What is the true definition of covet? The 10th Commandment warns us against coveting. This commandment is not necessarily warning us to avoid wanting to have nice things similar to what our neighbor may have. The most severe form of coveting is to want something that is not yours that already belongs to someone else. It is wanting something your neighbor has and wanting them to not have it at the same time. To me the perfect example of coveting (and the example that I believe is the most common occurrence of coveting) is to want the wealth of the wealthy. In order to have their wealth, they cannot have it. They must be taxed, and then this wealth must be taken away from them in order to be given to you in one of the various forms of entitlements/welfare. And then this is justified away in the thinking that the wealthy don't need it/I need it more/they have enough/they don't deserve it. I would argue that to want taxes raised so that you can benefit more financially from welfare programs is coveting. Furthermore, I believe that even to be pleased or feel justified at the "soaking of the rich" while you partake of welfare programs is coveting.
This then leads me to three questions.
1) Why do politicians want to raise taxes? Obama would like to end the Bush tax cuts, and through his poorly named jobs bill has attempted to raise taxes.
Politicians want power. They want to be able to forcibly take your money through taxes and be able to give it to who they want to. They use tax money to buy votes as they give that money to people through entitlements and welfare or other dealmaking. Now the people receiving welfare must continue to vote for the politician so they can continue to receive their free money. But now these same people are enslaved to the politicians/government. Taxpayers are enslaved as they are forced to hand over their money that they earned, but welfare recipients also become enslaved. Now their livelihood is dependent upon government. They can not receive money to live on unless it is approved by the government. And then taken from someone else. And the amount that is received is out of their control. If they can subsist upon the welfare doled out to them, they are much less likely to ever get a job or a better job and become a productive citizen/person. For a personal example, please see my post On the Dole Again. Their growth as a person will be stunted. As entitlements/welfare handouts increase, the number of people dependent on the government increases. Now as the fish gets allotted to them, they never learn how to fish, as the saying goes. How does this help them in the long run? It holds them back endlessly and thus hurts them. We can then turn our backs on the poor because we have already “helped” them through government welfare which in actuality has trapped them in a life of dependence on the government that is hard to rise from. And then isn’t this in a way the same as turning our backs on them as it says in verse 39 as follows?
38 And it came to pass on the other hand, that the Nephites did build them up [the Gadianton robbers] and support them, beginning at the more wicked part of them, until they had overspread all the land of the Nephites, and had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils, and to join with them in their secret murders and combinations.
39 And thus they did obtain the sole management of the government, insomuch that they did trample under their feet and smite and rend and turn their backs upon the poor and the meek, and the humble followers of God.
40 And thus we see that they were in an awful state, and ripening for an everlasting destruction.
For further explanation of the previous verses, please see my post Who Are The Modern Day Gadianton Robbers.
2) Why do the poor want to raise taxes?
They covet the wealthy's wealth. They want free money. They may even feel entitled to it and that the wealthy don't deserve it.
3) Why do the wealthy want to tax more?
This one has been the most confusing for me to understand. The answer is that they do want to help the poor but only inasmuch as everyone else has to. They want the poor to be helped, but they don't want to do more than their fair share. Instead of true charitable giving, they want to give charitably along with everyone else being forced to do the same through taxes. There have actually been studies done that show that liberals have significantly less charitable giving than conservatives, and that blue states have less charitable giving. Liberals are more likely to believe that their taxes paid is their charitable giving. Also, many wealthy people/corporations that are well connected or know how to play the system are recipients of this tax money.
General authority Marion G. Romney had this to say of the dangers of government welfare programs:
“The practice of coveting and receiving unearned benefits has now become so fixed in our society that even men of great wealth, and possessing the means to produce more wealth, are expecting the government to guarantee them a profit. Elections often turn on what the candidates promise to do for voters from government funds. This practice, if universally accepted and implemented in any society, will make slaves of its citizen.”