Aren’t We Proud?

Alabama scrapes the bottom of the barrel in many measures, but it’s tops at taxing the poor. Currently, there are two proposals in the legislature to raise the threshold for income tax. Right now it’s a princely $4,600 a year for a family of four. When that income level was set, it was quite progressive. Very few families earned that kind of money, and I guess legislators at the time couldn’t imagine a day when an income four times that high would fall below the poverty line.

Now it seems that raising what has become a ridiculously low threshold is akin to blasphemy. Apparently there are those who believe Jesus wants us to tax the poor deeper into poverty. If the poor would just work hard enough, they could pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. After all, the Bible says that God helps those who help themselves.* Maybe we should heed these words from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

“Eliminating state income taxes on working families with poverty-level incomes gives a boost in take-home pay that helps offset higher child care and transportation costs that families incur as they strive to become economically self-sufficient,” the report states. “In other words, relieving state income taxes on poor families can make a meaningful contribution toward `making work pay.’”

*Actually, it doesn’t, but 75% of people surveyed by the Barna Group think it does.

4 Responses to “Aren’t We Proud?”

  1. Jeff says:

    “I don’t know what those lazy poor people’s problem is. I mean, it’s so easy to make $1,000,000 — you start with $900,000…”

    It’s only slightly oversimplified, but it really would work: boost the economy by giving the poorest a little more money to live on — what do politicians think they’d do with it, stuff it under their mattress (assuming they have one)?

  2. Bill says:

    The Barna approach is very interesting. While he is more theologically conservative than I am, I love the fact that he is trying to use some sense of scientific method to understand what people really think. I just read his most recent book “Revolution” and it says a lot about the Church needing to respond to people in new ways regardless of theological bent. But that is all really an aside.

    I am sick and tired of the Gospel of Jesus Christ being prostituted for some worldly agenda. In growing numbers, people in this country are growing up without a Christian world view. They don’t know what Jesus was about. If they get to know Jesus, many realize He is a wholly admirable figure that they can embrace, and in some cases, call Lord. What they are being told by the loud mouth blowhards who get on television as examples of Christianity is that all He cares about is hating fags and stopping abortion. That He believes that well off people like me deserve tax cuts. That, as the “Reverend” Falwell famously put it years ago, “Jesus believed in nuclear weapons. He wasn’t a sissy.” That Jesus wants us to invade other countries. That He absolutely supports the death penalty. I have to confess that I understand the logic of some thoughtful pro-life people from my Christian perspective. But I cannot understand combining that point of view with support of the death penalty. If you believe an eternal soul is sacred to the Creator before it is born, how can you feel otherwise about one after it is born?

    The truth is that a great deal of the Bible is about our responsibility to the poor. Hundreds of times more words are written about taking care of the poor than about homosexuality. And as one who takes the Bible very seriously, I confess being confused by the passages about homosexuality. However, some of the finest examples of genuine Christianity I know are gay and lesbian friends. This business of God takes care of those who take care of themselves is fundamentally and demonstrably crap from a biblical perspective. Jesus demands that those of us who have are not loving Him if we don’t take care of those who have not.

    Can you tell that this one hit a nerve with me?

  3. Jeff says:

    Use that soapbox, Bill! That’s what it’s for! LOL.

    A study of history will show a long tragedy of unethical people using organized religion for their own ends (political, economic gain, etc.).

    I try to focus on the things Jesus actually said to do. But oh-so-many people want the New Testament Headline News version: “Tell me who’s evil, so I’ll know what to think…”

  4. Bill says:

    You’re right, Jeff. In fact, your last sentence perfectly describes the followers of a prominent candidate for Governor of my state…….and the Gospel according to Saint Rove.

Leave a Reply