Would Jesus Support Taxing the Rich?

By Julie Roys
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Would Jesus support taxing the rich?  Last week, President Obama implied that he would.  Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast, Obama expressed his reluctance to ask seniors, young people, or the middle class to shoulder the burden of our nation’s mounting debt.  But, as someone who’s been “extraordinarily blessed,” Obama professed his willingness to “give up some of the tax breaks” he enjoys.  He added that doing so coincides with Jesus’ directive: “Unto whom much is given, much shall be required.” 

But, is this a legitimate application of this principle? I don’t think so.  First of all, Jesus in this passage is encouraging believers to steward their resources well.  But, giving more money to the government because it’s amassed a humongous debt isn’t really good stewardship.  In truth, it just enables the government to continue its irresponsible spending – and not just irresponsible.  Some of our government’s spending is immoral.  For example, each year the federal government gives about 350-million dollars to Planned Parenthood – the largest abortion provider in the country.  You see, not only do the rich need to consider their responsibility to steward the much they’ve been given; our government needs to consider its responsibility, as well.

Still, the question remains, does  this passage in Luke give the government the right to tax its rich citizens more than it does its poor?  Actually, this passage doesn’t apply to taxation at all.  It simply asserts that Jesus requires much from those He’s given much – Jesus, not the IRS!  So, if President Obama feels led to pay more in taxes, that’s between him and God.  But, asserting that this passage gives the government license to tax the rich disproportionately is unfounded. 

Personally, I’ve always favored a flat tax.  After all, in the Old Testament, God required all His people – rich and poor – to pay a 10-percent tithe.  This resulted in the rich paying more; but, it also ensured that everyone paid their fair share.  Still, I wouldn’t assert that this is what Jesus would do.  All Jesus actually said on the topic is “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” 

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9 thoughts on “Would Jesus Support Taxing the Rich?”

  1. Although Obama might have applied scripture incorrectly, the issue at hand is whether it is fair for the rich to not pay at least the same percentage in taxes as the middle class. Buffett 10-15%, while his secretary in the 30% range? I am in shock as to why the middle class protects the right of the rich to continue paying less in taxes. I agree with you that a flat tax would be the fairest way to handle the situation, but until that day comes, which I doubt it ever will, all of us that get taxed should be taxed at corresponding rates, not taxed on basis of how much power one group has over another. That the president misapplies scripture is expected, considering all that he has supported, to include the gay agenda, abortions, and the latest issue involving contraceptives, etc. Julie, I love your commentaries and always look forward to reading your blog. However, I am not with you on this one because we need to level the playing field as taxpayers.

  2. Thanks for your response. If it were true that the richest actually paid a lesser percentage, I’d agree with you. But, that is merely a perception forwarded by the media. It’s not rooted in fact. Grove City College Professor Mark Hendrickson explains this very clearly in an excellent article at the Center for Vision and Values:
    http://www.visionandvalues.org/2012/01/the-tax-rate-scandal/

    Also, I think it’s important to note that America’s tax rates are extremely progressive. The top 10% of wage earners pay nearly 71% of all taxes. The bottom 50% that, by the way, receive the vast majority of benefits, pay only 2.25%.
    http://ntu.org/tax-basics/who-pays-income-taxes.html

    1. Julie, is Warren Buffett misleading us all when you makes such statements about his own secretary? BTW, Love your blogs and always look forward to hearing you on the radio.

  3. The media and liberal politicians perpetuate the myth that the rich “pay less in taxes”. Impossible! Forty-eight percent of Americans pay zero in taxes! What is “fair” about that? Julie is correct – they pay zero taxes AND put a strain on others by taking everything a doting government will “give” them. We are really in trouble if the 48% becomes 51% or more! It is not sustainable. Why would anyone work if it will all be taken away from them to ‘support’ others. Charity must be from individual to individual –very different than government confiscation of citizen’s hard-earned funds to do with it what a wise citizen would not.

  4. 48% pay no tax???? That is a myth and a satanic lie ! They pay sales tax! If they make $30’000 a year roughly 6% of that is sales tax. Maybe $1’100-$1800 yearly. Umm, we pay about $400-$500 monthly in gasoline, 35% -45% is tax so that is another $2’160 that we pay to support commerce and your way of life for both RICH and “poor”…
    I have a small house another $1300 in property taxes… So right there is $4’500 -$5’260 a year in tax… Lets see about 16-18 % in taxes at least so far…

    Now, at $30’000 a year or 575 a week, if I get a speeding ticket costing me $100 that is approx. 1/6 of my pay. Why not anyone making over 250’000 who gets a traffic ticket pay 1/6 of their pay! That would be true equal justice…

  5. Bill, I think the point is that 48% pay no income tax. But, everyone, rich and poor, pays sales tax. And, presuming the rich buy more, they also pay more in sales tax. They also pay for gas and pay property tax comensurate with their larger houses. For the record, I’m not rich and nowhere near the 30% range. Still, I expect to pay my fair share in income tax.

  6. Regardless of what is said, around 13% – 15% is taken from my $30’000-$35’000
    before I ever have the opportunity to spend it ! Larry Burkett seems to think this also because in his budget work sheet it allocates this along with the tithe. In fact the amount is 19% on the work sheet…

    Now, I do get a tax credit per kid, do you all wish to take that away too??? Is that the flat tax plan…? Any way, that part basically pays my property tax at years end so, etc… Now, do we really have to calculate the budget here. Do I really need to go on here..? Please allow me. Instead of the 19% L.B. allocates let’s use the 13% or $4500 off the top.

    $3500 Tithe
    $4500 Fed & State deductions +
    $2160-gas tax + ( funds commerce State & Fed )
    $2000 Prop tax + (due to the 10 year abatement’s given to the corporations I Guess.)
    $1500 Sales tax.

    So, Approx. Total $8’000 – $10’000 in taxes each year or ¼ of my income leaving me $26’250 –

    $8500 annual house cost-
    $6000 Groch. –
    $5000 auto. – Gee, I’m down to $3250 and I still got medical to go, Insurance, school fees, etc. and the elusive MISC… I’m at 0 now…! Nothing, NOTHING…!

    Oh, oh traffic ticket…

    Now if someone makes $150’000 take ½ for taxes = 75’000- left $70’000 living cost lets say, oh look, they still have 5’000 of something left … Now, do they really pay $75’000 in total taxes ??? Honestly…? Maybe with a $500’0000 – $800’000 home…??? Anyway, so what? They still have unallocated surplus income, NO?

    Please, please, just stop saying I don’t pay taxes… Now! I don’t agree with how “Caesar” spends his money… I don’t like that he’s after anyone for more money… The point is, he is…! If you keep saying I don’t’ pay tax he is libel to believe it !
    The point is, I don’t want to put any more “strain” on anyone… I would not want
    to take away anyone’s $5000 + unallocated surplus income… However, better you then me! The numbers prove it…! Let’s not play Andrew Carnegie game again…!

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