgetting that this may cost a good many Congressmen considerable inconvenience and more abuse, it may cost some of them their official lives. But they are planning and legislating for the conduct of a war which will cost hundreds of thousands of the actual lives of our best manhood; might they not make an infinitely less sacrifice of their own official lives for the common good and for our free institutions? And I tell you, our free institutions are far more threatened by our domestic usurpations than by the outcome of this war. If you Congressmen would save this nation and its free institutions, cease to appropriate the national funds to meet local wants and problems of welfare.(17) (J. Reuben Clark, 10/7/43) [p. 356]
The Dole Complex. We may first name the obvious dole complexthe complex that believes that the Government can and should support the body politic. This, plus planned hunger and want to give apparent justification for the dole, have been major factors with the revolutionists of other countries. Any clean-visioned person can see that if the Government is to take care of all the people, it must own all the people in order to do it. There must be no private property; no one must own anything . . . .
But we should understand that this postwar dole complex will affect more than the neer-do-wells; they are not the only dolers. Every farmer, every industrialist, every merchant, every person in any walk of life who takes a gratuity from the Government for not producing, or for not working, or for anything unearned, is just as culpable, in morals and in sound government finance and in our economic national life, is just as much a doler as is the man who takes his dole of $30 or $50 or $60 per month to pay his heat, light, rent, and grocery bills. There is no difference in principle between them. (J. Reuben Clark, 1/24/45)
The DoleA Political Tool. Just as we the people of the United States in ordaining and establishing our Constitution did not delegate to the government the power to go into private business, so we aimed, as far as was wisely possible, to keep our government under the Constitution, away from immediate, financial dealings with its individual citizens, save as to certain taxes and military service.
Wherever the contact was provided for, it was to take funds from the citizen, not to bestow funds upon him, save for services rendered. Our Constitutional Fathers, seeking to retain and preserve the freedom they had won with their blood, were far too wise and experienced to provide for or recognize the principle of the governments making gifts to the individual. The opportunity for corruption under such a system is so obvious as to be oppressive. So we travelled the constitutional road for over a century and a half. Our political life was correspondingly and proportionately free from mass corruption. [p. 357]
Then, for the alleged reason of helping the needy, the government began the distribution of doles, including the so-called old age pensions. If the dole system had been impartially and disinterestedly administered, if need for help had been made and kept the criterion of assistance, if politics had been kept out of the distribution of the dole, if its political advantages had not been immediately pushed, then its welfare angle might have had more appeal to the patriotic citizen.
But immediately the dole became a political tool; it was obviously used to gain political power; it came to be used to buy votesnot, so far as I know, as a five dollar bill handed out on election day, but, and almost infinitely worse, a monthly payment over the year, and from one year to another.(18) No one of us would see anyone suffer for food or clothing or shelter, without trying to help, but the extension of such help is no part of the function of our Federal Government. So long as this system is in operation, our free institutions and liberties are in real danger.
Has there been anything done about all this, except grumbling and growling? Has there been any concerted movement among the major taxpayers to place this burden back upon the States and the local communities, where it belongs, with the Church taking the lead in supplying the wants of its own needy? (J. Reuben Clark, CN-9/25/49)
A Question of Honesty. No governmentfederal, state, or municipalhas any money or anything else out of which to bestow bounty, except what it first takes out of the pockets of its individual citizens. It follows that whenever any one, aged, or indigent from other causes, takes help out of the public treasury, he is indirectly reaching round and taking money out of someone elses pocketnot unlawfully, to be sure, but still so taking it. Has anybody, except under real necessity, any moral right [p. 358] to do that? . . . .(19)
Many hard working people find their taxes a heavy burden. They pay them out of sacrifice, bordering sometimes on deprivation. Is there any sanction in gospel principles or teachings, or in the ordinary codes of honor or fairness of dealing which will say to such a one that he must bear this burden for the benefit of another just as well able to work as he, but chances to be 65 years old while he himself is but 50? Questions of honor and ordinary elemental honesty are here involved. Attaining the age of 65 is no remarkable personal achievement. It involves merely the passage of time with which the individual has little, if anything to do. (Albert E. Bowen, 1946, CWP, P. 83)
If it is an evil to be idle, and to live willingly and unnecessarily off the toil of someone else, as the Lord has clearly said it is, then it is equally an evil regardless of the age of the recipient. God has set no age limit on the operation of His law. Besides being a temporal law it is attended by spiritual consequences from which there can be no exemption and to which there are no exceptions . . . .
No one ever gets something for nothing, the recipient always pays; if not in money, then in forfeiture of some invaluable right or freedom. (Albert E. Bowen, 1946, CWP, P. 76)
A Duty To Provide For Old Age. One of the tragedies of the world today is the unwillingness of people to assume responsibility . . . . The alternative to unwillingness to assume responsibility for ones self is the willingness to shift that responsibility over to someone else. That always comes at a pricethe price of independence and self-esteem. It is attributable to pure indolence. Man [p. 359] progresses, grows, develops strength of character and spirit by the assumption of responsibility. That is the inexorable law of life. Men must learn to make provision for their own future. Greatness and strength never came to any nation whose citizens had nothing more exacting to do than wrap their loins in a breech-clout, and dodge coconuts as they fell from the trees. The world has moved forward only under the energy and resourcefulness of those people and nations who have had to wrest a living from the earth through struggle with the elements and to provide in the growing season for the needs of life.
Old age is the winter of life. It is the duty of every man in the days of his strength to make provision for it. You cant relieve him of that responsibility without doing a hurt to him, taking something out of his soul, weakening his manhood, destroying his energy and power of initiative, setting him back in his own esteem as he measures himself against the deeds of the doers.
Look at what has already happened. Anyone who has moved about with his eyes open the last ten or fifteen years cannot have missed seeing the disastrous consequences of such a course. In the early days of what has come to be called the depression, many who had been theretofore self-sufficient, materially, found themselves rather suddenly in distress. Their pride, self-esteem, independence of character, cultivated over a life-time, restrained them from asking or receiving relief. Many fought it out to the end. Others, and there is no thought here of speaking of them reproachfully, perhaps under greater stress, finally became beneficiaries of public gratuities, the provision of which there is also no disposition to condemn. This may have been temporarily necessary until a better organization for the aid of needy could be devised, and especially for people without affiliation in a church designed and organized as is our own Church to meet such contingencies. Having broken down the restraints and accepted gratuitous relief, an amazing transformation of attitude speedily took placeat least it would be amazing to one who had not given thought to the usual processes of human nature.
From being reluctant recipients they soon became [p. 360] eager ones, and before long demanding ones. They were asserting their claims as a matter of right and were demanding greater largesses. Bigger and better benefits became a slogan. It was not long until beneficiaries began to associate themselves in groups, and then to organize and exert group pressure for compliance with their demands, and finally to consolidate their voting power in political elections to compel recognition of their requests. Not only individuals, but municipalities and state governments scrambled for a dip into the Federal Treasury, moved forward by the slogan: Every one else is getting it; we had better get ours.(20)
We need look no further for visible demonstration of the debilitating effect of looking to public aid as a permanent means of subsistence. The progressive disintegration of moral fiber, the decay in power of will and initiative, the destruction of the spirit and exhilaration of independent manhood follows swiftly, surely, inevitably. This is all at variance with the gospel principles by which men work out their own salvation. (Albert E. Bowen, 1946, CWP 83-4)
Public Welfare Systems. These systems rely for their financial resources upon public treasuries which are fed out of the taxation of the people. The donor thus becomes not a voluntary giver but a compelled giver. Between him and the beneficiaries of his contribution there is no bond, hence the character building value which attends voluntary responses to the cry of need is lost. He has paid his taxes and is through, experiencing none of the exhilaration of spirit which floods the being of the voluntary donor to the relief of distress.
On the other side the beneficiary of aid paid under the mandate of law is all too likely to forget the sense of gratitude which should well up in the heart of one who receives voluntarily rendered succor. Instead he is all too apt to fall into the habit of thinking that he is getting only what is of personal right his and in that spirit to [p. 361] become demanding and grasping for more and greater bestowals at the expense of a proper sense of thankfulness. (Albert E. Bowen, 1946, CWP-16)
Fallacies of Public Welfare. Two or three stock assertions are commonly put forward in justification by those disinclined to relinquish public benefits in favor of the Church Welfare Plan. They are: (1) We reclaimed the country and have paid our taxes all through the years and are entitled to be cared for. (2) The world owes us a living. (3) Others are getting it, why shouldnt we?
In answer to number (1) the following is condensed from a statement made by Elder Stephen L Richards:
Taxes are paid for the benefits derived out of government and are consumed year by year as we go. They do not build up surpluses, but are commonly in deficit, hence no fund for old age benefit payments have been accumulated. Depending on the efficiency of administration taxpayers have had value received as they go. They have been used for common public purposes enjoyed by all, not a class or group, as in providing police protection, schools, fire protection, court houses, hospitals, building and maintenance of roads, streets and walks, water systems, parks, weed control and the like. It is a safe assumption that recipients of old age benefits have not contributed in taxes more than their fair share of the tax burden. Indeed, it is more likely that they have received proportionately more than they have paid in.
So far as the sales tax is concerned the contribution to that fund by beneficiaries of the old age benefits are so infinitesimal by comparison as not to take them out of the realm of charitable gifts, leaving no warrant for the assumption that they are pensioners and the beneficiaries of any funds to which they have been contributors. Besides only a part of the benefit payment comes out of the sales tax fund, the rest is a pure gratuity. (End of condensation.)
(2) With respect to the man who says the world, or the country, owes him a living, it might be sufficient to ask him, why? What for? What has any of us ever done to put the world or the country in our debt? . . . Here are the words of President Joseph F. Smith relative to the matter:
It is a bad thing for men to think the world owes them a living . . . . I dont refer to the cripple, or those who are enfeebled by age . . . there is a need for them to live, and there is a necessity for us to assist such, but there is no great need [p. 362] in this world for men and women who are able to work and will not work. (CR- 4/98)
(3) There is no greater peril to the integrity and manhood of a human soul than the doctrine that he should get his out of the public treasury because others in like circumstances are getting theirs. It displays a lamentable failure of understanding of the elements of patriotism. It is a debasing concept. It means that if others through deception or fraudulent pretense succeed in qualifying for public charity by circumvention of the law, then the advocate of that doctrine may do likewise. There is hardly any depth to which that kind of doctrine would not lead. On that principle the hold-up could justify bank robbery; the thief purse snatching. (Albert E. Bowen, 1946, CWP-81-2)
Family Allowances. Closely akin to statutory enactments which make people eligible for support out of public funds, without obligation to do anything for themselves regardless of the availability of work and their ability to do it, if they havent property in excess of a stated amount and have reached a prescribed age, are statutes providing what are commonly called Family Allowances. These are operative in some outlying areas of the Church and bid fair to being much more widely adopted under pressure of a carefully nursed agitation. They illustrate the extremes to which governmental assumption of responsibility may go.
Such laws usually conform to a more or less standard pattern and provide for the payment of a stipulated sum monthly for the support of all children up to a given ageoften 16 to 18. The payments go to all children whose parents register under the Act regardless of the financial position of their parents. The income tax is relied upon to drain back into the treasury from those who do not need the aid by offsetting family allowance payments against deductions for dependent children from income in tax returns.
The payments generally are made to the mother, but are to be used solely for the children for whose benefit they are intended. The state assumes jurisdiction to see that they are so used. If the mother does not so use them [p. 363] then the governmental agency will step in and divert the check from the mother to some person outside the family, likely a social worker, who will see that it is spent for the children. Thus the state is permitted to intervene between parents and children in the most intimate and sacred of family relationsthe duty of parents for the care of their children and the duty of the children to conform to parental authority and abide the government of family discipline. The father usually under the administration of such laws is entirely excluded. The check does not come to him. He has nothing to do with allocating its benefits to the children. This idea, no doubt, stems from the European origin of the plan where so much of the benefits went to unmarried mothers. To say the least it is no deterrent to illegitimacy.
Just how the nice distinction is to be made to determine whether in a family comprising some members over the statutory age and some under, the allowance money is so to be spent that all the benefits accrue to those under that age is not easy to see. This much is certain. Such an Act has all the potentialities for destroying family discipline and breaking down the authoritative position of the father as the head of the household. It transfers the dependence of children from the parents to the state; it teaches children to look beyond the parents to the state. It teaches them that they have state-conferred rights which they may demand from parents and teaches them to scrutinize the acts of parents with a view to asserting those rights. It opens the family circle to the entrance of a state inquisitor who may interrogate children about the doings of their parents and invite them to be complainants and informers against parents. Inherent in the scheme is the disintegration of family unity, order, discipline, reverence and respect. From Germanys experience, we know what that could mean. It is competent, of course, for anyone who wants that kind of meddling in his home to have it, but one can scarcely help recalling Popes peasant who having been served the rich mans feast and finding the consequences complained:
And please, your honor, quoth the peasant
This same dessert is not so pleasant [p. 364]
Give me back my hollow tree
A crust of bread and liberty.
(Albert E. Bowen, 1946, CWP-90-1)
Federal Insurance. Before this war began, the Government had already entered the general insurance field with a Social Security plan, which covers unemployment compensation, Federal insurance contributions and benefits, and Federal old age and survivors insurance benefits. Other socialistic planssuch as socialized medicineseem in the immediate offering. Thus the principle of Federal insurance of the individual is thoroughly established and working. It is not a long step from this to set up Federal life insurance. In the beginning, this Federal life insurance may be a side-by-side enterprise with existing private-company life insurance, mutual or others. But almost certainly the Government will, if present plans carry through, soon crowd down the regular life insurance companies, absorb their assets, and put their 67 million policyholdershalf the entire population of the nationon the public payrolls to be the wards of the Government. Thereafter life insurance will be oneperhaps the most important oneof the political shibboleths with which glib-lipped politicians of all parties will bid for votes.
It is not necessary here to argue the calamity which this could bring into our existing national financial, economic, and government life. To put 67 million citizens squarely behind any political nostrum would guarantee the continuance in power of its purveyors. I suppose further that no one would seriously deny that the taking over by the Government of the whole institution of life insurance would be one of the most important factors in establishing a communistic state. (J. Reuben Clark, 10/7/43)
Social Security And Unemployment Insurance. Again, there is the social security setup and unemployment insurance. In so far as providing a savings plan to help the needy in old age or to help those involuntarily out of work, from their savings and their employers contributions, it is highly commendable. But the end should have been reached through providing a . . . plan to be carried out by [p. 365] the employer and employee under a private setup. The plan becomes threatening when it is made a central government operation, because it is highly paternalistic and again brings the citizen in direct financial relationship with the Federal Government, by the distribution of money to the individual. The Constitution does not authorize it, and what the Constitution does not authorize may not be constitutionally done. The spirit of the Constitution forbids it . . . .
Of course, it should not be overlooked that these social security funds go into the Treasury of the United States, when apparently they are set up in one of the trust funds created by the Treasury. But no citizen ever gets a vested right in a statute or in the benefits it confers, and so Congress could by law change the status of these funds, and the present handling thereof, to the point of destroying any semblance of a reserve to ensure the making of security payments.(21) So far as the operation of the social security plan is concerned, in the last analysis the funds are in fact taxes levied by the government on the worker and the employer, and are subject to Congressional direction that could provide that they be handled as other taxes.
Two elements of this unemployment insurance should be in mind: first, that men may voluntarily quit work because of some dispute, just or unjust, with their employer, and then receive payments from this fund for a specified time or until they decide to go to work again, whichever comes first; second, when a mans employment falls below a specified time level, funds for unemployment become payable, and it is said that cases are on record where men deliberately work but part of their time and then loaf the balance, living off their unemployment insurance.(22) (J. Reuben Clark, CN-9/25/49) [p. 366]
If we thoroughly understand the problem, we shall be unalterably opposed to any plan which will put insurance moneys of any kind, or on any account, in the same situation as the funds paid in by employers and employees under the so-called Social Security Actthat is, a plan where the funds are covered into the Treasury and used as if they were general revenues, all spent to run the government and nothing left but a revocable Congressional promise to be met by further taxation or a capital levy. We cannot approve this kind of Federal borrowing or of Federal taxation, whichever you may wish to call it. It is both deceptive and dishonest. (J. Reuben Clark, 12/15/ 39)
Federal Aid. The drift toward centralization of power is not inevitable. It can be slowed down, halted, reversed.
The thought that the federal government is wealthy and the states poverty-stricken is a dangerous illusion. The federal debt is now eight times as great as the combined debt of the forty-eight states. On June 30, 1954, state governments had invested nine billion dollars of their long range funds in federal securities.
It is difficult for the states to make a strong case for assistance from the federal government when anything the federal government spends must come from the states. There are no resources of consequence in the United Statesno income of wealth which is not located within the borders of the states and subject to their taxing powers.
The states not only have rights, they have responsibilities and they have opportunities.
In the last analysis, we are not trying to protect one government entity from another. We are trying to protect the rights of individual people. If we ever forget this, the whole process of government is pointless. (Ezra Taft Benson, 1957, E-60:306) [p. 367]
Government Trained Youth. We must be on guard against any plan which will make it unlawful for children to work under proper conditions, and that would place in the hands of the Federal Government the task and the right to take care of our childrens leisure time. Our government with its liberty and free institutions will not long survive a government trained and supervised youth. The experience of ancient and modern nations amply proves this. Such a youth can be a revolutionary machine of the most perfect precision, and we are already started along the way. Some who promote and foster such schemes have it in mind that our government shall not survive.
Of a kind with this scheme is that which takes our youth into great Federal concentration camps for the alleged purpose of giving them work on the plea that this is better than idleness. Work is better than idleness; all human experience proves this. But here also the cure applied is in some respects worse than the disease. For passing by the threatened ill of the potential religious, moral, and political infectious character of such concentration camps, which may not be ignored, such camps have this added ill; they take the youth at his most impressionable age, and accustom him to the idea that the government is to give him both a living and amusement, which idea soon ripens into the belief that the government owes him both. Nothing can be more destructive of loyal citizenship as we have pictured it, than a government-owned citizenry, which makes a mockery of the free ballot, and digs the grave of liberty. (J. Reuben Clark, CN-6/15/40)
Deliberate Plan of Deficits. Clearly you cannot reduce taxes even to approach prewar levels and balance the budget, while at the same time carrying on such prodigious non-revenue producing schemes, for ourselves and for the world, as are being projected. Indeed, we cannot make real our domestic dreams, unless we either continue peace-time deficit financing, or increase our taxes, or both. This seems clear to a demonstration.
I believe that our planners know all this and that they have no real intention or expectation of either balancing [p. 368] the budget or of giving up deficit financing or of giving up their schemes which would make attainable one or both of these desirable ends. They must contemplate increasing taxes. Their course is understandable to me on no other premise than that they deliberately plan a continuous policy of enormous taxes and deficit peace spending which shall finally end in debt repudiation, by one device or another, with its resulting chaos.(23) (J. Reuben Clark, 11/20/45)
Jefferson On Debt. Governments are the servants, not the masters of the people. All who love the Constitution of the United States can vow with Thomas Jefferson, who, when he was president, said: I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. He later said:
To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must take our choice between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labors and in our amusements.
If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under pretense of caring for them, they will be happy. The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the disposition of public money. We are endeavoring to reduce the government to the practice of rigid economy to avoid burdening the people and arming the magistrate with a patronage of money which might be used to corrupt the principles of our government.
(David O. McKay, CR-4/50:35)
Deficit Spending A Serious Threat. In the past quarter century, there has been a tremendous shift from individual to governmental responsibility in many phases of economic and social life. There has been a rapid shift of responsibility from the states to the federal government. [p. 369]
In the last thirty years state and local government taxes have increased 550% while the federal government taxes have increased 3,275%. Thirty years ago all taxes, federal, state, local, took 14% of our national income. Today taxes take over 33%. In twenty-eight years the national debt has swollen to nearly $300 billion, an average in excess of $7,000 for each family. Today interest on the national debt is near $10 billion a year, eight times as great as the entire federal indebtedness back in 1915 . . . .
If this trend continues, the states may be left hollow shells, operating primarily as the field districts of federal departments and depending upon the federal treasury for their support . . . .
With the loss of gold and a weakened competitive position for world markets, this deficit spendingthe major cause of inflationis a serious threat which if it is not stopped could give atheistic communism victory without firing a single shot . . . .(24)
According to Maurice Stans, prominent west coast banker and columnist and President Eisenhowers budget director, experience shows that no nationnot even the strongest in the worldcan continue to pile up huge deficits without risking inflation, a loss of integrity in its money, an international collapse of confidence in that nations soundness, and worse. The end of such a course is national bankruptcy.
Stans further states that in addition to direct debt the government has piled up huge unfounded liabilities and commitments for future spending that total more than the debt itself. Two years ago, as budget director, he compiled a list of these obligations maturing in the future, mostly for past services, and it came to about $450 billion. Added to the current debt at close to $300 billion, [p. 370] our total commitments now reach the almost incredible total of $750 billion, or three- quarters of a trillion dollars. And even this stratospheric amount doesnt include another $250 or $300 billion we need to collect in future tax increases to make good on our present promises under the social security system.
Again I quote from Stans:
In the thirty fiscal years since 1931, the federal budget has shown a surplus only six times, while we went in the red twenty-four times. And the national debt grew and grew, even in years of peace.
Government costs are booming because not enough people have been willing to say no to government. On the other hand, spending pressure groups of all kinds have been steadily and successfully entreating Congress to provide a wide assortment of aids and handouts.
The public has been offered more public services than it needs, and has accepted them without reckoning the costs.(25)
(Ezra Taft Benson, BYU, 2/28/62)
There is no success without solvencypersonal and national solvency. I cannot become accustomed to the idea of perpetual and increasing debt. I know the philosophy that would explain it away. I know that it is said that we shouldnt worry about it because after all we only owe it to ourselves. But we may also soon be owing it to our grandchildren, and I already owe so much to my grandfather that I dont want to be in debt to my grand son as well! Solvency is part of success. (Richard L. Evans, CN-6/11/55)
Inflation Not Inevitable. The tragedy of destroying fixed pension and savings is but one cruelty of inflation. Economists point out to us that it discourages savings, for why should people save with the value of saved dollars being constantly lessened. For that matter, these same people think, why buy U. S. Government Bonds? They have a fixed earning rate and pay off with inflated dollars that are worth less. [p. 371]
Inflation, like big government, big debt and deficit spending need not be inevitable.(26) Perhaps it is just the sad experience of a whole generation which leads people to expect that their dollars will always be worth less each year.
We must understand that it is currently huge government deficits, the piling up of more and more national debt and the repeated excessive wage increases which largely spark the inflationary trend in America. Surely, less and less government spending and a balanced budget would go a long way to curbing inflation and stabilizing the American dollar.(27)
All consumers feel the pressure of rising prices. The threat to overall economic stability is the greatest danger of all. Inflation is nobodys friend.
All groups, including labor and industry, should so conduct themselves as to check the development of a condition contrary to the national welfare. Experience indicates that if needful restraints are not exercised voluntarily, there is a resort to stronger measuresmeasures which I believe are contrary to the goals of a free society. (Ezra Taft Benson, 1962, The Red Carpet, P. 173)
Government Bonds. And may I make here one observation about government bonds? Many trustees invest their trust funds in government bonds on the assumption that such bonds are the safest of all securities and that if they become worthless every other security will be worthless. But the whole history of the world, from the earliest, shows this assumption is erroneous, grossly so. Peoples, society, property exist and persist even though governments change or go down. A mere change of government does not destroy any of these, though all may suffer when the overturning revolution comes. The almost countless [p. 372] revolutions of the old world and the new prove this.
As the world has gone in the past, our own government could fallwhich, pray God, may never comebut the bulk of the property would remain, and the bulk of the people would be here; and if the succeeding government recognizes the ownership of private property, then some one will own it, and the laws of private ownership will require some recognition of the security encumbrance. This has been the experience of all modern history.
Of course, where socialism or communism come in, as in Russia, all the bonds of the preceding government are not only repudiatedor not paidbut private property is abolished. That follows not from a change of government, but from an overturning of the whole economic system, the new government being set up to carry out the new ideology. Thus it can be that government bonds are not the safest and soundest security in which to put trust funds or private funds. (J. Reuben Clark, CN-9/25/ 49)
Tax Road To Tyranny. Our constitutional fathers, experienced in the deceit and practices of tyranny, knew the ways of his approach. Knowing that tyranny must have gold to further its purposes, they placed the power to raise money in the hands of the direct representatives of the people, and provided that All bills for raising revenues shall originate in the House of Representatives.(28) Lodging this power in the House, they assumed that the people would never send as their representatives mere puppets of the Executive branch of the government puppets who would levy taxes and lay burdens as the Executive might wish;(29) nor did they assume that some of [p. 373] the electorate would ever fall so low in civic integrity that such puppetry could be successfully proclaimed as a virtue entitling its possessor to the franchise of the people . . . .
The fathers did not assume that any considerable part of the electorate could ever sink to the level where their continued support could be actually purchased by the flagrant use of gratuities made available by the peoples own representatives contrary to the spirit and genius of our free institutions . . . .(30)
Conscious of the inherent power for oppression and abuse of the taxing powerthe evils of the taxing power lay at the base of the causes of the Revolutionaware of the principle afterwards announced by the great Chief Justice that the power to tax is the power to destroy, the fathers carefully guarded the taxing power of the Federal government and expressly denied the right of the Federal government to levy direct taxes against the individual. They saw clearly that the power to tax the individual gave the power to control him so they left this power in the states to be handled under local self- government, where the restraints of neighborhood and acquaintanceship might be operative. Later statesmen, through the Fourteenth Amendment, protected the citizens against their own state governments in the matter of equal protection of he laws.
Then came the time, a quarter of a century ago, when the urgency for more revenue for government expenditure, disguised by the plea of better equalizing the tax burden, led to the amendment authorizing the income tax. This tax was at first, light, but it grew by leaps and bounds. Always and ever, the more you feed a government, any government, the hungrier it gets, and the more it eats. Citizens who had worked through many frugal years of hardship and sacrifice to a competence, saw in [p. 374] their ripening years the government come in and take a generous part of the fruits of their life-long labor, to carry on highfalutin plans and schemes, and to build projects in which the government had no business to engage. This led men to try to evade this government wastage of the money they had so laboriously earned, and the government itself encouraged the effort by admitting that men were justified in finding ways of taking themselves outside the purview of the law. This is a way and spirit destructive of all integrity in the citizenry.
Under an executive ordinance power recognized by the courts, but outside I feel sure of the purview of the fathers, rules and regulations have been laid down, covering the payment of income taxes, that have varied as the need for more revenue has mounted. Sometimes these regulations have been made retroactive and citizens who paid an honest tax at the time it was due, have been forced to pay further tax years afterward, under the impact of a threat of vicious penalties if they failed.
Inheritance taxes have also come into the field.
All this has created a situation in our tax life that would enable any administration so minded to lay a heavy and unequal hand on the citizenry of the country. An administration so minded could investigate or refrain from investigating, it could make further levy or let the old levy stand, as suited its will and convenience, and in making a further levy with penalties, it could bring ruin. An administration so minded could thus bring to the citizenry a reign of terror, it could silence criticism, it could crush all opposition. So comes tyranny in its blackest form.
Nor would the end be yet. For the governmental maw, not satiated with eating the mere incomes of the citizenry, would demand more of their goods, and the next move would be a capital levy in some form. Make no mistake about this. Such has been the consistent way of all governments embarking on this course. The move to take the capital the citizens have saved will be disguised as a means of alleviating the needs of the poor, or equalizing the burdens of government, of sharing the wealth. When that comes, the conquest of the citizens will be complete; [p. 375] tyranny will be enthroned and rule till liberty is again brought back across many bloody fields of battle. Thus will history again repeat itself.(31)
Our fathers knew all these approaches of tyranny. They could hear its muffled tread afar off. They left us signs and warnings to quicken our ears, they set up for us bulwarks across his path. So well did they do their work that for scores of years tyranny did not leave its lair. Human freedom and happiness and prosperity filled the land and joy abode in the hearts of the people. We forgot that tyranny lived. Then it left its den in the night, and began stalking our liberties even as a wild beast creeps silently, through the darkness upon its victim.
The Constitution is our sole shield against this crouching beast; it is our sole weapon of defense against tyrannys freedom-destroying springs.(32) (J. Reuben Clark, 1938, Vital Speeches, 5:176- 7)
Taxes Aid Revolutionists. At a recent business conference, the chairman is quoted as having said, with reference to our tax structure, which he said could be improved, but that taxes would continue to be high for a long time: Better, then, to face up to this fact, and then go ahead with business expansion plans. As a short range effect, business will be helping to get and keep the economy on its feet and the principles of private enterprise more firmly entrenched.
The ultimate principle behind this is just as sinister as the no-trouble concept. It reduces itself to this: Accept the spendthrift policies of government, and make no fight against them, take no aggressive stand, and, of course, no aggressive measures, but make all the money [p. 376] you can, and so furnish to the revolutionary crew more taxes with which to carry out all their perverting plans and policies.
It is reported further that business and industry are at the moment much perturbed lest there should be a violent depression that shall bring on trouble; so we must do more pump priming. Here again we are to yield all that is askedgo ahead somehow and make money, more money, and more money, for the revolutionists to spend, tying us down, in the thought that this will forestall the evil day. (J. Reuben Clark, CN-9/25/49)
Unconstitutional Taxation. The difficulty with all governments, and one to which our own has fallen heir, is that the majority, by virtue of its right to place limitations on mans free agency, has undertaken to infringe upon the rights reserved to the individual, for the direct and immediate benefit of the majority individually rather than for the establishment of law and order. For example: the Constitution expressly prohibits taking of personal property for public purposes without just compensation. Under the guise of taxation, the Constitution is violated and property is taken from one and given to another.(33) This demonstrates clearly the power to tax is the power to destroy. That is the course which we now pursue. Even here it is a question of the proper use of our free agency. The Constitution defines our rights. Our difficulties today come as a result of the use we make of our own free agency in preserving and protecting these rights, which should be unalienable, as declared . . . .
I for myself have long since determined that a safe [p. 377] criterion by which movements political, social or religious can be judged meritoriously is by their impact upon our Godly attribute of free agency. (Henry D. Moyle, 1957, RS- 44:576)
Government Plunder.(34) When governments plunder and then legalize it, they may not expect their citizens to do less than better the example; and to say further, mass robbery and plunder are no different from individual robbery and plunder except they are infinitely more disastrous and dangerous to the body politic. Avarice, greed, covetousness, dishonesty, idleness, are not made virtues because they become the prompting, guiding traits of groups. The great moral principles of the Ten Commandments are still basic to an ordered, free society and government . . . .
Washington and his compatriots never contemplated that this great document should permit one group of citizens to prey upon another, nor that it would protect the plunderer in the possession of his plunder, nor that one group should be privileged over another, nor that one classwhether high or low, rich or poorshould profit by the robbing of another.(35) (J. Reuben Clark, 2/22/35)
Tax Reduction. We should all like to see taxes reduced. But the tax reduction should so far as possible be divorced from mere political considerations.(36) No tax plan is sound, as a matter of political science, which does not apply to all the citizens. Every citizen should have a [p. 378] personal dollar-interest in how all the tax money is spent. (J. Reuben Clark, 11/20/45)
Gold And Silver. A great principle is involved in this money question. The Constitution of the United States undoubtedly contemplated the use of both gold and silver as coin and as tender in the payment of debts. The framers of that instrument held the views which were then current as to the necessity of having both metals in circulation as money . . . .
We have been led to expect that there would be attempts made to infringe upon the Constitution . . . . It is well for us who reside in these mountains to divest ourselves of prejudice and look upon these questions as free from passion as possible, and cultivate a conservative feeling. It certainly would be, in my opinion, a violation of the Constitution for silver advocates to attempt to strike down gold and to deprive it of its function as money and as a tender in payment of debts. So also is it a violation of the Constitution to attempt to make gold the only metal that possesses the function as a tender in payment of debts. Gold and silver should both be upheld and used, and any attempt to deprive either of these metals of its value as a tender in payment of debts seems to me a clear violation of the spirit of the Constitution. (George Q. Cannon, 1896, JI-31:523-4)
Church Opposed to Receiving Subsidies. As a matter of general policy, the BYU Board of Trustees has long adhered to a position opposed to general federal aid to education. We have always objected to the Church or any of its branches or agencies receiving any subsidy or gift from the government. Consequently, our specific instructions to Dr. Wilkinson have been that the Brigham Young University should not accept any such subsidy from the federal government . . . . We have steadfastly refused to participate in any federal educational program which is based upon the subsidy principle.
In all his statements on federal aid to education, made while he was president of Brigham Young University, Dr. Ernest Wilkinson has merely followed the instructions and directives of the Board of Trustees of the University. (President David O. McKay, DN-11/2/64)
1. The most cogent reason for restricting the interference of government is the great evil of adding unnecessarily to its power. Every function superadded to those already exercised by the government causes its influence over hopes and fears to be more widely diffused, and converts, more and more, the active and ambitious part of the public into hangers-on of the government, or of some party which aims at becoming the government. (John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, V)
2. The truth is that the government cannot give if it does not take from somebody. A subsidy is never paid by the government out of its own funds; it is at the expense of the taxpayer that the state grants subsidies. Inflation and credit expansion, the preferred methods of present-day government openhandedness, do not add anything to the amount of resources available. They make some people more prosperous, but only to the extent that they make others poorer. (Ludwig von Mises, Bureaucracy, P. 84)
3. Is it not manifest that there must exist in our midst an immense amount of misery which is a normal result of misconduct, and ought not to be dissociated from it? There is a notion, always more or less prevalent and just now vociferously expressed, that all social suffering is removable, and that it is the duty of somebody or other to remove it. Both these beliefs are false. To separate pain from ill-doing is to fight against the constitution of things, and will be followed by far more pain. Saving men from the natural penalties of dissolute living, eventually necessitates the infliction of artificial penalties in solitary cells, on tread-wheels, and by the lash. (Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus The State, P. 23)
4. To provide for us in our necessities is not in the power of government. It would be a vain presumption in statesmen to think they can do it. The people maintain them, and not they the people. It is in the power of government to prevent much evil; it can do very little positive good in this, or perhaps in anything else. (Edmund Burke, Works 5:133)
5. Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated; and that, as it was never meant they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for proposes which the enumeration did not place under their action; consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of the purposes for which they may raise money. (Thomas Jefferson, Works 7:79)
6. I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that though the people support the Government the Government should not support the people.
The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood. (Pres. Grover Cleveland, Essays On Liberty 3:254)
7. The administration of private justice between the citizens of the same State, the supervision of agriculture and of other concerns of a similar nature, all those things, in short, which are proper to be provided for by local legislation, can never be desirable cares of a general jurisdiction. (Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 17)
8. We are still told that slum clearance with federal tax money will eliminate crime and juvenile delinquency, although we know that it is people who make slums, whether they have little or lots of money. Slums do not make shoddy people; its the other way around, and no amount of governmental spending will ever change that fundamental fact of human nature.
Moreover, public housing projects do not really eliminate slums; they merely spread slum conditions to other parts of the city. Indeed, the projects themselves often become worse breeding places of crime and delinquency than any city ever saw before. (The Dan Smoot Report, 1/9/61)
9. The type and formula of most schemes of philanthropy or humanitarianism is this: A and B put their heads together to decide what C shall be made to do for D. The radical vice of all these schemes, rom a sociological point of view, is that C is not allowed a voice in the matter, and his position, character, and interests, as well as the ultimate effects on society through Cs interest, are entirely overlooked. I call C the Forgotten Man. (William Graham Sumner, What Social Classes Owe To Each Other, P. 107)
10. In his letter to Edmund Pendleton of January 21, 1792, James Madison said that the Report of the Secretary of the Treasury . . . broaches a new Constitutional doctrine of vast consequence, and demanding the serious attention of the public. I consider it myself as subverting the fundamental and characteristic principle of the Government; as contrary to the true and fair, as well as the received construction, and as bidding defiance to the sense in which the Constitution is known to have been proposed, advocated, and adopted. If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions. (Works 1:546)
11. The mission of the law is not to oppress persons and plunder them of their property, even though the law may be acting in a philanthropic spirit. Its mission is to protect persons and property.
Furthermore, it must not be said that the law may be philanthropic if, in the process, it refrains from oppressing persons and plundering them of their property; this would be a contradiction. The law cannot avoid having an effect upon persons and property; and if the law acts in any manner except to protect them, its actions then necessarily violate the liberty of persons and their right to own property. (Frederic Bastiat, The Law, P. 68)
12. When societys agency goes beyond its authentic function of defending all of societys members equally and without favor and is employed as an agency of plunder to help some members at the expense of other members, then and only then can the actions of the agency be called slavery. Likewise, plundering the honest fruits of ones labor for the benefit of others classifies as robberylegal, perhaps, but robbery none theless. (Leonard E. Read, GovernmentAn Ideal Concept, P. 60)
13. Nothing can enter the public treasury for the benefit of one citizen or one class unless other citizens and other classes have been forced to send it in. If every person draws from the treasury the amount that he has put in it, it is true that the law then plunders nobody. But this procedure does nothing for the persons who have no money. It does not promote equality of income. The law can be an instrument of equalization only as it takes from some persons and gives to other persons. When the law does this, it is an instrument of plunder. (Frederic Bastiat, The Law, P. 30-1)
14. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd. (Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America 2:339)
15. The essential question isHow much is he compelled to labour for other benefit than his own, and how much can he labour for his own benefit? The degree of his slavery varies according to the ratio between that which he is forced to yield up and that which he is allowed to retain; and it matters not whether his master is a single person or a society. If, without option, he has to labour for the society, and receives from the general stock portion as the society awards him, he becomes a slave to the society. Socialistic arrangements necessitate an enslavement of this kind; and towards such an enslavement many recent measures, and still more the measures advocated, are carrying us. (Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus The State, P. 42-3)
16. There seems no getting people to accept the truth, which nevertheless is con spicuous enough, that the welfare of a society and the justice of its arrangements are at bottom dependent on the characters of its members; and that improvement in neither can take place without that improvement in character which results from carrying on peaceful industry under the restraints imposed by an orderly social life.
The belief, not only of the socialists but also of those so-called Liberals who are diligently preparing the way for them, is that by due skill an ill-working humanity may be framed into well- working institutions. It is a delusion. The defective natures of citizens will show themselves in the bad acting of whatever social structure they are arranged into. There is no political alchemy by which you can get golden conduct out of leaden instincts. (Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus The State, P. 52-3)
17. These do-gooders are the initiators of obstacles to creative energy and its exchange. They keep us from becoming our potential selves. They take away our sustenance which is but the extension of our lives. They, in this action, differ from Robin Hood only in that they are less direct. In principle there is no distinction whatsoever. Both actions add up to the same thingthe aggressive taking of property (livelihood) without consentviciousness. Whether the action is given the unattractive label of legal thievery or the attractive label of social welfare is of small comfort to the persons from whom property or livelihood is taken. (Leonard E. Read, GovernmentAn Ideal Concept, P. 99)
18. I regard it as required by first principles, that the receipt of parish relief should be a peremptory disqualification for the franchise. He who cannot by his labour suffice for his own support has no claim to the privilege of helping himself to the money of others. By becoming dependent on the remaining members of the community for actual subsistence, he abdicates his claim to equal rights with them in other respects. Those to whom he is indebted for the continuance of his very existence may justly claim the exclusive management of those common concerns, to which he now brings nothing, or less than he takes away. (John Stuart Mill, Representative Government, VIII)
19. My contention is that even if the Problems of the Aged were as grave as all the propaganda indicates, the federal government should not act, because it cannot con stitutionally act in this field; it has no constitutional grant of power for such activity. The multitude of multi-million dollar federal programs which we already have are illegal and unconstitutional. The best way for the federal government to help the peopleold and young, sick and wellis to get off their backs. Get the tax collectors hands out of the pockets of the people, so that the people can save their own money, and manage their own affairs, and take care of themselves.
Americans, when left free of governmental meddling, have always taken better care of themselves and of the sick and helpless among them, than government will ever manage to do regardless of how much we enlarge the national program. (The Dan Smoot Report, 1/2/61)
20. I believe that any measure by government to make parents less responsible for their childrenor children less responsible for the welfare of their parentsis another step in the direction of tyranny and the destruction of a moral society. If it continues from the cradle to the grave, it will make us only things to be manipulated, instead of persons to be respected. (Dean Russell, Essays On Liberty 9:16)
21. Unlike private insurance, the protection afforded by the social security program rests upon the willingness and ability of government officials to authorize future ap propriations from future tax revenue. The so-called fund has not been invested in productive property. In place of the money collected to go into the fund, there are receipts saying in effect that the government used that money to meet current operating expenses of one kind or another. These government bonds held in the fund can only be redeemed in valuable goods or services as any other government bonds are redeemedby future levies against the private property and productive efforts of individuals. (Paul L. Poirot, The Freeman, November, 1962, P. 48)
22. The difficulties which social insurance systems are facing everywhere and which have become the cause of recurrent discussion of the crisis of social security are the consequence of the fact that an apparatus designed for the relief of poverty has been turned into an instrument for the redistribution of income, a redistribution supposedly based on some non-existing principle of social justice but in fact determined by ad hoc decisions. (F. A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, P. 302)
23. It is not merely that inflation breeds the gambling spirit and corruption and dishonesty in a nation. Inflation is itself an immoral act on the part of government. When modern governments inflate by increasing the paper-money supply, directly or indirectly, they do in principle what kings once did when they clipped the coins. Diluting the money supply with paper is the moral equivalent of diluting the milk supply with water. Notwithstanding all the pious pretenses of governments that inflation is some evil visitation from without, inflation is practically the result of deliberate governmental policy. (Henry Hazlitt, What You Should Know About Inflation, P. 131-2)
24. It is important to keep this appalling worldwide picture constantly before our minds. It reminds us that inflation is nothing but a great swindle, and that this swindle is practiced in varying degrees, sometimes ignorantly and sometimes cynically, by nearly every government in the world. This swindle erodes the purchasing power of everybodys income and the purchasing power of everybodys savings. It is a concealed tax, and the most vicious of all taxes. It taxes the incomes and savings of the poor by the same percentage as the income and savings of the rich. It falls with greatest force precisely on the thrifty, on the aged, on those who cannot protect themselves by speculation or by demanding and getting higher money incomes to compensate for the depreciation of the monetary unit. (Henry Hazlitt, What You Should Know About Inflation, P. 76)
25. Why does this swindle go on? It goes on because governments wish to spend, partly for armaments and in most cases preponderantly for subsidies and handouts to various pressure groups, but lack the courage to tax as much as they spend. It goes on, in other words, because governments wish to buy the votes of some of us while concealing from the rest of us that those votes are being bought with our own money. (Henry Hazlitt, What You Should Know About Inflation, P. 76-7)
26. It cannot be said too often that inflation is never an unavoidable natural disaster; it is always the result of the weakness or ignorance of those in charge of monetary policythough the division of responsibility may be spread so wide that nobody is alone to blame. The authorities may have regarded whatever they tried to avert through inflation as greater evils; it is always their choice of policy, however, that brings about inflation. (F. A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, P. 295)
27. The fiscal concomitant of state welfarism or intervention is inflation. Politically, it is impossible to finance socialism by any other means. Therefore, for those of us who do not like inflation, only one recourse is opendivest government of its power to practice socialism. (Leonard E. Read, Elements of Libertarian Leadership, P. 167)
28. I suppose its meaning to be, that Congress may collect taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare, in those cases wherein the Constitution empowers them to act for the general welfare. To suppose that it was meant to give them a distinct substantive power, to do any act which might tend to the general welfare, is to render all the enumerations useless, and to make their powers unlimited. We must seek the power therefore in some other clause of the Constitution. (Thomas Jefferson, Works 7:602)
29. It has been urged and echoed, that the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States, amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defence or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for ob jections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction. (James Madison, Federalist No. 41)
30. We have no money to bestow upon a class of people that is not taken from the whole people. Our first concern must be the nation as a whole. This outweighs in its importance the consideration of a class and the latter must yield to the former . . . .
The property of the people belongs to the people. To take it from them by taxation cannot be justified except by urgent public necessity. Unless this principle be recognized our country is no longer secure, our people no longer free. (Calvin Coolidge, His Ideals of Citizenship, P. 209-210)
31. The various kinds of collectivism, communism, fascism, etc., differ among them selves in the nature of the goal toward which they want to direct the efforts of society. But they all differ from . . . individualism . . . in refusing to recognize . . . [that] the ends of the individuals are supreme. In short, they are totalitarian . . .
The social goal, or common purpose, for which society is to be organized is usually vaguely described as the common good, the general welfare, or the general interest. (F. A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, p. 56-7)
32. No matter how well-intentioned a federal program; no matter how honorable and patriotic the people who support and administer it; no matter how big a majority of the citizens themselves may want the programwhen our federal government does something which it has no constitutional grant of power to do, our government is a dictatorship. It may for a while seem a good dictatorship, but every government permitted to become a dictatorship must ultimately resort to the same brutal tactics that the Soviets use to maintain what they regard as their own good dictatorship of the proletariat. (The Dan Smoot Report, Jan. 6, 1964)
33. Taxation that is truly with the consent of the taxpayer, as distinguished from being imposed by some on others, is fully within the definition of individual liberty . . . . This, of course, cannot mean that each individual taxpayer is to pay only that which he voluntarily decides to pay. It means rather that all shall pay uniformly what the most of them voluntarily agree they should all pay. It is true that a dissenting minority is constrained also to pay, but the extent to which its members are constrained to pay is limited to and protected by that which the most voluntarily impose on themselves; while, at the same time, it provides that no minority group may employ its power of dissent as a means of enjoying the benefits of government while escaping its cost . . . .
There is, of course, no freedom but only tax tyranny when the mass of the electorate supports heavy taxation of a small minority, while itself escaping the burden . . . . It is far better that the majority surely and voluntarily vote taxes on itself while a minority escapes, for that is freedom, than that a majority impose taxes on a minority which the majority escapes, for that is tyranny. The majority has power to protect itself, the minority does not. (Bradford B. Smith, Liberty and Taxes, P. 8-10)
34. When a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns itwithout his consent and without compensation, and whether by force or by fraudto anyone who does not own it, then I say that property is violated; that an act of plunder is committed. (Frederic Bastiat, The Law26)
35. How is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime . . . . (Frederic Bastiat, The Law, P. 21)
36. It is also important, that the assembly which votes the taxes, either general or local, should be elected exclusively by those who pay something towards the taxes imposed. Those who pay no taxes, disposing by their votes of other peoples money, have every motive to be lavish and none to economize. As far as money matters are concerned, any power of voting possessed by them is a violation of the fundamental principle of free government; a severance of the power of control from the interest in its beneficial exercise. It amounts to allowing them to put their hands into other peoples pockets for any purpose which they think fit to call a public one. (John Stuart Mill, Representative Government, VIII) [p. 379]