TCS Daily

What Would Jesus Tax?

By Jerry Bowyer - November 8, 2006 12:00 AM

"When Jesus tells us he will regard the way we treat the hungry, the homeless, the stranger, the sick, and the prisoner as if we were treating him that way, it likely means he wouldn't think capital gains tax cuts for the wealthy and food stamp cuts for the poor represent the best domestic policy."

-- Jim Wallis, Sojourners Magazine

When I read Jim Wallis's attempt to use the gospels to set the capital gains tax rate, I flashed back to a speech that I heard Ted Kennedy give in the 1980s. Attempting to stifle the rising tide of conservative evangelical political engagement, Senator Kennedy said "I suggest that the almighty has not taken a position on the IRA deduction." Great line, I thought.

How times have changed. Keeping the Bible out of public policy was the left's line in the 1980s. Now they've switched to trying to get a 25% marginal tax rate on long-term capital gains out of St. Luke.

It's not so far fetched as might seem at first. Jesus, in fact, did speak about capital gains. He told a story about three stewards. One achieved high capital gains on the owner's investments. The other also did well. The third one, failed to achieve any capital appreciation at all and was fired.

Jesus also told a story about capital losses. A steward, about to be fired, bargains to sell notes receivable back to the lenders at reduced price. In other words he imposes capital losses on his about-to-be-former employer. It's a pretty confusing story.

Unfortunately neither the parable of the capital gains nor the parable of the capital losses makes any mention of taxes. Or maybe it's not so unfortunate after all. Maybe the lack of detail spares us from the temptation to try to exegete tax rates out of the holy scriptures.

It's not that the Lordship of Christ doesn't extend over economics, or that God is indifferent to financial matters. If I believed that, I couldn't work in those fields. It's that no detailed legal and tax code could ever be sufficient for all times and all places.

A couple of decades ago, a group of Calvinistic thinkers launched a movement called 'theonomy'. It attempted to impose the details of the Deuteronomic law code on modern America. Theonomists did it from the hard right; it seems as though some on the left are trying to do it from the other side. They agree on the premises that we can skip the hard thinking about economics and finance and simply base our policies on Biblical revelation at one moment in time. They disagree only on the era. Theonomists wanted the to impose the law code that was given to a Neolithic tribe in the second millennium BC: Evangelicals on the left look to the communal practices of a small group of dissidents who waited in First Century Palestine for the imminent fall of the dictator, as our economic guide.

The problem with both approaches is that in the end, they provide elaborate theological justifications for their followers to stop reasoning about economics. If any passage of the bible tells us the specifics of God's economic policies, then all the questions are already settled. The theological questions really are settled. The answer is: love your neighbor as yourself. There is no possible debate for Christians over the question of whether we should pursue economic policies which are beneficial to our neighbors, especially the poor. The unanswered questions are prudential. God offers us no waiver from the hard work of immersing ourselves in the data of economics and finance.

Here's what the data show: cuts in capital gains tax rates tend to coincide with DECREASES in the poverty rate for the time periods for which data are available. For instance, Ronald Reagan cut the capital gains tax rate as part of his tax reform act of 1986.

Bill Clinton cut the capital gains tax rates on long-term gains in 1997 and a strong decrease in poverty rates resulted. George Bush cut the capital gains and dividends taxes in 2003 and the resulting economic surge caused a decrease in the 2004/2005 poverty rate. Although comparable data are not available for the first of the supply-side tax cuts which were proposed by John Kennedy, his rationale for those cuts was the alleviation of poverty, claiming that in economic affairs 'a rising tide lifts all boats.'

Critics on the left charge that lowering the tax rate on capital helps the rich, not the poor. This reveals the fundamental presupposition error of their thinking—that the rich and poor have an inherent economic conflict of interest. They do not. The tendency in modern dynamic economies is for the rich and poor both to get richer, but at different rates. Growth-oriented policies are beneficial to both. They have an inherent harmony of interests. This is demonstrated by current economic data. Lowering the cost of taxes on capital lowers the risk of capital investment. The tax cuts of 2003 triggered a very strong surge in capital spending. This means more buildings, more computers, and more machines, which means more people to occupy, sit at and operate them. That's why the household survey shows a gain of 8 million jobs in the past 3 years.

The tax code doesn't determine whether wealthy people invest their wealth or not. The tax code simply helps determine where they will invest it. They can invest their gains either on information technology and heavy equipment, or they can invest them in a small army of tax accountants, trust attorneys and other advisers to whom they turn for help in sheltering their gains from the IRS. I should know, I used that small army. In the late 1980s I was a tax accountant for the world's largest accounting firm. I had some very wealthy clients, but not one of them gave in and sold all that they had and gave it to the poor. Instead they gave big chunks of it to us in exchange for us finding ways to structure their affairs so as to avoid giving even bigger chunks to the IRS. The higher the capital gains tax rate, the more they needed us.

The simple economic fact in the end seems to be a moral fact as well. There is an 'envy-tether' which, when tightened in an attempt to punish the wealthy, ends up hurting the poor. I live in the Mon Valley area of Pennsylvania, very near ground zero of American deindustrialization, just outside of the former Mill town known as McKeesport. We're so close that we actually have a McKeesport mailing address. In fact, a couple of years ago, our accountant got a little confused and prepared a McKeesport tax return for our business earnings, thinking that we actually lived in the same taxing district. The bill was incredibly high, so high in fact that we would have moved our business to avoid it. They actually have something called a 'business privilege tax' which you have to pay even if you don't make any profit at all.

In the summer time when we walk around the neighborhoods or are driving home from Church, and the windows are open, we can actually smell the stench of urine and liquor on the main drag. A thriving business district now sports liquor stores, second hand shops and places to sell blood plasma. How, I wondered, can things have gotten and stayed so bad? Then I remembered that tax bill, and it all made sense. The envy tether.

Jim Wallis came here to McKeesport last year as part of something with a name like March for Justice. He mentioned the poverty. He did not, to my memory, mention the business privilege tax.



Jim Wallis and the Good Samaritan
I guess Jim Wallis would rewrite the story of the Good Samaritan to read something like this: The Samaritan finds a man wounded by robbers, so he rushes to Jerusalem to persuade the Israeli government to cut him a check.

What more to say than Jerry Bowyer? A compelling and lucid argument for a God-fearing, sensible ( and conservative) tax policy that works just as well for agnostics and atheists.
Kevin C (of the formerly Red State of Ohio. May sanity soon prevail.)

Parables and Purposes
To understand Jesus' commercially themed parables, one actually has to believe that Jesus understood what money is and how it works.

Money stores value and serves a multitude of purposes. So to really understand Jesus' teaching regarding money, one must understand that when one spends money, one reveals one's purposes as well as what one values.

To illustrate, the soon-to-be-unemployed shrewd manager used his boss' money to buy himself favor with his boss' debtors to increase the likelihood of surviving unemployment. In explaining the parable's punch-line (Luke 16:8-9), Jesus said:

"The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings."

See, the manager was shrewd because he spent money to save his life, which is the source of everything he valued. Summed up, the shrewd manager's purpose (save life) and his application of value to this purpose defined the character of the shrewd manager's scheme for Jesus: Even dishonesty and dirty money can save life – a purpose that is good notwithstanding the law (Luke 6:9; what would Kant have to say about that?)

Using these two keys to understanding money (value and purpose) unlocks Jesus' approach to money. For example, Jesus tested the rich young man (Matthew 19:16-30) by ordering him to give his money to the poor, knowing that if the rich young man refused, he would never be able to dedicate himself entirely to serving God's purposes because he did not value them highly enough. Indeed, this why wealth is a burden to the rich: Greater amounts of money serve a greater array of purposes, many of which are not God's.

Often one hears the tale of the widow's mite offered to support the claim that God likes high, progressive tax rates. But consider this: Was it the widow's purpose (to glorify God) or the amount of money she donated (negligible) that Jesus praised in contrast to the Pharisees' gifts? If it was the widow's purpose, then tale of the widow's mite is neutral on the issues of tax rates and revenue generation.

Indeed, when considers all the angles, the tale of widow's mite actually opposes the claim that God likes high, progressive tax rates. For the actual dollar amount of tax one pays relative to one's income does not serve as a reliable measure of the purposes motivating taxpayers to pay taxes, or for that matter, legislators' purposes for imposing them.

So why do Pharisees, ahem, legislators want our money? Look at what they do with it, that is, what they spend it on and why (value and purpose). Or as Deepthroat said, “Follow the money.”

Here's what I see Congress doing with taxpayers’ money: I see Congress using taxpayers’ money to buy and keep power for themselves; I see Congress using the promise of benefits and boons to set rich against poor, old against young, and big business against everyone else in order to keep voters too fractured and weak to unite against them; and finally, I see Congressmen using the expensive trappings of high public office to promote their own social status and personal pleasures.

That's why I want Jim Wallis to explain to me how he arrives at the belief that giving money to Congress serves God's purposes, particularly when everything I see Congress doing disproves such nonsense.

God warned us about governments
" Now grant their request; but at the same time, warn them solemnly and inform them of the rights of the king who will rule them."
Samuel delivered the message of the LORD in full to those who were asking him for a king.
He told them: "The rights of the king who will rule you will be as follows: He will take your sons and assign them to his chariots and horses, and they will run before his chariot.
He will also appoint from among them his commanders of groups of a thousand and of a hundred soldiers. He will set them to do his plowing and his harvesting, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.
He will use your daughters as ointment-makers, as cooks, and as bakers.
He will take the best of your fields, vineyards, and olive groves, and give them to his officials.
He will tithe your crops and your vineyards, and give the revenue to his eunuchs and his slaves.
He will take your male and female servants, as well as your best oxen and your asses, and use them to do his work.
He will tithe your flocks and you yourselves will become his slaves.
When this takes place, you will complain against the king whom you have chosen, but on that day the LORD will not answer you."
The people, however, refused to listen to Samuel's warning and said, "Not so! There must be a king over us.
We too must be like other nations, with a king to rule us and to lead us in warfare and fight our battles."

alas, if only it were merely a tithe

Where's the beef?
"Keeping the Bible out of public policy was the left's line in the 1980s. Now they've switched to trying to get a 25% marginal tax rate on long-term capital gains out of St. Luke."

I'm sorry, Jerry. I must have missed that. Where in your article is the money quote, in which some influential leftist has tied changes in the capital gains rate to the Gospel of St Luke? I've been through your article twice now, but can't seem to find it.

The whole premise of the piece kind of falls apart without it, wouldn't you think?

I smell a slippery slope here
"Even dishonesty and dirty money can save life – a purpose that is good notwithstanding the law (Luke 6:9; what would Kant have to say about that?)"

But actually he's not literally saving his life. He's only using his dishonesty to stave off a bout of unemployment.

By such a token we should also approve the actions of those who commit some small bad-- say, the robbery of a convenience store-- but who in doing so create the undeniable good of being able to contribute to the economy by buying adequate amounts of cheap red wine.

BTW our Congress members don't actually use the taxpayers' money to ensure the retention of their own power. They use money given to them for campaign purposes, by corporate interests who convince them to word legislation in their favor-- in return for continuing contributions. It is a violation of federal law to directly dip into the General Fund for campaign funding purposes. Besides, in our system it's not necessary.

essay didn't answer the title question
Jesus would have imposed a 10% income tax and the Temple taxes.

Jesus wouldn't tax anything
Jesus didn't force anyone to do anything at the point of a gun. Sure, he might have held the sword of eternal damnation over our heads if we weren't decent to our fellow human beings, if we didn't help those in need, but the point is that he left us a choice. Taxation, which is legalized theft, is imposed upon us (or at least upon me) against our wills.

Politics isn't about doing what's right for other people. It's about power and money. For decades both major parties have successfully played the class warfare card and have mananged to indoctrinate most people into believing that government is the best solution to everyone's everyday problems. As to wealthy people hiring professionals to help keep Uncle Sam out of their pockets: considering the huge percentage of politicians who are lawyers, keeping the tax code unfathomable and confiscatory certainly serves their best interests.

Render unto Caesar
Perhaps the All Mighty is telling us that Congress may demand tribute in the form of taxes, but that we should render this tribute to them in the form of lead?

Is money the root of all evil?
What the Bible actually says id that "THE LOVE OF money is the root of all evil" (my italics not His). I think both right & left could benefit from this. Money is a very good way of keeping score & the creation of wealth is a necessity to help the poor, but it is a very bad thing to put first. The other line that "it is easier for ac amel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven" is as disconcerting now as it was 2,000 years ago. Perhaps moreso considering how wealthy even the poor are now by ancient standards.

Get yourself a Bible and read it, rb ...
For knowing whereof one speaks beats embarrassment, to whit:

"But actually he's not literally saving his life. He's only using his dishonesty to stave off a bout of unemployment,"

in consideration with Luke 16:3-4:

The manager said to himself, 'What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I'm not strong enough to dig, and I'm ashamed to beg— I know what I'll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.'

To which lefty rb opines:

"By such a token we should also approve the actions of those who commit some small bad-- say, the robbery of a convenience store-- but who in doing so create the undeniable good of being able to contribute to the economy by buying adequate amounts of cheap red wine."

To which righty rb replies: "Leave it to a lefty to equate the value of life with the cheap thrills purchased along with a bottle of Lambrusco and a robbery beef."

With values like lefty rb's, is there any question why American society is a dog's breakfast?

"BTW our Congress members don't actually use the taxpayers' money to ensure the retention of their own power."

Who pays for Social Security (??!), Medicare, Medicaid, and the specter of scrapping these monuments of human guile for something that provides taxpayers value for money? (Hint: American taxpayers.) Who pays to provide illegal immigrants emergency healthcare? Who pays every time a fetus is aborted and a Democrat is elected for supporting the right (and the burden on humanity) to do so? Who pays all these costs, rb? Or in your mind, are all these things freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!?

God bless the second amendment ...
For our government's power relies on our belief in the extent of its power to the same extent as our belief in the limitations of its power.

In this sense, the US constitution is no different from the Bible.

A low argument
You paint yourself an utter moron when you ask rhetorically who pays for Medicare, Social Security, etc, and then say in my mind all those things are free. Get above that kind of slime. I never said anything like that and you know it. Your kind gives lawyers a bad name.

I paid into the system when I was working, and now I'm taking out when I'm not. That's the way it was designed to work, and no one has to contribute without becoming potentially eligible for benefits. Why, knowing that full well, do you choose to say it's not the case?

And I can't imagine why you would regard the parable in question highly. I'm not the sort to memorize the Bible-- in fact have never even read it. But I find the tale here:

1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.
2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.
3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.
4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
5 So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?
6 And he said, A hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.
7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, A hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.
8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.


I'm not good on biblical phraseology, but depending on the meaning of the word "wasted" it sounds like this man steals from his employer-- and when being found tries to conceive of some ploy that will save his job. So he uses the money he stole to pay off his employer's creditors, and so is retained.

As an employer, I would detest this kind of person, and never hire him back. Yet your only comment is the cryptic "With values like lefty rb's, is there any question why American society is a dog's breakfast?"

Theft from an employer is an abuse of trust, in my wqorld. And I could respect no religion that would honor such behavior.

An alternate interpretation of "wasted" might be that the employee screwed up, literally squandering some of his master's assets. In such a case, if he made the losses up out of his own personal savings it would be an entirely different story. But it's anyone's guess which interpretation was in the mind of the author. Going against this interpretation would be the use of the word "unjust" to describe the steward.

As you can tell, I really dislike your present bad attitude. Who pays when a fetus is aborted? That's not an actual question. It's just supposed to be inflammatory. Get well soon.

God seems to favor a libertarian government.
Based upon 1 Samuel 8.

Man only needs God. Follow God's will and no government needed.

And for you Randians, treat others as you would want to be treated.

Might makes right
The problem is that there is no limit to the government's power, period. The law is what the government says it is. In addition it is often applied arbitarily. Today's government bears little resemblance to the limited Constitutional Republic envisioned by the Founders.

Whinging doesn't pay the bills, rb
Hey rb

Seems I've touched a nerve: How delightful! Let's explore that spot - it seems a sore one for you:

"You paint yourself an utter moron when you ask rhetorically who pays for Medicare, Social Security, etc, and then say in my mind all those things are free."

"I paid into the system when I was working, and now I'm taking out when I'm not. That's the way it was designed to work, and no one has to contribute without becoming potentially eligible for benefits. Why, knowing that full well, do you choose to say it's not the case?"

Riddle me this, rb: How come tax laws forced me to pay thousands into the system, yet now I'm not eligible to benefit from it. It seems you've lied - I had to contribute, but I'm not eligible for benefits. Why do you allow deceit into your belief system?

Lying to oneself makes clear thinking impossible, rb, so I suggest you give it up (lying, not thinking). In fact, just the other day I realized that when one prefers to lie, it is often to cover one's departure from reasonableness.

Now with the rancor aside, here's what I meant: People pay into the relevant programs, thereby sustaining them while also politically locking them into place because people plan their budgets around them (it's called a "reliance interest"). So when economists, accountants and politicians say the system needs reforming and why, the system's costs suddenly become clear: It costs bizarrely more than its worth, yet reforming it is political suicide.

So as it turns out, rb, that your boons are my burdens. And because just now that makes your way of seeing things a political winner for politicians, they win power by taking money from some and giving it to others under the cover of the system, meaning they buy political power for themselves with public money.

"I'm not good on biblical phraseology, but depending on the meaning of the word "wasted" it sounds like this man steals from his employer-- and when being found tries to conceive of some ploy that will save his job."

I loved seeing you try to torment the Bible's text to get around my barb - that you value cheap thrills over human life. What a lawyer you are, rb! Has chatting with me made you want to become more like me? I'm so flattered. And because you - along with vast swathes of American society - seem to value so many things more than human life, American society has become a dog's breakfast.

That's why you and your fellow travelers can assign a human fetus no value in the context of abortion but then assign it great value in the context of stem cell research. Same thing, two different contexts, two different valuations, with neither valuation having anything to do with the fact that a human fetus is a human life.

Honestly, rb, your previously demonstrated reading comprehension enables you to follow such simple arguments. I even mentioned Kant (universal categorical imperative) to give you a secular guide to understanding what I meant. But you availed yourself not of help, preferring instead to twist text and lie to yourself. Not a good show, old man. Whinging doesn’t pay the bills, for it's no set-off against assessing the true cost of things.

What foul demons
Now it comes out. You're the one who's petulant about Social Security because you didn't work enough quarters to qualify for payments.

No one ever said life was fair. And you're resentful that someone else picked up the dime you lost and got a free ride with it.

You're your own best reward, bub.

I'm farting through silk, rb
Really, I'm doing fine. Indeed, I'll retire filthy rich without ever paying another FICA penney to Uncle Sugar because I don't live in the US (and haven't since 1999). Once I'm 65 I can claim SS benefits, but I won't - I'd prefer the money go to someone who believes it's not filthy.

So no, I'm not petulant and my critique of Social Security does me no cathartic good. In fact, I'm overjoyed I'm no longer enrolled in this Ponzi scheme against my will.

Still, I hate to watch my countrymen tie a welfare state millstone around their necks and jump into the sea. That aside, happy swimming, rb; I hear the water's nice this time of year. And if your triumphant collection of welfare state benefits is any measure of just deserts, you really deserve a swim.

That's really decent of you, to voluntarily renounce benefits you're entitled to by law. But the money is yours, you've earned it. Leave it there and Uncle Sam will just use it to write the check to someone else. It might as well come back to you, as the system was designed to accomplish. After all, it's not Uncle Sam's money. It's just a social insurance policy he manages for my group.

But being filthy rich, you don't need it. And the satisfaction of knowing your righteousness still smolders? Priceless!

Sparring with you has been an education. I first came to TCS because I could hardly imagine such people could actually exist in real life. I feel like I'm coming away with a greater understanding of homo economicus-- the creature that has transcended all social instincts, and now exists only for personal aggrandizement.

Posting here has been fun. I'll probably be doing so less now, as the tide has begun to recede. You seem to be content in a world of your own making, so all the best to you. Don't let the socialists get you down. People like them don't have the sense to think of themselves-- they're only capable of thinking of one another.

"Where in your article is the money quote?"

Sorry rb, Jerry's post used the Wallis argument as a catalyst for his own assertions, which stand on their own, although I would have preferred to have access to Wallis's original also. Nevertheless, you don't have to uproot a healthy tree simply because you don't know where the seed came from, unless you are looking to amuse yourself. (Maybe there is a parable in here.)
BTW, your other posts are even worse; they are nit-picking, often based on misinterpretations, followed by moronic conclusions. I must say that robert b is an easy mark. His responses to you are inadequately coherent, but I catch his drift. I suspect you do too. I hope for your sake you are teasing, rather pathetically obtuse.

Not Fair? Hypocrisy Alert.
You have to be freaking kidding!

Every time your backed into a corner about the utter economic illiteracy of the positions you take you always start talking about how things aren't fair and the government should be doing something-usually taxing "the rich". Why don't you provide us another vacant canard about the plight of the "hard working" poor.

You are so transparently and obviously a hypocrite-unguided by anything resembling a principle.

I used to think you were a poster child for economic illiteracy, the kind of useful idiot Walter Williams discussed in one of his latest column, but you are nothing more than arbitrary and capricious.

Cheers, and I'll be thinking of you
You know, rb, I've had fun too. And even though I belong to your reviled homo economicus, I'll be thinking fondly of you and your fellow travelers even though your social instincts (i.e. unreasoned emotions) drive you to try and remake man in your own, social image. But fondly only because you won't be doing so on my time, for how can I value abstract ideas flittering in cyberspace or accross the pages of little red books more than my own life?

Cheers, rb.

Still got your wallet?
After dealing with people who talk about the general good I always wonder if my wallet has been lifted. When people like Roy gain the power to place the kind of government they really want they'll abandon the sticky fingers approach and justification and go straight to their commissar mode. Have you checked your wallet Mr. Bennet?

I Would Say Envy is the Root of All Evils
Or at least, more of them than any other basic sin. Certainly, the entire premise of class warfare is based on preferring to tear down the successful than working to make oneself successful.

Pathetically obtuse would be the correct answer
No, I'm sincerely dumb. I've been sparring with rb for a long time now, and I never can figure out what his point is. To me, it's like watching him dazzle me with his fancy footwork, then land a punch only he can see. Usually, I'm just a little baffled by it all.

He did compel me to look up the tale on the on line Bible. And it seems awfully ambivalent. I can't tell whether the steward purloined some money from his master and later used it to pay off the fellow's debts, getting back into his good graces, or whether he just lost the money through stupidity, and paid it back with his own savings. The wording just isn't sufficiently clear for me to tell.

I guess that's why I've never read the Bible. Much of it doesn't make a lot of sense. You can see what you think. I cut and pasted the text above, in "A low argument". The text says he "wasted" the money, which makes one think he lost it through stupidity. But then it also calls him an "unjust steward", which sounds like he stole it.

Oh well. All this happened thousands of years ago-- it needn't concern us now. But thanks for pointing out the shortcomings of my argument. :)

Truth time
I guess you've got me pegged. The hard working poor are just a rumor. I'm sure if you were pulling down six bucks an hour you'd see no cause for complaint. Their problem is they're just not ambitious enough. Right?

I'm guessing if I looked up "hypocrite" in the dictionary, it'd say something about a person trying to appear as something he's not. So please spell it out. You know how I present my ideas. What kind of person do you think I am?

Other, of course, than being "unprincipled".

You have to get off your ass and get in the world to recognize truth
I advise a great many people on financial matters, I don't know (one that's one (1))who'd try to maintain a qualified reliable, capable and loyal workforce on $6.00/hour. I know some are paying high school kids 8 bucks to start. Day Labor gets more than that. Where do you come up wih your numbers? You're 10-15 years behind the times man.

You live in fantasy land. You sit in some hovel admidst the wreck that is your life, masquerading your personal economic bitterness as compassion for others. You think anyody on here really believes that you are anything but a bitter failure attemting to cloak your envy and rage in nobility? Thats a hypocrite.

In Roy's world, by holding the right (boilerplate leftist)attitudes, you are proper. Every give any of your dough to the poor you claim to love? Of course not, you have nothing to give. I do. Its mine but I part with it anyway.

How about Time? Ever donate time? I do-a couple hundred hours a year. I'm sure I could do more and don't do enough, but I bet its still more of my free time than you offer. I doubt I'm perfect, but I try.

You can imply I don't have the background I claim, thats fine with me. I'm not about to post my professional license or other stuff to satisfy you. I know the truth and I think most other readers know when the intellecually bankrupt start lobbing innuendo as last resort.

Your "ideas" are the disordered lunacies peddled by charlatans. You personify the term "useful idiot", except you know what you are doing and you do it with malice aforethought. Thats a hypocrite.

You expect to come on here, be treated as "one of the guys", when you have nothing to offer but ludicrous rants.

You do't like being smacked around, you don't think its fair. This little tempest in a teapot is tough just like the real world. So before you start whimpering, let me remind you.

No one ever said life was fair.-Roy_Bean

November 9, 206 5:52AM

Money & Legislation Screwing with OPM even more insidiously than commisar taxes
If I had my way, it would be illegal for any member of Congress, any federal court, or any body above the deputy secretary level (and maybe lower) in the executive branch to short sell, write call options or buy puts.

Its too easy for those in power to quietly order their affairs to take advantage of conditions that adversely affect the price of financial assets that they create.

Their job is to create the conditions of prosperity. I don't want some clod holding long hearings on industry X or villianizing another or slipping some creepy sleight of hand in the Tax Code or vicious regulations and being able to profit from the downdraft.

And all the good liberals think big bucks contributers are the evil ones when they pay the protection money they do.

Not far enough
I'd prohibit any member of Congress or civil servant involved in regulatory activity from serving in any capacity in the private sector in an industry they may have influenced or regulated for a period of five years.

I'd also prohibit any member of the government from lecturing, writing, etc for a period of five years about their careers and limit their incoime to whatever they were paid while in government service, although I'd allow them to donate the excess to any charity they might wish.

Finally I'd prohibit any individual from serving more than one term to any two elected federal posts.

On last thing, I'd bar felons from voting in Federal elections or serving in any Federal position.

What makes you think Roy ever helped the poor?
People who help the poor don't have to brag about it, they do. You see this in any church but you'll never see them preaching the doctrones of St Marx like the Commissar.

You nailed him. If only our elected leaders could call a spade a spade.

No one ever need be envious of another... long as they don't measure personal success in terms of dollars and cents.

He reads "The Nation" and votes Democrat, what else could the poor want.

You keep getting taken apart like a cheap happy meal toy.

Keep going Supe.

Wallet's still there ...
Moreover, I've put 5 thousand miles between my wallet and Pelosi & Company.

But you lot have tough times ahead, for Uncle Sugar is comming for your wallet, and he means to have it. My suggestion is to clone Senator Tom Coburn 534 times and run the lot for Congress. Check out this article on the good Senator's website:

Cheer, and good luck!

More slanders and jibes
So here's a guy who won't even give us his name, and who doesn't have any specific comment to make on the subject under discussion. He won't address any of the issues I've raised. All he has to say is that he holds an exalted opinion of himself, his supposed attainments, his allegedly lofty IQ, his vast depth of training, and now even the fact that his employees make over six bucks an hour.

Yet his true forte seems only to lie in trashing someone personally. If there is indeed any acumen behind these taunts, we've yet to see it.

If my ideas as shown here are flawed, be a champ. Point it out. Maybe you can actually win a round on substantive points-- and I can learn something at the same time. But don't just give us juvenile behavior.

We're all free to post our opinions. I can, if asked, back them up with sources. You may differ, and you may even be right. No one knows, since you've avoided actually giving any opinion thus far. But don't try to scare me off the forum with insults. This is the mark of someone who has yet to grow up.

Learn to tolerate the presence of others who may disagree with you.

Jesus wouldn't take from the rich to give to the poor
He left it up to us ourselves. To take from the rich to give to the poor is compounds the problem by adding theft and removing charity in leaving nothing over. Worse, it doesn't even work, because of waste and demotivation.
You CAN apply biblical principles to economics. But Jim Wallis is confusing personal moral requirements with civil ones.

Hey rb, thank you for the restrained answer to my snarky post. You make me look silly. Back to the Jesus and taxes, and that parable in Luke: it probably means that all human beings are using wealth that has its origin from God, who made the very atoms from which the Big Bang burst forth. In that way, we are all placing more value in Things, above their inherent worth when compared to the value of spiritual happiness and eternal joy. Jesus is saying that we are all going to be "fired" and lose our worldly goods and responsibilities sooner or later, when we die. Therefore, get rid of that stuff which we have been hoarding, whether it is money or that smile we hold back from a stranger as we go about our day. If you can give your friends and customers a break, you will do good for them and yourself, now, and in heaven. The unjust steward is not stealing if his master is God and the wealth is the steward's earthly property to which he owes God credit in heaven. The parable in Luke that precede's this one corroborates my interpretation, if you care to refer to it.
My conclusion on taxes is that Jesus would tell us that they are irrelevant, but we must "render unto Caesar', which means obey the laws and pay any tax you suffer. Jesus would not get too deep in political debates of left and right, and tax rates. He would rather see us act charitably one person at a time, face to face, rather than pull a lever for higher taxes every other November and then waste ten bucks a day at Starbucks on fancy coffee, babbling over Lattes about how we can save the homeless by voting for liberals.

Thanks for listening
Well! Thank you for being big about it. I appreciate the civility.

Maybe we can get together and agree to an answer to this question: what constitutes true wealth? Is it denominated in cash? Or is the true coin of our wealth the relationships we form-- the bonds of family, friendship and nation?

And is some part of it the wealth we've received from God in the form of His creation? To me, loving the world in its beauty and respecting it for its capacity for pain is not antithetical to living a good life.

In fact in that life itself is feeling, to heedlessly destroy this creation seems to me to be a very real sin against the Creator. Yet we see this sentiment being derided as "tree hugging".

As for our political inclinations, we find that the practise of pure capitalism frees the few to profit from the labors of the many. While the practise of pure socialism levels the playing field so that no one prospers. I would think it might be obvious that we need to pursue the practise of moderation, so that everyone gets enough to get by, while those with the will to excel also get rewarded.

Wouldn't that seem obvious?

"class warfare is based on preferring to tear down the successful "
A rising tide lifts all boats.

While Amway was derided by many, one central theme was that the only way you can become successfull is to help others become successful.

Why is that such an alien concept?

Roy's Reign of Error
I'm sorry but if you can't find the criticisms Hayek, Murray, Friedman, or any of the other myriad of eminently lauded economists and social philosophers have provided on the welfare state, its unlikely anything anything I say will convince you.

Do you really think that you are so clever that anyone with the slightest familiarity with your can't see you MO? You demand proof when you have predecided there is none. Your selective acceptance of "sources" that buttress positions that you hold as axioms isn't principled empiricism, its disingenuous mendacity.

I would simply prefer that you simply state the obvious. In your mind, there is no debate. You have made your decision and thats it. You see a vigoroous welfare strate as a good, its deliterious effects and validation of kleptocratic politicians. I bet every person on this board rejects dictatorship as a matter of principle-but most of us don't pretend to have an open mind on the matter.

You have to understand Commissar Roy believes all power comes the barrel of a gun
In this he is no different from any Marxist and explains his one size fits all approach to government policies. He isn't the commissar for nothing.

Jesus said to use your own money, liberals want to use other people's money
The Gospels are very clear that taking care of the poor is a personal responsibility. What liberals want to do is have govt take other people's money, spend it on the problems that the liberals care about, so that the liberals can go about telling each other how much they care.

Of course he helped the poor. He voted for politicians who promise to tax the rich.

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