July 9, 2009

Tax Laws and the Bible

Ethics Daily has a good article today about how state tax laws across the country do not follow biblical standards. States with high Baptist populations (basically the "Bible belt") generally do worse than other states. The piece is entitled "Baptist States Judged Poorly on Tax Laws" and reports on research by University of Alabama law professor Susan Pace Hamill.

2 comments:

  1. Interestingly you titled your article here, "Tax Laws and the Bible."

    Brian, have you ever studied what the tax system looked like in the Bible? Have you ever considered that the OT system of tithing was really a theocratic tax?

    Hamill should have - especially as she is making pronouncements about what the Judeo-Christian ethic is on taxation. You would think the first place Hamill would want to look when formulating a Judeo-Christian ethic is the Old Testament. However, her view is far from the one God has regarding fair taxation.

    In the OT Law, everyone who made any income was expected to tithe (as a tax) 10%. But there were other tithes assessed each year (and some every so many years).

    It worked out to roughly 25% per year per person (or family). Everyone who was not poor was expected to pay this 25%, some of it specifically given to help the poor, the aliens, the orphans, and the widows.

    Now, look at the U.S. tax structure:

    10% on income between $0 and $8,350
    15% on the income between $8,350 and $33,950; plus $835
    25% on the income between $33,950 and $82,250; plus $4,675
    28% on the income between $82,250 and $171,550; plus $16,750
    33% on the income between $171,550 and $372,950; plus $41,754
    35% on the income over $372,950; plus $108,216


    This represents a much more "progressive" tax structure than even God instituted Himself! Then is Hamill calling God immoral and unjust?

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  2. Additionally, DR failed to mention that the tax brackets he described go into effect AFTER a relatively significant amount of income has been deducted.

    A lot of people file tax returns only to recover the amount that they have had taken out of their pay in case they owed any tax.

    How this relates to "Biblical tax loads" is beyond my knowledge. :) Remember that they did not have a social security tax that is about 15% (since I am now out of the SS system, I don't remember the exact fraction but for this discussion you should count the employer's contribution) of all income and not part of the deductions for the income tax calculations.

    Bennett Willis

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