Religion and tax.

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Xelasnave.1947, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    I can not disagree but it is often the idealist who leads us to a better way.
    Maybe the way to improve government, and really it is the public servants we are really talking about, is to change the reward system for those folk. Do a better job or reach pre determined goals and we will pay you more, or give you a bonus... But if we expect maximum commitment andgive all public servants the same wage... well of course some wont try.
    I spent a little time in the public service. It was much more efficient than I expected but I was in a dedicated team and there was hope for promotions (new department) andfolk gave their best.
    Thats the key and there is no reason why incentive cant be built into the public service.
    Alex
     
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  3. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    Again idealistic but not impossible after the revolution (I cant put in a wink or a smile for some reason but please see it that way. I abhor the idea of revolution.
    Alex
     
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  5. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    Agree it could be and should be

    From my small observations in the NT the public service, years ago, ran fairly well

    Some sections did better than others

    So what did some bright spark decide?

    We take the boss who is doing well in this department and move him to this department not doing well

    Did the bright sparks consider they might be moving someone from a area where they knew and enjoyed the job?

    Those were the days when departments were given a yearly budget

    The smart managers were frugal for 9 months and spent the remaining part during the last 3 months

    If they didn't do that their next allocation of funds would be short by the amount of dollars left on their books

    Two examples of reasons not to do well in the public service

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  7. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    If they have property. Churches have property and are not taxed - even if it's commercial property. They also have a clutch of other loopholes, like providing accommodation - on tax-free premises - to their service employees in lieu of salary, so they don't have to abide by standard regulations.

    These days, registered charities do everything from flood relief to blood collection to community clinics. Government is letting people down in all the essential services, while spending unconscionable amounts of money - taxed and borrowed - on prisons, subsidies to giant corporate entities (agricultural, as well as financial) and short shelf-life ordnance.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
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  8. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    LOL! No one said you did. You clearly want government to provide essentials...hence dependence.
    Positive rights, e.g. entitlements which require infringing on the rights of others to ensure they are provided, are not the role of government in general. They are the role of communist government.
    The problem with merit based pay in the public sector is justifying it to the taxpayers when government services are not subject to competition, i.e. the incentive to lower costs and improve service (the crux of efficiency). While I have no doubt that some dedicated public sector employees do exist, I wonder how much that dedication translates to cheaper and better service. I'd just have to see more evidence than anecdote.
    It has yet to done, so any suggestions would be interesting.
     
  9. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    There is no simple solution and probably speculating would be a waste of time.
    And a y system would be open to abuse.
    Alex
     
  10. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States."

    So in the US, the use of taxes to provide for the general welfare of the people is explicitly called out as a role of the government.
     
  11. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    Churches don't pay taxes, but instead they add value directly back to culture, through charities, as one example. How many hospitals are named after Saints? Way before it was fashionable, the Churches were helping with medical care. Instead of needing an expensive social worker and therapists, like today, the priest, rabbi or pastor, did it for free. This lowers social costs.

    This old situation is actually very progressive. Consider a scenario, where instead of paying taxes, you have the option of providing an equal value of goods and services, to the community. If you are a farmer and have extra crops, you can feed the poor, in lieu of an equal amount of taxes. The result would be smaller government, with the private sector directly taking care of social needs. You would have control over where your tax dollar go, so taxes feels less like a shakedown.

    If you were a doctor, instead of paying taxes, you perform the same value of medical services, for the poor. Why support all the those middlemen in government? And why pay for crony capitalism, so politician can get campaign donations? This allows tax rates to drop. The church tithe is only 10% flat value tax.

    Some mothers who have small children, and who are good with children, can pay their family taxes through part time child care for neighbors. This helps that family with more money in their pocket, doing the same service she does for her own children, anyway. This is the church model for taxes. You don't pay the government, but rather you pay it forward directly to people.
     
  12. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    I suspect as inefficient you believe governme t to be thechurch may be much more inefficient.
    Why cant a religious body be subject to tax and the money they pay in expences be treated as deductions.
    There seems to be abuse of the religious tax loophole.
    If they get deductions there would be no change in their situation.
    I bet the church carries more dead wood than the government.
    The Mormons for example spend a great deal on more churchs rather than charitable work, I will see if I can work out how they expend their seven billion dollar per annum income but I bet not all thatmoney goes on charity and probably supports what I would call dead wood.
    How much money escapes tax and how much goes on charitable work.
    I dont know do you.
    If wedont know thefigures we both talk from personal preference.
    Maybe someone knows and can point out the system works or not.
    Alex
     
  13. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    A quick search shows they spent 1.2 billion on charitable stuff so that leaves some 5.8 billion spent in other apparently non charitable ways.
    More research needed but that seems to support my suspicion.
    So followers get 7 billion tax deductions paying their 10% and yet the church only spends 1.2 on charity... Cant you see a problem.
    https://www.google.com.au/amp/www.w...lion-on-welfare-and-humanitarian-efforts/amp/
    Alex
     
  14. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    Your calculations do not include charitable work by members of the church, which is often done for free, but has an opportunity cost. In Government, everything is paid and nobody works for free. This is why it is way more expensive.

    For example, the Knights of Columbus, gives about 75 million man hours of charity per year. This organization is often populated by local business leaders and other professional people, so their time is worth more than minimum wage. At even $20/hour, which is still very cheap, that is $1.5 billion. The members of the Knights is way less than 1% of Catholics, which is itself a fraction of all the Christian churches.
     
  15. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    1,612
    That was then. This is now. https://rewire.news/article/2014/06/24/dispelling-six-myths-catholic-hospital-care-united-states/
    "Over the past decade, Catholic hospitals have merged with and purchased nonsectarian hospitals around the United States, becoming leading players in the nation’s health-care industry. Catholic hospitals receive billions of taxpayer dollars each year and have a combined gross patient revenue of $213.7 billion."
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/sep/24/catholic-church-collects-16-billion-in-us-contract/
    "The Church and related Catholic charities and schools have collected more than $1.6 billion since 2012 in U.S. contracts and grants in a far-reaching relationship that spans from school lunches for grammar school students to contracts across the globe to care for the poor and needy at the expense of Uncle Sam, a Washington Times review of federal spending records shows."
    What they add to the culture seems to consist of whining that they can't put humungous crosses on the city hall lawn, or impose their prayers on school-children.
    That depends on how you tot up the social cost. The guy who makes confession on Sunday will beat his wife again next Friday night; the gay youth who turns to his rabbi is told to shut up, get married and make little Jews; the terminal cancer patient is visited by a minister who tells him that if he tries to escape another three months of suffering, a loving God will make him suffer for eternity. And lots of little children are afraid to fall asleep.

    Who keeps the books? Where is the = ?

    Such an arrangement as you suggest could work very well - under a competent secular government.
    It cannot work with institutions that
    1. provide services patchily, by district and population
    2. choose the services they're willing to provide and refuse other kinds
    3. discriminate among the people they're willing to serve,
    4. each have an internal hierarchy with its own value system
    and 4. tolerate no oversight or quality control
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017
  16. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    Well that is a poor answer to the gap of 5.8 billion.
    I think generally it is wrong to expect a tax deduction for charitable gifts.
    Do folk need a tax deduction to be charitable...
    However without exact figures neither of us can claim to be right.
    However my small observation suggests only a small part of what is given to the Mormon church goes to charitable work.
    If you paid 7 billion to your health insurer I bet you would be less than pleased if only 1.2 billion was put to medicals.
    Folk in the church do get paid I expect.
    And if taxed why should that prevent folk doing charitable work.
    I believe the current set up sees abuse and have no doubt that would not be difficult to prove.
    And I doubt that the church of scientology is the only group using the system to avoid tax.
    Religious organisations should pay tax in my view in your view they should not. The reality is nothing will change so there is little to worry as to religions paying tax.
    I cant imagine it will happen unless athiests outnumber theists.
    Alex
     
  17. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    I am sorry I dont understand what point you seek to make.
    May I ask you to expand upon what you wrote and point out why charitable activity by members of the public affect the proposition.
    Alex
     
  18. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    3,670
    Suuussh we do

    We're quietly setting up a religion based on Science

    We will be up and running as soon as we agree on a suitable name


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  19. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    Unfortunately even a minority can put together an influencial lobby group.
    Alex
     
  20. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Tax deduction for a charitable donation is based on the assumption that the portion of the income given away to charity is not available for savings, investment, luxuries or any other expenditure that would benefit the giver; and therefore does not come in to the person's possession. It would be taxing him on money he doesn't have.
    I think it was not meant to motivate charity, but to be fair to unselfish people who don't have much to spare.
    It wasn't intended for the rich - but of course they use it as an excuse to get out of paying their share. Well, what loophole don't they find?
     
  21. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

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    Sounds like you're talk out of your hat...or do you have any sources for that?
    According to its champions, the provision was necessary if charities were to survive the war. Heavy new taxes on incomes and estates threatened to dry up the reservoir of private funds that sustained these worthy organizations. Relieved of their "surplus" income by new levies, wealthy givers would simply stop giving. As Sen. Henry French Hollis explained:
    Usually people contribute to charities and educational objects out of their surplus. After they have done everything else they want to do, after they have educated their children and traveled and spent their money on everything they really want or think they want, then, if they have something left over, they will contribute it to a college or to the Red Cross or for some scientific purposes. Now, when war comes . . . that will be the first place where wealthy men will be tempted to economize, namely in donations to charity.​
    - http://www.taxhistory.org/thp/readings.nsf/ArtWeb/972168BEA0B68D8585257B160048DD4A?OpenDocument
     
  22. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Ah, so it was meant for the rich - in America. Thanks for clearing that up.
    Poor people give out of empathy, even if they haven't "spent on everything they want or think they want" - even if they have no chance of ever being able to buy whatever they want - because they know what it's like to need help. Of course, they probably give such small amounts as they can spare from one payday to the next, that it doesn't show up on income tax returns. All those poppies and daffodils, pink ribbons, red ribbons, yellow ribbons... a dollar or two at a time.
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/katias...ty-while-poor-are-donating-more/#6929f5ba1264
    Middle income people either choose - for personal reasons - one charity that they remain loyal to, year after year, plus whichever one their workplace pressures them into supporting, and/or give spontaneously to emergency funds for fire, flood or earthquake victims when they're moved by reports of a tragedy. They are not generally concerned about the minute tax saving: though they might claim it, it would be insufficient motive.
    Both of those groups would still do it if donations were not deductible.


    So, okay, get rid of the deduction.
    If it will motivate legislatures to collect income, capital gains and property tax from churches and rich people.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017
  23. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    Well that was reasonable given the war, but that situation has passed and yet the provision remains and presumably opperates in conditions different that saw its introduction.

    Alex
     

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