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In our opinion: Save more, spend less

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  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 12:15 a.m.

    This editorial leaves out the underlying cause of increasing debt, and that is diminished economic opportunity for working people. Even during the so called boom years of 2003-2007, median household income was declining. People borrow to maintain a middle class lifestyle, a lifestyle that is no longer possible with an income in the middle ranges of the income distribution. What we think of as a middle class lifestyle is really only possible when income gets into the 80th percentile range and over.

    Although living within our means is certainly wise advice for all, accepting declining living standards is tough for a lot of people to bear.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Dec. 27, 2011 2:16 a.m.

    I read the Department of Justice is not going to resist internet gambling so the states can now tax it. The mentality promoted by gambling is that if you are lucky then you be rich. The federal and various state governments have promoted this mentality so that they can tax it. They never learn.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 6:16 a.m.

    "The Great Recession was driven, to a large extent, by runaway consumer spending."

    The Obama presidency has been bases upon what? Runaway GOVERNMENT borrowing and spending. Is it any wonder then that we are worse off today than in 2009? 2012 will hopefully bring sanity back to government by first flushing out the swamp starting with the White House and then doing the same in congress. Liberal ideology is a failure. Pure and simple. It was the same liberals that ran both houses of congress from 2006 - 2010 that created the insane easy lending scam and oversaw the banking committee (Frank and Dodd)who gave rosy projections on Fanny and Fredie Mac which cost investors billions. Facts are facts!!!

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 6:43 a.m.

    This editorial is correct. Our society should be condemned for its greedy, materialistic ways. If we do not return to the values of the past, we will have no future.

    Past generations knew about the importance of saving and buying only what they already had money set aside for. These generations practiced moderation, prudence, and self-control.

    Now, the younger generation only practices immediate gratification, without regard for the consequences. These folks will take on debt at the drop of a hat to buy such unnecessary items as video games, Ipods, and televisions. They enslave themselves to debt for years for a few hours of pleasure.

    These financially unresponsible freely spend more than they can ever repay because they think the government will bail them out. They fail to realize that the government no longer has the funds to do so.

  • Dektol Powell, OH
    Dec. 27, 2011 7:26 a.m.

    Just the opposite of what President George W. Bush told us to do. He told us it was patriotic to spend more.

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Dec. 27, 2011 7:27 a.m.

    I would be the last to disagree with the News that we need to reign in credit spending, but the editorial seems to blame the "great recession" mostly on the consumer. For example, it blames consumers that bought more house than they needed or could afford. This argument ignores Wall Street excesses, run away government spending and borrowing to fund two simultaneous long wars, and an ill advised tax cut that eliminated the budget surplus existing at the end of the Clinton Administration. The economy is bad today, not so much because of inappropriate consumer credit spending but more because so many had no choice but to use credit because their jobs went to India, China, Mexico, and India. Finally, consider the increasing disparity in wealth between the rich and the poor and those of moderate means over the last 40 years or so. What role has that played in the health of our economy?

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 7:56 a.m.

    Debt is debt. Simple as that.

    I'm not sure why we could say that the US is the richest country in the world. That's like saying the guy with the biggest home loan, car loan, boat loan, maxed out credit cards; is the richest man on the block. When compared to the neighbor with the paid off old car, paid off small home and yard, paid off canoe, and has money in savings....to me that is the richest man on the block.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Dec. 27, 2011 8:20 a.m.

    Not saying we shouldn't be personally fiscally responsible..however if we were in fact to increase our savings to say a 10% level which many advisors preach, in order to withstand the next great recession (DN)..it would cause the next great recession. Our economy is absolutely dependent on continued consumer spending at increasing rates. Every corporation is obsessed with growth, and all of their business plans are based on growth. Growth can only occur if spending grows.

    John Charity, you absolutley need to see Woody Allens Midnight in Paris. Previous generations....Woody will put that in perspective for you.

    Patriot, Liberal philosopy is a failure, pure and simple. What is liberal philosophy? Here's another fact. Bush deficit '08 500billion, Bush deficit '09 1.9 trillion..difference great recession. Recession instigated debt 1.9 trillion per year times three years and walla 6 trillion dollar debt. It's economic reality, not some liberal conspiracy.

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 8:41 a.m.

    @John Charity Spring
    Last time I checked it wasn't the younger generation running the show. Its the older generation, YOUR generation. Your generation has spent us into oblivion. The Right and the Left seem to have no shortage of old men willing to spend us into the ground.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 8:43 a.m.

    Blame Main Steet for Wall Street's errors?

    Yeah, sounds about right for a conservative newspaper. Lets just ignore what wall street, the banks, and deregulation did and blame everything on the average joe.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 8:53 a.m.

    I lived a prudent Middle-class.
    Unlike the Stock market, speculative investments, and other get-rich-quick gimmicks ---

    We listened and obeyed and and Investing EVERYTHING into our house, and avoiding all credit card debt.

    We were "debt-free", including our vehilces.

    My entire life's savings (i.e., our home - Real Estate)
    Which has been for generations in America
    the ONE secure investment completely vaporized by the economy.

    This letter is not entirely true since it only accounts for credit card debt -- a loss of perhaps $10,000 - $20,000.

    Meanwhile, the lion's share of personal losses come from those like myself, who've lost $200,000 - $300,000 in equity by those same banks who got Government bail-outs.

    Play by the rules, and you loose.

    Who's paying for it?
    I am.
    In taxes AND in losses.

    This is the number reason I despise Capitalism and Republicans.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 9:36 a.m.

    To "LDS Liberal | 8:53 a.m. " did you buy a home as an investment or for a place to live?

    Also FYI, the only people who have lost equity in their homes are people who have purchased large homes that are difficult to sell regardless of the current market. Those who have purchased modest homes lost little to no equity.

    What is your solution? Do you want more government intervention? How would you have handled the mortgage crisis that was precipitated by the failures of Freddie and Fannie (the government owned lending institutions)?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 10:33 a.m.

    RedShirt | 9:36 a.m. Dec. 27, 2011
    USS Enterprise, UT
    To "LDS Liberal | 8:53 a.m. " did you buy a home as an investment or for a place to live?

    Also FYI, the only people who have lost equity in their homes are people who have purchased large homes that are difficult to sell regardless of the current market. Those who have purchased modest homes lost little to no equity.

    ===================

    1. Your premise that the ONLY people who lost equity is false.
    Everyone lost equity RedShirt -- Everyone, even you.

    Our "modest" house lost over 1/3 of it's total value.
    And we stayed ahead because we bought 18 years ago, and sank every penney we had into remodeling and paying down the principle....not paying for Disneyland vacations and driving a new SUV.

    1. We have never owned a new home.
    2. We have never owned a new car.
    3. Our children never all had their own bedrooms.

    We did what the Prophet asked, Pride and GREED of Capitalism failed.

    Only the Banks, Oil and WallStreet got bailed out, and are making huge record profits again.

    The 1% just got richer.
    The middle class paid for it.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Dec. 27, 2011 10:38 a.m.

    Just one quick question Red Shirt..how would purpose to create 30 year mortages without freddie and fannie? 30 year mortages are the backbone of the american home building industry. Take away 30 year mortages and poof one of americas major job creators disapears.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 10:39 a.m.

    "The Great Recession was driven, to a large extent, by runaway consumer spending." First, you should not be using the past tense. Second, consumer debt was driven by working class people trying to maintain a standard of living they had come to expect in the face of 30 years of stagnant real wages (what money will buy) and rising prices. This they tried to support by working more and more hours, hardly irresponsible. This, as always, is the song at the Deseret News - the evils of society are always created by individuals - especially the working class, not organizations. You can't be taken seriously. You are too ideologically anchored.

  • threedegreecougar Kaysville, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 10:44 a.m.

    If the LDS church and its business interests (Deseret News) are so concerned about consumer debt, why did it give American Express's CFO, Gary Crittenden, the BYU Marriott School of Management's Distinguished Alumni award a few years ago? And why is he currently an LDS Area Authority?

    Crittenden later left American Express for his "dream job" (his words) as CFO of Citigroup in February 2007. During that time, when Citigroup was using every scientifically known method to influence consumer behavior to take on more and more debt, Crittenden took in more than 30 million dollars in compensation for just over two years of work. He is the only individual known to have been fined by the SEC for providing false statements to the SEC regarding an institution's false reporting of financials during the mortgage fraud criss.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 10:49 a.m.

    To "LDS Liberal | 10:33 a.m." the prophets have also warned againt Socialism and Communism, or any system that uses force rather than leaving it up to the individual.

    Another thing taht you fail to recognize is the simple fact that the economic boom/bust was a direct result of Government intervention in the market. It was not the "Pride and GREED of Capitalism" that failed. It was the attempt of governments to control and manipulate something that they don't understand.

    You support a system that would compel people and nations. According to Gordon B. Hinkley "[Opposition] has been felt in the undying efforts of many, both within and without the Church, to destroy faith, to belittle, to demean, to bear false witness, to tempt and allure and induce our people to practices inconsistent with the teachings and standards of this work of God...The war goes on. It is waged across the world over the issues of agency and compulsion."

    The other problem that you have is that you are relying on a group of millionaires with little to no business sense to make things better.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Dec. 27, 2011 11:03 a.m.

    I played by the rules. I'm debt free, maxed out on 401K. Because of Wall Street shenanigans, lost half my net worth in the 2008 debacle. And when President Romney takes away my Social Security and medicare because I'm an "entitlement freeloader" (even though I've paid for it for 40 years), I guess I can just be happy I did 'THE RIGHT THING' all those years.

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Dec. 27, 2011 11:08 a.m.

    Hey, Redshirt. If capitalism is so good (and Godly) why did Joseph Smith introduce the United Order? Socialist ideas are never compulsary when the people decide to implement them based upon democratic consent. We socialize many things, consider roads and highways, police forces, fire departments, public schools, our Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, just to name a few.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 11:17 a.m.

    Re: "You can't be taken seriously. You are too ideologically anchored."

    Pot, meet kettle.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 11:20 a.m.

    To "Mike in Cedar City | 11:08 a.m." because the United Order is capitalism where you own your farm, and are asked (not forced) to give your excess to others. You see, this is a voluntary system where you, and only you determine what is excess. The government or church did not determine what was excess.

    Actually, for socialism to work, it does require force to maintain. Yes some people are dumb enough to vote in socialism, but it eventually destroys their nation. Just look at Greece. They voted for all of the people and programs that have caused them to go under.

    The things that you call "socialized" are not socialism. What LDS Liberal and others want is socialism or communism. If you want I can supply you many quotes from various LDS Prophets stating that Socialism is Satan's plan.

  • threedegreecougar Kaysville, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 11:47 a.m.

    To RedShirt:

    Only two general authorities (not prophets) reference socialism in General Conference proceedings. Ezra Taft Benson and Marion G. Romney (neither as prophet). As we know, Benson was an extreme political radical. Even FBI director Herbert Hoover wanted nothing to do with Benson's form of radicalism. And the types of services that exist in the U.S. today have nothing to do with the types of socialism and communism that have existed historically in other countries. Conservatives who invoke the fallacy of the U.S. system today being anything close to the socialism of the past or even the more leftist countries of today are just engaging in disingenuous scare tactics.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 12:12 p.m.

    RedShirt | 10:49 a.m. Dec. 27, 2011

    if the prophets have also warned against Socialism and Communism, or any system that uses force rather than leaving it up to the individual, is true, some of us will conclude that they are false prophets.

    All systems that control the actions of their group exercise an element of force, even Mormonism.

    Please, please, please tell us what your definition of Socialism is? And if you can, the definitions that were used by those prophets.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 12:13 p.m.

    To "threedegreecougar | 11:47 a.m. " you are wrong. First when saying that Ezra Taft Benson and Marion G. Romney were not prophets when they said that Socialism is wrong, and second by assuming that they are the only ones who have spoken out against it. Benson and Romney were both members of the Quorum of 12 Apostles when they spoke out againt socialism. That quorum are sustained as prophets, seers and revelators. Say what you want, they were prophets.

    Since you are ignorant of other quotes from prophets, here are a few:

    Elder John Widstow's book Evidences and Reconciliations (vol. 1) states that a "The self-called liberal is usually one who has broken with the fundamental principles or guiding philosophy of the group to which he belongs....Socialists and communists are the liberals of today."

    From Brigham Young "We heard Brother Taylors exposition of what is called Socialism this morning. What can they do? Live on each other and beg. It is a poor, unwise and very imbecile people who cannot take care of themselves. Source: President Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 14, p. 21. 1870.

    Also read "First Presidency Message, in Conference Report, Apr. 1942"

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 12:21 p.m.

    It's all about greed. Which party is the party of greed and which party is about the greater good? Which party is all for corporate greed with a disappearing middle class and which party wants a stronger middle class?
    What made the US a strong economy to begin with was people spending with debt. Only the 1% can pay cash for their 2nd home and large boats.

  • threedegreecougar Kaysville, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 12:33 p.m.

    Red Shirt:

    1) You ignore my main point that what you and other conservatives fear today in the U.S. as resembling socialsim and communism is fear mongering delusion. 2) I am not ignorant of other comments. They are easy enough to do an internet search on and I have read the passages you give in the past: a) They were not the prophet of the church when they said it - and Ezra Taft Benson was a political radical who inserted personal interpretations into his rhetoric. He was so radical he considered Dwight Eisenhower a friend of communism. John Widstoe's book is not part of the LDS scriptural canon, and as such is personal opinion only. Brigham Young lived in an age when socialism as it was known in the 20th century did not exist. The conference report message only references communism, which as a political system in practice never reflected the utopian theory of socialisms - communism as a political system from the beginning was perverted into totalitarianism in the service of a very few.

  • threedegreecougar Kaysville, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 12:45 p.m.

    Why is it that conservatives ignore that the time of the most prosperity and economic advancement in the U.S. - post 1945 to the early 1970s - when hard working people could earn a good living - was a time when taxes on the very wealthy were at their highest and the New Deal social policies were implemented? Since then, the hard working individual has had their wages stagnate or decline, while income for the wealthy has sky-rocketed, taxes on them have plummeted and conservatives have attacked New Deal policies. But, alas, it's the hard working individual who is blamed for the mess - the ones who can no longer find a job because the wealthy mess up the financial system and use cheap labor overseas

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Dec. 27, 2011 1:36 p.m.

    To "threedegreecougar | 12:33 p.m" you are wrong once again. The US is quickly resembling communism and socialism. Just look at the leaders and advisors to the president. The president has multiple advisors who are anti-capitalists and/or self avowed socialists or communists. Why would he have those type of people advising him if he didn't believe in socialism also.

    When Ezra Taft Benson wasy saying that Communism and Socialism were wrong he was a Prophet. He was not the President of the Church yet, but was one of 15 living Prophets leading the LDS church. Are you saying that you know more about the plans of Satan than the Prophets?

    You are ignoring the quote from Hinkley that proclaimed the importance of agency over force. Socialism fails that check also because it requires force to maintain.

    You are forgetting that during that period from 1945 to the 1970's you also had a massive push to minimize government intrusion into business. It is since the 1970's that we have seen an increase in the size and power of the Federal Government.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 1:42 p.m.

    threedegreecougar | 12:45 p.m. Dec. 27, 2011
    Kaysville, UT


    Agreed!

    I laugh at the irony at those like Mr. RedShirt you hate Americans trying to make good against the truly evil excesses of Corporte Capitialism on WallStreet, Banks, Defense Contractors, and Oil Companies....

    All while they gut, clean and off-load anything not bolted to American soil to COMMUNIST Red China, all in the holy name of Capitalism.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 2:13 p.m.

    I think you conservatives need to understand that private capitalism crashed and burned the last quarter of 2008. The banking, housing, and all the other "private" industries are on government life support, which support unfortunately doesn't benefit (much) the 99%.

  • dalefarr South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 27, 2011 2:56 p.m.

    The Great Recession was not created by, run or extended by runaway consumer spending. It was created by and ran on fraudlenlty bundled and marketed securites by insufficiently regulated financial entities.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 3:37 p.m.

    Redshirt1701 | 1:36 p.m. Dec. 27, 2011
    Deep Space 9, Ut

    RedShirt -- Answer just this ONE question for us all please.....

    How do think Pres. Ezra Taft Benson today would think, feel, or say about America's Capitalists trade deficeit to Communist Red China?

    Favorably or Un-Favorably?

    You are a Free Trade advocate.
    Does Free Trade mean to the expense and detrement of America as a whole?

    I think Pres. Benson must be rolling over in his grave right now of the likes of your pure Capitalistic "ilk".

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 6:31 p.m.

    Re: ". . . private capitalism crashed and burned the last quarter of 2008."

    Private capitalism hasn't existed in the securities, insurance, and banking industries since Roosevelt -- TR, not FDR.

    The 2008 crash, like the three crashes between 1906 and WWI, the 1929 crash, the 3 [or 4, depending on your views] crashes between 1932 and 1954, and the 1971, 1978/9, and 1987 crashes are all attributable solely to "progressive" market tinkering, resulting capital uncertainty, followed by ill-advised, ill-timed, short-sighted, sophomoric attempts to resolve uncertainty with politically limited tools, wholly unsuited to the task.

    TR used a [1901] crash to justify his tinkering. Every "progressive" since has used the same or similar lame excuse, but they all amount to attempts to buy votes by favoring one political constituency over another.

    The 2008 crash is directly attributable to "progressive" [Barney Frank/Chris Dodd] tinkering with Fannie and Freddie, and reactions to it. It's being used by Obama as his excuse for a new round of crony-progressive tinkering.

    Leading, inevitably, to a new crash.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Dec. 27, 2011 6:51 p.m.

    "The US is quickly resembling communism and socialism. Just look at the leaders and advisors to the president"...." you are wrong once again".

  • John Jackson Sandy, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 8:55 p.m.

    Consumer spending is often considered a plus for the economy. I think you are wise, though, to see that this does not extend to credit spending. Thank you for the thought.

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 10:04 p.m.

    re: The Real Maverick | 8:43 a.m. Dec. 27, 2011

    But, Someone (can't recall who?) once said, "Corporations are people too."

  • RRB SLC, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 11:10 p.m.

    Get use to a lower standard of living, it comes with a surplus of cheap labor. And don't blame business or wall street for their failures, we can bail them out when needed. Smart editorial.

  • Utah Soldier Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 27, 2011 11:48 p.m.

    @LDS Liberal -

    it sounds to me like there is more to the story about your house. I have owned my house for 15 years (so it was bought about the same time as yours). However, it is worth abou 180% (yes, almost double) what we paid for it. Some who play by the rules do win.

  • Conservative Cedar City, UT
    Dec. 28, 2011 12:35 p.m.

    Friends, quit pointing the Finger Of Blame.

    The economic crisis we are in is caused by 2 main factors, neither of which can be blamed on others:

    (1) Housing value inflation. We all experienced it. Some sat tight, some sold high, some borrowed against inflated equity.

    (2) China and India are taking over both energy supplies (oil, coal) and about to take over production. We all buy from them.

    The world has already changed. There is no going back. We're still a First World country, but China and India (and Brazil) are almost there, too.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Dec. 28, 2011 11:33 p.m.

    Save more and spend less. Sounds good to me. I can't find any fault with this advice and I too hope that many people will depart from the error of their ways. Then they would not tolerate any more congresses that do the exact opposite.

    It will be interesting to see what will occur at the ballot box in the months ahead. Will people support the one republican presidential candidate (congressman Paul) who will seek to follow this sage advice, slash spending and tax less, allowing the people to have more to save. Such a congress, if it ever comes into being, will at lest lead the people right, by exemplifying frugality, living within its means and paying off debt asap.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Dec. 29, 2011 8:22 a.m.

    To "LDS Liberal | 3:37 p.m." I think that he would see it favorably. The reason is simple.

    As Communist China is adopting more capitalism, the people are experiencing more freedom. The more experience they have with freedom, the more freedom they will desire. Once China is truely free, they will allow missionaries into China, and the Lord's work can be accomplished in that nation.

    See "Does capitalism lead to democracy, and how?" in the NY Times and "In Defense of Global Capitalism" at African Liberty.