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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Monday, April 09, 2007

Debate Wednesday: Taxation is Coerced Charity

The John Adams Society

Roger L. Belfay, Chairman

John J. Pope, Secretary

Larry Colson, Chief Whip

Marianne Stebbins, Chancellor

April 2007

The idea that a nation can tax itself into prosperity is one of the cruelest delusions which has ever befuddled the human mind. -- Winston Churchill

GOVERNMENT IS A CHARITY CASE. An entire economy exists as a fiction of the tax code, shielded by threat of penalty and oppressive complexity. In one way or another, most people in the US are dependent on government. Some forty-seven million receive Social Security, most of whom also receive Medicare. Sixty million receive Medicaid, about half of whom are children, with most of the rest disabled adults and some seniors. The cost of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security makes up more than eight and one-half percent of Gross Domestic Product, about twice that of national defense. Roughly five million families receive welfare. Most children attend public schools. Most homes receive some publicly subsidized utility service. Nearly sixty million work for an entity of government or are supported by someone who does, and a good many others are employed by companies that have at least an indirect stake in furnishing the government on which Americans have come to depend. All in all, our system of tax and entitlement begets an electorate dependent on government.

Why lament? Submit – be happy. If you are a business, sell to the government. If you are an investor, buy assets attracting government credit. If you are a public servant, enrich your constituents with pork. Unionize as a state employee; the taxpayer is most accommodating. Start a charitable organization; get money in exchange for a story and a tax deduction. And when you tire, rest and collect welfare.

ON THE OTHER HAND, for what is charity but noble purpose? This purpose is best met by economies with minimalist tax systems, wherein tax deductions are generally considered unnecessary for giving. With a universally low and flat tax rate and a high personal exemption, true charities and true charities alone will be sustained, without government strings attached. That is, without the confusion of that three and one-half million-word Internal Revenue Code that keeps getting reshuffled and expanded with each and every new congress and president. As things are, donors overly mindful of tax deductions are disingenuousness and encourage dubious charities; and too much otherwise productive energy is spent fretting over tax obligations and the morally objectionable programs they may facilitate. In sum, our system of taxation is un-charitable in that it ultimately pits human nature against doing good for goodness sake.

The Chairman, trying to imagine a humble charity that takes money by force, calls for a debate:


The Debate will be held on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at the University Club, 420 Summit Avenue, in Saint Paul. The Chancellor will preside over drinks beginning at seven o'clock p.m. The debate will begin at half past seven. While there is no dress code for attendance, gentlemen who wish to speak must wear a tie; ladies should adhere to a similar sartorial standard. For those gentlemen who arrive tieless yet wish to speak, fret not: the Purveyor of Ties will keep on hand at least one of his quite remarkable ties for just such an eventuality. Questions about debate caucus procedures or about the John Adams Society itself may be directed to the Chairman at (651) 222-2782 or the Secretary at (952) 486-8059.