cjcampbell

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  1. cjcampbell

    Suicide

    Um, your friend's dad committed suicide and now your friend is despondent. That is not good. Seeing him, you probably would not be surprised at the number of teens who eventually kill themselves after a parent commits suicide. This is something you need to talk to your bishop about. And a school counselor, too. Mitch is wondering about a few things, such as whether he could have done anything to prevent what his dad did. Well, maybe he could have and maybe not. But how on earth was he supposed to know? The important thing is that anything he might have done differently does not matter now. It was his dad's choice to do this thing, not Mitch's. But the only way he is going to get over his guilt and sadness is with some serious counseling, prayer, and his friends letting him know that they are there for him. He has to learn that it was not his fault. It was not his fault. He is not ready to hear that now, maybe, but that is why you talk to the bishop and to the school counselor.
  2. cjcampbell

    Negative income tax

    I believe we were talking about a negative income tax, which is armed robbery, pure and simple. I said earlier that I believe educating the poor and making them productive is a worthwhile endeavor. However, I believe even there that there should be a better way of doing that than by using the power of the gun.
  3. cjcampbell

    Negative income tax

    If you really believe this, I feel sorry for you. Yes, there are rich people who gained their wealth from oppressing the poor. But it is sad to think that anyone would sincerely believe that this is the only way to accumulate wealth.
  4. President Hinckley's funeral will be held within a few days. I would expect a relatively simple affair in keeping with Church guidelines on funerals. Sometime, probably a few days, after the funeral the Quorum of the Twelve will meet and ordain President Thomas S. Monson as president of the Church. President Monson will select his counselors and they will all be set apart in their new callings. Other than that, things will continue just as they have before. President Monson will undoubtedly be inspired to focus on areas of the gospel that may be somewhat different than what President Hinckley did, but we will not see any radical changes in how the Church does things.
  5. cjcampbell

    Negative income tax

    As a 20-something you might learn to be little more skeptical of political rhetoric. I would bet that you have no idea what those "decent paying jobs being downsized, sent overseas and whatnot" are or were. Political candidates in Michigan can talk about "bringing jobs back to Michigan" but they know that those jobs are not coming back, no matter what anyone does. There are no more brakemen in the cabooses of trains. No more buggy whip manufacturers. No more lines of men threading nuts onto bolts. Overseas or anywhere else. Nor can there be. There are critical shortages of people in almost every modern career field. We are producing less than half the pilots and airplane mechanics we need. The accounting firms are screaming for qualified people. The health care industry is approaching total breakdown from the lack of qualified people to serve it. And so it goes in every industry in America. Yep, the manufacturing jobs are mostly gone, and good riddance. Most people don't have to spend their days picking cotton and peas, or harvesting wheat, or herding cattle any more, either. Our needs have changed, and the job market along with them. I am sorry, but if all you know or want to do is to solder this resistor onto that circuit board exactly the same way every time, your job is gone. Where is it said that people have a God-given right to be paid for doing things that no one needs them to do any more? You also probably have no idea what loopholes there are in the tax codes. Owners of corporations pay double taxes, or did you not know that? Their corporations have to pay taxes, and then the owners (many of them widows and children) have to pay taxes again when they take money out of the corporation. No other kind of business has to do that. I would be very interested in your pointing out these supposed loopholes. I am a CPA, and I will be darned if I can find all these loopholes the politicians keep ranting about. Interesting, isn't it, that Presidential candidates (every one of them) can go on and on about tax breaks for people they don't like, but they never name any of these tax breaks, nor do they bother to mention how they did not do anything about any of these tax breaks in all the years they served in Congress or the Senate or as governor or whatever. In fact, every one of the Presidential candidates has a record of raising taxes. Every one of them has voted in favor of the supposed pork barrel projects you say you don't like. But they all say they are against these things. Federal Income Taxes are not the bulk of taxes anyway. Four out of five adult Americans hardly pay any at all! They get a refund of everything that was withheld from them. So what was that about the middle class paying the bulk of taxes? Just how do you define "middle class" in a classless society anyway? Most people in the "middle class" in America hope someday to be rich. Even you might have such aspirations, young as you are. :) "Middle class" is as arbitrary as the government poverty line. It is even more subject to political manipulation and rhetoric than the definition of what is "poor" in this country. Here is a fact: politicians want you focused on income taxes because you don't pay very much in income taxes. It makes it easier to hide all the other taxes that you do pay, such as Social Security, sales taxes, gasoline taxes, electricity taxes, phone taxes, taxes on your clothes, taxes on your toothbrush, taxes on your TV, etc. There are no loopholes in any of those taxes. The rich pay them as well as the poor. Arguably, the rich pay more of them because they consume more. Ask any business owner how much he or she remits to federal, state and local governments. It will be more than the net payroll and any business withdrawals he pays to himself and all of his employees combined! There are very few businesses that are exceptions to this rule. So who is really the owner of every business and every piece of property in the entire country? The government thinks it is entitled to a bigger share of every business transaction than all of the employees and owners of businesses combined. Yet it does none of the work. It puts up none of the capital. It takes none of the risk. So where does government get off thinking it is entitled to the lion's share of what everybody produces? A typical retail business makes about 3% profit on sales, after it pays for inventory, lights, heat, employees, garbage collection, theft, etc. But states boldly demand 8% or more of gross sales! The government netted more than three times from tobacco sales what the tobacco companies ever did. Yet that did not keep governments from suing tobacco companies for all the rest of their profits to supposedly pay for the medical burden caused by tobacco. In fact, all that money simply went into the general fund of these states. Then, when people lost their jobs, the government blamed the employers. The chutzpah is absolutely incredible. You tax and regulate business to death, then blame the employers when they go out of business. The total tax burden, even for the rich, is now far higher than found even in King Noah's kleptocracy. King Noah was destroyed by God for it. I fear for our country. The unmitigated governmental greed for a cut of every single transaction has resulted in the highest tax burdens in history, and they are still screaming that it is not enough to help the poor, police our neighborhoods, keep our houses from burning down, defend our borders, fix our roads, or do any of the other things they keep promising to do. And you know what? Even if they took absolutely everything, it would still not be enough. You are only in your 20s. You have not yet learned that you are a slave. That you spend more than half your working life just to pay your taxes. That this is just as true for the rich as it is for the poor. But you are just beginning to find out. You have reached the stage where evil people are having to tell you that it is the rich, or the corporations, or some other group that has enslaved you. In fact, it is your own government, that government whose every employee takes an oath to uphold your freedoms. What a laugh. No amount of organized theft can ever help the poor. All it can do is create more of them. All it can do is increase the number of people who are dependent for their food, their water, and every necessity of life on their ruling overlords. You want to know why politicians want to help you out with your health care? It is so you will do what you are told, or they will take your health care away from you! It is all about control. Those who give you a thing, forbid others to provide it, and make you pay for it whether you want it or not -- these are your slave masters and you are their slave. Do you know the difference between a mugger and a politician? A mugger will beat you up and take all your money. Once. All politicians do that, too, but they keep coming back, year after year, and they demand your loyalty, and they make you fight for them and defend them, and they never let you go. Personally, I would rather deal with muggers. But go ahead. Just keep on believing those who tell you that those social programs are for your good. Stay asleep. Stay asleep.
  6. cjcampbell

    3 month supply

    I have to agree about the olive oil. I am reaching the point where I use only olive oil, if I can help it. No butter or margarine or shortening or vegetable oil at all. There are some things you simply cannot store for a year. Fresh fruit and vegetables should be the most important part of your diet, for example, but they do not necessarily store well even in a root cellar. I would be hard pressed to claim that powdered milk is nutritionally equivalent to fresh milk, too. That said, we should store what we can. There may come a time when the only things available will be canned fruits and vegetables and powdered milk.
  7. cjcampbell

    Negative income tax

    That is an outrageous suggestion, if he really made it. No one is suggesting that the poor and destitute should be left to starve. However, the poor are not helped in any way by armed robbery of the rich. Even if they were, it would not be just. The poor should be educated and made productive and paid a proper wage. The number one cause of poverty in the US is divorce. Every CPA and divorce lawyer knows this. You can take almost any millionaire couple and impoverish them with divorce. Poverty is caused by single parent households. It is caused by illicit use of drugs. It is caused by sloth. It is caused by corruption and exploitation and slavery. It is caused by every evil that the prophets have warned us against since the time of Adam. If you want to fight poverty, then fight evil. Then poverty will disappear on its own. I cannot cure worldwide poverty any more than I can take away everybody's free agency and cure evil. But I can work to keep myself from becoming poor. I can teach others who are willing to listen from becoming poor. I do not pretend that I can cure poverty or even alleviate significantly with a negative income tax or any other government program. But I can fight it on an individual level, one person at a time. So that is what I do.
  8. cjcampbell

    Negative income tax

    Nonsense. Name one thing that the poor pay that the rich do not pay for. I have never heard such a ridiculous thesis in my entire life. I think you are confused. Your argument is an attempt to justify robbing a man because you plan on patronizing his store later. Your ideal economy appears to be that those who refuse to work should benefit from the labors of those that do. No, what I object to is armed robbery. So now you are claiming that those who object to being robbed are engaging in social engineering?!? What an incredibly arrogant thing to say! I have no objection to voluntary cooperative agreements. If people in a community want to get together and build a road or build a fire station that is one thing. But a negative income tax is blatant theft -- there is no mutual benefit. It takes money, at gunpoint, from those that earned it for the sole benefit of those that did not. There is no just rationalization for armed robbery.
  9. cjcampbell

    Negative income tax

    One thing to remember about the elderly is that income is not a good indicator of wealth. Many elderly fall below the poverty line, but in fact few would consider them poor. I know multi-millionaires who have almost no income. They tie up their estates in trusts and other vehicles in order to mitigate estate taxes. So the trust gets the income, not the person. The little income they have is usually retirement pensions and insurance annuities. Their expenses are smaller, too. Their homes are paid off. They are not buying new cars. All their medical is covered. This is not to say that poverty is not a problem among the elderly. But the statistics can be grossly distorted by arbitrary definitions of poverty. I can guarantee, though, that if you do not accumulate savings for your old age, continually re-finance your house so that it is never paid off, insist on buying a new car every few years, etc., that in old age you will indeed face extreme poverty.
  10. cjcampbell

    Are you prepared for continued high inflation?

    The stock market had largely recovered from the crash of 1929 by April of 1930, reaching the levels of early 1929, although still below its peak of September 1929. The crash certainly was not the cause of the Great Depression. An important lesson for investors: if the market falls, don't sell! If you can be patient and have a diversified portfolio, you will get your money back and then some. I am well aware of Elder Bensen's book recommendations. Most general authorities probably would not agree with him. None Dare Call It Conspiracy is a run-of-the-mill sky-is-falling conspiracy book. It is worth noting that not one of the dire events predicted in this book ever came to pass. Gary Allen is a journalist, not an economist. There is nothing to indicate that he had the faintest idea of what he was talking about. It is a great book if you are a John Bircher or some other nut out on the political fringe, but hardly a serious treatise on economics. In any event, it would be a severe mistake to confuse any general authority's political opinions with Church doctrine. It is worth noting that communism has all but disappeared, the former communist countries are more capitalist than their capitalist foes, and the few families that are supposed to control the economy of the world have been replaced by technology gurus, Japanese investors, and oil sheikhs. The Trilateral Commission (a very public study group, by the way, not a secret conspiracy) never did take over the world, and I haven't seen any black helicopters. Yes, I will agree with Milton Friedman that monetary contraction caused by the Federal Reserve was also the major cause of the Great Depression, but who was chairman of the Senate Finance Committee that was supposed to be overseeing the Fed? It was Reed Smoot! The one thing that can be said for Reed Smoot was that up until that time he served his country and his Church very well. It is not as if he deliberately planned to start the Great Depression, you know. The other thing that can be said is that if Ezra Taft Benson had been in his position that things might have been much worse. Certainly Senator Smoot did not do it all by himself. Some countries had started experiencing severe contraction as early as 1928. Crackpot economic theories (like those of Gary Allen) had taken hold in much of the world and there was enormous political pressure for greater protectionism and measures to fight inflation. Not unlike today -- except that the crackpots are still in the minority. Reed Smoot also needed a majority vote of both houses of Congress and the signature of President Hoover. There is plenty of blame to go around. What I do not understand is how a populist, ultra-right wing anti-trade faction has managed to take over so much of the Republican Party. The Republicans were specifically founded to fight slavery and promote free trade. Its battle cry was "Free trade and free men!" So now we have bunch of people calling themselves conservative Republicans arguing for core liberal Democratic values of protectionism and less freedom. Go figure.
  11. cjcampbell

    Cold And Flu Season

    It is not a moth; it is a butterfly. The photo was taken at the butterfly sanctuary in Camp John Hay, Baguio, the Philippines. It was a somewhat cool, overcast day. Butterflies are basically solar-powered, so very few were flying on that day. The butterfly was placed on my lip by the docent. Being a butterfly, it was not about to expend any energy it did not absolutely need to, so it stayed. It tickles. Those tiny little feet really have a grip. They are actually hanging onto the tip of my nose. I know missionaries are not supposed to have mustaches, but this seemed a good exception. :) Our mission president and his wife were with us and we all took pictures of each other with butterflies in hair, on noses, lapels, etc. Sister Hatch really hated the creepy-crawly feeling of butterflies in her hair, and her expression in that picture shows it!
  12. cjcampbell

    Paying Tithing As A Married Couple

    Nothing like a few unexpected bills to lighten your day, eh? Well, sounds like you guys are on the right track. Good luck to your husband in his new job!
  13. cjcampbell

    Intolerance on the social left

    Frankly, the teacher should be fired. I am weary of these public tantrums on both left and right.
  14. cjcampbell

    Are you prepared for continued high inflation?

    The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act was the proximate cause of the Great Depression. It destroyed the economy of the entire world, caused the rise of Naziism and Fascism, forced Japan to carve out its own economic prosperity sphere, and thus precipitated a series of wars, including World War II, that killed millions of people, paved the way for oppressive communism to take over much of the world and prevented missionary work in many nations for decades. Senator Reed Smoot, who co-sponsored the bill, was an apostle at the time, yet he made one of the worst economic and foreign policy decisions in the entire history of the world. Even the rise of international terrorism has its roots in the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930. The people of Utah were not amused and Senator Smoot was swept out of office in 1932 by Elbert Thomas, another member of the Church, who correctly predicted that Smoot's bill would cause extreme hardship on the Japanese. If any single event can be said to have encouraged the leaders of the Church to stay out of politics and the economy, it would have to be the passage of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. True, Ezra Taft Benson served in Eisenhower's cabinet and was a vocal anti-communist, but modern-day leaders have learned to be much more circumspect in their public pronouncements. We are now a world-wide church with less than half of its members in the United States. We have members in all political parties all over the world. It is not a matter of offending these members; it is a matter of concentrating on the work of our missionaries and changing people's lives through reforming personal behavior, not the behavior of their governments. If the Church started taking sides on some of these issues it would be in real danger of being seen as a representative of America, not of God. We are not about to make that mistake again.
  15. cjcampbell

    Are you prepared for continued high inflation?

    Okay, the best defense against inflation is your food storage. If you have a year's supply, you are always living on last year's prices. You bought in bulk or on sales, so you paid less for it in the first place. You cannot eat silver or gold. Besides, silver and gold are just as subject to inflation as paper money. Inflation is all about money supply. If too many dollars are chasing too few goods and services, you will get inflation. Inflation is not all bad. If you have debt, you are paying back money you borrowed with money that is now worth less. Inflation makes debt easier to repay and makes depositors think they are earning a higher rate of interest. That is why banks encourage mild inflation, but discourage high inflation. It is true that inflation can be a form of taxation when governments create it by printing money, but inflation is not always caused this way. Congress has the responsibility under the Constitution to regulate the value of money. It does this through the Federal Reserve and by issuing bonds (which take money out of circulation) and by repaying those bonds (which puts money back into circulation). It can also attempt to control the value of various commodities and services by adjusting how much of those commodities and services it buys. For example, the national petroleum reserve is nothing more or less than an attempt to control the supply of petroleum and, therefore, its price. Governments in the past have tried to control prices through direct regulation, but this is almost always unsuccessful, creating shortages and black markets. Sometimes there are inflationary pressures that a government cannot control. For example, if enough dollars are exported overseas, foreign powers can influence the value of the dollar by either hoarding it or releasing it. The trick is doing this without hurting your own trade. The dollar has manifestly been overvalued for decades. This is why jobs and everything else are cheaper outside the US. Much of our current inflation is the result of a deliberate attempt by our own financial system to reduce the value of the dollar and our trade deficit. This will bring jobs back home and make our exports more valuable. It will also slow illegal immigration. The simplistic views of Joel Skousen and others hail to a mercantilist philosophy that predates even Adam Smith and The Wealth of Nations. Kings once used gold as the only measure of wealth. It was a poor measure, subject to huge fluctuations as caches of gold were discovered or lost. Gold and silver standards fail for the obvious reason that we would still have an economy if gold and silver did not exist at all. We would still have markets, trade, employers, employees, small businesses and giant multi-national corporations, even if gold and silver did not exist. There is no such thing as 'real money.' Money is always an artificial measuring stick, whether it is represented by gold, silver, seashells, or blips in a computer. Barter systems are simply another form of money.