Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Debating the Fair Tax: when the Progressive Left should quit while behind

I have been an advocate for the Fair Tax for almost a year.

(I used to promote a flat tax, but an explanation for that change of heart is forthcoming…)

In my occasional use of Twitter, a few weeks ago I mentioned the Fair Tax in a tweet (one of a series of tweets) to a conservative who was promoting Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Naturally, I was espousing the virtues of Gary Johnson.

A third individual – who enjoys trolling the “Twitterverse” for #FairTax mentions – using the handle @FilmCriticOne and goes by the moniker Mark DC injected himself into the exchange out-of-the-blue with a string of tweets. It was a rather spirited conversation (the link doesn’t display every single tweet, unfortunately), full of colorful commentary on Mark DC’s part. I thought I had managed to shake him loose, but it was only for a few hours.

By the time the cyber-dust settled, I had reasoned that even if his arguments are accurate and reliable regarding the specifics promoted by Fair Tax-dot-org, I still fully believe in the concept of a fair tax, even if it’s not the Fair Tax presently being touted.

But wait! There’s more...
What continued to linger in my mind in all my silent deliberations over the Fair Tax were the contents of a pair of Mark DC’s later replies to me.

He posted, “Those ‘provisions’ are 3/4 of it’s [sic] revenue...from city county and state ‘expenditure’ taxes.” and, “If you remove ‘those provisions’ you have to triple the tax rate.”

For a time after reading that specific portion of his feedback, I knew I was missing a very important point – and it would turn-out to be one he had unknowingly raised. While on the surface it may not seem reasonable to tax federal, state, and local government expenditures and the numbers he presented initially appear startling – making it an easy red flag for him to wave – the epiphany eventually hit me.

Disguised as outrage over a supposed “fraud” was his real driving force: fear that is intense enough to wedge his knickers into a knot.

What it boils-down-to
If Mark DC’s assertion is correct – that almost 75 percent of revenues generated from the Fair Tax as it is presently written would come from taxes on government expenditures – then the absolute last nugget of knowledge the Progressive Left in America wants entering the popular consciousness is this: public-sector consumption is outpacing private consumption three times over!

Of course, there is some truth in popular discourse over the fact Americans have become too accustomed to excessive consumption of goods: from electronics to automobiles to various novelties. And, we are reminded endlessly of the ruthless avarice of the corporate world.

But, if the Fair Tax were to be enacted and if the numbers being trumpeted by its opponents such as Mark DC accurately reflect the actual revenue streams, Americans would have statistical evidence at their disposal of how much government in general consumes in comparison to the overall private sector – to reiterate: three times the rate of consumption by government at all levels in comparison to consumption rates in corporate America and by individuals combined.

As that conversation would take-on a life of its own, we could expect to see a rise in the number of residents in almost every conceivable jurisdiction who begin to demand government spending be reined-in – as opposed to clamoring for higher state and local taxes to offset what would be due to the U.S. Treasury.

And, as public sentiment turns against Big Government, the libertarian movement will pick-up even greater steam.

So, thank you, Mark DC. As a Progressive, your impassioned criticism of the Fair Tax could be a Libertarian’s best argument for it.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

From the Faith & Liberty series: Be the proof of God's love

In these essays written in the spirit of spreading the message of Faith & Liberty, of all the verses in the Bible you can expect me to quote with great regularity Matthew 7:1,2.

If you’re more of a fan of the King James Version, those verses read: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with that judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with that measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

If you prefer the more modern English translation, the New American Standard Bible tells us: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”

These seminal words of the Sermon on the Mount were Christ’s calling to His disciples and the multitude which had followed Him into Galilee at the time to refrain from looking upon one another as anything other than equals and fellow children of the Father.

When one examines how we regularly address one another directly and gossip about each other in private, it is hardly a stretch to deduce these two sentences also were His prophetic warning to us all in anticipation of our behaviors in modern times.

One such trend along these lines is how Christians – be they devout or in name only – regard those who are not believers. This refers to minor disdain all the way to outright scorn.

Be honest: if you happened upon someone wearing a T-shirt displaying the message, “Proud Atheist,” in what manner would you acknowledge them?

While (admittedly) the example above may be exceedingly rare in occurrence, my advice is instead of reacting to such a person negatively, give consideration that at least any banter with them will be absent of any pretense – which is a good thing.

Refrain from showing others with differing beliefs (or an adamant absence of belief) contempt or derision. If you believe we all are children of God, and if you believe in His Son and His holy Word, then recall his declaration to the apostles after the Last Supper in John 13:34 – “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

Thus, to disparage anyone who does not believe (or even believes differently) in Christ is to ignore the Biblical truth that we must love our neighbors as ourselves and do unto others as we would have them do unto us – and do so regardless of how we may be received by them, including turning our other cheek to such a neighbor.

We cannot limit extending goodwill only to others who believe as you or I do. We must love all, not just our fellow Christians.

Bear in mind this lesson from earlier in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:46: “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”

Just as important, if you wish to convince others who do not share your faith that following it is God’s calling to us all, we must do far more than simply commit Bible verses to memory and share thoughts on His glory during times of fellowship: we must live our lives to serve as examples of God’s glory.

We must be the evidence of His eternal love.

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16