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Feedback from July 19 and Beyond

Readers opine on religion and politics.

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Opinion, July 19, "Pandemonium"
Spot on.
Arthur D. Harbison
Via CW comments

Excellent. We needed that.
@Moises65445164
Via Twitter

After listening to the list of lies that are coming from President Donald Trump's mouth and his statements about fake news, I've come to realize that what he is perhaps saying, is that the fake news points back to his fake statements. So therefore, his lies are fake and the lies from him that the media are printing combine to make fake news. What do you think of that?
Jill Mower
Via CW comments

The traitor-in-chief needs to be abolished from the United States. It is beyond me that a person of no integrity, morals or values of any kind to write home about, got to be in the highest office in America. Where has people's common sense gone? Of course, as someone wrote, "Common Sense is not a flower that grows in everyone's garden." Are we surprised when he opens his mouth and a lie spews out? Not. I think of all the men and women that have died in the wars and I feel they died in vain. They died to protect our freedom and in a blink of an eye the traitor-in-chief has sold us down the Moskva River.
Patricia Gourdin
Via Facebook

Salt Lake City Weekly is/has always lowered their bar, spouting propaganda at every turn! One paper's opinion on non-informational research! Russia, Russia, Russia. I hear unemployment is at an all time high [and] the GDP is expected to hit 4 percent. But, let's all cry Liberal tears [and] make the populous feel sorry for the progressive left. Waaaaahhhh.
David Mellen
Via Facebook

Trump's tax cuts didn't have the effect that you think they did. A recession will hit regardless, though—it didn't matter who won the presidency. Corporations are over-burdening themselves with debt. They largely used the tax cuts to buy their own stock. The Fed will bump interest rates. Zombie corporations won't be able to service their debt. And there are a growing number of zombie corporations (i.e. dead). Profits will decline. Layoffs will inevitably happen. New recession.

If you like numbers (GDP), then you should consider some other interesting stats. You know what the The Bank of England economists are looking at? Metal prices. There's an interesting correlation between metal prices and the health of economies. Metals index fell sharply during the Great Recession and predicted the subsequent recovery exactly in mid 2009. It predicted the recovery from the relative slump in 2015, too. Actual real GDP figures for most countries don't become available until up to two quarters later (or even later). So the metals price index is a "high frequency" indicator for growth and so it suggests that the peak in the current acceleration of global (and US) growth ended in June 2018. Ended! And the direction is now downwards in the next quarter which began in July. So don't get too excited for the Q2 2018 figures.
Chris Paul
Via Facebook

Discriminate This
In his piece, "On Religious Discrimination" [Opinion, June 14], author Michael S. Robinson Sr. makes too many dogmatic assertions to treat in one sitting but we can tackle a few. Let's start with this one:

"Why is our government in the liquor business, when that is something legitimately left to private enterprise?"

Obviously, Robinson takes for granted that Prohibition was an illegitimate endeavor, but the fact is, not all drinkers can drink responsibly. It seems Prohibition caused more problems than it solved and Utah's approach offered a compromise: state controlled sales of strong liquor. But analogous to Robinson's decree, we might say Idaho has no business running a state lottery; leave gambling to private enterprise as in Nevada. But the fact remains, not all can gamble responsibly. Some would even say a lottery is a tax on statistical incompetence. So halfway between outlawed gambling and legal casinos Idaho has a lottery. How is that different from Utah's state liquor stores? Would it constitute a mingling of (an anti-gambling) church and state if Utah were to follow Idaho's example?

Robinson combines the problem of separation of church and state in Utah with the liquor profits of the state monopoly to assert that with the "sin tax" non-Mormons are unfairly subsidizing the Mormon lifestyle—especially unfairly since non-Mormons suffer the additional burden of paying for the education of large LDS families. Where to begin?

1) One might ask if Prohibition constituted a federal collusion of church and state.

2) One might wish to distinguish between direct ecclesiastical interference (e.g., where a church official hypothetically threatened an LDS legislator with excommunication), and democratic expression of religious sentiment at the voting booth.

3) One might compare the $100 million figure (which Robinson pulls out of the air) with the cost of police protection dedicated to enforcing DUI laws as well as court and jail expenses diverted to keep the roads safe from drunk drivers. (Not to mention hospital costs of those injured in DUI accidents—who is subsidizing who?)

The argument that even gentile teetotalers subsidize the schooling of large LDS families is an old one, and of course peculiar to Utah, but it has its problems as well:

1) The LDS birth rate is steadily declining, while out of state migration is increasing.

2) Non-LDS citizens constitute a growing fraction of the population. Some segments of this immigrant population have birth rates comparable to the LDS rate.

3) The complaint ignores the philosophy that in reality, each citizen pays for his own education after one becomes a contributing tax payer. It supposes that old bachelors should never have to pay into the fund since they have no children to burden the state—his parents are to blame for his schooling expenses.

4) Robinson's penultimate conclusion:

"It's time to go back to the basics: 1) End the DABC's abuse of private enterprise and allow competition. 2) Allow Utah's non-Mormons to get what they want at non-discriminatory prices. 3) End the practice of forcing non-Mormons' to pick up the tab for the state religion."The "war on drugs" is certainly an attack on capitalism, but it hardly constitutes federal collusion of church and state.
Arthur G. Foster,
Taylorsville


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