Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax Day Tomfoolery

April 15, 2009

Finally it is here! Tax day! What does it all mean? Well, really for me, nothing. However, there are some significant occurrences going on around the country. I hate to draw attention to the foolishness of some radical conservatives out there, but today is the day where Fox News utterly and unabashedly abandons any claim they may have had to being "fair and balanced."

In several areas of the country, conservatives are gathering to protest tax increases, and government expansion. Really, these rallies will be nothing more than anti-Obama demonstrations. And Fox News has gone out of its way to promote it all the way. The irony is that millionaires and billionaires are organizing the events, making them look like the "parties" are a spontaneous grassroots phenomenon. In the end, the rich are just trying to incite the people, draw attention to something inconsequential, and grow richer as a result.

But enough about taxes. Let's go for a much more global view of matters. I understand the supposedly logical viewpoints that support less taxes and less government. Theoretically, it would be awesome to have government pretty much out of our lives. Compulsory charity is not the best way to provide for those in need, for sure.

However, the facts are undeniable: over three billion people live on less than $2.50 a day. The poorest 40 percent of people account for 5 percent of global income, while the richest 20 percent account for more than 75 percent of global income. One in two children lives in poverty. 1.6 billion people live without electricity.

The stats go on and on. The point? The wealthy (and most people in the United States, even poor college students like myself, are wealthy relative to people in other parts of the world) continue to take more and more of the goods. While technology and means to distribute basic goods to those in poverty continue to improve, it seems the number of poor people continues to expand.

Even if we can't save all the poor in the world, how do we justify the number of poor, starving, adults and children, in the wealthiest nation ever to exist on earth?

I am not going to be the one who says capitalism is a terrible system, but it has its flaws, and I think saying "it's absolutely the best system hands-down" is probably a stretch. As a Mormon, reading in the Doctrine and Covenants about the United Order and Law of Consecration, it is hard to read and imagine that God's way is just naked, free-market capitalism.

From section 104:
15 And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.
16 But it must needs be done in mine own away; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the bpoor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low.
17 For the aearth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be bagents unto themselves.
18 Therefore, if any man shall take of the aabundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the blaw of my gospel, unto the cpoor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in dhell, being in torment.

Sounds like the rich who are selfish with their wealth possibly may find themselves in the same place as the rapists, murderers, and sexual predators of the world, but who knows. Either way, if one studies the Law of Consecration (and no doubt we fail to live it today because we are just as selfish as the Saints who first received the law), there is no doubt that the gap between the CEO of such-and-such company and the person who works at the laundromat for five dollars an hour would not be nearly as wide as the gap surely is today.

I don't want to hear, "if the government didn't take so much of my money, I would be more charitable." That's bogus. Before you start using that argument, start counting the number of cars, televisions, DVD's, iPods, computers, etc. that you have. Not to mention the endless amount of junk sitting in boxes in the garage that hasn't seen daylight since the 1980's. Although it is not wrong for people to have relative comfort in their lives, there is no doubt that most of the interest we have in possessions is merely modern day idol worship.

So the tax-day tea-baggers can participate in their rediculous shenanigans, and people can keep quoting platitudes like, "give a man a fish, feed him for a day," and the government can at least continue trying to do what the rich of the world simply refuse to do: allow those who wouldn't otherwise have a chance to have some semblance of a respectable life for themselves, and for the generations that follow.

And while it may not be quite as lamentable as starving humans, Fox News will continue to claim it is fair and balanced, and a lot of people will probably still believe it.

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