Even before I left the GOP I knew that something wasn't right with the way workers are treated in America. Reality hit home the first month back from my mission. Shelter, food, and even my College education was in my hands. My parents felt that it was the best way to introduce me to real life. It was a hard lesson and one that so many of us are having a hard time figuring out. I spent a year working at a local grocery store.
The head manager would always throw out Horatio Alger language, “If you work really hard, you too can become the head manager.”Read more
author's note: I want to start this off with the acknowledgement of two things. First, that I stand behind each and every claim I make below. Second, that I am very likely wrong or have the incomplete truth about one or more of the claims I make below. If you catch such an error, please please please let me know in the comments. I mean for this to be the beginning of a discussion, not the end of one.
We've had at least two more mass/school shootings this past week. We have an absurd number of these things. Now I readily acknowledge that overall gun violence is down over the past 20 years. But, mass/school shootings are happening at an alarming rate, and I believe this epidemic represents a huge failure of the free market.
I still remember the replies when I told people I was going to the Sweden Stockholm Mission:
“Oh, that’s a hard mission! I’ve heard everyone is a socialist there!”
“Isn’t that the country that has universal healthcare? I’ve heard from my friends that it’s absolutely horrible.”
“Oh, I’ve heard that’s a really hard mission. Will you be speaking German?”Read more
A little over a year ago, President Uchtdorf met with other faith leaders at the White House to discuss immigration reform with President Obama. Today he attended a similar meeting and again made headlines.
Photo courtesy of lds.org
Last March, President Uchtdorf was quoted in the Salt Lake Tribune as saying,
"[President Obama] was talking about his principles and what he said was totally in line with our values."
Note: this post kicks off a new series titled "Think of the Family," in which we explore ways to strengthen (or at least stop hurting) the family.
Yesterday's Super Bowl blackout drew attention to the nation's less-than-stellar energy infrastructure. We'd like to draw some attention to a different problem in the same state: Louisiana recently announced that they would be cutting aid money to its poor, sick, and elderly. While some might blame the poor for their circumstance, we disagree: as we've argued before, the free market does not always reward hard work. Some might say argue these families will just get those services from the free market. We wish this were the case, but the politicians who made this decision even admit this will not happen in every circumstance:
Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein said he targeted programs that were duplicative, costly and optional under the state’s participation in the state-federal Medicaid program.
Greenstein said in many instances, people can get the care they’re losing through other government-funded programs. But he acknowledged that won’t happen in every case, meaning some people will simply lose the services or receive reduced services. [...]
Jan Moller heads the Louisiana Budget Project, which advocates for low- to moderate-income families. Moller said he’s most distressed by the cut to the Nurse-Family Partnership Program.
The health department is eliminating the portion of the program that offers at-home visits to low-income women who are pregnant with their first child. Registered nurses visit the women early in their pregnancy and until their children’s second birthday, offering advice on preventive health care, diet and nutrition, smoking cessation and other child developmental issues. [...]
“What the Nurse-Family Partnership does goes above and beyond what a good obstetrician does,” Moller said. “It’s really about teaching life-skills to at-risk moms to make them better parents and make them better able to care for their children, and it’s been proven to work.”
As Sy Mukherjee at ThinkProgress points out, this means that families will be left high and dry in the state.
The cuts — as well as Jindal’s proposals to raise taxes on the poor while slashing public education and other health care funding — are meant to plug a midyear budget deficit. But they are more likely to raise health care costs and poverty levels in a state that already ranks among America’s least-insured and poorest locales by pushing people poor people into finding services that they will no longer be able to afford.
The issue of immigration reform is in the news right now, with national leaders of both parties coming together to decide how best to help our brothers and sisters. As we think through these issues, it is important to consider what the LDS Church believes and has said when it comes to immigration. We've collected a few quotes below. For a very detailed history and analysis of this issue, we recommend this policy brief written by a Mormon for the right-leaning Center for Immigration Studies.
Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy recently spoke out on the issue of immigration:
Immigration questions are questions dealing with God's children. I believe a more thoughtful and factual, not to mention humane approach is warranted, and urge those responsible for enactment of Utah's immigration policy to measure twice before they cut.
Elder Jensen later added that "LDS leaders had recently issued a 'very sincere plea' to lawmakers to consider the issue with humanity and compassion."
It was a bit out of the ordinary for the Church to so forcefully throw its support behind a piece of legislation, as the New York Times noted:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is known for its reluctance to be seen as meddling in politics. But on immigration, the church actively lobbied legislators, sent Presiding Bishop H. David Burton to attend the bill signing and issued a series of increasingly explicit statements in favor of allowing some illegal immigrants to stay in the country and work.
The Church's official statement on the matter first explains that it discourages individuals from entering a country illegally, but then pivots to the core of the issue at stake (here's a PDF of the statement in Spanish):
What to do with the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants now residing in various states within the United States is the biggest challenge in the immigration debate. The bedrock moral issue for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is how we treat each other as children of God.
The statement then gets down to policy, sketching a broad outline for immigration reform it could get behind:
The Church supports an approach where undocumented immigrants are allowed to square themselves with the law and continue to work without this necessarily leading to citizenship.
In furtherance of needed immigration reform in the United States, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supports a balanced and civil approach to a challenging problem, fully consistent with its tradition of compassion, its reverence for family, and its commitment to law.
A wide variety of moderate and left-of-center immigration policies fall under this framework, including the Senate's recent immigration proposal and the President's plan, which he will released today at a policy speech in Las Vegas. The editor of the church-affiliated Deseret News urged members to consider our own history when debating the issue of immigration reform:
“Latter-day Saints, because of their history of persecution and forcefully being dispossessed of their livelihoods and properties, do have compassion and understanding” for immigrants.