As we are now in the midst of farcical fiscal cliff negotiations, with the Republicans being lame and the Democrats being eeeevil, I thought I should handle this as a teachable moment. We should take these teachable moments whenever they arise, for there will be fewer and fewer of them as the clouds of economic lunacy settle in.
The president insists on raising the tax rates on the richest among us, saying that they can afford to “pay a little more.” This is objectionable, on the surface, in two ways. Let me just mention those briefly, and then move on to a third place where it is doing real damage. First, it is stealing. Taxing money simply because it is there is offensive to God. The language of “fair share” notwithstanding, the top five percent already pay 57% of the tax load. Here is a question without guile — when will the wealthy finally get around to paying their “fair share”?
Second, if all the rich people and their accountants were ultra-cooperative, raising taxes on the wealthy with the proposed rates would fund the federal government for about ten days. But as the process of taxation shows itself more and more envy-ridden and irrational, we have reason to believe the rich will become less and less cooperative. They have lawyers and accountants to help them move their money out of range, as I would encourage all of them to do. But — you may be assured — “out of range” will not include the kind of investment opportunities that will create jobs.
So let’s get to the real damage. While I object to all attempts at stealing, I am not spending a lot of time lamenting the sad lot of the rich, because I think they have the wherewithal to limit the damages of this attempted larceny. People are trying to rob their big house on the hill, but they can usually afford a security system.
The real problem is created for the thieves — Obama, the Democratic Party, everybody who voted for them, everyone in Washington who opposes them in such a lamesauce fashion, and everyone who supports them. If someone attempts to steal something from me, but fails, then I am none the worse. But for the aspiring thief, he gets all the guilt credits for having made such an attempt, and none of the booty. He has the worst of both worlds. He tried to steal two stools and he then fell between them.
And this is the position the American people are now in. We have thieves in Congress and in the White House because we have thievery in our hearts. Because we have larceny in our hearts, wanting to pay off 2012 debts with 2022 money, we put up with Bernake’s monkeyshines at the Fed. Because we have larceny in our hearts, we hear a politician say that the rich should pay their “fair share” and we reflexively say yeah! — in the name of justice. Thus we call rank injustice justice (Is. 5:20), and we do it because there is larceny in our little piggy hearts. Because we have larceny in our hearts, we call it greed when someone wants to keep the money he made, and we don’t call it greed when we want to take it away from him. But we are the ones with sticky fingers — and we have sticky fingers because of our sticky hearts.
Because we have larceny in our hearts, we cannot follow any economic arguments that have square shoulders, an upright posture, and an honest face. Who do they think they are anyway?
By the way, and I simply make this point in passing, it will do no good to get off this charge by appealing to our cultural memories of Robin Hood. He was not robbing the rich to give to the poor. He was robbing the tax collectors in order to get the money back to the people who had earned it in the first place. The Sherwood Forest hideout had a Gadsden flag flying over it.