Money to close the Deficit now
Posted: 24 May 2012 12:20 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The American people have been going through some tough fiscal times.  We need to close a deficit created by the Republicans.  Instead of working together (Republicans and Democrats) to alleviate an untenable economic situation leaving hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work, the parties have continued to clash and lie about the situation.

This is a suggested way to close the deficit and to find a source of taxation that will put our children in a considerably stronger position than they now face.

Tax all religious property, churches, temples, mosques, the homes of the religious and any and all property which is currently owned or maintained by religions throughout the United States.

Religions currently hide behind the First Amendment and general tax laws covering religions, their types of income and expenditure, and expectations covering what they must do with their money to keep from being taxed.  However, there are clear indications that these laws and general directions covering taxation are continuously abused by churches and church leaders, but the Department of Taxation is overly cautious about doing continuous and full inspections of religious organizations and their incomes and expenditures and very little is ever done about the abuse of tax laws by religious organizations.  It is also clear that groups such as the Catholic Church, Jewish Temples, and even the Southern Baptists are funneling American money to other countries under the guise of charitable work or for use by religious leaders to proselytize.

Thus the taxation of religious groups, their buildings and properties, should be an easy choice by the appropriate government agencies; the religions will be helping to establish jobs and income for the poor, a function which they clearly recognize as their responsibility.  The religious groups will be able to recognize their part in saving America from fiscal ruin and its future generations of children from poverty.

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Posted: 24 May 2012 02:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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That would be a decent place to start.

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Posted: 24 May 2012 07:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Tax all religious property, churches, temples, mosques, the homes of the religious and any and all property which is currently owned or maintained by religions throughout the United States.

I could support that. I can’t think of any particularly good reason why some of the largest businesses in the world (which religions are) should be exempt from paying the same taxes everybody has to pay.

Not that this would, in itself, do an awful lot about the deficit. Each party screams about it when they’re out of power and justify it when they’re in power, then try to wish it away with legislation when the consequences come home to roost. Still, it would be a good start.

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Posted: 24 May 2012 08:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 24 May 2012 07:59 AM

Tax all religious property, churches, temples, mosques, the homes of the religious and any and all property which is currently owned or maintained by religions throughout the United States.

I could support that. I can’t think of any particularly good reason why some of the largest businesses in the world (which religions are) should be exempt from paying the same taxes everybody has to pay.

Not that this would, in itself, do an awful lot about the deficit. Each party screams about it when they’re out of power and justify it when they’re in power, then try to wish it away with legislation when the consequences come home to roost. Still, it would be a good start.

Agreed. The tax deduction for charities is supposed to encourage people to help one another. I think there might have been a time, way back when, when much of the money that folks put in the offering plates was actually used for charity work. No more. I saw an estimate somewhere that less than 5% of revenue in the U.S. among Protestant churches goes toward charity. The rest is for buildings, salaries, and other administrative minutia. My personal experience backs this figure up. Benevolence is an afterthought.

I just don’t think this could happen in the U.S. anytime soon. Maybe in 25-30 years, after the demographic shift that will put secularists in the majority. Not before then.

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Posted: 24 May 2012 12:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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FreeInKy - 24 May 2012 08:07 AM

Agreed. The tax deduction for charities is supposed to encourage people to help one another. I think there might have been a time, way back when, when much of the money that folks put in the offering plates was actually used for charity work. No more. I saw an estimate somewhere that less than 5% of revenue in the U.S. among Protestant churches goes toward charity. The rest is for buildings, salaries, and other administrative minutia. My personal experience backs this figure up. Benevolence is an afterthought.

I just don’t think this could happen in the U.S. anytime soon. Maybe in 25-30 years, after the demographic shift that will put secularists in the majority. Not before then.

Yeah, that seems to be the case in my (very) limited experience, too. I recently played a gig at a relatively new megachurch and the gig was a celebration of paying off a mortgage of ~$600000 in 5 years. I asked what the Church planned on doing now that they don’t have to contribute as much of their income to paying off that debt . . . and the answer was not to contribute it to charity. The answer was to build more buildings and to increase their distributive power. At least, their apparent figure for tithing was 10%, more than the 5% average you cite.

[ Edited: 24 May 2012 12:10 PM by TromboneAndrew ]
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Posted: 24 May 2012 12:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 24 May 2012 12:08 PM

Yeah, that seems to be the case in my (very) limited experience, too. I recently played a gig at a relatively new megachurch and the gig was a celebration of paying off a mortgage of ~$600000 in 5 years. I asked what the Church planned on doing now that they don’t have to contribute as much of their income to paying off that debt . . . and the answer was not to contribute it to charity. The answer was to build more buildings and to increase their distributive power.

Exactly. It is always about the next big expansion. Most churches in America that are of any significant size at all (bigger than a “country church”) are perpetually in a “building program” where they are either saving for a new building project or paying one off.

At least, their apparent figure for tithing was 10%, more than the 5% average you cite.

Now in this context, by “tithing” are you talking about the the amount the members are expected to give, or the amount the church sets aside for benevolence? At a Baptist church I used to attend, they allocated 10% of their budget to go the the state and national associations, supposedly for “missions work” and they referred to this as a tithe. This was always brought up as being their contribution to “helping people.” In reality, very little missions funding winds up buying food, medical care, or schools for poor people. The vast majority of it goes for administrative overhead and, yes, building church buildings. We must convert the natives!

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Posted: 24 May 2012 12:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Yes, this is a sore spot for me. I know way too much about church finance and it sickens me to think about it. I have sat in on way too many board meetings and watched “men of god” make the most selfish decisions on spending the “lord’s money.” The stories I could tell. Maybe someday…

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Posted: 24 May 2012 01:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I wonder what impact on the law the Citizen United case may have, declaring that large corporations are people. If large organizations such as corporations and unions must be considered as people, then how can a church claim exemption?  Are they “priviliged” people?

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Posted: 24 May 2012 03:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Write4U - 24 May 2012 01:15 PM

I wonder what impact on the law the Citizen United case may have, declaring that large corporations are people. If large organizations such as corporations and unions must be considered as people, then how can a church claim exemption?  Are they “priviliged” people?

I’m sure they think so. wink

Take care,

Derek

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Posted: 24 May 2012 09:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Perhaps CFI could get involved in quietly floating this idea?

Here is a basic information list from the IRS: http://www.irs.gov/charities/churches/index.html

[ Edited: 24 May 2012 09:03 PM by Fat Man ]
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Posted: 25 May 2012 05:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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This is timely…

Onward.jpeg

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Posted: 29 May 2012 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Bill Press has floated this idea on his radio show.  It has a large audience and he has the ear of many in congress.  So maybe there’s some hope. 

The other idea that’s out there, and gaining traction recently, is a financial transactions tax.  All these billions upon billions of trades done today mostly by computer occur without a stitch of taxation.  Even a miniscule .01% tax on each transaction would evidently make 10’s of billions each year.  Several countries are trying this, but of course every financial organization will fight it.

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Posted: 29 May 2012 08:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Several countries are trying this, but of course every financial organization will fight it.

They’ll just have to get over it. As long as an economic system exists which lives or dies by the existance of a certain marginally useful fiction known as “money” and the amounts are limited so that it’s effectively a zero sum game, then people will just have to get used to the idea that everything they buy will eventually have to be paid for.

This includes any of the services expected from their governments from defence and law enforcement to whatever sort of welfare or subsidy scheme happens to be popular. There ain’t no such thing asa free lunch.

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