How Much Would Jesus Pay?By Stephen Moore and NJC intern Joel GriffithPolitical Diary, The Wall Street Journal
President Obama says God is on his side in the White House quest to raise tax rates on the rich. During Thursday's national prayer breakfast, the president-turned-preacher declared that "I think to myself, if I'm willing to give something up as somebody who's been extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that's going to make economic sense. But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus's teaching that 'for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.'"Part of the motivation here is to win back religious voters. Catholic leaders have been protesting the new ObamaCare contraception mandate, and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich regularly accuses the administration of conducting "a war on religion." A recent Pew survey shows the president losing the next election to GOP front-runner Mitt Romney by 13 points among white Catholics. Another Pew poll shows Democrats losing ground in party identification over the last several years to evangelicals, Protestants, Catholics and Jews.But it's not clear that Mr. Obama's citing of scripture to make his case for higher taxes is going to win him any converts. If we were going to follow Christian teaching, then the tax rate should be 10 percent, the biblical tithing rate. Mr. Obama is asking not 10 cents on the dollar earned but 30 cents under his Buffett Rule. Nor is there any link to the growth of government and social justice. It would be easier to make the opposite case, in fact. Economist Walter Williams argues persuasively that many of the most horrific acts in history were acts sanctioned by powerful governments: slavery, segregation, the death purges under communism and sterilization campaigns, to name a few. That a government with more money will create a more just society is a leap of faith to say the least.Moreover, the president confuses voluntary giving with the coercive taking through the taxing power of government. To voluntarily give is an act of compassion and love. For the government to take -- especially when the money is used for Solyndras and bridges to nowhere and bailouts of people who made bad decisions -- is more confiscatory than holy.Mr. Obama seems to believe that it's more virtuous for people to give their money to politicians than it is to spend it on their own families and their own moral causes. The love of money (greed) and the love of another person's possessions (envy) are two of the seven deadly sins. The president should remember that when he lusts after other people's money.