Too many parts of the tax series to link to the m all at the start of a post, so I’ll link Let’s Talk About Tax, Baby: Part 1, and the start of the politics series, in case you’re interested in catching up.
I was wrong. I was wrong. See, I can admit it.
I said yesterday, in Part 3, that I would wrap up the series today. Yesterday was a nice, short, self-contained concept. And when I had written it, I had already written out what was going to be today’s post. This post had three sets of musings, which weren’t very long in themselves, but the post I was going to post today would have been a bit long.
Fortunately, it’s going to be pretty easy to split them up. “Let’s Talk About Tax, Baby” will run finishing up on Monday, with Part 6. Unless something extra springs to mind.
So, today’s notion:
* “Render Unto Caesar” when not using sestertii.
If we accept the premise that Caesar’s coinage belonged to Caesar because it had Caesar’s image, and by extension that English currency belongs to the Bank of England because its name is stamped on the paper currency, and American currency belongs to the Federal Reserve for much the same reason, then that raises some interesting questions regarding things like barter and Bitcoin.
The tax system one is subject to, might require one to quantify the value of a non-monetary exchange (“payment in goods or services”) in currency, so that they can tax you on it.
One can argue that if you use their money, that they are a party in the transaction, and might have to say. Whose face is on the currency? Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.
But is this not an overstep? Caesar has no part of this transaction, Caesar has no entitlement here.
Where these transactions relate to tax, it seems to be purely on the honor system. I suspect many such transactions have no paper trail.
Here’s an article related to Bitcoin and taxes. Looks hard to keep track of. A bit of a mess, really.
I did a post on property and ownership last week, and the entire tax series is related. Something that has been implicit so far, and will be starker tomorrow, is the basic question, “how much of what you own is someone else entitled to?”
You may believe that you are obliged to use or give what you have, to take care of other people. The quote from the property post about “the footwear mouldering in your closet belongs to those without shoes”, it is for you to give, not for them to demand. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one” is good to invoke when you’re the few or the one. When you’re Spock sacrificing yourself to save the ship and its crew. It is bad when the many invoke it to steamroll over the few. Like the classic analogy of democracy, “two wolves and a sheep voting for what to have for dinner”.
The Star Trek III inversion, “the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many” is good when Kirk and his crew risk everything to go save Spock. Any number of dictators, even elected officials, could highlight when it’s bad (what’s springing to mind is the new documentary “The Killing$ Of Tony Blair“).
How much of what is yours, is fair game for the government to take? Some think everything.
More on this tomorrow.