Tag Archives: Utah

Property Rights

Now is a season of confusing political interests and ideas. People want this special interest or that special interest, or one candidate has a different view and opinion than another candidate; all because of what maybe promised if a certain candidate is elected. What is a voter to do, especially during this season of confusing politics?

To make the best and educated decisions we only have to return to the basics! Those basic principles include God’s laws and the U.S. Constitution, which He gave to mankind to govern ourselves. The Constitution wasn’t anything really new, but was a continuance of the Mosaic Law, that God gave to the children of Israel, in order to govern themselves after leaving Egypt. Within these Sacred Laws we find such commandments as: “Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is they neighbor’s.” Both of these commandments deal with the right to be safe within one’s own property, safety to worship how one pleases, makes money as they please (intellectual property or ideas) as well as their physical property and money; the right to defend that property and all lives within that property.

We read in James Madison’s (the “Father of the Constitution”) National Gazette article (dated March 29, 1792) where he boldly declares that ideas, money, religious beliefs, as well as one’s physical property need to be protected at all costs; that this was government’s sole purpose. Then we read John Adam’s (one of the authors of the Declaration of Independence) 1787 writings to learn what is at stake at not protecting property rights.

          “Suppose a nation, rich and poor, high and low, ten millions in number, all assembled together; not more than one or two millions will have lands, houses, or any personal property; if we take into the account the women and children, or even if we leave them out of the question, a great majority of every nation is wholly destitute of property, except a small quantity of clothes, and a few trifles of other moveables. Would Mr. Nedham be responsible that, if all were to be decided by a vote of the majority, the eight or nine millions who have no property, would not think of usurping over the rights of the one or two millions who have? Property is surely a right of man- kind as real as liberty. Perhaps, at first, prejudice, habit, shame or fear, principle or religion, would restrain the poor from attacking the rich, and the idle from usurping on the industrious; but the time would not be long before courage and enterprise would come, and pretexts be invented by degrees, to countenance the majority in dividing all the property among them, or at least, in sharing it equally with its present possessors. Debts would be abolished first; taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on the others; and at last a downright equal division of everything be demanded, and voted. What would be the consequence of this? The idle, the vicious, the intemperate, would rush into the utmost extravagance of debauchery, sell and spend all their share, and then demand a new division of those who purchased from them. The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If ‘Thou shalt not covet,’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal,’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free.”

Now let us look at the law of the land, the U.S. Constitution (Article 6 Section 2) and the first ten amendments (the Bill of Rights).  The first amendment protects our free speech, association and freedom of conscience (religious liberty).  The second amendment protects all of our prop-erty rights, either against criminals, invaders from other lands, or even our own government.  It is our right to defend our property with whatever we see fit.  The third amendment prohibits the government at any level from quartering their troops (or government agents) within our property.  The fourth amendment prohibits government from seizing our property, and further declares that we must be safe within our property:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Fifth Amendment deals with several aspects but only one effects property rights, the concept of eminent domain. This specifically addresses and even forces any level of govern-ment to pay ‘fair compensation for property’ that they need to purchase for necessary projects.  It is NOT a pass for government to seize and pay whatever they deem as ‘just’ for that property (that is proper ‘eminent domain’).  The property owner is at all times in control of the sale of his property, or should be.  This amendment guarantees this right.  (It also mentions grand juries, self incrimination, due process [as does the sixth amendment] and double jeopardy, too; but they don’t really deal with property, which is the subject of this paper.)

The seventh and eighth amendments protect our ideas and our money; ideas/money may be protected via a civil law suit, and they address a prohibition against excessive fees and punishments.

Statement Against the Proposed City Budget 6/16/15

In order to build for the future, we must build a solid foundation. How can we build this solid foundation off of tax/fee hikes? How can we build for the future by taking money from some just to give it to someone else? We understand that the people voted for a 39 million dollar debt on the new Recreation Center, but do they know of the interest attached to that debt which they did not vote for? Making the cost totaling a minimum of fifty million dollars? Isn’t that center paying for itself monthly and yearly? Why the need for a new RAP tax? The city for the last six years also has been running debts totaling millions on new city parks, all without a vote from the people!
We are not opposed to these things, just the manner that they are conducted. We shouldn’t levy burdensome debt for future generations, and even worse propose tax hikes down the road to pay for that debt! Isn’t a much wiser policy to save up for such projects? We should pay as we go! That is the American way!
Two years ago the administration pushed for a new road tax in order to pay for the roads, but yet in this proposed budget the administration is seeking additional monies to fund the roads. This road tax passed by the way. What roads have been repaired and or repaved?
These last six years the utility bill continues to go up and up and up, and yet in the administration’s proposed budget he wants to increase such rates yet again by as much as 20% and 80% within these next 6 years! Can the people truly afford this, especially since there has been an exodus from Provo? (Please see the Yahoo News article titled the fifteen fastest shrinking cities) There hasn’t been a tax or a fee increase that the current administration has not liked!
There is a line out there that says “Don’t talk to be about limited government, unless you’re willing to talk about taxes!” Meaning if we don’t raise taxes or if we cut taxes, then government is forced to cut itself naturally. Isn’t this a much wiser policy in order to build for the future? In order to grow the city?
Provo City candidates Jason Christensen for City Wide Council and Clinton Rhinehart for District 1 both think this way. They both believe if we adopt a city charter or otherwise known as a city constitution. We can as a city build this solid foundation for the future. They both see Provo becoming not only a shining light on a hill for this entire State of Utah to look at, but a Shining light up on a hill for the entire Nation to take notice.
In closing please vote NO on this utility bill hike. Vote NO on this proposed RAP tax. Vote NO on this proposed property tax hike. Let us move forward with the solutions that has been mentioned here, and let us all stand united in the cause of Liberty and make Provo shine like we all know that she can.