Socialism and Federal Spending

(H. Verlan Andersen, Many are Called But Few are Chosen, 1997.)

Socialism and Federal Spending 1900–1998

Over the years government has changed its purpose from protecting and preserving people and property rights to redistributing wealth. This is socialism. Has any prophet ever approved of, condoned or encouraged socialism and the expansion of these welfare state principles? In 1967 David O. McKay wrote a letter to the faculty of BYU, encouraging them to teach the gospel in every class. He placed special emphasis on the need to teach the correct principles of the gospel when it comes to government. He said in part:

I cannot help but think that there is a direct relationship between the present trends which I have above indicated, and the very marked tendency of the people of our country to pass on to the state the responsibility for their moral and economic welfare. This trend to a welfare state in which people look to and worship government more than their God, is certain to sap the individual ambitions and moral fiber of our youth unless they are warned and rewarned….

I hope that no one on the faculty of Brigham Young University will advocate positions which cannot be harmonized with the views of every prophet of the church, from the Prophet Joseph Smith on down, concerning our belief that we should be strong and self-reliant individuals, not dependent upon the largess or benefactions of government. None of the doctrines of our Church give any sanction to the concept of a socialistic state.

If you believe President McKay, not one single prophet from Joseph Smith on down ever crossed the line and advocated welfare state(socialistic) beliefs. He sees “harmonized” teachings of the prophets being violated. Let’s assume President McKay is correct. The promoters of socialism will have zero scriptural and zero prophet support when it comes time for them to justify their rejection of their own prophets on these principles.

Socialism and Federal Spending 1988–1998

Throughout our history, the amount of the federal budget spent on defense has risen and fallen, depending on wars, post war and pre-war situations in our country.

In 1988 27% of the federal budget was for defense. For 1998, OMB projected defense costs drop to 15%. When Reagan was president he wanted to spend money on defense and congress wanted to spend money on socialism. They borrowed huge sums of money to expand socialism and defense spending.

Our current president (Clinton) wants to continue to expand socialism and our congress wants to balance the budget. Socialism continues to expand, and by rapidly cutting defense they appear to be making progress on balancing the budget. Americans, and particularly Utahns, enjoy being seduced by the spoils of socialism. “Of the eleven Western States, Utah recorded the heaviest tax burden…and fifth highest in the entire United States…” (The Utah Taxpayer, August 1997) Because of this seduction, the principles of the prophets are not viable campaign speeches, even in Utah.

This brings up the next question: How is it possible to cut out the various welfare-state features of our government which have already fastened themselves like cancer cells onto the body politic? Isn’t drastic surgery already necessary, and can it be performed without endangering the patient? In answer, it is obvious that drastic measures are called for. No half-way or compromise actions will suffice. Like all surgery , it will not be without discomforts and perhaps even some scar tissue for a long time to come. But it must be done if the patient is to be saved, and it can be done without undue risk.

Obviously, not all welfare-state programs currently in force can be dropped simultaneously without causing tremendous economic and social upheaval….In my opinion, the bulk of the transition could be accomplished within a ten-year period. (Ezra Taft Benson, The Proper Role of Government, p. 16, 17)