Taxes and Accountability
“[N]o part of the property of any individual can, with justice, be taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people. In fine, the people of this commonwealth are not controllable by any other laws than those to which their constitutional representative body have given their consent.” –John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776
At the birth of our nation, patriots were mighty sensitive about being asked to surrender their own hard-earned goods or services or wealth without a valid reason.
The whole issue of freedom was about being able to determine what you would like to accomplish and working toward that goal with all of your might, unencumbered by restraints and overbearing taxes and tribute.
We have come a long way from that common understanding.
Today, we are required to pay taxes with no say in how those dollars will be spent. We do have the Senate and House of Representatives who are supposed to be the arbiters of our will and our priorities. Sadly, we often feel as if our point of view is not being represented appropriately. We are forced under threat to turn over the money we have earned for things that we do not approve of and could never, with a clear conscience, support.
There are lots of reason how we got from there to here. Some were very well-intentioned ideas but the balancing process of accountability has fallen by the wayside as the bureaucracy grows more and more impersonal, like a runaway machine with no driver. As we look over our national landscape and witness the unrest and debt and distrust for one another, we might want to stop and ask ourselves why we keep gassing up the machine that is on auto-pilot, ripping up the foundations and dividing the citizens of this nation.
We keep being told that we are investing in our nation. If I am an investor, I want a stockholder’s report of how our dollars are being spent. We foot the bills, we deserve some straight answers. We need to know that those who are spending those hard-earned dollars have a clear-cut strategy and goal. They need to be transparent and accountable.
We all need to be reminded what independence looks like. Maybe we need to reintroduce ourselves to it again and renew our commitment to liberty. It is a cause worth pursuing, but it will not happen by default. United we stand, divided and chained down by debt we fall.
Matthew 22:19-21, New International Version (NIV): “‘Show me the coin used for paying the tax.’ They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, ‘Whose image is this? And whose inscription?’ ‘Caesar’s,’ they replied. Then he said to them, ‘So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.’”