Thursday, April 05, 2007

Taxes and Conscience

Someone in my church came forward this past Sunday and confessed some sins. He said that his business partner had been illegally writing off cell phones as a business expense when some of them were only being used for personal use by the families of the employees. He just let this slide rather than risk ending the partnership or losing employees. I agree with him that what he did was theft. He said that his conscience bothered him about this and it led him to commit worse sins.

Also this week I watched an old Billy Graham television special in which he discussed the conscience. He talked about how a person can dull his conscience to the point where worse sins can be committed without any guilt. He talked about how a person can accept Christ and restore a pure conscience from a corrupted state. He also mentioned that there is a conscience fund box (located at post offices) from people who have remorse for having cheated the government.

The fact that there are tax exemptions for business expenses causes compromising situations like the one my fellow congregant described. The cost of government using money to manipulate how people spend their money is the devastating consequence of corruption and lawlessness. People who know that they can get away with cheating the government and don’t care will likely do it. This amounts to a tax on conscientiousness. The tax code is so huge and complicated that people don’t even know if they’re cheating the government or not.

Every special interest needs to give up their sweetheart deals. I am even in favor of getting rid of tax exemptions for churches. Simplicity and restraint of taxation is not just an economic issue, it a moral issue. The higher the tax rates, the more temptation there is to cheat. If I really had my way I would get rid of the IRS altogether, drastically cut spending (starting with stopping the war in Iraq), get rid of all of the free trade agreements, and increase tariffs and excise taxes.

Why should people who spend more of their money on a business get favorable treatment from the government? What gives the government the right to do this anyway? Even though the government cheats us in this and many other ways in regard to taxation, I don’t believe in taking the law into your own hands by cheating the government to make up for it.

1 comment:

  1. here's a strategy my friend is suggesting to help change people's unwillingness to pay taxes: personal tax earmarking.