A Further Examination of our Responsibility to Love as a Society along with Other Issues

Josh wrote the following in reply to my earlier post, So, The Election is now about Joe the Plumber, today. As seems normal, my reply was way too long. Here it all is.

"Where does this come from, religion because I'm pretty sure there is no law that says it is so, "Prosperity is a responsibility to take care of those less prosperous."?

I don't have any issue helping those that need help but I'm bothered by a tax code that actually gives people back more than they pay. I'd be fine with some people paying zero but making money off of the tax code is bs.

Obama saying, "spread the weath around" is very scary. You should read "Atlas Shrugged" if you haven't.

I'm guessing my and your vote will cancel each other out. :)"

I was discussing religion and not the law. However, in the case of politics they become intermingled. My religious views influence my political views. If McCain would have made the issue abortion rather than Joe the Plumber, he would have had a better chance at winning my vote, but he made the focus Joe the Plumber although they did touch on abortion. Unfortunately, Joe overshadowed that conversation.

This is a cliffnote version of the theology behind my statements.

The promise to Abraham, which is the cornerstone of the Bible, is that God will bless Israel, in turn God's people will be a blessing. God does not bless for people to indulge. The Bible seems to show that when people indulge with their prosperity, they are out of line with God's will. The nation of Israel fell out of favor with God because of their failure of equal justice for rich and poor, oppressing the poor, not taking care of orphans and widows, and other relative issues. There are also many commands that if we see others in need, we are to meet those needs. The command of Jesus to love your neighbor as yourself. That is a difficult statement. If I apply it to the present situation, I would say, "If I want to love myself by having health care, then I should also love my neighbor by providing him with health care." Very difficult statement, but Jesus' statements were not always easy.

The law is just the transferral of our ethics or selfishness onto others. Each law derives from some groups' view, whether it is for the benefit of society or the benefit of one small segment. Some Christian groups, the Mennonites and Amish, abstain from involving themselves in government because they do not believe, this is a gross oversimplification, their personal religious ethics should be enforced on others. Most other Christian groups do not share that view. But to disregard a view because it is Christian would be to enforce the view that Christians should not be involved in politics. Every person derives their beliefs from somewhere, whether that is from a completely secular place or some spiritual place. People's beliefs should not be disregarded because they are derived from their faith. I am not saying that my view was disregarded because it was Christian; I am just laying the groundwork.

Onto the other questions.

You state that people should not get back more than they pay in. Wouldn't those people who are ill, not making any money, need to actually receive more in benefits than they pay in? The hope is that they will eventually become healthy and productive members of society. But even if they don't, we will still have loved them to the best of our ability, which is important to me.

Even in our current setup, most people who make under a certain amount do not pay for all of the benefits they receive. Public education gives over (for 2005-06 in Ohio) $8214 in operating costs per student on average. That is just at the local school level. That does not include the costs of overhead at the state level. You should be thankful that we home school because we are saving the state a lot of money, just $16,428 this year (that is if the cost has not gone up since then). Once my four kids are old enough, I will be saving the state over $32,000 just by home schooling. The reason society will $98568 (at 2005-06 levels for twelve years) is because society feels that is an investment that will pay off. If we were public schooling, I would have to make an awful lot of money to pay more than I get back for my children. That money we are saving the government would be enough to give my family an incredible health care package. I more than pay for that child tax credit they have give me.

Then you add the roads that I drive on to work everyday and the percentage spent on them just for me to drive on them. I am usually the only person on these back roads most of the time. Add to that the farm subsidies that makes all of the food we eat cheaper, and the per person expense of social services like police and firemen. The 2009 Department of Defense budget is $515.4 billion dollars. That's $1718 per person if we have 300 million people. That's $10,308 for my family of six. The list of government expenses for the normal person is massive and many people receive back much more than they pay.

It would be an interesting study to see what the break even point is. That is beyond my meager abilities here. I would assume it could be a doctoral study for someone in economics. But I would wager that the break even point is an income in the 100,000s of thousands. Just looking at the federal and state budget, here is what I get. The Federal budget for 2008 is 2,931,000,000,000. That is probably before the bailout but we will ignore that. For the sake of easy math, we will stick with the 300 million population. That is $9,770 dollars per individual in federal taxes. The state of Ohio 2008 budget planned to spend 25,668,000,000. With a population of 11,467,000, that is $2238 per person. Local taxes would vary depending on the place of residence. Let's take Cincinatti since that is where Josh is from. Hamilton county has a population of 845,303 and a 2008 budget of $1,239,644,248 after combining the general and restricted fund budgets. That is only $1467 per person. Cincinnati has a population of 332,458 and a 2008 budget of $842,898,940 for a total of $2535 per person. I know this is a little rough because it is based upon just budget and population numbers. It does not figure out how much of the population is actually adults, how much more of an expense children are, and the increase in cost of care in the elderly. But with my rough math, the total expenditure for a resident is Cincinnati by all the governments is $16,010. An individual would have to make $64,040 (that would be in the 25% tax bracket) to pay for all of the government expenditures for them. For me, as a family of six, I cost $96,060 per year. I would have to make $291,090 (in the 33% tax bracket) to pay for the expenses for my family. In the end, most people do not pay enough in taxes to pay for all that the government provides them, especially because those who make less actually need more assistance from the government than those who make more.

The idea is that society benefits from all of these governmental services. If something is beneficial, we do it. If it is not and we are currently doing it, we need to cut it. The key is that the people, through the government, should do what is beneficial for society. Somewhere along the road we decided to draw the line and say that certain things that would be beneficial to society should not be done by the government although they will provide us with roads, health care, state colleges, law enforcement, a military for protection, public television and radio, and a multitude of other benefits. Health care is of equal importance to the most important benefits the government provides, yet we claim that it should not be provided in our society by the government. That is fine for those who have health care, but that is not all that loving to those who do not.

I tried reading Atlas Shrugged years ago. I could not endure it. Maybe I will try again.

And as for us canceling each other out, Lindsay's vote will help. Also, Acorn (an organization I am pretty sure was founded by Obama and is administered by him covertly) has helped me register my kids and some deceased neighbors who I will get to vote for. ;)