Saturday, April 15, 2017

Government Tithing

"Render to God which is God's, and render to Caesar which is Caesar's. Just make sure Caesar does not take too much..."

The Very Angry Bird
from years past...

Here it is. Right in the middle of the holiest weekend of the year. The greedy hand of the government asking for more, more and then more again. Of what? Of our money. And who is to blame for this? The IRS? To a degree, yes. But they are just the puppets dancing on the end of the string. The real puppet masters who are responsible for the largess of government, which results in our sky high taxes, is our friendly Congress. Yes, the folks that "we the people", put there.

It all started with the Revenue Act of 1861. Money was needed to fund the Civil War, so in comes the income tax. Then over the years, there were many subsequent revisions, additions, subtractions to tax laws. But in the opinion of many, the one which hurt taxpayers the most, the one which still today leaves a mark today, is the Current Tax Payment Act of 1943. This re-introduced the requirement to withhold taxes from our paychecks.

Why would this obscure act from 1943 rile so many so much? Because it is insidious and stealthy. It has been said by folks smarter than I, our taxes would not be nearly as high if every month we just had to write out a tax check to the government. This would make the entire process of taxation up close and real. As it is now, we have been programmed to live on a fraction of what we really make.

I am not against taxes - trust me I am not. We do need a functioning government, and it takes revenue to keep it running. I am however, in favor of rightsizing our government. I am a simple man, so here is my simple solution. Tithe. The church has advocated this for centuries. First fruits. The first ten percent should go to the Lord. My feeling is the government should not get more than the Lord. So the next 10% would go to Caesar (the government). 

In my very simple mind, things would work very well in our country if we did the 10/10/10 type of giving. Out of every dollar earned, 10 cents to the government, 10 cents to your church, and then 10 cents to a bonafide charity (or charities) of your choice. That would leave 70 cents out of every dollar to live on.

When I did my brief stint in the church business, we did a "what if" exercise once to see the ramifications if everyone in the large church I worked at decided to tithe. The answer was mind blowing. The coffers would be simply overflowing. The amount of mission work, both at home and abroad would at least triple. Church debt would be all but eliminated. It truly would be a good thing.

I am guessing the same would be true for most charities. The money woes of the past would be over. The amount of good they could do, the amount of people they could serve, would be jaw dropping. Everyone would win.

Then the government. Getting the government to live within its "tithe". Every year taxes would be "easy peasy". Like falling off a log. No deductions - just 10 cents out of every dollar earned. The tax code would be one page long. The income tax form also would be one page long. 

Is there a catch in this? You bet - there is always a catch. When you file your one page tax form at the end of the year, you would need to show proof that you did in fact give 10% to the church and 10% to a bonafide charity. Any what if you chose not to? Then that money would go to the government. Why? Because right now the government is involved in many areas which should be taken care of by the churches and charities. If the churches and charities cannot get the funding they need, then the government will have to do it.

I know, I know. Many will read this and think I am either an idiot or a dreamer. I will choose dreamer, thank you. Even though this would never happen in "realville", it is fun to imagine it.      

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