Thursday, May 15, 2014

Jesus' Parable of the Talents and Income Inequality

The power to tax is the power to destroy.  -Daniel Webster

The government cannot love you, and any politics that works on a different assumption is destined for no good.  –Jonah Goldberg

In Jesus’ Parable of the Talents he tells the story of a master who is about to take off on a long trip. The master sits down with three of his servants to delegate responsibilities. He gives one servant $5,000, another $3,000, and the third gets $1,000: “each according to his abilities.” Servants Number One and Two doubles their master’s investment and, upon the master’s return, were made partners in his business. Servant Number Three, having buried his master’s money in the ground, is castigated for not at least having the wisdom to put the money into a savings account. The master kicks him out and casts him off, but not before taking his $1,000 and giving it to Servant Number One. (Matthew 25)

Yes, Christ’s parable is about far more than money and speaks to eternal realities. But stick with me here because this Parable can help cast some light on the realities of a Socialistic (Power concentrated in the State) v a Free Market Economy (Power dispersed): the latter being largely based on the presupposition of private property and one of God’s Big Ten: Thou. Shalt. Not. Steal. This Commandment applies to individuals and to Governments.

It is a fact of life that we each come into this world with differing gifts and opportunities for investing those gifts for our “master.” Such things are in God’s hand’s alone. It is a waste of breath and a demonstration of a severe lack of gratitude for me to whine to God, begging Him for the gifts and opportunities of another. What is in my hands, however, is what I will do with the opportunities He gives me for investing my gifts for His sake.

Many people today don’t like the Almighty’s arrangement. So if God won’t be manipulated by our bellyaching about what we are “entitled to” then maybe the State will have pity on us. But, however god-like the State seeks to become, it cannot relegate or redistribute gifts, capacities, opportunities, character, or wisdom. What it can do, however, is a reverse on the Parable of the Talents: it can, through a confiscatory tax-system, take from the two faithful servants and give to the servant who choose to bury his gifts in the ground. This is called “income redistribution” for the sake of “income equality.”

You may call this “fair” or even “compassionate.”  I call it an infringement upon my stewardship before God, an injustice, and thievery. The men and women who founded this nation would say the same. *

On the other hand, if a politician wants the authority to arbitrarily define Fair Profits, Just Wages, and Social Sensitivity, and to secure his political party’s base, this is a most awesome model. Come on now: who doesn’t like to see the State as Robin Hood stealing from the greedy rich and passing it out to the poor? “You got my vote!” And if some unenlightened business owners speak out against such foolishness, well then the State can punish or destroy their businesses with taxes, fines, and increased regulations. Need the votes of more Servant Number Threes? Increase taxes so as to increase social programs. Win. Win. Win.

Of course, if you own a business in the Servant Number One category, you can collude with the State (“Master”) to excuse you from paying the taxes Servant Number Two’s business is most assuredly going to pay and, thereby, rid yourself of your competition. And to get this spiffy deal all you have to do is donate huge sums of money to the appropriate politicians and their political party. “Wow, Monte, where do I sign up?” “It’s easy. Dial 1-538-442-8426. That’s 1-538-442-8426 or just remember: 1-Leviathan.”

“But Monte.  What does this all have to do with the poor?” Nothing. It has always been about the State’s insatiable thirst for ever-increasing control and power, never about the poor or the “disadvantaged.” When a politician starts waxing eloquent about the compassionate and fair redistribution of wealth or increased taxation to redress some aggrieved identity group (“social justice”), or of how compassionate it is for the State to begin managing our medical insurance and relationships with our doctors, what you are most always hearing is a Machiavellian obfuscation that has nothing to do with the poor, with justice, or with compassion: only power.

You still doubt me? Then ask yourself this:

If the State’s intent for taking from Servants One and Two and giving to Servant Number Three is that there will be income equality (something no State has ever achieved in all of history) but the results—over a period of seventy-five years here in the US—have been an ever-increasing number of Servant Number Threes, don’t you think that any sane person with even a double-digit IQ would see that redistribution is not working? Wouldn’t people who truly cared for the poor want to ditch these policies and try something else, anything else? Sure they would: if that was their intention.

* I am not suggesting that all taxes are evil. But when you see a State requiring more from its citizens than God does from His (10%) you have to admit that there is a distinct possibility that it is developing a Messianic Complex.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2014

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