The Bible has much to say about, and many examples of, taxes. God’s plan for taxation in ancient Israel was compassionate, effective, and limited. Modern thinkers, policy makers, and voters would do well to move American, Western, and world tax and government policies closer to what our ancestors would recognize.
By Mark D. Harris
Governments, like people, have always tried to procure as many resources as possible from everywhere they could. Resources ranged from beautiful things (seashells, beads, precious metals, precious stones) to products (grain, wine, cotton) to labor (forced labor, slavery). Taxation is, by definition, involuntary. Freewill offerings, such as what the Hebrews gave to build the tabernacle (Exodus 35:20-35), are not included in this discussion.
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Hard times are inevitable in every life, but their are ways to weather them.
The chattering class in Washington DC and elsewhere is abuzz with concern about the “fiscal cliff”, involving legislation passed in the summer of 2011 requiring tax increases and spending cuts to decrease the exploding US Federal deficit. The Washington Post suggests that this “fiscal cliff” would raise taxes over $2,000 per year on many middle income families, decrease spending, fray the safety net, and push the US economy into another recession. The “fiscal cliff” is simply the latest in a series of financial troubles that have plagued man throughout history, including such the Dutch Tulip Mania of 1720, the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Great Recession of 2008, and countless others. As always, the media is convulsed with worry, ordinary people differ in their responses, with some feeling helpless, others ambivalent, and a few confident.
Though I have not done formal interviews, those who feel helpless seem to believe that they will lose their jobs, their expenses will skyrocket, and there is nothing that they can do about it. These people wring their hands in fear and impotence and find it harder to function in their day to day lives. Those who are ambivalent usually don’t know what is going on. A few have confidence based on their assumption that everything will turn out fine because it always has in the past.
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