The Question of Church Taxation

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The Question of Church Taxation

This is something that I've been thinking about for a while and to be honest I can't really come to a position that I like on it and other input would be helpful. On the one hand, I've read a lot of arguments that show that ending or at least limiting religious tax exemption would bring more money into the country as well as being more equitable...not to mention that a lot of churches are already breaking the rules for tax exemption in the first place. The problem, conversely, is that I believe in religious liberty, and I fear that the power to tax a religion can be used to destroy or marginalize an unpopular religion. Say making the areas that the religious meeting areas are in higher tax brackets or putting specialty local taxes in based on things they need or use for certain practices. My problem is also that there are churches that have CEOs, there are people that claim to be a church to hide money or use their religious group to create a ponzi scheme (there was actually a case of this back in the 90's I believe)


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I think anything they do

I think anything they do which is charitable should be tax free as it is for other organisations. But beyond that they should not be exempt. And they should have to prove the charity as everyone else does.
I wouldn't agree to any discriminatory taxes at all, for or against religious organisations.

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Vastet wrote:I think

Vastet wrote:
I think anything they do which is charitable should be tax free as it is for other organisations. But beyond that they should not be exempt. And they should have to prove the charity as everyone else does. I wouldn't agree to any discriminatory taxes at all, for or against religious organisations.

More or less I agree, but I can also see how people could manipulate the tax codes to favor certain faiths. An example might be that a lot of churches could be listed as landmarks due to their age and/or history. This would provide public funds or tax exemptions to maintain them, this might not be on purpose in terms of giving religious preference but it would clearly favor religions that have been around longer and have a bigger foothold in the country (IE Christianity). And yeah, I think that the churches need to be treated like secular charities in terms of keeping things transparent and open.

The problem that I have is that there's a nagging fear I have about this sort of thing being used selectively to punish or empower various churches. We already have issues with people violating the laws involving separation of church and state, if we give them potential power to tax a church or religious order punitively there are some real risks. I find myself in a rather odd situation where I can't find a good central point to work from on this.


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Churches should be taxed

Churches should be taxed just like we are, as well, corporations too.

 


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 The solution is to have a

 The solution is to have a tax system that is straightforward and taxes everyone and everything at the exact same rate- regardless of whether it is religious, charitable, business or individual. Many secular organizations abuse the 501(c) tax laws as well. When you start allowing legitimate exceptions, abuse is impossible to prevent. We need to stop looking at the tax code as a method of encouraging or discouraging certain actions or organizations. The tax codes sole purpose should be to collect the money that government needs to operate. There are several ways this could be done. I support a consumption tax although I would be willing to support a flat income tax if that is the best I can get. 

As far as property taxes, I think your concerns about certain churches getting taxed high are unfounded. We already have a situation where certain religions are denied exempt status while others get it automatically. Small churches sometimes have a hard time proving they are a religion, while the Catholic Church is going to get an immediate rubber stamp even though they don't use a lot of their property for mass. We promise not to prohibit the free exercise of religion, we do not promise to make it easier for you to exercise religion than to own a small shop. If a church can't afford to be on the expensive side of town, then just like a business with a storefront, maybe it has to be built somewhere else. If there is any blatant attempt by a county to tax a particular church out of existence there is already an extensive system set up to appeal property tax bills all the way into the supreme court system (the vast majority of appeals are settled when you go to the informal board of revisions, very few even go to the state level because counties don't like wasting money on court fights). I just don't see it as any kind of realistic problem.  

If a church disappears because they cannot afford their taxes, maybe it should disappear. They have to meet regular bills for things like electricity, gas and maintenance for their building so I don't think taxing them the same way you do everyone else puts any kind of undue burden on them. If a church is so small they can't raise that much money they can always just meet at someones house. 

Exempting churches from taxation simply forces me and you to subsidize them. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Churches should be handled

Churches should be handled just like they handle them in Mexico.

They are not allowed to hole title to land.

They are not allowed to make public demonstrations with out permission and only on holidays.

They must pay taxes... but they avoid taxes because the law says that their building must be "completed". So they leave one brick out of the church showing it hasn't been completed.

 

 


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digitalbeachbum

digitalbeachbum wrote:

Churches should be handled just like they handle them in Mexico.

They are not allowed to hole title to land.

They are not allowed to make public demonstrations with out permission and only on holidays.

They must pay taxes... but they avoid taxes because the law says that their building must be "completed". So they leave one brick out of the church showing it hasn't been completed.

 

 

 

I kind of get the feeling that we'd get things like that instead. I don't know...on some level I feel that tax exemption needs to be addressed but I have issues with removing it entirely. One thought might be to treat them like a nonprofit organization or similar charity and require the same level of transparency?


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Joker wrote:I kind of get

Joker wrote:
I kind of get the feeling that we'd get things like that instead. I don't know...on some level I feel that tax exemption needs to be addressed but I have issues with removing it entirely. One thought might be to treat them like a nonprofit organization or similar charity and require the same level of transparency?

Every one knows that the term "church" is used as a fucking tax shelter. Fuckers are some of the wealthiest entities in the world. It's bullshit.


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digitalbeachbum wrote:Joker

digitalbeachbum wrote:

Joker wrote:
I kind of get the feeling that we'd get things like that instead. I don't know...on some level I feel that tax exemption needs to be addressed but I have issues with removing it entirely. One thought might be to treat them like a nonprofit organization or similar charity and require the same level of transparency?

Every one knows that the term "church" is used as a fucking tax shelter. Fuckers are some of the wealthiest entities in the world. It's bullshit.

I agree with you in most cases, it's more I look at small churches in various small communities. I do wonder though it it's an issue where we have a lot of public very wealthy churches and some small ones, but meh. Though the IRS versus the Catholic church if this came out would be an interesting legal battle.


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Joker wrote:digitalbeachbum

Joker wrote:

digitalbeachbum wrote:

Joker wrote:
I kind of get the feeling that we'd get things like that instead. I don't know...on some level I feel that tax exemption needs to be addressed but I have issues with removing it entirely. One thought might be to treat them like a nonprofit organization or similar charity and require the same level of transparency?

Every one knows that the term "church" is used as a fucking tax shelter. Fuckers are some of the wealthiest entities in the world. It's bullshit.

I agree with you in most cases, it's more I look at small churches in various small communities. I do wonder though it it's an issue where we have a lot of public very wealthy churches and some small ones, but meh. Though the IRS versus the Catholic church if this came out would be an interesting legal battle.

it's true, the money issue varies, depending on if we're dealing with ecclesiastical or congregationalist churches.  an ecclesiastical church with a centralized authority and clearly defined hierarchy, like the catholics, orthodox, lutherans, episcopalians, methodists, etc., have a lot more pooling of resources going on, and therefore amass wealth more quickly.  congregationalist churches, on the other hand, are usually hit or miss, as they are either completely independent or only loosely affiliated.

eccelesiastical churches usually have a much more consistent source of revenue to draw on.  for example, in europe, most catholics, no matter how much they hate the priest that is assigned to them (and many of them do), would never consider the idea of just never going to church.  congregationalist churches, however, especially in the US, have a much stronger lay involvement: they elect elders and/or deacons and are responsible for hiring and firing their ministers, so therefore they tend to be more demanding and fickle.  this is why low church protestantism in america has a strong phenomenon of "church-hopping": american churchgoers tend to behave like consumers, and go where they feel they get the most bang for their buck.  so, you see some little back country baptist church struggling to get by, while another baptist church in town with a charismatic pastor has a coffee shop, bookstore, and in-house christian rock band playing multi-thousand dollar instruments.  if evangelical protestant churches hit it, they hit it big, while the financial situations of different ecclesiastical churches tend to look more uniform.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
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Beyond Saving wrote: The

Beyond Saving wrote:

 The solution is to have a tax system that is straightforward and taxes everyone and everything at the exact same rate- regardless of whether it is religious, charitable, business or individual. Many secular organizations abuse the 501(c) tax laws as well. When you start allowing legitimate exceptions, abuse is impossible to prevent. We need to stop looking at the tax code as a method of encouraging or discouraging certain actions or organizations. The tax codes sole purpose should be to collect the money that government needs to operate. There are several ways this could be done. I support a consumption tax although I would be willing to support a flat income tax if that is the best I can get.

And unfortunately we live amongst a government that likes to socially engineer, so flat anything is impossible.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Beyond Saving wrote: The

Beyond Saving wrote:

 The solution is to have a tax system that is straightforward and taxes everyone and everything at the exact same rate- regardless of whether it is religious, charitable, business or individual.

I think the only rational solution is to correlate cost with benefit to the individuals paying the cost. In the modern world, people are going to move their business, capital and themselves to wherever they get the best deal. The idea that some people must pay for other people's government services and benefits is unsustainable.

Churches Putting Town Out of Business 

We're going to see a constant stream of government bankruptcies until people learn this. Governments will need to charge only user fees and end taxation merely because someone has a physical presence in their jurisdiction.

Funding Government Without Taxation

BTW, I don't totally agree with most libertarians because the don't want land use fees or public financing for job training.

So I believe the solution is churches should pay for the government services they use. No more, no less.

 

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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^ lol. A system which has

^ lol. A system which has stood thousands of years isn't going to fall on your say so.
Unsustainable my ass.

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Vastet wrote:^ lol. A system

Vastet wrote:
^ lol. A system which has stood thousands of years isn't going to fall on your say so. Unsustainable my ass.

 

Yeah... fee-based governance is infallible as long as EXC is a proponent of it. Every other post he makes is little more than him standing on the soapbox in defense of his token ideology.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Kapkao wrote:Vastet wrote:^

Kapkao wrote:

Vastet wrote:
^ lol. A system which has stood thousands of years isn't going to fall on your say so. Unsustainable my ass.

 

Yeah... fee-based governance is infallible as long as EXC is a proponent of it. Every other post he makes is little more than him standing on the soapbox in defense of his token ideology.

Of course, it is far better to be a sheep and follow the ideology of the mainstream political groups and media instead of deciding for oneself what to believe.

Since you seem to subscribe to the theory that minority opinions are more likely to be wrong, why aren't you a theist? One should only believe what is popular, is that the case?

And Vastet isn't this classic Strawman. I never claimed the system would fall because of my say so. I said it will collapse because funding is unsustainable. People, capital and property could not move around the world as easily as they can today for the the past thousands of years. So instead of trying to refute this claim, you make up a strawman that I said the world system would collapse because I say so.

The global debt clock

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


Vastet
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EXC wrote:And Vastet isn't

EXC wrote:
And Vastet isn't this classic Strawman. I never claimed the system would fall because of my say so. I said it will collapse because funding is unsustainable.

History proves sustainability, proving all your claims as baseless assertions, proving your argument is based entirely on your opinion, denying your claim to a strawman.

EXC wrote:
People, capital and property could not move around the world as easily as they can today for the the past thousands of years.

People couldn't mine resources at a fraction of today's capacity, nor could they settle areas that technology now allows us to safely settle. And it was about as easy to move people and capital 5000 years ago as it is today. It took weeks or months instead of hours or days. Big deal.

Thank you come again.

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Vastet wrote: History

Vastet wrote:
History proves sustainability, proving all your claims as baseless assertions, proving your argument is based entirely on your opinion, denying your claim to a strawman.

Again you're making shit up. You claimed that I think the world would collapse because "I say so", inventing a persona of me. The arguing against this instead of my point that funding under the current system is unsustainable which is position a lot of economists take.

So if things are always going to be the same, then why are you even here. The stated goal if this site is to be a force wipe out religion and other irrationality. But according to your logic, since they've been around for thousands of years we'll always have them. History proves this to be the case, so the fournders of this web site must be idiots for ever thinking anything else could be possible.

Vastet wrote:
People couldn't mine resources at a fraction of today's capacity, nor could they settle areas that technology now allows us to safely settle.

That only bolsters my point. Wealth is not going to be tied to resources. Instead wealth is tied to intellectual property. How does one tax software or prevent its export or prevent a progammer, doctor or inventor from moving to another country?

When humans are able to cononize space, do you want to send out tax collectors to pay for the welfare state on earth?

Vastet wrote:
 And it was about as easy to move people and capital 5000 years ago as it is today. It took weeks or months instead of hours or days. Big deal. Thank you come again.

No wealth was tied to farming, mining and industrial plants which could not easily move.

 

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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EXC wrote:Again you're

EXC wrote:
Again you're making shit up.

No that's your job.

EXC wrote:
You claimed that I think the world would collapse because "I say so", inventing a persona of me.

You did say so, and you failed to provide any evidence, so it's as I stated it and will remain so until you stop talking out your ass and prove something.

EXC wrote:
which is position a lot of economists take.

Idiots all. Economists put us here in the first place.

EXC wrote:
So if things are always going to be the same, then why are you even here. The stated goal if this site is to be a force wipe out religion and other irrationality. But according to your logic, since they've been around for ~snip

You're making shit up again. We've used similar economics for billions of years, not thousands. All life works on supply and demand economics, and all social species have social programmes to compliment those economics for the betterment of the group.

It's not all going to fail on your say so.

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EXC wrote:That only bolsters

EXC wrote:
That only bolsters my point. Wealth is not going to be tied to resources. Instead wealth is tied to intellectual property.

Bullshit. Wealth is tied to land first, property second, and intellectual property a distant third. In correspondence with need.

EXC wrote:
No wealth was tied to farming, mining and industrial plants which could not easily move.

Bullshit. Until rotating crops were discovered farms had to move constantly. It's simple: grab seeds and a shovel and start walking. And industry had no problem moving. The only thing you mention which could not easily move was mining, and yet even they were forced to when mines went dry or were damaged beyond use.

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Beyond Saving
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 Things I have learned in

 Things I have learned in this thread:

1. Trains, planes, ships and automobiles haven't made shipping any easier than 5000 years ago. 

2. There is apparently only one possible economic system and it has been in place for "billions of years"

3. Apparently the social welfare policies favored by modern governments have been around throughout human history and every other social species too. 

4. Most of the people on Forbes 400 list are not really wealthy because most of their holdings are in intellectual property. Move over Bill Gates, John Malone is wealthier than you. 

5. Apparently in ancient history farmers moved easily and regularly.

6. History has proven that our system is sustainable and that our countries are going to survive forever because no country has ever collapsed in history. 

 

Wow, I really need to start reading different history books because mine are all wrong. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Numbered points are so much

Numbered points are so much easier to deal with than quotes.

1: I didn't say they didn't make it easier, I said the impact was in no way as significant as was being presented. They just weren't.
Ships have been around throughout recorded history. Only planes and trains are new. They have increased efficiency and speed of travel somewhat, but they hardly were so great as to reform the entire trading industry. Far greater was the impact on tourism and war.

2: I challenge you to show me a single species which does not utilise capitalism, knowingly or otherwise.

3: I challenge you to show me a single social species which does not apply rules which fosters social interactions.

4: Intellectual property can vanish with a single law. It will vanish in the face of revolt or certain types of disasters. The land will still be there regardless, as will the resources. Just because a few people got rich by patenting natural processes does not mean it's the be all of commerce.

5 & 6 are just strawmen.

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Vastet wrote:Numbered points

Vastet wrote:
Numbered points are so much easier to deal with than quotes. 1: I didn't say they didn't make it easier, I said the impact was in no way as significant as was being presented. They just weren't. Ships have been around throughout recorded history. Only planes and trains are new. They have increased efficiency and speed of travel somewhat, but they hardly were so great as to reform the entire trading industry. Far greater was the impact on tourism and war. 2: I challenge you to show me a single species which does not utilise capitalism, knowingly or otherwise. 3: I challenge you to show me a single social species which does not apply rules which fosters social interactions. 4: Intellectual property can vanish with a single law. It will vanish in the face of revolt or certain types of disasters. The land will still be there regardless, as will the resources. Just because a few people got rich by patenting natural processes does not mean it's the be all of commerce. 5 & 6 are just strawmen.

1. Lol, modern transportation has revolutionized economies. There is relatively little tourism without efficient means of travel, the entire idea of middle class people going on vacation and traveling is only possible because of it. Mobility has also made wars larger and involve more countries than the past. However you try to rationalize it, mobility has a gigantic effect on economies. Even among ships, yes we have had them for a really long time, but there is simply no comparison between an ancient dhow and the cargo ships we use today. You can't have a modern economy without modern transportation. You would be hard pressed to find a single aspect of your modern life that does not benefit profoundly from transportation.  

2. Humans. Capitalism is a rather new system. Even if you consider mercantilism capitalist (which is using the term "capitalism" very loosely), you are only talking about a system that started coming into the existence with the collapse of feudalism from the 14th-16th century. To my knowledge, no other species on the planet has been observed creating a capitalist system.

3. Oh, now we are talking about rules? I thought we were talking about social welfare programs. I never saw EXC say that rules are unsustainable. He said that social welfare programs are. There have been many periods in human history where there was no government program to provide any kind of welfare at all, let alone things like social security, food stamps, unemployment etc. which really didn't become systematic until the 20th century- which is what EXC is talking about. Prior to that, government assistance to the poor was sporadic and mostly at the whims of the rulers and whether they needed the support of the peasant class.

4. Land can be taken by a single law too, it has happened hundreds of times in history. Land is only valuable to the extent that it produces something useful. You buy a piece of residential property and the government passes an ordinance preventing you from building and your wealth is gone. You just have a nice empty lot for you dog to take a shit at.

Simply having a chunk of land (or gold for that matter) doesn't mean anything if it cannot be used for or traded for something useful. In a modern economy, material goods are become an increasingly smaller portion of things on the list of stuff that is useful as most people have their basic needs filled and have more junk than they use. Increasingly, information is what people find more useful than physical stuff. You will have a really hard time getting wealthy owning things like land, a handful of people still do it, but the person who finds a way to get the stuff that is already being made to people who want it will find true wealth.

Wealth is nothing more and nothing less than having something that other people want. What wealth is depends completely on what is in demand, which right now is not land. Although, land is making a comeback so it wouldn't be a terrible idea to pick a little up. The problem with land as an investment are the high costs to maintain it, which is why really wealthy people usually have a very small portion of their portfolio invested in property unless they specialize in it. Since capitalism was established, the people who have become extremely wealthy are those who sold ideas and reformed industries, not those who just bought land or property. Now in a feudal system, land is wealth because when you owned the land you also owned all of the production that occurred on it whether you had anything to do with it or not. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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1: No it hasn't. Everything

1: No it hasn't. Everything works effectively the same as it did a thousand years ago. It's just faster and safer.
The fact is that most transport of goods occurred in such small areas a plane would actually have added costs to trade. There was no need or use for any of the technology you name other than train and automobiles. Both of which had analogues.

2: Humans, like all mammals, have always claimed territory and possessions in a free market. Even if the claiming of territory is as primitive as peeing on a tree or drawing on a cave wall.
Try again.

3: So social welfare doesn't have rules? News to me.
And you're both still wrong. Social programmes don't have to be instituted by government. Historically it was religions which provided charity. The christians were and still are a charitable organisation.

4: Land cannot be taken away by anything. It's still there. It also can't be copied. Without it you can't have human life, let alone intellectual property, so land is still the more valuable.

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Vastet wrote:1: No it

Vastet wrote:
1: No it hasn't. Everything works effectively the same as it did a thousand years ago. It's just faster and safer. The fact is that most transport of goods occurred in such small areas a plane would actually have added costs to trade. There was no need or use for any of the technology you name other than train and automobiles. Both of which had analogues. 2: Humans, like all mammals, have always claimed territory and possessions in a free market. Even if the claiming of territory is as primitive as peeing on a tree or drawing on a cave wall. Try again. 3: So social welfare doesn't have rules? News to me. And you're both still wrong. Social programmes don't have to be instituted by government. Historically it was religions which provided charity. The christians were and still are a charitable organisation. 4: Land cannot be taken away by anything. It's still there. It also can't be copied. Without it you can't have human life, let alone intellectual property, so land is still the more valuable.

1. Lol, that claim is ridiculously absurd and you point it out in your own reply. 1,000 years ago "the transport of goods occurred in such small areas". Why did it occur in small areas? Because they didn't have an efficient means to traverse large distances without a great deal of effort and risk. I suppose you are now going to contend the fact that over half of the stuff within arms reach of you right now combines materials and labor from halfway around the world makes no difference to the economy?

2. Lol, you do know the definition of capitalism right? Capitalism /= claiming property. Try again. 

3. Lol, you are on a comedy role. EXC never said all charity was unsustainable, he was explicitly talking about the government programs we have in place today. 

4. Lol, all you have done is demonstrated your laughable ignorance in regards to the concept of value. 

 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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1: Your response presupposes

1: Your response presupposes everyone in the world had desire and use for international trade, which is so ridiculous that the term doesn't adequately describe it. Give people a thousand years ago cars and watch nothing happen globally. International trade wasn't possible, regardless of technology, until the infrastructure for it was laid down between the 16th and 19th centuries.

2: Actually that's half of capitalism. Without property capitalism can't function at all. The other half is the free market.

3: And he's a fucking idiot for suggesting that social programmes are the problem. If a church that doesn't collect taxes can do it than a government that collects taxes will have no trouble at all.

The real unsustainable element is the American Empire. Plenty of countries have sustainable social programmes. The US included. You just have to stop spending TRILLIONS of dollars and thousands of lives on stupid wars.

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4: Not my problem if you

4: Not my problem if you don't even know the basic fundamentals of the system you support. I will laugh at you though.

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1: I am simply pointing out

1: I am simply pointing out your absurd claim that "everything is the same" as it was 1000 years ago. Which groups our current system is desirable for is irrelevant. It does exist and it makes our economy remarkably different than it was 1000 years ago. What is transportation if it isn't infrastructure? Know what was built from the 16-19th centuries? Ports, roads and then railroads and everywhere they were built it radically changed the economy. Which is why you always find big cities in areas where they built ports or were a major junction of a major road or railroad.

2: Privately owned property is a necessary but not sufficient condition to have capitalism. Free markets have rarely existed at any time in human history and are not a necessary condition of capitalism. Free markets are only necessary in laissez-faire capitalism. Regardless, the primary determinant of whether a system is capitalist, mercantile, communist, socialist, feudal or something else has little to do with property or markets. The primary feature which distinguishes them is how ownership of the means of production is determined.

3: Governments today provide social programs at a much broader scale than churches ever did. There has never been anything on the scale of government assistance that started in the early 20th Century. I agree with you though that it is not necessarily unsustainable. The US model clearly is and so is the model adopted in many European countries (Greece, Spain, Portugal etc. all come to mind). The US model is unsustainable for a number of reasons.

4: Lol, you should be laughing at yourself. It is funny that you don't even realize it.     

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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1: Well I never said it was

1: Well I never said it was exactly the same, so all that is irrelevant. Before cars there were buggies and before trains there were caravans. These accomplished the same thing as their 'descendants', they just weren't as fast or as safe.

2: Free markets have always existed. Even under monarchies and dictatorships there are merchants and black market dealers. You can't prevent a free market. You can make it less 'free' and criminalise it, but it won't stop it. And actually doing so makes it more free, since it is impossible to regulate or tax black market transactions and dealers.

3: Why is the US system unsustainable then? I have never seen a quality answer on this. EXC is literally incapable of explaining it, but you aren't remotely as fucked in the head as he is, so maybe you can explain it.
As for the EU countries, I don't believe for a moment that social welfare is the problem. I think there are dozens of problems. Maybe welfare is one, but it isn't the biggest one. Fixing it wouldn't fix the EU.

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Vastet wrote:1: Well I never

Vastet wrote:
1: Well I never said it was exactly the same, so all that is irrelevant. Before cars there were buggies and before trains there were caravans. These accomplished the same thing as their 'descendants', they just weren't as fast or as safe. 2: Free markets have always existed. Even under monarchies and dictatorships there are merchants and black market dealers. You can't prevent a free market. You can make it less 'free' and criminalise it, but it won't stop it. And actually doing so makes it more free, since it is impossible to regulate or tax black market transactions and dealers. 3: Why is the US system unsustainable then? I have never seen a quality answer on this. EXC is literally incapable of explaining it, but you aren't remotely as fucked in the head as he is, so maybe you can explain it. As for the EU countries, I don't believe for a moment that social welfare is the problem. I think there are dozens of problems. Maybe welfare is one, but it isn't the biggest one. Fixing it wouldn't fix the EU.

 

1: You said, "And it was about as easy to move people and capital 5000 years ago as it is today. It took weeks or months instead of hours or days. Big deal." Yes, big deal. Our ability to move people around the world in a day and capital in minutes has made huge differences in our economy. Speed and safety are important factors when you are talking about how an economy works. 

 

2: To an extent, yes a relatively free market always exists. Although I wouldn't call a black market "free" (some do) because when you are under constant threat of being punished if you are caught, that puts a variety of restrictions on you such as when and where you can sell, what methods you can use (those that won't get you caught) and your ability to advertise. It is restricted by the threat of government police power, and often by people inside the market who use violence to control it taking advantage that you do not have the protection of government police power. The drug market is a good example of a black market that is not "free" by any stretch of the definition. The drug cartels essentially become governmental managers of the economy, complete with establishing rules, prices, supply and punishments. Regardless, as I pointed out a free market /= capitalism. 

 

3. Quite simply because we are paying out more for our social programs than we collect in taxes to pay for them. In about 20 years, our trust that we built up will be gone and we will be paying twice as much as we collect in taxes. Add in that our "trust fund" consists entirely of US Treasury Bonds which have to be paid back using our general tax fund, which we also spend more than we take in, and you have a serious financial shortfall. You can't have a system which routinely pays more to recipients than they ever pay in to it. In the US our social security and medicare taxes are theoretically separate from the general fund, and both programs are not collecting enough to cover promised obligations. As our massive debt builds and we pay more in interest, we will reach the point where even 100% tax rates will not be sufficient to pay the promised benefits plus interest. 

The solution is simple, raise taxes, cut benefits or some combination of the two to make the numbers balance and start making actual payments on lowering the debt. Politically, it has proven impossible.

I would say that their welfare programs had a lot to do with the governments that are failing. It is by far their number one expense. Unlike the US, which has a very expensive military that comes in a close second and can be at least partially blamed for our budget problems. The bottom line is that long term, governments have to balance their budget. Spending money on a welfare state increases that expense and for most modernized countries makes up the largest portion of their expenditures. It isn't impossible to balance the budget with significant social programs, but it does mean higher tax rates and managing the expenditures. Several countries manage to have low levels of debt with social programs much more generous than the US, such as Australia, Sweden or Norway. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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1: Only huge differences in

1: Only huge differences in speed and safety. Other than that it's the same. It isn't a big deal. It's not as if trade were impossible without these technologies. England didn't suddenly start trading with China as soon as the first railway was built. They were already trading.

In fact, it could be argued that it has had a negative overall effect on the population, as demand for many products has outstripped production by such a vast amount that millions of species have been hunted or displaced to extinction and large swaths of land are no longer productive.

Maybe it was a big deal, but not for the reasons you give.

2: : an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

Investment is nothing more than collaboration; teamwork.

Possession + teamwork + free market = capitalism. Which we've always had.

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3: I don't understand how

3: I don't understand how you are paying more in social programmes than you take in taxes. It couldn't have always been that way or the US would already be bankrupt. There has to be an underlying problem which has created this scenario. With the EU, their programmes are so costly because of immigration, which I would say is the real problem. The social spending is a symptom. You don't have the immigration problem, certainly not to their extent anyway. So why has social spending overcome income? What changed and when?

Cutting benefits can't answer the problem, as benefits are already well below the poverty line. Someone on welfare struggles to pay rent, let alone get groceries. You'd simply be increasing police costs by restricting social spending.
Higher taxes is just shifting the burden, and would compell many to leave. Others to defraud. Unless taxes are at historically low levels I can't see an increase truly helping all that much.

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I wanted to comment on your

I wanted to comment on your drug example, but ran out of room. Drug cartels don't determine prices, consumers do. Maybe your experience with the market is limited, but mine is not. Pricing changes far too quickly for a cartel to determine prices. I could shop around my town for an oz of weed and find prices ranging from $120 to $350. The quality is not as much of an impactor as supply. When harvest season hits prices drop by a significant amount, because supply outstrips demand. In between harvests are when prices are at their highest. It is purely a market driven value. A group of Hells Angels don't sit down one day to decide drug prices around the world. They are still subject to the consumer and competitors. Charge too much and customers'll go somewhere else or grow their own.

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Vastet wrote:1: Only huge

Vastet wrote:
1: Only huge differences in speed and safety. Other than that it's the same. It isn't a big deal. It's not as if trade were impossible without these technologies. England didn't suddenly start trading with China as soon as the first railway was built. They were already trading. In fact, it could be argued that it has had a negative overall effect on the population, as demand for many products has outstripped production by such a vast amount that millions of species have been hunted or displaced to extinction and large swaths of land are no longer productive. Maybe it was a big deal, but not for the reasons you give. 2: : an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market Investment is nothing more than collaboration; teamwork. Possession + teamwork + free market = capitalism. Which we've always had.

1: Exactly, and there is no doubt that trade between China and England today is a lot more prevalent than it was. When something is easier to do, it occurs more often and at a lower price. The Oriental Railroad was a big deal, not because it created a trade route that didn't exist before, but because it made the same trade route easier, safer and cheaper. (I should say a portion of the route) Easy, safe and cheap matter a lot in economics. In the case of the Orient Express, it caused a much larger number of tourists to make the journey because for some odd reason, tourists prefer easy, safe and fast travel compared to hard, dangerous and slow. Whether it is good for the environment or not is a completely separate issue; nice red herring though. 

2: We have not always had an economic system characterized by private ownership of goods. Much of human history, ownership of goods was determined by the government, most often by a king, emperor or guild. The idea that a private citizen could own property is a relatively modern and European one (about 16th century). 1,000 years ago, you could not own property unless you had a personal connection with an aristocratic family, no matter how much money you had. 

3: People live a lot longer now. You live longer and you draw more in benefits than originally predicted. The system was set up with the idea that people died around 67 years old on average, so the system only planned to pay benefits for 2-5 years. Now, people routinely live 10-15 years after they start collecting benefits, but the taxes have not been raised enough to compensate. The other problem is that we have the "baby boom" generation because people fucked a lot before going to WW2 and after returning causing a large spike in the American birthrate. We have a lot of people retiring who never paid enough money into the system and are just now reaching the age where they start collecting benefits. Our birthrate has been falling dramatically since then, so there are fewer working age people supporting a larger number of retirees and taxes are still at a rate appropriate for a large ratio of workers to retirees. When the system was created, there were 41 workers to support 1 retiree. Now there are 2.9 workers to support 1 retiree. By 2030, there will be 2 workers to support each retiree. 

When I say "cut benefits" the solution to me seems obvious. We offer social security to everyone Bill fucking Gates will get social security benefits. Guess what, he doesn't need it. We don't have to lower the amount of benefits, just cut off those who have attained enough wealth to care for themselves without them. Make it into a straight welfare program that only benefits those who have no other options. If you are a millionaire, you don't need it. If you planned for your own retirement and have a pension, you don't need it. Those 65+ are the wealthiest segment of our society, it is senseless to give them welfare payments. Yes, there are people who are old and completely broke, fine, help them. That doesn't mean you have to give money to the person who lives in a million dollar house just because they survived to be 65. Simply means testing Social Security and Medicare so only those below poverty levels got aid would dramatically lower our expenditures and probably make it sustainable.

I also think the age could be raised to 70 to reflect the better health of people since the programs were created, which would solve the problem. The big obstacle is that the 45-65 age group is currently the largest population in our society and they also have the highest voter turnout. The baby boomer generation is the biggest group of selfish, worthless, money grubbing SOB's this planet has ever seen and they don't give a fuck who they hurt as long as they get their cash. They want their Social Security check even when they are sitting in a fucking mansion with a million dollars in their bank account.

4: To the drugs, how much control they have over the prices is directly proportional to the control they have as a supplier. I have lived in areas where a single gang has a monopoly, and yes, they have near absolute control over prices. If you want a different supplier, you have to drive a long distance, something most drug users are not willing to do. In an area where a gang has loose control, or there are several different gangs, you have a more competitive market and therefore generally lower prices. Obviously, the situation varies by city. When I was in Chicago, if you wanted cocaine it came through the Latin Kings one way or the other- you either bought from them or they got a cut- and anyone dealing outside of them showed up dead. I know they took some heat from the police since I lived there, so I don't know if they still maintain that monopoly or not.

Here in Ohio, we don't have any gangs that are strong enough to have a monopoly so drug prices are far more dependent on how stupid/desperate the dealer thinks the customer is than anything else. I don't think the weed market experiences as much violence as coke or heroin markets simply because it is widely available and thus harder to control. Any idiot with a basement can grow his own pot and we have several decent pot farmers right here in Ohio. Can't buy an ounce here though, that is a felony. You ask for an oz. and you will get a little under 20 grams (which the dealer will assure you is an ounce and charge ounce prices), better off buying two halves.

But I've never heard of a gang getting terribly upset about someone selling pot in their territory. Probably because it is so prevalent and any transaction less than 20 grams is at worst a $100 fine- it is essentially legal as long as you carry less than 20 grams. Harder drugs like cocaine on the other hand are an automatic felony with jail time leading to a smaller and therefore more controllable market for gangs. Can't tell you who sells it here though because I never bought any here, I wouldn't be surprised if the whole market was controlled by a single cartel.  

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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1: Rome's roads affected

1: Rome's roads affected travel far more than technology. It was not a big deal.

2: Just because the system doesn't apply to everyone equally does not mean the system wasn't capitalism. The monarchy was a monopoly. The king privately owns the land. It's exactly the same scenario as if you let Microsoft or Google or Sony or any other corporate interest buy all the land and corporations. There's nothing in the definition of capitalism which says everyone has to be equal. Which is just as well, or I'd use your argument to prove capitalism doesn't and never did exist.

3: Ah I've been on a totally different aspect of social spending as yourself. I didn't realise pensioners were the problem you were discussing. When EXC talks its all about some fictional single mom with 20 kids on welfare bankrupting America.
Yes I'm aware of this problem. Most Western countries face aging populations.

I'll get to 4 later. Need coffee and have a few things to do.

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1: Lol, if you say so. 2: I

1: Lol, if you say so. 

2: I didn't say anything about equality. The main differentiation in economic systems is how ownership in the means of production is determined. It is absurd to claim that a feudal system where a King grants land is the same as a capitalist system where ownership is determined by a market. There are differences between feudalism, mercantilism, marxism, socialism, communism and capitalism. That is why we have all those different words. 

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/capitalism

3. Welfare for the moms with tons of kids costs us a little roughly $400 billion a year, a lot of money but hardly something that will bankrupt us. Social security and healthcare are our significant expenses and probably will bankrupt us. Those are the programs I talk about when I say they will bankrupt us, I will let EXC clarify for himself. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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1: Lol I do. 2: Bullshit. A

1: Lol I do.

2: Bullshit. A king grants land or a government does, it's all the same. You don't really own anything. Your government owns all the land and all the money and all the resources. It allows you to pretend you own things, but at any time it can take it away. All it needs is a reason to. There is no difference.

Just because there are 500 terms for branched out christians doesn't mean they aren't all abrahamic at heart. As it is with capitalism.

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A day late, but... 4:

A day late, but...

4: Violence in the drugs trade almost totally depends on the government and its policies. If weed is a low priority for cops then it isn't too dangerous. But if a gram can net you 10 years then people will kill over $10.

Coke and heroin are special cases. Extremely addictive and dangerous for all concerned parties, the price reflects that. I'm sure pricing is a bit more contrived under the circumstances. The consumer is irrational and willing to sell their kids into slavery for a hit, means the producers pretty much have full control over the prices.

But instead of competition you have to worry about sell outs and crazy desperate people at your door, so the price is still not fully under their control. It has to be within reach of the customer or you end up with a destroyed house and cops looking you up. There's no such thing as loyalty with the hard shit.

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 Sure, the government can

 Sure, the government can come and kill you any time it wants to. Does that make every government in the world a tyranny? Is a democracy the same thing as a monarchy? Governments can, and do, change/modify the economic system every day. Your use of the term capitalism is extremely inaccurate and renders the term meaningless. Capitalism is a specific economic system where the government allows relative freedom and ownership of the means of production is primarily determined through private investment independent of government action. To use the term "capitalism" to refer to any economic system which has markets is simply an ignorant use of language- all economic systems have markets.

As to 4: I agree with everything you said. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Taxing a religion to destroy it is something I am unaware ever happened. And as the custom of not taxing temples goes back to at least the Roman Empire there have been plenty of opportunities. I have come across many legal methods to put non-christian temples out of business by Constantine and his successors but I have not found special taxation as a method. Maybe mobs to loot and burn them were simply more efficient.

If taxation were tried one would expect the rules for non-profit organizations would apply. And if they are allowed to average out earnings across member churches one would expect there to be no profits and therefore no taxes.

Yes, million dollar parsonage, a fleet of Mercedes and a private jet for the head of an organization does stretch the concept of non-profit but not that much different from other non-profits where salaries are inflated to cover taxes and perqs.

BTW: When people tell you a flat tax is a good idea ask after charities, religions and such and will they have the same tax.

I would also like to see an objective analysis of the principle that the benefits to society exceed their tax value as revenue sources.

 

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

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Beyond Saving wrote:Sure,

Beyond Saving wrote:
Sure, the government can come and kill you any time it wants to.

That's a bit of an extreme example. Jail is sufficient to lose most or all of your property.

I'm afraid we're going to have to agree to disagree on capitalism. All life uses capitalism; or at least a primitive variant of it which would naturally evolve into recognisable capitalism along with any species which evolved to form societies.

Beyond Saving wrote:
primarily through private investment independent of government action

No such animal ever existed. Regulations, taxes, bailouts, and special interest groups (to just name 4) have been around a lot longer than democracy.

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Beyond Saving wrote:3.

Beyond Saving wrote:

3. Welfare for the moms with tons of kids costs us a little roughly $400 billion a year, a lot of money but hardly something that will bankrupt us. Social security and healthcare are our significant expenses and probably will bankrupt us. Those are the programs I talk about when I say they will bankrupt us, I will let EXC clarify for himself.

It is true that the extreme welfare mom/dad cases with 10+ kids make up only a small percentage of our fiscal problem. Their negative effect is mainly psychological. Group moral and morality is destroyed when just a single person or small group is allowed to cheat the system or create an obviously unfair advantage. These are just the extreme cases of the general problem of too many people taking in more in services and payouts than they put in.

I bring this up to show that two irrational concepts are going to bankrupt all levels of governments, namely birth right entitlements and taxation based one's physical location. There is no correlation of cost and benefit with either of these concepts in place.

Owning a gold mine isn't really a good way to get wealthy all they easy and cheap gold has been mined already. It knowing how to mine gold. That work can be done anywhere in the world. So why is taxation based on physical location and income and not services rendered?

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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 Originally church tax

 Originally church tax exemption was to ensure the separation of church and state. It was felt that if churches weren't taxed, the government would be assured not to have a vested interest in the church. and this is why a church is supposed to be subject to lose its tax exempt status if it gets too involved in politics. Funny thing is, though, I have yet to see a church is the US lose its tax exempt status for being too political, in spite of the flagrant violations we see.

That said, the issue needs to be looked at again, the same way the Second Amendment does. I'm all for any charitable aspect of a church being tax exempt, but somebody please explain to me how multi million dollar megachurches with recording studios,TV production facilities and pastors who wear 1200$ suits and drive Hummers and Escalades are doing anything charitable. Do we really need the church to be the arm of charity anyway? There's a price to be paid for their charity as it comes with their platform to preach their brainwashing bullshit.

 

The question needs to be raised,"Just what is the secular community getting for their lack of tax dollars  collected?" 

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."