Rich deserve equal treatment under the law

A deal President Obama struck with Republican leaders last week will extend tax cuts across the board including, controversially, to … Continued

A deal President Obama struck with Republican leaders last week will extend tax cuts across the board including, controversially, to the richest Americans.

Some politicians argue that religious values should be reflected in the public square. Should this faith-based view of politics be applied to the economy? Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

In a time of economic turmoil and record poverty levels, are tax cuts for the wealthy moral?

Scrooge repented of his greed and changed at Christmas. His sin was not his wealth, but his misuse of that wealth. Thank God the American and British governments of the eighteenth century did not confuse wickedness with wealth. Nobody should act like Scrooge, but the problem was his love of money not his money.

As a boy I heard people laugh when a rich man died: “It will only take six feet of earth to bury him,” they said, and I became aware that hating the rich was a vice that my poor home state indulged in at will. It is, I think, one reason we were, and are, poor.

No human being should be given special treatment because of his wealth or lack of wealth. No human being should be punished because of his wealth or lack of wealth. The United States should treat each citizen justly. When justice is denied the poor, the nation suffers, but when justice is denied the rich the nation will also suffer.

Jesus does not love Scrooge more than anyone else, but He does not love Scrooge less. When the government forces Scrooge to do what it thinks proper, it removes the ability of Scrooge to freely repent and do what is good himself.

It would be immoral not to cut the taxes of the wealthy, because we are cutting everyone else’s taxes. Our present system where we take a greater percentage of the wealth of the rich is simply legalized theft based on covetousness. It enriches the state and does little to help the poor. Some citizens lose liberty and other citizens become wards of the state. You cannot free Cratchit by enslaving Scrooge.

Taxation is a necessary danger. Without consent of the taxed, any taxation is wicked and consent is hard to get. The majority is always tempted to vote themselves the property of the minority. Graft and tax breaks based on bribes from the rich are unjust, but so is pandering to the mob by stealing from the rich to enrich government.

God takes ten percent from all, rich and poor. Tyranny buys influence by pandering to the mob or the plutocrat with tax policy. Favoring either rich or poor dehumanizes one at the expense of the other.

Hatred of the rich is based on the sin of covetousness. He has and I want. Not all taxation is based on covetousness, but when we judge the rich as “not needing” his own money, then Cratchit is in danger of deciding for Scrooge what Scrooge needs based on Cratchit’s desires.

Second, hurting the rich is not the same things as helping the poor. Read the chapter “Scouring of the Shire” at the end of the Lord of the Rings. When we take from the rich, the poor never get most of the money, because those who tax use it to enrich themselves. Punishing wealth, instead of wickedness, is punishing success, and we will always get less of what we tax. Cratchit is likely to trade an oppressive individual, Scrooge, for an oppressive state. History says individuals are more likely to repent than governments!

Third, asking the rich to pay a greater percentage of their income than the poor is unjust. Property rights are an excellent measure of liberty. If I lessen one man’s right to his property, then I have made his liberty less. To let some men keep all their liberty (or property) because the state arbitrarily decides they have “too little” and to take liberty from another man because the state decides he has “too much” is unequal treatment under the law.

Finally, taxing the rich to support this particular government is empowering the real robber barons. Both political parties have wasted billions of tax money and will waste billions more if given the chance. Giving these politicos more funds is like handing the keys of the car to a drunk that is staggering out of liquor store on his way to Vegas.

You cannot redeem Scrooge by giving his money to the town looters and moochers.

The poor should receive equal treatment under the law, but so should the rich. We cannot steal from the rich and give to the poor and anticipate anything but hoods running our government. This Christmas Scrooge should give, but not because a group of moochers and looters made him.  Instead, America should cut the tax burden on all and each American should pay his fair and equal percentage. Rich and poor: “God bless us, every one.”

John Mark Reynolds
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  • outragex

    1. SOMEONE is going to have to pay our nation’s bills, with interest.Taxes do little to enrich the poor? Medicare has certainly been vital to millions of poor seniors, to list one example. Medicaid for children in foster care has been pretty “enriching” to name another example. Highways and court systems enrich us all.Government waste is a non-issue in this debate. The working class will have to pay tax and interest on the assumed waste in leiu of the wealthy, so if one assumes that all govt. spending is waste (I don’t) then it is equally or even more unfair to make the working class pay for it.The Clinton tax rates were seen as fair by most, much lower than under Eisenhower,Bush I, Nixon or Reagan, and the economy didn’t suffer because of it.

  • djmolter

    Flat tax. But it will never happen becasue too many accountants and lawyers and govermnent jobs would be out of work.

  • michael5

    Obama proposed giving everyone a tax cut on the first $200K ($250 if you’re married) of income. My question to you: how is this not treating everyone the same?

  • JB78

    @outragex:

  • wrybread

    “When the government forces Scrooge to do what it thinks proper, it removes the ability of Scrooge to freely repent and do what is good himself.”You seem to be missing the point. Those of us concerned about additional tax cuts for the rich in a time of severe national suffering are not worried about Scrooge’s personal spiritual development (sorry!), but rather, the suffering and death of Tiny Tim.

  • Ombudsman1

    “The rich get the inside scoop on everything, they hoard resources desperately needed by the poor. They buy successful companies and loot their assets, saddle them with debt, sell off the profitable businesses, and put the employees out on the street.”Imagine someone could do all that on just $250K per year. That must make them a regular captain of industry. Do you understand the people with that of power won’t pay taxes even if you raised the rates to 99%? The people you really are whining about are basically professional couples. Thats who you think is oppressing you.Your understanding is simply…. flabbergasting.

  • jwdkturner

    Amen. All of the writers here seem to have avoided God’s obvious moral statement – the 10th commandment of the sin of coveting thy neighbor’s property. I have found those who continually say things like “the rich don’t deserve their wealth” and that it should be “shared with the rest of us” are on pretty thin moral ground. As we know, a Liberal’s definition of charity is to tax me to pay for their pet cause.

  • david6

    The rich are getting an extra helping of tax cuts, Mr. Reynolds. They have gotten extra helpings quite a bit lately. Why is it that all of the supposedly conservative religious commenters here reject what Jesus taught?

  • merric114

    Mr John Reynolds:One of the simplest, yet hardest, lessons that I had to learn was to rely on God for my provision and not on the government. I do believe in charity; I believe in giving the money to charities that support the causes that I am most passionate about…and to give to non profits and churches that I feel are actively helping the less fortunate. I do believe that there is a need for taxes, but I also understand that we in this country have too much of the “Tiny Tim” mindset. This “Tiny Tim” mindset is the “crippled” mindset..where we are always dependent on the system and either do not know or are too afraid of “walking” or to try walking on our own two feet. This mindset has nothing to do with actual disease of the body or the mind..but it is a mindset of using someone or something as a crutch. Those with the “Tiny Tim” mindset will never able to break out of their situation because they are unfamiliar with what it means to be more independent.We all need a helping hand sometime in our lives, but we have people who come from a cycle of government dependence…and some who would rather blame those who have more money than blame themselves for not having the drive, the work ethic, and the massive creativity to produce a product or service that will help them to get a strong income for themselves. God wants us to help others, but he also wants us to have faith in him. He also gives us certain gifts to help us create products and services to bring in extra income. Hating on the rich is always a copout for people who are frustrated in themselves, and frustrated in not being able to accomplish what they want to accomplish. I had to learn that most of the rich did not get their money from family inheritance, they got it from “thinking outside of the box”, having the drive and ambition to create a product or service that most of us could not do. Most of us would never take on the work schedule that our current billionaire business owners had to take to get to where they are now. To get that kind of wealth, you have to be a very unique person and not just go with the status quo…you have to have a totally different mindset and different work ethic than most people to get to that point of wealth. A work ethic and mindset that takes more energy than most of us would want to put in.

  • david6

    merric114 -Did you ever hear that really annoying story about the believer and the flood? I won’t repeat it, but safe to say, it’s positively foolish to insist that something as mundane as providing social services should be done by miraculous intervention rather than government.

  • jklfairwin

    I have no idea what Biola or the whatever institute are, but you can bet that they are funded by the super rich to find fools like this to excuse and even honor their excesses. The rich are rich either because they inherited it or because they worked hard, committed crimes, either illegal or immoral, and were extremely lucky. In any case the wealth is not deserved; it was stolen from the labor of others. No one begrudges the success of hardworking entrepreneurs who provide a reasonable product or service at a reasonable price with a reasonable profit and share that profit with the workers who make it possible and pay a reasonable tax commensurate with the3 benefit they receive from living in the country they do, but that has nothing to do with what is going on in the US today. It is simple theft and bribery by the super rich who then refuse to pay their fair share of taxes, even though there is no way they could spend their wealth in several lifetimes.

  • Garak

    Asking the rich to pay the same rate as the poor is unjust. You cannot ignore 2 inconvenient facts: The rich benefit more from government than do the poor, and they can afford to pay more. Now, if you want the rich and the poor to pay the same rate of tax, that would mean taxing investment income at the same rates as salaries and wages. “You cannot redeem Scrooge by giving his money to the town looters and moochers.Spare us the Objectivist claptrap, please. The real moochers here are the rich who mooch off the public with all their tax subsidies.And even more so, stop insulting our intelligence with references to Jesus. As cult leader Ayn Rand made clear, Objectivism is fundamentally incompatible with religion. Don’t expect to snooker us with your BS.

  • haveaheart

    JMR just keeps getting weirder. Lately, he’s been on a literary-reference crusade.Yesterday, it was Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” which his comments clearly indicated he’d never read. Today it’s Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” with a little Tolkein (“Lord of the Rings”) thrown in for spice.These whacked-out analogies he’s been spinning are idiotic at best, and because they’re so transparently facile, I won’t bother to address them one-by-one. But there is a particular point he makes that is such grandiose nonsense that it begs a thoughtful response.”Hatred of the rich is based on the sin of covetousness.”Oh, really? Suppose you can make human motivations even more simplistic, Mr. Reynolds?Hatred of the rich can be predicated on many things, but mostly people hate the rich because of the entitlements that permit them to mold, manipulate, and operate society to their material advantage, steamrolling over the rights of those of lesser means who don’t have the revenue to mount a defense.If I loathe a rich man, it’s not because he has a Porsche and I don’t. It’s because his wealth has put him in a position to act in ways that compromise my best interests and those of my family and friends. And because he all too happily grasps that advantage instead of considering the consequences as they will play out in the lives of people like me.In other words, while decrying the interference of government into his business, he quite eagerly and self-righteously interferes in mine.So, as usual, JMR has projected his ignorant and uninformed worldview on average citizens; this time, he “reveals” them as selfish and greedy, needful of the tempering influence of his brand of bigoted, money-grabbing Christianity, while at the same time he defends the wealthy as though they are today’s underdogs.It’s ironic that, on this issue, Reynolds simultaneously scolds the poor for “coveting” yet makes no such harsh judgments on the wealthy for taking…and taking and taking.

  • Chagasman

    WARNING! PROSPERITY PREACHER PROPAGANDA! What a line of hogwash. To begin with, the rich and poor are not treated equally in this country. What kind of Kool-aid are you drinking? The rich get the inside scoop on everything, they hoard resources desperately needed by the poor. They buy successful companies and loot their assets, saddle them with debt, sell off the profitable businesses, and put the employees out on the street. They manipulate government so they benefit more than the middle class and poor from legislation. They encourage the creation of large deficits, because they benefit from them. They close factories in the US and open new factories in countries where they can pay slave labor wages. They are neither moral nor patriotic.

  • JB78

    Mmm.. no. Social justice would mean that everyone gets an equal opportunity for (further) prosperity. There is less opportunity for prosperity when you have less (starting) capital, i.e. less money. Progressive taxation wouldn’t be a perfect solution, but it would be better than flat taxation.

  • ashleybone

    America should cut the tax burden on all? Have you not noticed that we spend far more money every year than we receive in taxes? We have a NEGATIVE tax burden as it is NOW.Americans need to wake up and start paying their way instead of whining about taxes when 1) they live in a very affluent society and 2) they receive more in expenditures than they pay in taxes.

  • GabrielRockman

    ” In any case the wealth is not deserved; it was stolen from the labor of others. “Jklfairwin – FYI slavery was outlawed a long time ago. If you pay someone for their labor and profit from their labor, you are engaging in a mutually beneficial transaction. It is not theft to provide someone with a job. When you treat job creation as a crime – less jobs get created. You have to be a ****ing idiot to think that making job creation a crime is the solution to unemployment.I like the rich. Why? Because they provide jobs. Without them, Unemployment would be over 90%. I get my paycheck each week because the owner of my company profits off of my work. As soon as he stops profiting off of my work, my job is in danger. I want him to make money off me. He is NOT stealing from me.

  • ashtar377

    Ok, the article has been addressed well by haveaheart and wrybread (nice return serve on the analogy by the way), but something merric said needs to be addressed. Yes, many rich people do work hard AND have a unique mindset, but neither of these justifies the current situation. Plenty of poeple work as hard or harder than the busiest executive and have nothing to show but a small house, a used car, and a pile of debt that will probably stay with them the rest of their lives. And THESE people should be treated differently because they didn’t invent the sham-wow. What a crock.

  • kmurray1

    “equal treatment?” The law equally forbids rich people and poor people from sleeping under bridges. Is that what you mean by equal?The rich benefit from huge advantages not available to the poorer. For example, the much lower rates of taxation on capital gains on stocks, 50% of which are generated by the top 1%, and 0.5% of which are owned by the bottom 50%. So the rich are taxed MUCH less than others.The courts systems are used vastly more for business, than for crime. This is paid for by all taxpayers, but is hugely beneficial to the rich. Gov’t generally is.There is a rapid transferrence of wealth in the US to the wealthy, away from those less wealthy…land, other property, everything.We are heading for a society of surfdom and superwealthy.

  • marieburns

    Ha ha. The poor have a moral duty to allow the robber barons to sin with impunity, so the barons have an opportunity to repent & be saved. This is the sleaziest excuse for robbing the poor that I have ever read. Congratulations for holding a uniquely immoral rationale for evil deeds.The Constant Weader at http://www.RealityChex.com

  • vigor

    Moochers?Americans that aren’t rich are “The Town Looters and Moochers”?!There are at least a hundred Million Americans that are working their tails off and not progressing, so that two million Americans can continue their largesse….and how is putting the marginal tax rate back to 39% from the temporary ten-year Bush cut (and you have zero evidence that it created even one job.) to 36% “Hurting the Rich”?!Who do you think you are fooling with your nonsense about Scrooge?The financial industry just gave America the worst recession since the Depression and you seem to have no problem letting them skate.and now you want to blame the “Town looters and Moochers” for demanding fairness.Sir, you have no morals or conscience and you are hiding behind your cross.