Friday, January 8, 2010

After Death, There's Taxes

This has been bugging me for a while, but I haven't found time to talk about it. I still don't have time to talk about it, but let's just forge ahead anyway.

So many things that might seem disconnected or trifling are really more connected and of greater import than they first seem. This is because they stem from foundational principles, philosophies, and underlying value systems. We are at war about ideas, because ideas have consequences. That is why oppressors of every stripe move to silence opinions that differ from theirs -- schools, churches, media. These are things that are worth fighting for and about, and sometimes even dying for.

Since death is assured and well taken care of by Christ, that leaves taxes to talk about.

There are a few main ideas about taxes and the role of government in society. Two of the biggest and opposing schools of thought can be stereotyped as
  1. More taxes so that government can take care of more things for more people, and
  2. Less taxes so that individuals can take personal responsibility for themselves and their society.

The ideal probably lies somewhere in between.

Both extremes are subject to abuse. Unrestricted government leads to mass oppression and stifling economy. Unfettered individuality leads to greed and huge inequities of goods and services.

We have a way in America and it's democracy and capitalism; Europe has its way and it's parlimentarianism and soft socialism. There are those in each who prefer the way of the other, but it behooves one to look under the hood before buying. Some say that the current administration wants America to be more like Europe.

What's Europe offering? Let's see what the first EU Council President, Herman Van Rompuy, thinks in his book Vernieuwing in hoofd en hart : een tegendraadse visie (Renovation in Head and Heart: a contrary vision, 1998):

If we don’t want to let the global level of taxation sink away, we will have to consciously levy certain new taxes at the European level or harmonise some of these, for example in the field of environment, mobility, income from capital... Every time it will be a movement upwards." [source]

Sorry, not my cup of tea.

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