A grace note on the melody of whether we deserve to keep our money

posted at 12:45 pm on September 19, 2011 by Tina Korbe

On Friday, I responded briefly to Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s (D-Ill.) comments that taxpayers don’t deserve to keep all their money. I wrote:

At first glance, it’s tempting to reduce the argument for little to no taxation to this: “He who possesses it (money, land, whatever) ought to keep it regardless of whether he deserves it simply because it’s his.” Nobody has the right to forcibly take what’s not his — it’s called stealing. But, as appealing as it is to equate government taxing and spending with stealing, in a constitutional republic like ours, it’s simply not.

The federal government has property rights, too. For, in the end, a property right is simply “the exclusive authority to determine how a resource is used.” Sad to say it, but the government does have that authority over the resource of our tax dollars. But, crucially, it derives that authority from our consent, the consent we express in the U.S. Constitution, which does give the federal government the power to tax (although it’s worth noting that it originally wasn’t constitutional to tax income — it took the 16th Amendment for that). When the federal government taxes us, then, it doesn’t really take our money. We freely — if indirectly — choose to appropriate our money to the federal government by voting in the Congress that establishes the tax rates in the first place. We consent to giving the federal government authority over a particular portion of our private resources, making those private resources public. In effect, we cede our right to that property to the federal government. The federal government, then, has a right to our tax dollars because we give it that right.

The question, then, is not: How much money do our representatives in government believe we deserve to keep? Rather, it is: How much do we think we deserve to keep, to command as we wish? How much do we think the government deserves to command, to use for those few things that only the collective can provide (e.g. defense!)? In other words, it is ever and always a question about the size, scope and purpose of government. And our opinion on that will necessarily inform whom we elect.

Insofar as all that goes, it’s correct. But, after consulting with a friend and constitutional scholar (the Heritage Foundation’s David Azerrad) and then, after reading J.E. Dyer’s excellent post on this subject yesterday, I’d like to amend my earlier comments a bit. As Dyer says, it’s really not a question of deserving. She writes, perfectly:

The question of what we “deserve” boils down to which came first, the individual human with rights, or the state.  America was founded on the principle that the individual human with rights comes first. Any idea that violates that principle is counter to our founding idea.  It is not possible to reconcile with our founding principle the idea of collective schemes in which we make some modification to “what we deserve.”  We either deserve to keep all our own earnings – money – wealth – goods – or we do not have unalienable rights.

Now, what we decide to do with our own money will inevitably involve government functions of some kind.  People have to have a government in some form.  A certain minimum set of public services is essential to corporate human life.  The American founding idea is that we the people decide what government will do, and we decide how much money government will have to do it with.  Then we contribute out of what is inalienably ours.

In the American idea, the state doesn’t operate on the basis of “what we deserve.”  It operates on the basis of law: definitions adopted by due process, and objective circumstances.  “What we deserve” is outside the scope of the state’s competence to decide.  If we enter relationships in which someone else decides that for us, they are voluntary; e.g., employer paying or promoting employee, fan-base keeping pro sports or the music industry profitable.

The percentage-based income tax and the practice of payroll withholding have combined for a century now to obscure in our minds the simplicity of our founding principles.  But the founding principles were very clear.  Modern interlocutors can seek to change the argument, toss red herrings around, and get us in full 6-year-old mode talking about “deserving” and “not deserving” according to whether we are Leona Helmsley or Mother Teresa, but the bottom line is that a man whose title to his money is considered – as a first principle – subject to the whim of his neighbor, is a slave.

In other words, the original question as posed by Napa Tea Party Teen Tyler Hensley — as penetrating and insightful as it was, hinting at a fissure in first principles between conservatives and progressives — employed a formulation (“deserve to keep”) that suggested the federal government does us a favor by allowing us to keep some of our income. But as Dyer demonstrates and Azerrad reiterated, we deserve to keep every last cent of income justly earned. The emphasis should not be on what we keep but on what we part with. How much should we be taxed?

That question is, as I hinted, a question about the size, scope and purpose of government. But as Azerrad corrected me, purpose is primary. “The size and scope follow from that,” he explained. “Government has legitimate ends to pursue and we can debate how much it will cost for it to do so. That is not the same thing as funding things that the government ought not to be doing in the first place.” Dyer says as much when she writes, “The American founding idea is that we the people decide what government will do, and we decide how much money government will have to do it with.”

The debate rages as to what we the people think the government should do — and, hence, the debate about how large the government should be and how much of our money it requires rages, as well. But, fortunately, we can look to the Constitution to know what it is we have already decided the government is authorized to do. A return to first principles — to the idea of a government limited by the Constitution — is badly in order. That, after all, is what the Tea Party has always meant to say — and it took Tyler Hensley to remind me of that.


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The federal government has property rights, too.

Yes, thank Teddy Roosevelt for this brilliant idea to take land… for the “sake” of society and it’s people.

upinak on September 19, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Tyler must be homeschooled.

rwenger43 on September 19, 2011 at 12:51 PM

This is the same thing as arguing about “Ponzi.”

Yes, we all deserve to keep what we earn, however, by forming this union of ours we ceded some of our liberty for the benefits of government. And the right to a portion of our property is part of that deal.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 12:52 PM

There should be no tax on income. Since income – or work – is an ideal that is encouraged by the state, the state should not discourage it by taxing it, especially since it is legal not to work at all. Tax monies must come from consumption. For it is spending, not work, that needs to be discouraged, for savings make a nation richer, spending makes it poorer. So rather than tax income, we need to tax spending.

keep the change on September 19, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Tyler must be homeschooled.

rwenger43 on September 19, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Oops! in CA? I hope his thought-provoking question didn’t alert the truancy board!

(As though the state has no illegal activity to prosecute)

rwenger43 on September 19, 2011 at 12:54 PM

And the right to a portion of our property is part of that deal.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Do you actually own land? I am not talking 1/4th an acre with a house on it. I am talking 5 acres or more.

Because you wouldn’t be saying that if you actually owned more than .17 of land.

upinak on September 19, 2011 at 12:56 PM

We “deserve” to keep all of our money unless we want to starve, freeze, be naked and homeless, and live in anarchy.

If everyone had to write a check each quarter to pay his taxes, A.) the issue would be more understandable, and B.) we’d all be more involved politically.

Akzed on September 19, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Taxing income is fine since it does not involve labor. It is things like interest and dividends that “come in” without work. Criminal activity is also considered income in the IRS code, as is work performed by illegal aliens, since in the latter two instances the worker has no right to the fruits of ill-gotten gain.

Wages are not income, as the SCOTUS has ruled. If I trade you a goat for a dog, who profited? Neither of us.

In the same way, If I give you $200 for eight hours of work, neither of us has profited. It’s a trade.

Akzed on September 19, 2011 at 1:01 PM

I can’t find it but I remember a quote from a Congressman debating the income tax around 1913, which then became the 16th amendment to the Constitution. He said, with obvious hyperbolic exaggeration, something like “If we allow this 1% foot in the door, then who’s to say it won’t become 5% one day?”. One day soon it will become most of our income. No exaggeration.

Paul-Cincy on September 19, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Keep in mind the appropriate TITHE to the CHURCH of the Progressives (the Fed Gov) is 100%

How can anyone give less to the entity that knows best?

ALL HAIL our Progressive Priests……

….Schumer (All hail)

….Durbin (All hail)

….Pelosi (All hail)

….Reid (All hail)

….and the High Priest of them all….THE LORD BARACK!!

PappyD61 on September 19, 2011 at 1:01 PM

We “deserve” to keep all of our money unless we want to starve, freeze, be naked and homeless, and live in anarchy.

And all of that can be taken care of without income tax. We contribute taxes by our spending already. And we pay for fire and police with property taxes. When, then, must be pay for the privilege of producing an income?

keep the change on September 19, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Meet the Tax apocalypse.

The average American family already spends more on taxes than for food, clothing, and shelter – combined. With the coming bill for Chairman 0bama’s progressive fantasies, a majority of people will be living hand-to-mouth.

The American dream – living as debt peons on the progressive plantation.

Rebar on September 19, 2011 at 1:05 PM

I would disagree: do we deserve to keep our money? From a political standpoint, yes…. but from at least many religious points of view, NO.

Why is that? In America, we have the concept of all men have rights and are free, which is true, inasmuch as those rights are granted to us by our creator. Our creator, however, can take those rights away.

From a religious standpoint, we owe God for our lives, and are thus indebted to Him. What He asks us to do is to keep His Commandments. If we do so, then He will bless us for that. We thus remain indebted to Him.

Therefore, our labors, and everything else is subject to His wishes.

That raises the subject of stewardship. A good American is but a steward of the resources in his or her control. Ultimately, everything belongs to God and He will hold us accountable for how we use it.

None of this is inconsistent with capitalism, though. And for the majority of purposes, this doesn’t have a practical impact–God would, all things being equal, prefer us to have more and use our talents to increase and get use out of the natural resources we have; for no other reason so we can bless others lives more abundantly. God is not opposed to becoming wealthy; witness the parable of the talents. Just what we DO with said wealth.

And that is not really capitalism; that’s altruism.

Vanceone on September 19, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Kudos again to J.E. Dyer: My money: I deserve to keep it all. Clear, clean thinking like this is hard to find nowadays.

petefrt on September 19, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Just wait till you get mugged with the line …
“Give me OUR money !!”

J_Crater on September 19, 2011 at 1:13 PM

I would disagree: do we deserve to keep our money? From a political standpoint, yes…. but from at least many religious points of view, NO.

This is why we can’t base our liberties on some holy book. The constitution is quite clear on this. The liberty of the citizen is not to be compromised by some other citizen’s religion. If you want to give 10% of your salary away because your god demands it, fine. But my god doesn’t.

keep the change on September 19, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Therefore, our labors, and everything else is subject to His wishes.

Stealing is against his Wishes.

Whether the government takes my money to fund Michelle 0bama’s luxury vacations, or feeds 100 hungry people – the money is still taken from me against my will, which is theft.

Rebar on September 19, 2011 at 1:17 PM

upinak on September 19, 2011 at 12:56 PM

My house is on 3/4 acres. What’s your point?

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Given that we are really talking about the right to benefit from you own labor, aren’t we really discussing partial slavery?

Chip on September 19, 2011 at 1:25 PM

i think people are missing the point. the question was phrased that way specifically because there is no good way for a progressive to answer it. the conservative says we deserve to keep all of it, but the progressive cannot say that. thus, the progressive is forced to reveal his twisted worldview on this, and demonstrate to taxpayers who is really on their side. it’s a matter of political wordplay, not an actual premise of a debate. of course we deserve to keep what we earn.

ReformedAndDangerous on September 19, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Chip on September 19, 2011 at 1:25 PM

No, because we the people gave our consent to government.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Keep the change: Who, exactly, has proposed we forcibly institute tithing on everyone? No one I know.

I was pointing out that at least many Americans would say that God is the author of our rights; they don’t come innately but are God-Given. But given that God has given humans free will, that means that God isn’t going to forcibly impose a theocratic dictatorship (unless, I guess, you are Wahabist, but even then it begs the question why Allah just doesn’t do it himself… but I digress).

So you are safe: no one will force you to pay tithing, except the progressives, and their definition of tithing is more like 100% to the great god Government. Far more scary than anything a Christian has ever come up with.

Vanceone on September 19, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Yes, we all deserve to keep what we earn, however, by forming this union of ours we ceded some of our liberty for the benefits of government. And the right to a portion of our property is part of that deal.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 12:52 PM

You are you saying that the government has the right to demand whatever ever a portion of someone’s life they need?

Chip on September 19, 2011 at 1:29 PM

My house is on 3/4 acres. What’s your point?

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 1:20 PM

You don’t get my point?

You don’t have any land to speak of. You probably have the nice “lines’ and easements that all areas have for electrical, gas, water, sewer, etc. You don’t really OWN 3/4 of an acre… more like .17.

I work my arse off for my land, my pay check, my house (which doesn’t have barely any easements), my private land in the state, and everything else…. in which the government does NOT own nor do they or should they take a “chunk” of it. They didn’t work for it, they don’t deserve it.. I am not their farking slave.

Maybe you don’t understand this… but God help you if the city or county takes more than a chunk of your “land” for a road, or a leaway, ot for utitities or hell.. just because they can.

The government has overstepped. You obviously don’t see that.

upinak on September 19, 2011 at 1:30 PM

Chip on September 19, 2011 at 1:29 PM

No. I am saying that we consented to empower government to do certain functions and we consented to the confiscation of some of our property (with due process) to carry out those functions.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 1:31 PM

No, because we the people gave our consent to government.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Ahh no. Voting someone in to do the right thing is not consent.

FYI I am not a slave to the government.

upinak on September 19, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Chip on September 19, 2011 at 1:25 PM

No, because we the people gave our consent to government.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 1:26 PM

That ‘consent’ can be purchased with the property seized from an ever shrinking minority, is that fair?

Chip on September 19, 2011 at 1:31 PM

No. I am saying that we consented to empower government to do certain functions and we consented to the confiscation of some of our property (with due process) to carry out those functions.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 1:31 PM

OFFS! The “Government” didn’t have any LAND until freaking Roosevelt!

Ugh nevermind…. you don’t get it. Nor will you ever.

upinak on September 19, 2011 at 1:32 PM

OTish:

If you want to fold a dollar bill to look like the shirt on the front page, click here.

Mallard T. Drake on September 19, 2011 at 1:33 PM

upinak on September 19, 2011 at 1:30 PM

Does the government keep your land safe from foreign enemies? Does it establish money so that you can conduct commerce? Does the government establish the rules by which commerce is performed?

You are confusing eminent domain with taxation. Eminent domain is another valid use of government power. It too may only be exercised with due process. In the case of easements for roads and railways and power and other infrastructure that is for public use, it is perfectly acceptable. Furthermore, the government may not take any of your property under eminent domain without just compensation.

You may want to read the Constitution. You would be amazed at what’s in there.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 1:35 PM

The trouble for the “democratic” rational offered by Ed is that the majority can just vote for the minority’s money – as much as they want. There’s nothing the minority can do in that situation. And that’s exactly what we have now: the majority who pays nothing votes for 10% of Americans to pay about 70% of the taxes.

tommyboy on September 19, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Chip on September 19, 2011 at 1:29 PM

No. I am saying that we consented to empower government to do certain functions and we consented to the confiscation of some of our property (with due process) to carry out those functions.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 1:31 PM

The point is that some people simply consent to have the portion of someone else’s life seized in order to buy that consent.

The 47% of the population that do not pay taxes will gladly accede to someone else being a slave to the government.

Chip on September 19, 2011 at 1:36 PM

When, then, must be pay for the privilege of producing an income?

keep the change on September 19, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Because we don’t earn incomes in a vacuum. We apply an education, one most likely provided by society. We make use of infrastructure. We develop consumer bases that would not exist were it not for various social investments. This is why the notion of a tax on income was not immediately smacked down at first utterance.

ernesto on September 19, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Chip on September 19, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Sure, I can agree with that. But that was not the original question.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 1:39 PM

LMFAO the CONSTITUTION has nothing to do with my LAND! OMG MJ you have freaking lost it!

upinak on September 19, 2011 at 1:39 PM

upinak on September 19, 2011 at 1:39 PM

It doesn’t? What country do you live in?

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 1:40 PM

MJ has obviously never owned more that less an acre and thinks that the constituton rules over it LMFAO!

How about he tell people who are farmers that! The Constituiton OWNS your land!!! it has the right to make commerce on your land!!! MJ would be laughed off the farmers land!

MJ, please stop. The Constitution has nothing to do with what I own land wise. And God help us if you work in government…. I wouldn’t be surprised if you tried to take others property, just because.

And the Government doesn’t “OWN” me, my land or anything else nor should it ever have owned land. Thank Roosevelt for starting it.

upinak on September 19, 2011 at 1:43 PM

Taxing income is fine since it does not involve labor. It is things like interest and dividends that “come in” without work. Criminal activity is also considered income in the IRS code, as is work performed by illegal aliens, since in the latter two instances the worker has no right to the fruits of ill-gotten gain.

Wages are not income, as the SCOTUS has ruled. If I trade you a goat for a dog, who profited? Neither of us.

In the same way, If I give you $200 for eight hours of work, neither of us has profited. It’s a trade.

Akzed on September 19, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Akzed – I cannot agree with your arguments.
1) Interest & dividends do require work to ‘come in.’ The work may not be manual labor, but it does take effort (both on the part of the investor & business) to decide how much money is spent and where it is directed.
2) How do you define ‘profit’? To use your example, if I needed/wanted a goat and you needed/wanted a dog, and we are both happy with the trade, then we both ‘profited’ because we both got what we wanted/needed. That is the essence of free-trade.
3) Likewise, if both employer and employee are both satisfied with the terms of employement ($200/8hrs), again both parties have profited: the employer because he has gained an asset (8hrs of labor) and the employee because he has $200 to spend as he wishes.
4) Taxing criminal activity is another tool (and a funny one in my book) of law enforcement. However, that tool is separate from the agreement between employer/employee.And finally,
5) Labeling the work done by illegals as ‘fruits of ill-gotten gains’ seems condescending and does not contribute to the discussion.

gobblemom on September 19, 2011 at 1:44 PM

The point is that some people simply consent to have the portion of someone else’s life seized in order to buy that consent.

The 47% of the population that do not pay taxes will gladly accede to someone else being a slave to the government.

Chip on September 19, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Sure, I can agree with that. But that was not the original question.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 1:39 PM

What are you defining to be the original question?

Chip on September 19, 2011 at 1:45 PM

What are you defining to be the original question?

Chip on September 19, 2011 at 1:45 PM

5 bucks he says commerce clause.

upinak on September 19, 2011 at 1:47 PM

One day soon it will become most of our income. No exaggeration.

Paul-Cincy on September 19, 2011 at 1:01 PM

If you lived in states like NY, you wouldn’t be using the future tense in your post.

landlines on September 19, 2011 at 1:48 PM

What are you defining to be the original question?

Chip on September 19, 2011 at 1:45 PM

5 bucks he says commerce clause.

upinak on September 19, 2011 at 1:47 PM

LMAO!

Chip on September 19, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Vanceone on September 19, 2011 at 1:08 PM

@Vanceone: You are dangerously close to accepting the Left’s false equivocation of “God” and “Government”!

landlines on September 19, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Vanceone on September 19, 2011 at 1:08 PM

There are some philosophical issues in your logic here.

First: For the sake of argument (and because I’m a Christian) I agree with your premise that our rights come from God. However, God has given us free will that he refuses to violate…therefore those inalienable rights are secure by way of God’s promise. As far as God is concerned, our money is ours. We control it and have the free will to spend it as we choose. God knows what is best and will try to lead us to it, but he will not force you as a government would. Our labors and everything else should (ideally) be submissive to God’s wishes. However, they are still ours because God gave us possession of them. If that were not true, then God would not ask for us to give a tenth of all we own to him. Why would he ask us to give what is already his?

Second: The Bible states that Jesus paid all our debts. If we accept him, we are under no obligations. Instead we live according to God’s out of thankfulness and because we have become a new creation, striving to be like him. It should be altruistic, not a repayment of a debt we cannot pay.

Third: Capitalism is a worldly/secular system that takes advantage of man’s natural selfishness, which is why it works. Capitalism does not assume a perfect altruistic human nature. It assumes the opposite and works to restrict (through competition) and exploit our selfishness/lust. It works best when offset by altruistic or religious people who help those who lack the skills or ability to succeed. The Bible says nothing about the proper system of economics for governing a country…in fact, it says little about government at all (unless you focus the Old Testament Mosaic laws/commands for the Jews).

Socialists believes men are naturally good and will act in the interest of the community. They are always shocked to find the opposite and generally this leads to Communism/Fascism: a point where the state realizes that it must force men to be “good” through total control of their lives.

The third point, of course, is my own belief as it has evolved until this point. The first two are widely accepted Christian doctrinal stances.

Pattosensei on September 19, 2011 at 1:53 PM

ernesto on September 19, 2011 at 1:39 PM

May you always be shackled.

Schadenfreude on September 19, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Representation without taxation is exactly as unfair as taxation without representation.

When people who live at public expense are allowed to vote, liberty is doomed.

logis on September 19, 2011 at 1:54 PM

And all of that can be taken care of without income tax. We contribute taxes by our spending already. And we pay for fire and police with property taxes. When, then, must be pay for the privilege of producing an income? keep the change on September 19, 2011 at 1:01 PM

I’m not advocating that ANYONE get these things from the govt. I’m mocking the concept that we “deserve” to keep all of our money. Sure you are, unless you need to spend it on necessities: including govt.

It’s a perfectly legitimate debate to have, how much we spend on govt. But be it however miniscule, no one deserves not to pay it, whether one is a welfare queen or a small fry investor.

Akzed on September 19, 2011 at 1:55 PM

Whether the government takes my money to fund Michelle 0bama’s luxury vacations, or feeds 100 hungry people – the money is still taken from me against my will, which is theft. Rebar on September 19, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Nonsense. Your presence here implies consent.

Akzed on September 19, 2011 at 1:58 PM

gobblemom on September 19, 2011 at 1:44 PM

You’re wrong on every point.

Akzed on September 19, 2011 at 2:00 PM

No, because we the people gave our consent to government.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Ahh no. Voting someone in to do the right thing is not consent.

FYI I am not a slave to the government.

upinak on September 19, 2011 at 1:31 PM

I agree with upinak’s perspectives and it really comes down to just what degree of ownership or recognition of control of property (all property, wealth and land and resources in one’s ownership) that government perceives or assumes when it exercises your “consent” to them.

You can consent to go on a date with someone — allow them to transport you, entertain you, spend private time with you, etc. — but your consent for a date doesn’t convey agreeing to them moving in with you and owning your property.

The government we currently have has, indeed, taken citizen “consent” to absurd levels. We consent to be governed, we don’t consent to be owned and enslaved and to fork-over our possessions for government to take.

Lourdes on September 19, 2011 at 2:07 PM

upinak on September 19, 2011 at 1:43 PM

As I said read the Constitution. The government has the right to take your land under the conditions stipulated. You can protest all you want, but that is the nature of our compact with government. When we ratified the Constitution you ceded your right to property if the government chooses to exercise eminent domain.

But again, also, the discussion here is taxation and not eminent domain, os your remarks of off topic anyway.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 2:08 PM

2) How do you define ‘profit’? To use your example, if I needed/wanted a goat and you needed/wanted a dog, and we are both happy with the trade, then we both ‘profited’ because we both got what we wanted/needed. That is the essence of free-trade.
gobblemom on September 19, 2011 at 1:44 PM

that is called Bartering and you can’t tax a bartered item since there is really no paperwork in a bartered item. And the government has been trying to years to figure out a way to tax items that are bartered. Since it is an exchange of common items and has no nominal value other than to the people… it isn’t concidered a profit to anyone.

upinak on September 19, 2011 at 2:08 PM

What are you defining to be the original question?

Chip on September 19, 2011 at 1:45 PM

See here.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Lest I be misunderstood: in no way was I arguing for a “theocratic” system to replace our own.

I was just responding philosophically to the idea that our money is “our” money. It’s not; we are just stewards over it. We can be good stewards or bad ones, but we are stewards. Otherwise we could take it with us when we die.

Pattosensai: I agree with your point one. I was just pointing out that, in fact, our rights are God Given, and do not arise innately from nature.

Your second point is, I think, incorrect. Yes, Jesus paid our debts, where we could not. But He did not just release us; He became our Obligor and master. In short, He bought us with His blood. That is why we still have commandments from Him; I think it is a serious misreading of the New Testament to conclude that Jesus just said “go to it, I’ve done all the work and don’t care what you do anymore.” He paid the price so we don’t have to, but He didn’t make it condition free.

As far as the proper economics to govern a country, that’s a misnomer. I agree capitalism is the best for a selfish, fallen people such as our current world. It could be better, but until we get a fundamental change in human nature (voluntarily on the part of us humans) it’s the best we’ve got. But it’s not the best possible. Witness the brief early Christian church that did hold all things in common. That kind of society can work, and certainly is better than stabbing your neighbor in the back to make a buck. It only works though, when all the members of that society are selfless types who would rather take the bullet themselves than harm someone else.

Since we don’t have that kind of people, and not likely to have such a group anytime soon (I think the Amish are probably as close as we have right now, but even they aren’t that way), it’s pointless to try to impose such a society. That’s God’s job, not mine. He can impose it when He feels we are ready for it. Until then, it’s my job to be a good steward for Him. And that means being capitalistic.

Vanceone on September 19, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Lourdes on September 19, 2011 at 2:07 PM

The original question was one of kind, not degree or extent. You are arguing to what extent. I already agreed with Chip that present government exercises it’s “takings” power to far too great (and unlawful) an extent.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 2:12 PM

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 2:08 PM

You really don’t get it.

But I don’t expect you to understand, since you do not have more than an acre. Come talk to me when you have around 50 acres or so.

upinak on September 19, 2011 at 2:12 PM

upinak on September 19, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Do you know the difference between eminent domain and taxation?

I didn’t think so.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 2:13 PM

gobblemom on September 19, 2011 at 1:44 PM

You’re wrong on every point.

Akzed on September 19, 2011 at 2:00 PM

How? Just because you say so? Defend your arguments!

gobblemom on September 19, 2011 at 2:13 PM

5) Labeling the work done by illegals as ‘fruits of ill-gotten gains’ seems condescending and does not contribute to the discussion.

gobblemom on September 19, 2011 at 1:44 PM

They’ve “gotten” their “fruits” by ill-gotten means. It’s a crime to be in the U.S. illegally, among other aspects of illegal aliens’ behaviors in the U.S.

Lourdes on September 19, 2011 at 2:13 PM

What are you defining to be the original question?

Chip on September 19, 2011 at 1:45 PM

See here.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 2:09 PM

So you can define the original question in your own words?

Chip on September 19, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Lourdes on September 19, 2011 at 2:07 PM

The original question was one of kind, not degree or extent. You are arguing to what extent. I already agreed with Chip that present government exercises it’s “takings” power to far too great (and unlawful) an extent.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 2:12 PM

I realize what you earlier stated but upinak is focused on ownership by the individual, property ownership — one’s integrity as a citizen of this nation to own and control one’s property without government intrustion (or, “taking” although I realize eminent domain is sanctioned by the Supreme Court, that, too, is a practice that government has and continues to abuse, just as they do the idea that citizens “consent to be governed” to enable government to do just about whatever it manages to do in overriding and abusing the individual as to property ownership and taxation).

The idea that we are subjected to — are “subjects” to — a government that can and does whatever it wills and wants is what our nation was created to deny, not to enable.

Unfortunately, today, “consent to be governed” is taken by government to mean they can take away whatever they want when they want it because, because, because they can. That’s not what our Constitution creates as a government or nation, it’s utter violation of what the Constitution creates.

And the citizens must either fork it over or spend great resources to contend, if they even can, when government acts.

So I still agree with upinak’s perspectives. Arguing legalize simply avoids addressing the reality of the political violations as enacted via “government”.

Lourdes on September 19, 2011 at 2:19 PM

TYPOS…

one’s integrity as a citizen of this nation to own and control one’s property without government intrustion (or, “taking”

…should be:

one’s integrity as a citizen of this nation to own and control one’s property without government intrusion (or, “taking”)

Lourdes on September 19, 2011 at 2:20 PM

How? Just because you say so? Defend your arguments!
gobblemom on September 19, 2011 at 2:13 PM

You didn’t prove anything I wrote to be wrong. You just disagreed with me.

If you think that “Labeling the work done by illegals as ‘fruits of ill-gotten gains’ seems condescending and does not contribute to the discussion” is a rational statement, then you’re hopeless.

Akzed on September 19, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Do you know the difference between eminent domain and taxation?

I didn’t think so.

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 2:13

Actually I know them both quite well. The state tried to take a couople acres of my land for the defuncted lgn pipeline. I had to get a lawyer and the judge ruled for me against the state… who also paid my legal fees. And if the state would have taken those couple of acres, I would still had to pay taxes on land.. I didn’t own.

So… tell me WTF the constitution does for me concerning land that the “government” doesn’t own? NOTHING!

I don’t think YOU understand anything concerning land rights, taxation on land that is rural, or how commerce doesn’t have crap to do with rural land.

Opps.

upinak on September 19, 2011 at 2:23 PM

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 2:12 PM

I think the general presumption by “government” today is quite evident if and when anyone has ever had to meet and discuss issues with any employee of government, especially on the federal level.

There’s a general condescension of the employee about the citizen, an assumption that they’re there to levy something against or upon you and you’re taking something or trying to take something from them as government.

Look at most of the townhall meetings conducted by Congress, or watch any random County Supervisors’ meetings when the citizens try to testify or question them…

We have a presumption by government today upon the individual that is indecent when viewed by our Constitution. Factor in all those “takings” the government (on every level) engages in to fund itself (benefits for employees, special projects, favoritisms, etc., all at the cost of the individual citizens/taxpayers), and the presumption is even greater.

I don’t know what the answer is except to remind all public employees continuously that they are, indeed, elected or hired to serve and protect, not to take and harass.

Lourdes on September 19, 2011 at 2:24 PM

The federal government has property rights, too.

No. Only people can have rights. Governments have powers, which if used to secure those rights with the consent of the governed are just powers. If, however, those powers are used to infringe upon those rights, they are unjust powers.

The Monster on September 19, 2011 at 2:27 PM

2) How do you define ‘profit’? To use your example, if I needed/wanted a goat and you needed/wanted a dog, and we are both happy with the trade, then we both ‘profited’ because we both got what we wanted/needed. That is the essence of free-trade.

gobblemom on September 19, 2011 at 1:44 PM

You also are incorrect about “free-trade.”

Free-trade and FAIR TRADE are NOT the same things.

Free-trade I don’t agree with.

FAIR-TRADE I do agree with.

What is described in that example you refer to is an exercise in FAIR-TRADE: both traders perceived they were engaging in something of fair and balanced equity, both perceived a profit of sorts, a benefit in their engagement and exchange with another.

Free-trade is chaos, anarchy, it’s not decent, it’s simply willy-nilly, rip-off or not.

Lourdes on September 19, 2011 at 2:29 PM

The federal government has property rights, too.

No. Only people can have rights. Governments have powers, which if used to secure those rights with the consent of the governed are just powers. If, however, those powers are used to infringe upon those rights, they are unjust powers.

The Monster on September 19, 2011 at 2:27 PM

@ The Monster: right you are.

Just to put this into the comments here: we should all remember that Bill Clinton is responsible for a great deal of recent “taking” of land (property) by the government, in denial of individual ownership.

And then there’s Obama preventing oil and gas exploration and extraction, by one method or another, which is another form of “taking” by the federal government of property that otherwise individuals would be using as they wished to. I think Obama’s version of “taking land” is the far more indecent because it’s not even done with reasonable explanations, is dictatorial in nature.

Lourdes on September 19, 2011 at 2:32 PM

MJBrutus on September 19, 2011 at 1:39 PM

You were the one that made the statement:

But that was not the original question.

So why don’t you enlighten us all on what you meant by that.

Chip on September 19, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Akzed on September 19, 2011 at 2:23 PM

So now I’m ‘hopeless’…is that without hope (which I am not) or not responsive to help (which I try not to be)?

My point is that anyone who works in exchange for goods ($) has earned those goods, thus they are not ill-gotten. It may be illegal, but that is not the same thing.

To me, ill-gotten is when someone gets something for which they haven’t worked. To get citizen’s benefits, without contributing as citizens do, is ill-gotten.

gobblemom on September 19, 2011 at 2:40 PM

My point is that anyone who works in exchange for goods ($) has earned those goods, thus they are not ill-gotten. It may be illegal, but that is not the same thing.

To me, ill-gotten is when someone gets something for which they haven’t worked. To get citizen’s benefits, without contributing as citizens do, is ill-gotten.

gobblemom on September 19, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Bartering is not illegal. The government hates it because they don’t get a slice of the pie. If it was illegal, craigslist wouldn’t have “barter” on their site.

upinak on September 19, 2011 at 2:43 PM

What is described in that example you refer to is an exercise in FAIR-TRADE: both traders perceived they were engaging in something of fair and balanced equity, both perceived a profit of sorts, a benefit in their engagement and exchange with another.

Free-trade is chaos, anarchy, it’s not decent, it’s simply willy-nilly, rip-off or not.

Lourdes on September 19, 2011 at 2:29 PM

Actually, what I described is free-trade. That is, no one outside the two parties decides what is ‘fair’ or ‘equitable’. And that is the problem with fair-trade, is that there is always a nanny waiting to tell you what is in your best interest. With free-trade, if there is agreement between two parties, how can it be not decent or a rip off?

gobblemom on September 19, 2011 at 2:45 PM

gobblemom on September 19, 2011 at 2:40 PM

The value theory of labor was discredited by Aristotle.

Just because someone climbs a ladder into my fourth floor window to rob me doesn’t mean he deserves what he gets ’cause he earned it.

By “hopeless” I mean that you should go do some laundry.

Akzed on September 19, 2011 at 2:48 PM

The Monster on September 19, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Well said.

DrMagnolias on September 19, 2011 at 3:09 PM

The value theory of labor was discredited by Aristotle

Exactly why I favor Adam Smith:
The real price of every thing, what every thing really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it. What every thing is really worth to the man who has acquired it, and who wants to dispose of it or exchange it for something else, is the toil and trouble which it can save to himself, and which it can impose upon other people. (Wealth of Nations Book 1, chapter V)

By “hopeless” I mean that you should go do some laundry.

Akzed on September 19, 2011 at 2:48 PM

Exactly what I mean by condescending…

gobblemom on September 19, 2011 at 3:16 PM

Also Socrates…’the more I know the more I realize I don’t know’

gobblemom on September 19, 2011 at 3:17 PM