Archive for December, 2008

The Morality of Paying Taxes….

December 31, 2008

As we continue in the discussion of taxes on this blog, I must respond to some points made by the author of this post.  His post is in response to my previous post which can be found here.  He said

Regarding the distinction between evading a tax and avoiding a tax – I will concede a legal difference between the two words.  But a moral difference is much harder to discern.  Vice President-Elect Joe Biden’s reference to the patriotic nature of paying one’s taxes addressed the moral dimension of each citizen’s obligation to support his or her country’s many fiscal responsibilities.  A good church member would not spend time figuring out how to avoid tithing.  He would support his church’s mission because it would be the right thing to do.  Why should one’s government deserve less?

He brings up the question of morality in relation to paying taxes.  I will agree with the assertion that there is a moral component involved in paying taxes.  The extent of that obligation, however, is debatable.

We are morally obligated to obey our government in all things that do not directly conflict with the commands of God because governments are instituted by God (see Romans 13:1-7).  As such, we are obligated to pay the amount in taxes that our government says we owe.  Anyone who fails to do so has disobeyed God and broken the law and should be prosecuted.  Now we must determine the amount we owe.  We do not have a flat tax (which would be an improvement over our current tax structure) so it is not as simple as multiplying the tax rate by your income and sending the government a check.

Our government has established an entire bureaucratic entity (the KGB IRS) to help us determine what we owe.  They have set aside Section 26 of the United States Code to contain the Internal Revenue Code which tells us all we need to know about calculating the amount we owe.  The tax code contains all the information on what to include in income, when to include it and how to report it.  The tax code also contains what can be deducted and what can’t.  It includes when, how, and how much we can deduct.  The IRS has establish dozens of forms, instructions, and manuals to help us comply with the tax code and calculate what we owe.  An entire profession / industry (Public Accounting and tax preparation) has developed to help us comply with the Internal Revenue Code and calculate the amount of taxes we owe. I could go on but as you can see, calculating what we owe is not a simple matter.

As I have stated in a previous post, the deductions in the Internal Revenue Code have been passed by the Congress and are legal deductions.  We can debate these at another time but the point remains that they are allowable under the Internal Revenue Code.  As such I would argue that it is advisable to take advantage of every possible deduction in calculating the taxes we owe.  This is good stewardship.  We have a responsibility to our family, or stockholders in the case of businesses, to see that the resources we have are used in the most efficient manner possible and as we can all attest to, government can never be accused of being efficient.  I would also point out that nobody is required to use every deduction they are entitled to.  We can pay more than we owe if we so choose.  Since we are not breaking any laws by taking the legal deductions and since we are not being disobedient to God in any way, I cannot see how anyone can claim it is immoral for business or individuals to use every legal deduction when calculating the taxes they owe.

I also want to address the comparison of tithing to pay taxes.  The analogy fails in many ways.  First, we must understand that tithing is a command of God and is only placed on believers.  Taxes are imposed on everybody although many end up not owing anything in any given year.  Second, the main purpose of tithing is not to provided churches funds to operate.  It is to mold the heart of the believer into that of someone who is willing to share with those in need some of the resources God has given them.  The sole purpose of taxes is to fund the various expenditures that our leaders have obligated us to.  Thirdly, if a person chooses not to tithe the church has no enforcement authority.  It is between the believer and God.  If a person chooses not to pay their taxes, the government can forcibly take it from them and put them in jail.  Just ask Wesley Snipes.  Lastly, it is the duty of every good church member to evaluate the way the church uses the money given to it.  If we find a problem we can go directly to the stewardship committee with our concerns and get changes made or a fuller explanation why they are doing what they are doing.  It is also our responsibility to evaluate the way our government handles the money it forcibly takes from us.  The difference is that we can’t go to Washington or Nashville and sit down with the appropriate people and get things changed.  Our only recourse is at the ballot box.  It is our job oppose poor fiscal responsibility in our elected leaders.  Their fiduciary responsibility to us in the way they spend our money should be one of, if not, the primary concern they have.  James Madison said it this way:

“There is not a more important and fundamental principle in legislation, than that the ways and means ought always to face the public engagements; that our appropriations should ever go hand in hand with our promises. To say that the United States should be answerable for twenty-five millions of dollars without knowing whether the ways and means can be provided, and without knowing whether those who are to succeed us will think with us on the subject, would be rash and unjustifiable. Sir, in my opinion, it would be hazarding the public faith in a manner contrary to every idea of prudence.”

–James Madison, Speech in Congress, 22 April 1790

In conclusion, I agree with the premise that we, as citizens, have a moral obligation to pay the taxes  that we owe.  We have a greater moral obligation to diligently hold our leaders accountable for how they handle the resource that they have taken from us.  When they fail to handle them appropriately we should seek their removal.

Saving an Industry

December 20, 2008

            An amazing confluence of ideas has surfaced in two vary different periodicals:  The Progressive Populist and the Johnson City Press.  The former, dated December 15, includes an article by Randolph T. Holhut in which he describes the almost total loss of faith, by the American people, in this country’s large corporations.  He lays the blame on corporate America’s gradual loss of any sense of identity with the publics they serve during the past fifty years or so, focusing instead on a total preoccupation with short-term profits.  He asks “Can we invent a business model in which advocacy, support, authenticity, trust, relationship and profit are linked?”  He answers his own question by stating that “…yes we can, but also yes we must.”

            The attitude expressed in Holhut’s piece was expected.  The Populist is, after all, a fairly left wing publication.  The Press op ed piece, on the other hand, comes from William Rusher, who defines himself as the “Conservative Advocate” and usually lives up to that billing.

            Rusher’s thesis is that pure capitalism cannot work in a democracy.  His subject is the auto industry and he suggests that “pure capitalism” would require that the industry, having proven unprofitable, should be allowed to die.  But he goes on to assert that “…we won’t, and we shouldn’t, enforce that draconian principle without exceptions.”  He goes on “…a democratic society isn’t, and probably can’t be, a strictly and uncompromisingly capitalist one.”

            The very next issue of the Press carried a column by William Krystol, another favorite of the political right wing, saying essentially the same thing.

            This, from writers who have faithfully followed the ideology of Goldwater and Reagan for many years, constitutes a stunning left turn toward a practical view of the world.  With Bob Corker (the senator from Nisson) and others howling for the scalp of the UAW, it’s refreshing to read the words of men able and willing to study the past and learn from experience.

Seven Principles of the Constitution Party

December 17, 2008

Seven Principles of the Constitution Party are:

  1. Life: For all human beings, from conception to natural death;
  2. Liberty: Freedom of conscience and actions for the self-governed individual;
  3. Family: One husband and one wife with their children as divinely instituted;
  4. Property: Each individual’s right to own and steward personal property without government burden;
  5. Constitution: and Bill of Rights interpreted according to the actual intent of the Founding Fathers;
  6. States’ Rights: Everything not specifically delegated by the Constitution to the federal government is reserved for the state and local jurisdictions;
  7. American Sovereignty: American government committed to the protection of the borders, trade, and common defense of Americans, and not entangled in foreign alliances.

Source:  www.constitutionparty.com

Barry Goldwater Quote On Returning To Proven Ways

December 17, 2008

“We shall return to proven ways — not because they are old, but because they are true.” –Barry Goldwater

[Source:  Patriot Post, Wednesday Chronicle — Vol. 08 No. 51,  17 December 2008]

When will we see fit to return to the proven ways?  Is it too late?

Are You Un-American?

December 16, 2008

According to Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, if you are opposed to the auto industry “bail-out” then you are un-american.  She said

“It is unacceptable for this un-American, frankly, behavior of these U.S. senators to cause this country to go from a recession into a depression”

She was applying this to US Senators but the same litmus test can be applied to all people.  A new poll released by the Washington Post tells us that 55% of the nation is opposed to the latest auto industry bail-out plan.  That means that 55% of us are un-American.

So, I must ask you, are you un-American (according to this test)?  I am, at least accoring to Gov. Granholm, and I am okay with that.  How about you?

Ronald Reagan: Businesses Don’t Pay Taxes

December 15, 2008

“The most dangerous myth is the demagoguery that business can be made to pay a larger share, thus relieving the individual. Politicians preaching this are either deliberately dishonest, or economically illiterate, and either one should scare us. Business doesn’t pay taxes, and who better than business to make this message known? Only people pay taxes, and people pay as consumers every tax that is assessed against a business. Begin with the food and fiber raised in the farm, to the ore drilled in a mine, to the oil and gas from out of the ground, whatever it may be — through the processing, through the manufacturing, on out to the retailer’s license. If the tax cannot be included in the price of the product, no one along that line can stay in business.” —Ronald Reagan

[Source:  Patriot Post, Monday Brief,  Vol. 08 No. 51, 15 December 2008]

Notice how Reagan labels people who try to claim that business can be made to pay a larger share of the overall tax burden.  He labels them as “deliberately dishonest” or “economically illiterate“.  That puts things into perspective…doesn’t it?  He understood that all taxes charged to businesses are passed along to consumers or employees.  Why is this concept so hard for some to grasp?  It is basic economics.  When our leaders don’t understand basic economics, they should not be allowed to remain in office.  Consider that the next time you vote.

George Washington On How The Constitution Is Deficient When Challenged By Corrupted Morals

December 11, 2008

“No compact among men … can be pronounced everlasting and inviolable, and if I may so express myself, that no Wall of words, that no mound of parchment can be so formed as to stand against the sweeping torrent of boundless ambition on the one side, aided by the sapping current of corrupted morals on the other.”

–George Washington, draft of first Inaugural Address, April 1789

Source:  patriotpost.us daily founders quote

Do you see any parallels of what is going on in our country today?  Do you see all the instances of our leaders simply brushing aside the Constitution when it conflicts with what they want to do?  How can our nation survive if we allow our leaders to continue to do this?  I don’t think we can.  The only thing that remains is how long it will take us to implode.  God help us.

How Planned Parenthood Operates

December 5, 2008

This really gets me upset.  I should not be surprised but I am.  People like this should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  Facilitating the murder of unborn babies is beyond reproach.  Watch the video and judge for your self.

Before you accuse me of the N=1 logical fallacy, I know that the actions of one person don’t mean that everyone does this type of thing.  But, there are simply too many reports of this type of behavior from Planned Parenthood employees to think that they are not taught this type of thing.  If Planned Parenthood truly wanted these things to end in their organization they would take real steps to see that it is done.

Agree or disagree?

Source:  Washington Times

What Really Stinks: Citizens Or Government?

December 5, 2008

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Governments View Of The Economy by Ronald Reagan

December 3, 2008

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“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” — President Ronald Reagan  [Source: Patriot Post, Wednesday Chronicle Vol. 08 No. 49, 3 December 2008]

That says it all, doesn’t it?  Is this not what our government is doing and wants to do more of?