We are a responsible people. The best example of responsibility towards our fellow man is exemplified in the Willie and Martin Handcart Rescue.Read more
By Warner Woodworth, BYU Professor Emeritus
Today’s currents of economic malaise have long been the concerns of who seek a healthy economy and social justice. The LDS standard works are filled with admonishments to empower the downtrodden and remember that “the labourer is worthy of his reward” (I Tim. 5:17). Recent battles such as the Occupy Wall Street movement, Mitt Romney’s denigration of the 47 percent, the uproar over inequality, and low minimum wages illustrate these issues. Other damages against workers include corporate downsizing, exorbitant CEO pay, decline of middle class jobs, offshore manufacturing, flat wage structures, high unemployment rates, and so forth.
Mormonism addresses each of these concerns. Our alliance with society’s have-nots should begin with appreciation of the fact that Jesus Himself was a blue-collar worker, a low-paid carpenter engaged in manual labor. In today’s vernacular, we would say he’d be a trade union member and card-carrying member of the Democratic Party. In other words, he would probably be a Liberal.Read more
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.
This is the third in our five-part series titled "Mormonism, Agency, and Politics." In the first post we discussed the importance of agency in Mormon doctrine. In the second we addressed Satan's strategy of limiting our agency. In the third, we addressed the view that agency can be restricted simply by restricting freedom. In the fourth, we will examine the idea that agency can be restricted by removing differences between good and evil and explore its political implications.
As we discussed previously, one popular view of agency is that it can be decreased any time freedom is restricted. As Mormon liberals, we are frequently presented with the argument that a particular government intervention is bad because it limits our agency. This is most frequently repeated when dealing with taxes: "if I want to help the poor, let me exercise my agency and do it. Don't force me to be charitable, because that's Satan's plan." While we obviously don't appreciate being told that our political ideals are the spawn of the devil, we also disagree for doctrinal reasons.Read more