Comparing Political Platforms (12) Taxation

There are 3 things never to discuss in polite company: Money, Politics, and Religion. So today, we’ll go 3 for 3, and violate the entire etiquette trifecta to discuss taxation.

taxation comparing political platformsThe 16th Amendment. Few know the history, but everyone who works for a living, or did at one time, knows the consequences of taxation. “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

It was adopted on February 3, 1913, and became a ratified part of The United States Constitution on February 25th of that year.

Who spends the money at your house? How does it get spent?

Take that and put it on steroids, this is what the power of taxation does for (or against) a country. This power has become increasingly complex and divisive and yes, political. Here are what the party platforms say about taxation:

DNC We will make sure Social Security’s guaranteed benefits continue for generations to come by asking those at the top to pay more, and will achieve this goal by taxing some of the income of people above $250,000. (p.4) The Democratic Party ..will cut the red tape that holds back small businesses and entrepreneurs. We will open up access to credit because we know that small businesses are some of the best job creators in our country. We will provide tax relief and tax simplification. And we will expand access to new markets because every American small business should be able to tap new markets — whether across their city, across their state, or around the world. (p.10) We support a financial transactions tax on Wall Street to curb excessive speculation and high-frequency trading, which has threatened financial markets. (p.11) At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, we believe the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations must pay their fair share of taxes…We will end deferrals so that American corporations pay United States taxes immediately on foreign profits and can no longer escape paying their fair share of U.S. taxes by stashing profits abroad (p.12-13) We will ensure those at the top contribute to our country’s future by establishing a multimillionaire surtax to ensure millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share…Democrats believe that no one should be able avoid paying their fair share by hiding money abroad, and that corrupt leaders and terrorists should not be able to use the system of international finance to their advantage. We will work to crack down on tax evasion and promote transparency to fight corruption and terrorism. And we will make sure that law-abiding Americans living abroad are not unfairly penalized by finding the right solutions for them to the requirements under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). We will offer tax relief to hard working, middle-class families for the cost squeeze they have faced for years from rising health care, childcare, education, and other expenses. (p.13) We will protect and expand the right of Americans with disabilities to get the accommodations and support they need to live in integrated community settings. We will improve access to meaningful and gainful employment for people with disabilities. We will provide tax relief to help the millions of families caring for aging relatives or family members with chronic illnesses or disabilities. (p.19) Democrats believe that we need to end corruption worldwide and increase transparency. We will fight corruption, promote good governance, and support the rule of law. We will also seek to close offshore tax havens, which corrupt rulers, individuals, and corporations exploit to shelter ill-gotten gains or avoid paying taxes at home. (p.47)
LP Libertarians want all members of society to have abundant opportunities to achieve economic success. A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. Each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. All efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are improper in a free society….


All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. We call for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution. We oppose any legal requirements forcing employers to serve as tax collectors. Government should not incur debt, which burdens future generations without their consent. We support the passage of a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution, provided that the budget is balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, and not by raising taxes.

RNC Republicans consider the establishment of a pro-growth tax code a moral imperative. More than any other public policy, the way government raises revenue — how much, at what rates, under what circumstances, from whom, and for whom — has the greatest impact on our economy’s performance. It powerfully influences the level of economic growth and job creation, which translates into the level of opportunity for those who would otherwise be left behind. Getting our tax system right will be the most important factor in driving the entire economy back to prosperity. The current tax code is rightly the object of both anger and mockery. Its length is exceeded only by its complexity. We must start anew. That will be an enormous undertaking and, if it is to succeed, it must command the attention and approval of the American people. It cannot be engineered from the top down, but must have a common sense approach, and be simplified. (p.1) Our proposal is straightforward. Wherever tax rates penalize thrift or discourage investment, they must be lowered. Wherever current provisions of the code are disincentives for economic growth, they must be changed. We will not divide the American people into winners and losers. We will eliminate as many special interest provisions and loopholes as possible and curb corporate welfare, especially where their erosion of the tax base has created pressure for higher rates. We will be mindful of the burdens on families with children and the impact on an aging population. We will seek simplicity and clarity so that every taxpayer can understand how much of their income is consumed by the federal government. We will welcome all to this enterprise — to discuss, debate, challenge, and amend — so that together we can restore economic growth for the American people and, even more important, renew their faith in the future. To ensure that past abuses will not be repeated, we assert these fundamental principles. We oppose retroactive taxation. We condemn attempts by activist judges at any level of government to seize the power of the purse from the people’s elected representatives by ordering higher taxes. We oppose tax policies that deliberately divide Americans or promote class warfare. Because of the vital role of religious organizations, charities, and fraternal benevolent societies in fostering generosity and patriotism, they should not be subject to taxation and donations to them should remain deductible. To guard against hypertaxation of the American people in any restructuring of the federal tax system, any value added tax or national sales tax must be tied to the simultaneous repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, which established the federal income tax. (p.2)
In this series, we’ve been comparing the political platforms and what the Bible says about each topic because it moves us beyond personalities to ideas.  The bottom line is that it speaks to how a Christian can be in the world but not “of it.”

Using the simplicity of the Libertarian Platform as our structure, we will discuss the IRS under the topic of government, but for now let’s just look at what the Bible says about taxation.

In Genesis 41:33-38, we see the first recorded taxation.  It was designed for national security and the public good so that all might survive the famine.  It involved setting aside a portion of the harvest.

Next we see in Genesis 47:13-26, taxation under the rule of Pharaoh (v 26 So Joseph established it as a law concerning land in Egypt—still in force today—that a fifth of the produce belongs to Pharaoh.)

The Bible records also a system of tithe (a tenth) that went for the Lord’s use (Lev 27:30-31) and to support the Levites whose living was made from serving the Lord (Num 18:21-24).

John MacArthur explains it this way: 

“The Israelites paid a tenth for their government, a tenth for their festivals, and another three and a third percent for welfare, or approximately 23 percent a year in taxes. That is not unlike the original tax that was begun in Egypt, which was twenty percent. The three tithes were important. The first one paid for the needs of those who governed the nation. The second one cultivated national life. And the third one took care of the poor, the orphans, and the widows. It was a welfare tithe. Those three tithes were collected off the top of everyone’s blessings and were used to strengthen the nation.”

Everyone’s blessings. Yes, even the poor’s.

It’s like what Jesus says about the poor widow. After talking about the evils of political financial and religious exploitation, Jesus says, Mark 12: 38, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted in the marketplaces, 39 and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.” 41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything– all she had to live on.”

Jesus didn’t stop this poor widow from contributing, but rather commended her actions. Why? Because money wasn’t her priority. Love for God and trusting Him is what motivated her.

So yes, the Bible tells us to pay our taxes. Romans 13:6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

It’s not just what we owe the government, though. When Jesus was asked explicitly about taxation, Matthew 22: 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” 18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?” 21 “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

If the Church in America hadn’t been doing such a deplorable job of caring for the poor, we wouldn’t need Uncle Sam—the world’s worst replacement father and provider—to take far more than he needs to give far less than he could to actually helping the poor. Fifty years after the “war on poverty” was declared, the history confirms there are still poor among us.  Jesus was right when He said,

Mark 14:7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.

Christians in America must move beyond simply writing a check to the IRS and believing an increasing obligation there is good enough.  We must “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

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Categories Articles, Articles and Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on August 18, 2016

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