Last week, the House and Senate Agriculture Committee began deliberations on reducing the almost $80billion annual budget by three percent over a five year period. Republicans cited their Christianity as a basis to justify their reduction of assistance to the needy. Several of them talked about their faith in Christ saying the Bible encourages people to help each other but doesn’t dictate what the federal government should do. Rep Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif. said “we should be doing this as individuals, helping the poor.” In other words, collectively as a nation we shouldn’t be helping the impoverished and less fortunate who are poor by circumstance, not be choice.
Yet, Republicans do want their Bible to dictate what the federal government should do and what individuals shouldn’t do: We can’t eliminate the word “one nation under God” from our pledge of allegiance to their Christian State because they believe our constitution was a message from God. Women’s rights are framed within the concepts of Christian superstitions and heresy born in the deep, dark dungeons of torture and self-depravation. And now we are finding out our Government has made it more difficult for charitable sectarian groups and Individuals to obtain a Non-Profit standing from the IRS to help administer to the needy, the poor and the hungry as republicans are suggesting.
While Republicans are starving the poor, they are helping the wealthy by refusing to increase the tax rate on the rich. Maybe they should look back in time when the wealthy were taxed at a higher rate than the working class.
To support the cost of the Civil War, Congress passed the first income tax law and established the IRS in 1862 .A flat 3% tax rate was paid on income less than $10,000 per year. A higher rate was paid on income exceeding that amount. In 1913, to help pay for the inevitable World War One on the political horizon, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution was passed making the income tax permanent in the U.S. tax system. The amendment gave Congress legal authority to tax income and resulted in a revenue law that taxed incomes of both individuals and corporations.
For good or bad, our tax system is one of the cornerstones of our social progress as a nation. Roosevelt’s ‘” New Deal” and distribution of wealth was the fulcrum separating the proletariat from the aristocracy. Child labor was outlawed, creating more jobs at a higher wage for men trying to support a family. Social Security was established and federally funded public work projects stimulated our economy. Through our taxes, the human quality of helping each other was our nation’s highest social achievement. Something we all should be grateful for and proud of. Unless, of course, you’re a wealthy Christian Republican.
David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist.