On November 14, 2007, before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, Warren Buffet, the U.S. citizen estimated by those who keep track of such things to have the second highest net worth in America, testified that ending the estate tax on inheritances of $2 million or more would substitute more plutocracy for meritocracy. He said, "Dynastic wealth, the enemy of a meritocracy, is on the rise. Equality of opportunity has been on the decline." "A progressive and meaningful estate tax is needed to curb the movement of a democracy toward plutocracy." "In a country that prides itself on equality of opportunity, it's becoming anything but that as the gap between the super-rich and the middle class is widening."
Super-Rich Media Campaign
Who has been behind the movement to eliminate the estate tax? According to Public Citizen and United for a Fair Economy, 18 families worth a total of $185.5 billion have been the primary funders of the campaign to end the tax on their families and, of course, their non-deserving heirs.http://faireconomy.org/press/2006/pc_and_ufe_expose_campaign.html No one deserves such monetary inheritance in the face of so much utter deprivation. If the estate tax is completely eliminated, all the taxes that the super-rich plutocrats would have otherwise paid will have to be made up by the rest of the taxpayers who are not super-rich. Of course, that assumes that taxes continue to be collected at the same levels in the aggregate.
Trickle-Down Economics: A Fraud
Many arguments are used for repealing or reducing taxes on the ultra-rich. The most often used is the theory of trickle-down economics. That theory holds that the rich create wealth and jobs by reinvesting in the economy. The less they pay in taxes, the more their funds go into job-creating private investments. There are several problems with that, of course.
Firstly, the state can employ people every bit as effectively, if not more so, and in a much more egalitarian manner, as we see historically with the New Deal governmental employment such as the Civilian Conservation Corp and like entities.
Secondly, the ultra-rich do not always reinvest in productive enterprises but rather squander on selfish things that are counter-productive.
Thirdly, the ultra-rich are off-shoring more and more of their wealth in globally diversified investments so that the other U.S. taxpayers definitely don't see much benefit but more often loss to the economy as a whole.
Those arguments though are really selfishness against another form of selfishness. They don't reflect the main concerns of the real Christian. Since we are the Real Liberal Christian Church, let us spell out some of the real issues here.
Buffet Stops Short
Warren Buffet is correct but only up to a certain point where he stops short in his thinking. He is falling into the age-old American trap of the "more perfect union" versus the perfect union.
Capitalism: Unwise, Discredited, and Blameworthy
Firstly, his position assumes that the social Darwinism of competitive capitalism is at all a proper gauge of what is or is not really meritorious. That's a huge error in judgment. It is based entirely upon two factors: Selfishness and the marketplace, which are the pillars of Capitalist theory. It assumes the people acting in their own selfish interest is the true nature of humanity, which it isn't. It is the true nature of unenlightened flesh. Humanity though is Homo sapien, meaning "wise" hominid or enlightened humanoid. We are able to rise above baser instincts of fight or flight, etc. We are able to choose to give and share all. We are not merely creatures of instinct or mindless conditioning. Also, the marketplace is no measure of merit, since in their competitive, selfish pursuit, the vast majority of the ultra-rich attempt to persuade the people to be baser, savagely instinctive (taking on the nature of non-human creatures), and selfishly conditioned and rather mindless.
Secondly, the "equality of opportunity," to which Warren Buffet refers, concerns offering a more equal starting place in the competitive, selfish struggle for personal, private, special advantage and privilege. The inherent contradiction ought to be obvious. Jesus Christ rather offered the system that doesn't run into that inherent contradiction, since his system isn't competitive but rather cooperative where all serve all.
Therefore, we say that there is no meritocracy possible in the capitalist scheme of things. Under real Christianity, there is not merit in selfishness. Selfishness is un-deserving, unworthy. It is rather discredited and blameworthy.
Jesus's System: Wise
As for Jesus's system, it calls for all to give and share for the sake of all like-minded souls and also even for the sake of the selfish-hearted, to be a light to them so they may see the better way and even the best way of being that is Jesus's vision. Jesus's way is giving and sharing, but it is not the way of Karl Marx. In fact, Marx was sent into the world to co-opt the sharing way to twist it to violence and cause the general population to be turned away from Christianity. Marx was an enemy of Christ by Marx's choosing.
Jesus's way has never been done for generations back-to-back in full. His way has always met with persecution and a general lack of support. It has always been twisted by evil for evil means to evil ends. When will it be used without persecution or distortion? When will the world be saved?
The Christian Commons Project of the Real Liberal Christian Church needs your support. We ask people to give for the sake of bringing to fruition the giving-and-sharing-all places the will be hubs for evangelizing the true message of Jesus Christ that will save the world.
The Christian Commons to start with are organic farms where those of the unselfish spirit may raise food to feed themselves and to give away. Those who can afford it will donate. The food will not be priced. Suggested donations may be offered only with an eye to growing the whole system. No one will become rich in the commonly understood sense of the term today unless and until all Church members and the whole of society rise together.
Enter the Labor of Real Love
Help the movement of bringing forth. Give to the Christian Commons Project to further this message and to translate the money out of its evil system. Continue down this column to below the comment section to the section entitled, "The Righteous Appeal to Softening Hearts," and please help with what you are able. Consider tithing or better. You will be a part of bringing forth, as Jesus calls upon his followers to do.
The following should appear at the end of every post:
According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":
Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.
Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.
Political Campaign Intervention
Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.
Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.
Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
- Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
- Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
- Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
- Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
- Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office
Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)