Wednesday, April 14, 2010

On Paying Taxes, And Watching Out For Greed

I generally agree with conservative principles, such as the pro-life stance on abortion, that of personal responsibility instead of dependence on government, and reducing taxes for everyone, as I believe there is a solid basis for many of these things in God's word. I also agree the best solution is to change people's hearts, rather than try to force a way of life by legislation. Accordingly, the Bible clearly indicates there won't be either a complete political victory or change of people's hearts, until Christ returns (Revelation 4 - 20). In the meanwhile, we should certainly pray for those in authority (1 Tim. 2:1ff.), and vote for those who will be most favorably disposed to governing in a way that does not contradict God's will. But since Christ is the only one who will bring both political and moral victory to believers, we should not look for political salvation through worldly leaders.  As such, I don't feel obligated to necessarily agree with *everything* called "conservative", or disagree with everything called "liberal".

For example, while the Bible apparently equates even a 10 percent tax rate with slavery (Genesis 47), God also set limits on how much people should go out and get for themselves (Exodus 16), and frequently warns against greed (Luke 12:15; 1 Cor. 5:11, etc.). When God rained mannah (Exodus 16), He prescribed that each person go out and get enough for one day's eating, except on Friday when he was to get two day's worth, so there would be enough to take Saturday off. Anything that was left over for the next day would become filled with worms and stink. Thus, hoarding was discouraged, and God's provision of resources was measured such that everyone who went out to gather could get the amount he needed to live on.

I believe God provides a limited amount of resources for everyone to consume. There isn't some kind of magic that will make it so that as long as everyone goes out and works hard, everyone will become rich, or even be able to live his *dream* lifestyle. There are only so many peaces of pie. When greedy people sell their souls to the devil and devote themselves to hoarding resources for themselves, it means someone else's peace of pie, or some fraction thereof, will not be readily available, even if he does work hard for it. If people go without because they are lazy, that's their fault. But often, I believe there are *some* people going without because greedy people have sold their soul to hoard resources for themselves.

In the Bible, people in the early church sold their possessions and gave what was needed to those in the church who were without.  This was so there would be "equality".  The difference between that and communism, or socialism, is that this was *voluntary*, not compulsory.  This kind of attitude will likely never prevail among Americans in general, but unfortunately I have never seen that level of material sacrifice among the church at large, in general.  There may be a number of isolated cases, but have you ever heard of the whole church selling land and properties to make other Christians equal to them?  

In the past, I have earned a median income. While not enabling a *dream* lifestyle, it did allow my family and I to get by, even though my wife accepts the responsibility of staying home to raise our children. My understanding is that the average household has two median income earners, which means most people are getting twice the amount of resources for their family as mine. I can't imagine, knowing that we can survive on one income, what it would be like to have double the amount we actually need to get by, as *middle class* America apparently does. Imagine how many *millions* of jobs would immediately become available, if, instead of pursuing the *American Dream*, these families were content with what they needed, with one person working and another raising the children!

Thus, I believe that there are a lot of unemployed people right now, because even middle class families are being too greedy, let alone what wealthy people are hoarding. They are effectively stealing other people's piece of pie, and making it harder for everyone. For this reason, I believe there do need to be some kind of restraints in place, to discourage people from hoarding more than they need, so that everyone who puts in a hard day's work will be able to meet his needs. No, I don't feel sorry for greedy hoarders if they have to pay higher taxes!

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