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  • How Much Would Jesus Pay?

    2/14/2012 7:40:52 PM Posted by Hannah Jackman

    How Much Would Jesus Pay?
    By Stephen Moore and NJC intern Joel Griffith
    Political 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.

    • Readers' Comments

    • Jesus was pretty hard on hypocrites and exposing pretense. So while he might prescribe a tax rate, I think he would probably first condemn the Church's willingness to outsource charity to government and be co-opted by popular culture. If the voluntary exercise of free will is the negative of bowing to government intimidation through imprisonment and fines, then it follows that "government charity" can never be charitable or genuine. Dinesh D'Souza's book “What's So Great About Christianity” does good job in sorting through the roles of government and religion, in particular Christianity.
      Posted by Thad Hunter on 02/14/2012
    • I disagree with you both. I don't think Jesus would say that paying higher taxes fulfills "to whom much is given much is required." I think Jesus was talking about our gifts, time and talents as well as our monotary possessions. However, I think the money is in the form of charity not government funding. On the other hand, I would bring to your attention "give to Ceasar what belongs to Ceasar, give to God what belongs to God." So to answer your question "how much would Jesus pay?" He would pay what was due to the government. Raising taxes has nothing to do with the mission of Jesus. As a citizen, though, I do have concern for it.
      Posted by Lexi on 02/16/2012
    • Jesus did not want money. give to Ceasar what belongs to Ceasar, give to God what belongs to God
      Posted by Clyde on 02/21/2012
    • Is our two year pay decrease ( sorry, frzeee' ) to include 2010/11 or are we in effect getting a three year cut ?This is especially worrying to public servants who will be retiring in the next 3 or 4 years.Our pay is already decreased against the true cost of living and our pensions will be paid on a final salary which, though not decreased in absolute terms, has already dropped by about 5% over RPI in the last two years, and could fall by at least another 7.5% over a three year frzeee' ( at a conservative no pun intended estimate of at least 2.5% increase in RPI each year ; the reality could be worse). This means that our future pensions will be paid with a base at least 12.5% lower than the increase in living costs, and will apply at this level for the rest of our pensioner' lives ! Even working on' for a few years will not help, as it is likely that salaries will continue to fall in value when compared to inflationary increases in living costs.I would much rather my pay kept pace with inflation, even if that meant that for the next 5 years I had to pay income tax at an increased level of 22% or even 25% ! At least the rest of my life may look a bit rosier.
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