Americans sometimes complain about our political process. The ability to complain and protest is an essential part of our system – that is all too often taken for granted. “Debate”, however, is only “helpful” when something comes from it – like something positive from government.
What amazes me is how few people seem to recognize, let alone get worked up about, TWO major inherent FLAWS in almost EVERY level of government:
1. Unrelated issues are often bundled together. How can anyone be expected to make a decision (or “vote”) on more than one issue at a time – especially when artificially attached to something unrelated? The obvious solution is to REQUIRE that only ONE issue be addressed at a time (on its own merit, cost, and consequences – and not as a part of mutual political “back-scratching”).
Often one issue effects another and it is not unreasonable to consider more than one idea and consequence to arrive at a decision, but I still content that each decision must be made singly and independent of unrelated/competing issues. Sadly, even the “lesser” idea of a “line item veto” is almost always vigorously opposed, so “clear” thinking is unlikely in the immediate future.
2. Legislators, Executives, and unelected appointed officials making decisions (for the rest of us) are usually exempt from (abiding by) their own decisions – except for when they vote to raise their salaries and benefits. If those who make laws and public policies actually had to personally live by their rules for others, and their decisions (equally) applied and (directly) affected them and their families the same as everyone else, whatever they came up with would probably make more sense and work a lot better for others as well. Many, if not all, major problems with education, health care, transportation, national resources, national debt, national security, military involvement overseas, the economy, and our (aging) infrastructure would be addressed much more responsibly – and effectively – if those deciding (and/or their immediate family members) were REQUIRED to be directly affected by their decisions.
If those with the “authority” and “power” to establish or change how things are HAD to eat the same food, live in similar housing, shop the same stores, commute to and from work by similar means, pay retail prices for everything they used, attend the same quality schools, personally serve in the military (during wartime), receive the same medical access, treatment, payment and insurance coverage options, receive the same punishment and representation in legal proceedings, participate in the same retirement system, and NOT get paid AT ALL unless they produced and contributed something of actual VALUE and USE (for more than just themselves), a lot more “positive” and workable “solutions” to societal “problems” would likely be offered and implemented.
In addition to the above mentioned TWO major FLAWS of Government, there are at least THREE issues concerning Churches. Many Americans interpret the Constitutional prohibition against establishing a “state religion” as ensuring “freedom of religion” – and many religious organizations use this as the basis of their “freedom” from taxation – but not from government “regulation”.
A. With or without representation, every level of government seems to resort to some kind of taxation. The belief this is required is itself almost a religion.
Why should ANYONE be taxed – at all – ever? The money collected is NEVER intended nor used specifically for the good of society. Taxes penalize people for what they earn, own, purchase, and use. Taxes are extorted with threats of punishment if not paid by those who use their “authority” and “power” to essentially steal what they can from tax payers. I don’t understand the pride of paying taxes or why so many Americans want anyone else to pay (more or any) taxes – rather than demanding that nobody be taxed at all. What is paid in taxes does not come “back” in “services”. Americans are really just paying “tribute” to those “in power” rather than contributing to the needs of society.
A lot of The People’s money is sent out of the country. The U.S. Government can’t even seem to consistently fund itself on what it considers its “revenue”. With or without tax collection, what really needs to change is everyone’s attitude so that government is accountable as a “steward” of “public funds” and cannot spend ANY of it on anything that does not directly benefit the country’s citizens – especially those paying taxes. Only then might it make sense for people to pay politicians a portion of what they have; otherwise, more good for themselves and their community could be done privately.
B. For any institution or organization to be exempt from federal, state, or local taxes requires filing government forms that create a relationship with the government and impose all sorts of rules on them. Most churches are NOT now “separate” from government – and risk losing their “tax exempt” status if they don’t comply with what the government tells them to (not) do.
If a church wants to be independent of government, it should stop pretending to be a “non-profit” organization and not let government impose any rules on what it can or cannot do. If this means the church paying the same taxes as any other “business”, it should (willingly) do so. There are lots of legitimate and legal ways to reduce tax “liability”. This might also make churches more open, honest, and accountable for the money received from church member dues and donations. The special status that churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, and other religious institutions and organizations claim and receive is often abused – by clergy, cults, and criminals (who are often even worse for communities than any government). Churches are just like government.
C. God does not need money – and no tax or tithe paid nor any contribution collected ever goes to God. Money is a human invention. It’s not spiritual nor Divine in nature or use. No other creature has, needs, nor uses money. None of the fiat currency used around be world has any “inherent” value – and our entire current centralized bank fractional reserve financial system and global economy is based upon creating and perpetuating debt. Money is mainly an instrument of imaginary debt used to control people rather than as a medium of exchange or to allow some beneficial socialistic redistribution of assets and resources for the greater good. If Americans really wanted both churches and governments to do what would serve society, we should stop letting them tax us and instead (together) eliminate money as a need and measure of value.
That’s my perspective. What’s yours?
© 2007 – 2012, Oren Pardes. All rights reserved.