In the Spotlight: Meet Mark Rothacher

08 May 2017

Mark is a retired banker who originated and approved construction loans for homes and businesses; most recently he was with Zions Bank.  Richard Henry, a previous minister at First Unitarian Church, performed the wedding of Mark and his wife Pat, 38 years ago.  They have two grown sons.  Mark feels very ‘in tune’ with the seven principles of Unitarian Universalism, and officially signed the book about five years ago.  He believes that pledging is an important contribution one should make to support the church.  The sermons, the art and culture, and the excellent conversation he finds at First Church help him feel connected, as well as his membership on the Social Justice Council, where he is chair of the “Issues and Action Group.” This is an email based group that addresses current political issues; Mark likes to get involved and try to make a positive difference.  Another interesting fact- back when Barack Obama was just getting his campaign going- and no one thought he had a chance of success, Mark was one of the team that started “Utahans for Obama.”

Mark shares an essay, “This I Believe,” he wrote back in 2010, and finds it still holds true for him today.

I believe that most people can agree on most things. Some politicians try to divide us for their own political motivations. They try to frighten us about communists, Jews, Muslims, gays, liberals, taxes, deficits, etc.

Most people just want to be able to live in a safe and comfortable home, have enough to eat, be able to educate their kids, have a job that pays a living wage, and have financial security against getting sick and getting old. There is enough wealth in this world to provide all these to everyone.

The problem is that some people are greedy and want much more than they need. They create fear to divide the average workers so that they will not organize against the wealthy. If the workers suggest taxing the rich more the rich call this class warfare, when in fact they are waging war constantly against the working class.

The wealthy and their politician friends wage war against the working class by importing and hiring illegal workers which drive down wages and undermine benefits because illegal workers cannot demand fair wages or benefits. They wage war by supporting a health insurance system that can bankrupt a worker and his family if a family member gets sick and the family cannot afford health insurance premiums. They wage war by encouraging constant consumption and debt which makes people virtual slaves to their jobs. They wage war by eliminating pensions so that people have to work into their later years. They wage war by requiring employees to sign a “termination at will” agreement which allows the employer to fire an employee for any reason, without explanation.

The root of the power of the wealthy is the campaign financing system that requires huge amounts of money for a politician to get elected. The politicians must constantly be trying to raise money for their campaigns. Where do they get their money? You guessed it; they get it mostly from the rich and from businesses. Are there strings attached when funds are given to politicians? Of course there are. That is way the system works and the way the wealthy keep their power.  If we could have limits on funds to campaigns or a publicly financed campaign system, the power would shift to the average worker because there are many more of us. This is critical for our democracy to flourish.

Capitalism could still thrive. The rich would still do well, because even if they had higher taxes, there would be more people with adequate income to purchase goods from business owners. There would still be differences in incomes but the amount of difference would be less. That would be a good thing for us all.