Let’s Talk About Tax, Baby: Part 1

In Friday’s post, I talked about property. Today’s post is related.

When you work, the income that you receive (“wages”), is earned.

The government skimming some off the top (“taxes”), is not earned. Sometimes you will find officials talking about your money (taxpayers’ money that isn’t yet taken in taxes) as their money – they just haven’t gotten it, yet.

Over the years, I have heard discussions of a fair tax system.

One is a flat percentage system. The argument against this is that, say 10% from a poor person hits them much harder than 10% from a rich person. The rich must pay more! (overlooking that the rich actually would pay more in this system).

A saying that I’m sure I shall bring up again in future posts, is “if you pay, you get a say”. Theoretically, not taxing the poor robs them of a voice. This may be outweighed by corporations, who, while they take every loophole they can get to reduce the tax, on the other side of things pay for lobbyists and various other expenses, to influence legislation.

A couple years ago, talk of a “Robin Hood Tax” was all the rage. Perhaps you’ll remember the slogan associated with Robin Hood (and Jayne, the Hero of Canton): “robs from the rich, and gives to the poor”.

In other words, there’s all these social programs I want to fund, I have no intention of funding them myself, but I’ll happily take money from someone else to pay for them.

Is it unreasonable to point out that envy and theft are not virtues?

People like to invoke Jesus on tax. “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” (the coins having Caesar’s likeness engraved on them). “And render unto God the things that are God’s” (each member of humanity – including Caesar – being created in the image of God. Subversive).

So we might render unto Her Majesty our Bank of England notes (do electronic Pounds in one’s bank account count as bearing her image?). And in the US, we can render our 1s to George Washington, our 5s to Abraham Lincoln, our 10s to Alexander Hamilton, our 20s to Andrew Jackson…

Did Jesus pay His “fair share” of tax? We don’t hear a lot on the subject, but one time He paid His and Peter’s Temple Tax with a coin that conveniently showed up in a fish. It seems that is not His (or Peter’s) “fair share” – it’s not siphoning off the fruits of their productivity, like modern income tax is. It’s undeclared extra income that’s being used.

Looking on the divine side rather than the human, if “the earth is the Lord’s, and all in it”, I think it safe to say Jesus didn’t give the adequate proportion of His cut of that to either the Temple, or to the occupying Romans.

This illustration has to be taken with a pinch of salt for a couple of reasons. First, the taxation system of the Roman Empire in 30-ish AD Palestine, is very unlikely to be comparable to the giant spiderwebs of either the UK or US tax codes. Secondly, giving to the Temple was seen as giving to God, and so Jesus gets a bit of a pass on that.

Overall, the point I’m trying to get across today, just at the basic income tax level, is that THERE IS NO FAIR SHARE. There is not a fair tax.

Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 for more.

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