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The Morality of Taxation

We live in a culture that increasingly calls good evil and evil good. We shouldn’t be surprised, though, for God warns us in Isaiah 5:20 that there are people in the world that see darkness as light and light as darkness. This point was well illustrated in the recent debate over the national debt ceiling, as a group of so-called “evangelical leaders” under the leadership of liberal strategist Jim Wallis, attempted to co-opt the language of truth to advance their radical agenda. Their way of calling good evil and evil good was to proclaim justice as oppression and oppression as justice. They advocated for increased entitlement spending at a time when the nation’s economy is crumbling under a crushing debt, saying that it’s the government’s job to provide for “the least of these.” All the while, they ignore the financial bondage they hang around the neck of the next generation of Americans, and ignore the fact that the command to aide the ailing was given to individuals, not government entities.

In fact, since the adoption of the 16th Amendment in 1913, the size and scope of the Federal government has expanded exponentially. This expansion has been financed through confiscatory taxation guised as social “justice” for those in need. Unfortunately, however, this form of legalized theft has done absolutely nothing to eradicate economic deprivation and poverty, but an awful lot to curtail the very liberties Americans once claimed as a birthright. This progressive, or graduated, taxation system ushered in under the 16th Amendment has divided the American people into two camps: the makers and the takers. It has perpetuated class warfare and extreme envy, the strain of which threatens to undermine our domestic tranquility and quality of life. The book of Proverbs warns us that “he who brings trouble on his family will inherit only wind.” The Federal government has done this with gusto: they have stirred strife in the American family and undermined our shared values. The results are economic and social upheavals we once knew only on our television screens.

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The values that made this great Republic are, not surprisingly, principles aligned with a decidedly Biblical Worldview. Among these foundational principles are thrift, delayed gratification, hard work and self-sacrifice. These characteristics once formed the heart of our national culture, and fostered a spirit of shared ideals that built the freest, most prosperous and most advanced society in human history. Today, however, these concepts are anathema to the American experience, as we have been taught that prosperity and plenty are our entitlement, while hard work and perseverance are punishments no one should endure. This has been made possible, at least in part, by our unfair tax code that punishes success and rewards laziness. It is unconscionable that a nation conceived in liberty would tolerate a tax code that taxes some folks, who work hard to make a living, at 35%, while giving some who pay no taxes tax rebates.

I am a firm believer that America needs to eliminate the 16th Amendment and institute a system of taxation that is fair, balanced and equal on all. One such idea, one that I support, is the Fair Tax Act. This common sense solution would eliminate personal and corporate income taxes, slash the death tax and implement a national sales tax in its place, which is paid by all people from drug dealers to diamond salesman on an equal basis. The faster we put everyone on the hook for the nation’s financial footing, the faster folks on the left will be in returning to fiscal sanity. It’s easy to vote for spending increases and the massive welfare state when it’s being financed by someone else. Under equal taxation, we will all be stakeholders in our free nation, and we’ll all be more interested in those supposedly antiquated values of thrift, delayed gratification, hard work and self-sacrifice.

Taxation is a moral issue, and the Scriptures make clear that God takes injustice seriously. In fact, one of the first things that Zacchaeus, a tax collector, did after meeting Jesus Christ in the book of Luke was go out and return the excess taxes he extorted from the people. In addition to working for the repeal of the 16th Amendment, perhaps we should pray for revival to break-out at the IRS; if those folks are anything like Zacchaeus, many of us may get tax relief as well!

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