Archives For Politics

Take care! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired, because then you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give a gift to someone in need, don’t shout about it as the hypocrites do – blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I assure you, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone, don’t tell your left hand what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in secret, and your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.

And now about prayer. When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I assure you, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you. When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! (Matthew 6:1-8, NLT)

Kind of puts Matthew 25 into a different perspective, doesn’t it? I ask you – how does campaigning for public charity fit with the private, secret approach to charity commanded us in Matthew 6?

Happy Tax Day 2008

April 15, 2008

Happy tax day, once again. And remember: with the FairTax, today could be just like any other spring day.

By the way, over at the FairTax site they have a little petition going on that they’re sending to Congress today. Head on over to sign it if you’re tired of the overly complicated way the federal government taxes you.

Now that’s change I can believe in…

New FairTax Book

March 3, 2008

Boortz and Linder recently came out with another FairTax book, called FairTax: The Truth: Answering the Critics.

It’s been billed as their effort to “answer the outspoken and misinformed critics” of the FairTax. The main disappointment I have with the book is that it really only does that for about two chapters.

The book is still good, though, including more history about how the FairTax developed. The book does a good job of dealing with criticisms, even if it’s a little short on explanations here and there. It does not assume that you’ve read their first FairTax book, nor does it assume you’re familiar with all of the aspects of the FairTax. Between giving some history on the FairTax, and explaining most of its basic concepts, it’s not until about halfway through the book before they really take on the critics.

Perhaps the best stuff in the book is towards the end, though. There’s a great section where they describe what it would be like to have lived under the FairTax all of your life – receiving your entire paycheck. No payroll taxes. Knowing exactly what government is costing. Not having to base business or investment decisions on their tax consequences. And then they describe a politician trying to come and sell the current system as an improvement. Taxing your income. Taxing business profits, so there’s a hidden tax cost in everything you buy. Taxing investments. Even taxing death.

It’s a very interesting way to look at it, and it really helps to make it clear how much simpler the FairTax is, and how it removes government from more day-to-day business and personal decisions.

If you’ve been suspicious of the FairTax, I highly encourage you to pick this book up. It’s less technical than the first one, in some ways, and more visionary in tone. And many of your questions and concerns about the FairTax are probably dealt with in this book.

One criticism I felt like they should have dealt with better is the progressive nature of the FairTax. They explain the prebate well, and how that prevents anyone from paying taxes on the basic necessities of life (defined by the poverty level), and they explained how this makes the FairTax progressive. They also talked a good bit about net effective tax rates under the current tax system. But I think they could have talked more about net effective tax rates under the FairTax. I’ve left comments about this over at FairTaxBlog.Com, and I’ll probably work on a post about this particular issue in the future. It’s really important to consider net effective rates when people initially react to the idea of a 23% inclusive consumption tax.

(Actually, if you have serious questions or concerns about the FairTax, check out FairTaxBlog.Com. There are a lot of supporters and critics that can support their points very well there.)

I think this quote does a good job of describing the overall goals of tax reform, and what the FairTax will enable.

Under the FairTax Vision for Tomorrow, every time an American buys a loaf of bread or a new car, he’ll know, to the penny, how much of that money is going to the federal government.

Our vision for tomorrow sees a government that’s a partner with the business community and the people, not an adversary; a government with a tax system that encourages economic development and the creation of the new business, rather than a government and a tax system that chases valued businesses to foreign shores.

Our vision for tomorrow is one where governance returns to the local level; were communities are allowed to make the important decisions regarding their government and their schools. No longer will politicians be able to hide regulations and programs that control every aspect of our lives in 9 million words of confusing and draconian codes and regulation. The FairTax will demand political honesty…

Our vision for tomorrow sees an America where jobs are insourced, not outsourced… sees America becoming the safest and most secure tax haven for trillions of dollars currently languishing offshore… sees an America that will enjoy a virtual $400-billion-per-year tax cut… an exporting powerhouse, selling goods and services into a global economy unburdened by the 22 percent tax component now burdening our price system…

People see all of this and say, “how can a different tax system do that?” One point that I haven’t seen made clearly enough, is that the FairTax wouldn’t be responsible for any of this. The truth is that these “benefits” would not be due to enacting the FairTax, they would be due to completely getting rid of all of the oppression of the current tax structure on our economic decisions, while still funding our government. It is not the FairTax that would produce such wonderful results – it would be the American people, unencumbered by an oppressive tax system. How can you disagree with that?

(Not) Transforming Culture

August 10, 2007

There’s a great article in Christianity Today this month by Mark Galli titled On Not Transforming the World. The subtitle is “we have better and harder things to do than that.”

We are certainly responsible for going to the ends of the earth and making disciples from people of every nation. There is plenty in Scripture about doing justice and loving mercy and feeding the hungry and caring for the widow and orphan. But I find little or nothing about us having the task of transforming the culture.

Britt has talked about how Changing the World is something that isn’t found in scripture. At least not something that is assigned to us.

Galli’s article touches on how service is our number one task, in terms of transforming the world:

Servants aren’t about world-changing initiatives as much as about washing the dirty feet of the travelers sitting at their kitchen table. Jesus never tells us to do anything because it will transform the culture. Surprisingly, he didn’t seem interested in transforming the Roman Empire, one of the most oppressive and unjust cultures in history. He seemed rather to think that society would always have economic disparity, and that not only should changing Rome not be a priority, but also we should not even object to underwriting it with our taxes…

I remain puzzled as to why we’re so bored with the very things Jesus asks us to do, like picking that foreigner up out of the ditch, giving away our goods to the poor, going to court with a young man who’s being railroaded by the system, taking an orphan into our home, going the extra mile with the oppressive and manipulative, forgiving the offender, baptizing, and witnessing. I find these things really, really hard to do. I fail all the time. If I can’t even do these things well, why would I believe that I could transform my culture, let alone change the world?

Despite my political rants and opinions, I’ve been learning more and more that it is not our job to make political systems reflect the church. Does that mean we should be apathetic towards politics? I don’t think so. But it makes it all the more difficult to discern when we are pushing our own religious agenda into politics.

People tend to think that Christ’s mission was about transformation, and that in today’s culture, we should redeem the culture (by keeping it sanitary), transform social politics (by enforcing charity), or other high ideals. But by doing so, we are trying to place a significance onto ourselves that simply isn’t rooted in scripture. Galli says “we all face the common temptation of Adam and Eve. We want to feel significant.”

Scripture is clear that Christ’s mission was about service, and that this is our mission also. In today’s culture, I think the targets of that service are clear. While it is hard, it is not a complicated thing to fulfill what the scriptures have required of us. And it is about doing it ourselves, not about creating a governmental structure to force everyone else to do it our way.

Stossel on Education

January 25, 2006

If you haven’t read any of John Stossel’s columns on education, here’s a few for you to enjoy:

From Trapped in the Wrong Government School (25 Jan 2006):

In public education, our land of the free is now a bunch of local fiefs, where petty-bureaucrats-turned-lords-of-the-manor decide whether you can get a decent education, and parents must go to them, begging for their children’s future. Meanwhile, in Belgium and much of the rest of the world, students and their parents have the freedom to choose their schools — and the opportunity that comes with that freedom.

From Myth: Schools Need More Money (18 Jan 2006):

The truth is, public schools are rolling in money. If you divide the U.S. Department of Education’s figure for total spending on K-12 education by the department’s count of K-12 students, it works out to about $10,000 per student.

Think about that! For a class of 25 kids, that’s $250,000 per classroom. This doesn’t include capital costs. Couldn’t you do much better than government schools with $250,000? You could hire several good teachers; I doubt you’d hire many bureaucrats. Government schools, like most monopolies, squander money.

From Public Schools Are Cheating the Children (11 Jan 2006):

Remember when the Postal Service said it couldn’t get it there overnight? Then companies like FedEx were allowed to compete. Private enterprise got it there absolutely, positively overnight. Now even the Post Office guarantees overnight delivery sometimes. Competition works.

Why can’t education work the same way? If people got to choose their kids’ school, education options would be endless.

Government monopolies routinely fail their customers.

Happy Tax Day

April 15, 2005

Have you done your taxes yet? Did you get a refund? Even if you did, do you still realize that you still paid a lot in taxes?

In today’s Nealz Nuze, Boortz quotes T. Coleman Andrews, commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service from 1953 until 1955.

Congress went beyond merely enacting an income tax law and repealed Article IV of the Bill of Rights, by empowering the tax collector to do the very things from which that article says we were to be secure. It opened up our homes, our papers and our effects to the prying eyes of government agents and set the stage for searches of our books and vaults and for inquiries into our private affairs whenever the tax men might decide, even though there might not be any justification beyond mere cynical suspicion.

The income tax is bad because it has robbed you and me of the guarantee of privacy and the respect for our property that were given to us in Article IV of the Bill of Rights. This invasion is absolute and complete as far as the amount of tax that can be assessed is concerned. Please remember that under the Sixteenth Amendment, Congress can take 100% of our income anytime it wants to. As a matter of fact, right now it is imposing a tax as high as 91%. This is downright confiscation and cannot be defended on any other grounds.

The income tax is bad because it was conceived in class hatred, is an instrument of vengeance and plays right into the hands of the communists. It employs the vicious communist principle of taking from each according to his accumulation of the fruits of his labor and giving to others according to their needs, regardless of whether those needs are the result of indolence or lack of pride, self-respect, personal dignity or other attributes of men.

The income tax is fulfilling the Marxist prophecy that the surest way to destroy a capitalist society is by steeply graduated taxes on income and heavy levies upon the estates of people when they die.

As matters now stand, if our children make the most of their capabilities and training, they will have to give most of it to the tax collector and so become slaves of the government. People cannot pull themselves up by the bootstraps anymore because the tax collector gets the boots and the straps as well.

The income tax is bad because it is oppressive to all and discriminates particularly against those people who prove themselves most adept at keeping the wheels of business turning and creating maximum employment and a high standard of living for their fellow men.

I believe that a better way to raise revenue not only can be found but must be found because I am convinced that the present system is leading us right back to the very tyranny from which those, who established this land of freedom, risked their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to forever free themselves…

Realize that it can be different. The FairTax can change all of it, to a system that satisfies the attributes of a good tax system. I, for one, completely support the FairTax.

Abortion = Slavery

November 29, 2004

I was reading information about the Dred Scott case (1857) recently, and I was amazed at how similar the arguments were to arguments from pro-choice advocates. Speaking for the majority, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney said:

We think they are… not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word “citizens” in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States….

In a nutshell, the Supreme Court said that Dred Scott had no legal standing in the court system simply because he was black, and that he was considered “property” under the Fifth Amendment. At the time, blacks were considered inferior, or not fully human, and thus were not guaranteed the same protections under the constitution.

The entire basis for the pro-choice position is that it’s “the woman’s body”, and therefore, “her choice”. Legal justifications for this are predicated on the fetus as not fully human, and therefore have no legal status or protection under the constitution. The Roe v. Wade decision phrased this as an issue of the fetus reaching a “viable” stage of development in order to be granted constitutional protection, but went so far as to say that:

The law has been reluctant to endorse any theory that life, as we recognize it, begins before live birth or to accord legal rights to the unborn except in narrowly defined situations and except when the rights are contingent upon live birth… In short, the unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons in the whole sense.

Then I found this article today — The Peculiar Morality of Secession.

Shocked that “moral values” was the issue that defeated them and re-elected President Bush, the LibDems are bleating on every air wave they can ride that they have moral values too. Yes, they certainly do – it’s just that some of those values are immoral. Not all. Confederate Southerners held many decent values – but on slavery they were morally wrong. No relativistic morals here, no “that’s just your opinion” situational ethics, no wiggles, hesitations, or qualifiers. Slavery is immoral, period – even the LibDems agree.

Thus the teachable moment – for abortion is morally no different than slavery, the claim that one human being may own another as personal property to be disposed of if the owner so chooses.

Thus we need to refer to abortion as “the peculiar institution,” and Roe v. Wade as disgracefully unconstitutional as Dred Scott. Watch for this to happen. Watch for abortion advocates to be increasingly on the defensive as they are made to understand the moral equivalence between abortion and slavery.

The day is not that far off when schoolkids will be asking their history teacher puzzled questions as to how there was a time in America when people passionately defended the morality of a mother killing her own baby.

This mirrors my own thinking on the subject, and I’m encouraged that there are others who share the same idea.