Taxation is a moral and theological issue.
Today, a tax plan was signed into law that burdens the middle class with $1+ trillion of additional debt while drastically cutting the corporate tax rate (although the effective tax rate for corporations, with the help of existing loopholes and offshore tax havens, is already well below 20%).
While the rhetoric claims that lower taxes lead to “more investment” from corporations, that actually means more privatization of vital public services – services that are necessary for the survival of a free and just civilization. Public education, healthcare, transportation, prisons, media – these are all sectors that are being commandeered by multinational, for-profit corporations who care more about investors than the public good.
With this new law, the rich will continue to abuse immoral tax structures and loopholes to horde wealth. With help from their political shills, they will continue to systematically pillage our network of public services that are supposed to promote justice and fairness, while the under-privileged and disenfranchised will become even further removed from opportunities to build a better future.
Prophets railed against this centuries ago: “You levy a straw tax on the poor and impose a tax on their grain… There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts” (Amos 5) and “Scoundrels use wicked methods, they make up evil schemes to destroy the poor with lies, even when the plea of the needy is just” (Isaiah 32).
I believe Christians who are willing to put their faith before their partisanship are commanded to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31).
Yes, government may be inefficient and cumbersome, but our government is (at least in theory) founded on the principles of transparency and fairness for all, and there are constitutionally-sanctioned methods for inducing change when the reality fails to meet those standards. By contrast, foreign-owned conglomerates have no incentive to be responsive to the cries of those who are unprofitable to their bottom line. And when those corporations hold virtual monopolies over wide geographic areas, there’s even less of an incentive to promote a healthy and just society. Meanwhile the poor, the sick, the widows and the orphans waste away because, according to the logic of late modern capitalism, they’re not working hard enough.
This is bigger than politics, and a rupture of business-as-usual. This requires more than “thoughts and prayers”. People of faith, uncover your eyes and see that “justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets” (Isaiah 59).
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