Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; (D&C 98:10)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Threatened Demise of Religion in the Public Square

"from where I sit, the greatest challenge faced by the [LDS] Church is the challenge to religious liberty that is growing worldwide."  The Threatened Demise of Religion in the Public Square. Elder Lance B. Wickman, at J. Reuben Clark Law Society on 11 February 2010.

Limits of Federal Government Power

What are the limits to the powers of the Federal Government? In this clip, Pete Stark, House Representative from California's 13th district, says that it can do most anything in this country.

Thanks to DocMuscles for letting me know.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Proposition 100 Passes

My first reaction was WOW. I could not believe that it passed by such a large margin. I kept going back and forth over this. I do believe that education can be a great equalizer. Equalizing opportunity for the rising generation.

I did vote no because I truly felt like it was best. I do believe that reform can cause more dollars to be spent in the classroom. I feel like we were going in the direction of bankrupt California. Not that this was going to be the last straw but that it was one of a thousand cuts to drain us financially.

Anyway, I accept what the voters have chosen. I am happy that it has a constitutional expiration date. It will be interesting to see if this really will be for only 3 years. I expect a campain in 3 years of "Yes on X, not a new tax" campaign. I hope we take this opportunity to reform education and make it more efficient.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Vote Tomorrow on Proposition 100, AZ Sale Tax Increase

Tomorrow we vote as a state whether or not we increase our state sales tax by 1% for a constitutionally limited 3 years. Regardless of how you vote, you should make an informed decision.

I have found some other information concerning Proposition 100 that we are voting on tomorrow. See also my previous post on Prop 100.

ABC 15 has a news piece about it. Click on "Governor Brewer, Byron Schlomach discuss Prop. 100" on this page. Following are some notes I took on the video.
0:00 - 0:20
ABC 15 News intro to story on Proposition 100

0:20 - 2:35 (2 min 15 sec)
Interview with Governor Jan Brewer who wants us to vote for Proposition 100

Stats from Jan Brewer:
2.2 billion cut out of the 1/3 we are able to cut
2/3 we are not able to cut because of mandate from voters and Federal government

2:35 - 3:25 (2 min 50 sec)
Some time spent on AZ Senate Bill 1070

3:25 - 5:25 (2 min 0 sec)
"Never voted for a tax increase" Jan Brewer

5:25 - 8:29 (2 min 56 sec)
Interview with Byron Slomac of The Goldwater Institute who wants us to vote no on Proposition 100
"1 billion dollars out of the private sector in to the public sector"

"We have nearly one non-teacher for every teacher in our schools right now"
I would like to see a graph or chart that shows what is in that mandated 2/3 of the budget and what is in the remaining third. The point about there being nearly 1 non-teacher for every teach also stood out to me.

An article from ASU's site seemed to indicate that the budget passed that includes the sales tax increase accounts for the other 2 billion in shortfall. ("Arizona's Budget Crisis: How Did We Get Here and Where Are We Going?" from ASU's W. P. Carey school)

This new information has not changed my vote. I am still planning to vote no tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tax brackets over the past century

From flowingdata.com. I would like to see actual tax return data that included all the tax credits and such.


Here is "Anthem" as sung by Tommy Korberg from the musical Chess.

Tommy introduces the song like this, "It's a song of praise to his old country. At the same time he's not happy with what his country has become. It has a great deal to do with longing"


No man, no madness
Though their sad power may prevail
Can possess, conquer, my country's heart
They rise to fail
She is eternal
Long before nations' lines were drawn
When no flags flew, when no armies stood
My land was born

And you ask me why I love her
Through wars, death and despair
She is the constant, we who don't care
And you wonder will I leave her - but how?
I cross over borders but I'm still there now

How can I leave her?
Where would I start?
Let man's petty nations tear themselves apart
My land's only borders lie around my heart

Friday, April 23, 2010

Why I am voting no on Proposition 100, the Arizona Sales Tax Increase

I am planning to vote no on Proposition 100 coming up on the May 18 election. I cannot believe that all avenues have been explored to balance the budget. I cannot believe that adding a tax will help speed up the recovery of jobs in Arizona.

See ballotpedia for a write-up of both sides of the issue.

What you you all think?

--Update 5-5-2010--
A couple more links
There are two video links here and one hours long audio one.

Here is one of the videos that hit me strongly.

--Update 5-11-2010--
Deciding how to vote on this proposition has been the hardest to decide in a very long time. I have 7 children in the public education system and two more that will be. I want the best education possible. I am pretty settled on voting no for the following reasons.

Washington DC has one of the highest per student spending in the country and among the worst results.

Maybe a better solution would be to cut out the education middleman.

Since the passing of proposition 301 in 2000, a smaller percentage of education money actually gets to the classroom.

"If passed, Arizona would have the 5th highest sales tax rate in the country" http://www.noprop100.com/

Even if the tax expires in three years, it will put the brakes on a not so vibrant AZ economy. I think there are better ways to reform the system to cut out waste and still produce excellent students.

--Update 5-13-2010--
My friend Jen is on the School Board for Dysart School District. I called her this morning after a few emails back and forth. I wanted to understand her position well. She is for proposition 100. I respect Jen. She has worked hard for 1 1/2 years on the board.

To me it has come down to what will cause the least short term harm, because both ways will cause that. What will cause the greatest long term good?

By voting no, I will not put a brake on the recovery of the Arizona economy. Ronald Regan reduced taxes in the 80s and increased tax revenue. See the Wikipedia article on the Laffer curve and some videos explaining it.

I am also very concerned that we do not go the same direction as California and Washington state. They have increased tax so much and are not willing to cut to have a balanced budget.

Also by voting no, more teachers will be laid off, class sizes will increase, some computer of other resources may not get replaced.

By voting no, I will provide a greater chance for reform in the school funding formula so that the full amount of funds per student follow the student. Perhaps there can be a reduction in administrative costs at schools so that more money gets to the classroom. I will not hinder the recovery of the Arizona economy.

Ooma: Nearly Free Phone Service

About a month ago, I bought an Ooma Telo. We have been paying around $38 a month for Cox Communications telephone service. After using it for nearly a month, my wife was comfortable with us porting our existing number to it.

Just over a week ago the port finished. There were a couple of hiccups. I had to ask my sister in law to complain to Cox that she could not get through to my number. The voice quality is not always as good as Cox was.

For $38 a month, we will start to profit from our initial investment in just a few more months.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


That stands for Obama Is In Over His Head.

Texas figured it out. A lady recently asked Obama if he thought it was wise to raise taxes through the recently health care bill when the economy is only showing the tenderest growth. He spent 17 minutes not answering her question.

He really can talk but I don't think he is willing or able to face economic facts.

Hugh Hewitt has merchandise if you so choose to declare was is becoming more and more obvious.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Free Will Offering vs Charity from Tax

My friend Emily is happy that Obama's health care reform (HCR) has passed. It reminds me of a quote from Milton Friedman (numbers added)

There are four ways in which you can spend money.
[1] You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you're doing, and you try to get the most for your money.
[2] Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I'm not so careful about the content of the present, but I'm very careful about the cost.
[3] Then, I can spend somebody else's money on myself. And if I spend somebody else's money on myself, then I'm sure going to have a good lunch!
[4] Finally, I can spend somebody else's money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else's money on somebody else, I'm not concerned about how much it is, and I'm not concerned about what I get.
The bill just passed spends money like number 4. It is wasteful and more likely to breed corruption. We are running headlong into mountains of debt and have not considered repayment. It is irresponsible. It will prompt the health care givers to get out of the business or move elsewhere.

A better alternative is a plan by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Some points are:
- health care portability from job to job
- create state health insurance exchanges - a marketplace to compare difference policies will increase competition
- Increase transparency through a Healthcare Services Commission that relies on a public/private partnership
More details of the Patient Choice Act are here.

This is a more sensible plan. I cannot believe that we think raising taxes is going to get us out of this recession.

There are many that are out of jobs and also don't have access to health care. The best way to accomplish this is by free will offerings. Giving willingly either directly to someone you see in need or to charities that will offer relief.

Joseph Smith did not believe in Socialism.
Joseph accepted the economy of private property and individual enterprise. Even under the consecration of properties, individual stewards operated independently in a market economy, though they were obligated to return their "surplus" to the bishop
But capitalism never ruled Nauvoo as it did Chicago, a city that in 1844 was the same size as Nauvoo. The original name of the Nauvoo site, Commerce, was dropped after the Saints arrived. Rather than promising entrepreneurs great wealth, Joseph asked that "money be brought here to pay the poor for manufacturing." Profits were secondary to creating jobs.
(Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, Richard Lyman Bushman, 2005, pages 502 and 503, view online)
It can also be noted that he did not practice Capitalism in the same way. The focus was on lifting those in a poorer position instead of enriching yourself. Yet it was all voluntary. The obligation he refers to comes after I covenant to obey the law of consecration. Yet it is a voluntary covenant. I recognize my position as a beggar before God (Mos 4:16-27). I then promise to do my best to help others both physically and spiritually.

Socialism or charity from tax, promotes wastefulness and corruption. On the other hand, greedy, unchecked capitalism leaves the poor and poorest without relief. The ideal is the accountability and reward that comes from capitalism along with free will offerings lifting up the unfortunate among us. We assist them to become self sufficient. This is best achieved by capitalism and persuasion to acknowledge our positions as beggars before God.

"capitalism is the least worst system available to us — until Zion can be achieved" Geoff B.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The GOP 3 Year Pledge

Duane Patterson has made a 3 year pledge for the GOP. I cannot commit to 6 days a week. Yet I will continue to work to repeal the budget busting health care insurance reform bill now being passed.

I just donated a small amount to the National Republican Congressional Committee. I hope they continue to focus on how to regain a majority in Congress so that we can reverse Obamacare before it becomes another way to bankrupt the USA and deteriorates our access to health care.