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Thread: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

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    Senior Member David Troxler's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    You are missing my point Greg. Someone has penned a political letter, and a bunch of people have signed it. From news reports regarding the budget and the items affected, it appears to me that the signatories to the letter aren't fully cognizant of what they are objecting to, and I'm being kind here. You have started a thread in support of this letter and those of our tribe who have signed on, myself I'm not thrilled when our leaders play politics.

    Still here is the thing. Yourself, by admission, do not know what is affected or what you are supporting. Given the level of ignorance in this thread, myself included, it is impossible to have a discussion that will not eventually or immediately, as is the case here, simply break down along partisan lines. Mike is right, it is almost as if you have unintentionally created a thread that will prove that we cannot discuss politics in a civil fashion. For myself, I'm quite happy to not discuss politics, or to read about politics here. An informed discussion about a particular situation might be different, although we have demonstrated in the past that most naznet participants, and I'll include myself here, are extremely partisan, and I'll include you as well. Much better if we could stay away from politics in general, it's nothing but divisive and we have zero influence on the outcome.
    I'm not sure I read the same letter as you Jim. As I read the full letter, it is as absent of political content as thoroughly as possible. Yes, it is addressed to US political leaders who determine funding measures for all sorts of things. However, as I see the letter and then note how the General Secretary for our denomination is a signatory, I am left with the clear understanding that this is apolitical. In no way would our general church leadership sign on to a partisan policy piece of propaganda. This letter far surpasses that kind of thinking.

    Respectfully,
    dave t

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    Senior Member Doug Ward's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by David Troxler View Post
    I'm not sure I read the same letter as you Jim. As I read the full letter, it is as absent of political content as thoroughly as possible. Yes, it is addressed to US political leaders who determine funding measures for all sorts of things. However, as I see the letter and then note how the General Secretary for our denomination is a signatory, I am left with the clear understanding that this is apolitical. In no way would our general church leadership sign on to a partisan policy piece of propaganda. This letter far surpasses that kind of thinking.

    Respectfully,
    dave t
    The trouble is you have created a false dichotomy. You have made this a choice between a purely apolitical stance vs. partisan propaganda. Good grief. When your side floats down from the angels and is completely apolitical, while the other side is mere propaganda, well, there is not much to say. The truth is this letter is neither. It is most certainly not partisan propaganda, and no one here would make that argument. (Talk about ascribing terrible motives to others) Nor is it a pure, apolitical stance either. When debt and budget are political issues, anything related to that conversation is political. Period. It does not make it propaganda, nor does it make it right, but to embrace it as apolitcal purity, while the other side dismissed as propaganda is almost delusional.
    On second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.
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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Ward View Post
    When debt and budget are political issues, anything related to that conversation is political.
    When budget items are a moral issue, which can be argued is the case here, then anything related to that conversation is of moral concern.
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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Bourland View Post
    When budget items are a moral issue, which can be argued is the case here, then anything related to that conversation is of moral concern.
    I'm still chewing on this. My point "would/could" be that we are at a moral crossroads in conducting generational theft...to the tune of, thus far, $20 TRILLION dollars. That is a huge moral issue as well.

    Friend,

    Wes

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    I'm still chewing on this. My point "would/could" be that we are at a moral crossroads in conducting generational theft...to the tune of, thus far, $20 TRILLION dollars. That is a huge moral issue as well.

    Friend,

    Wes
    I don't disagree with your assessment.

    However, shutting off the minuscule amount of money (in view of the total budget) given to help the most vulnerable of the world is also a moral choice, one that weighs heavier than the indebtedness of the most lavishly spoiled nation in the history of mankind.
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    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    I'm still chewing on this. My point "would/could" be that we are at a moral crossroads in conducting generational theft...to the tune of, thus far, $20 TRILLION dollars. That is a huge moral issue as well.

    Friend,

    Wes
    If you see the tiny amount of foreign aid spending as a moral issue, you're in for a rough ride - have you seen Trump's proposed budget?
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis
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    Senior Member David Troxler's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Ward View Post
    The trouble is you have created a false dichotomy. You have made this a choice between a purely apolitical stance vs. partisan propaganda. Good grief. When your side floats down from the angels and is completely apolitical, while the other side is mere propaganda, well, there is not much to say. The truth is this letter is neither. It is most certainly not partisan propaganda, and no one here would make that argument. (Talk about ascribing terrible motives to others) Nor is it a pure, apolitical stance either. When debt and budget are political issues, anything related to that conversation is political. Period. It does not make it propaganda, nor does it make it right, but to embrace it as apolitcal purity, while the other side dismissed as propaganda is almost delusional.
    You're right. I misused the term and inadvertently ascribed motive. That was not my intent.

    I still believe it was a letter written apolitically and as a signatory to this from someone at the general level of our denomination that it bears closer examination for each of us.
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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Bourland View Post
    I don't disagree with your assessment.

    However, shutting off the minuscule amount of money (in view of the total budget) given to help the most vulnerable of the world is also a moral choice, one that weighs heavier than the indebtedness of the most lavishly spoiled nation in the history of mankind.
    Ah, but that is the sticking point Tim. Thus far, no one has demonstrated that they have any idea whether or not the monies mentioned affect the most vulnerable. From what I'm hearing, the proposed cuts are in the Department of State, and are funds given to governments in exchange for political favor.

    Should someone be willing to outline where and what funds are affected, I'll gladly listen.

    What I would rather our Church do, is to look into the situation regarding the Mid Atlantic District and the defaulted loans. Let's get our own house in order.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    If you see the tiny amount of foreign aid spending as a moral issue, you're in for a rough ride - have you seen Trump's proposed budget?
    My point was that the $20 TRILLION budgetary deficit is a HUGE moral issue. Why not a pastoral letter that addresses that?

    Friend,

    Wes

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    Senior Member Tim Troxler's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    My point was that the $20 TRILLION budgetary deficit is a HUGE moral issue. Why not a pastoral letter that addresses that?

    Friend,

    Wes
    Write that letter, then.

    ETA:
    You might be surprised that many (including myself) don't like deficit spending. But, the fact that I dislike deficit spending does not preclude me from also wanting to offer international financial aid.
    "Neither holiness nor love is Christian without the other...Love without holiness disintegrates into sentimentality. Personal integrity is lost. But holiness without love is not holiness at all. In spite of its label, it displays harshness, judgmentalism, a critical spirit, and all its capacity for discrimination ends in nitpicking and divisiveness." - MBW
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    Senior Member Doug Ward's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by David Troxler View Post
    You're right. I misused the term and inadvertently ascribed motive. That was not my intent.

    I still believe it was a letter written apolitically and as a signatory to this from someone at the general level of our denomination that it bears closer examination for each of us.
    I agree with you that the letter was written apolitically, but that does not make it an apolitical act. Nothing we do is done in a vacuum, on any side. Wanting to eliminate the deficit is also an apolitical impulse, but acting on that apolitical impulse is a political act.
    On second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.
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  12. #52
    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Troxler View Post
    Write that letter, then.

    ETA:
    You might be surprised that many (including myself) don't like deficit spending. But, the fact that I dislike deficit spending does not preclude me from also wanting to offer international financial aid.
    I haven't started digging yet, although I'm getting frustrated enough that I might. Just a real quick look reveals this article that strongly suggests that the writers of this letter have fired off a shot without taking aim. Again, I'm quite disappointed that our leaders have decided to involve themselves in politics of this sort. Especially considering that statistics point to half or more Nazarenes in the US who will most likely disagree with any political overture by our leaders.

    So I'll ask again, does anyone here know what aid is being cut??? And as a follow up question. If the answer is no, then how does one justify getting on the bandwagon of something that they have no real idea?? Not speaking to you specifically Tim, just observing that no one has yet to offer anything substantive, and yours was the first convenient post to glom onto this morning.

    Anyways, I'll offer this as a clue that this foreign aid cut seems to be quite misunderstood;

    http://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/us-...n-3547990.html

    For those who might not bother reading, just a short quote;

    According to the Guardian, the United States will still operate the largest overseas aid program in the world, with a proposed federal spend of $50.1 billion for the fiscal year 2017. The news website, reviewing the new budget plan, expected Afghanistan, Jordan and Ethiopia to be the largest single intended recipients of economic and development assistance from the U.S.
    -Jim

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    Senior Member Tim Troxler's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    Especially considering that statistics point to half or more Nazarenes in the US who will most likely disagree with any political overture by our leaders.
    Basing public response on how much of the church agrees with you hampers pastors and leaders in their ability to speak prophetically (as in, call people repentance, not predict the future). Depending on the topic, it might mean that statistically the rest of the church is in error.

    Regarding your note from the Guardian, is this dollar amount the largest percentage wise? It's my understanding that very few countries meet the UN recommended aid metrics, and the US has never been one of them.
    "Neither holiness nor love is Christian without the other...Love without holiness disintegrates into sentimentality. Personal integrity is lost. But holiness without love is not holiness at all. In spite of its label, it displays harshness, judgmentalism, a critical spirit, and all its capacity for discrimination ends in nitpicking and divisiveness." - MBW
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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Troxler View Post
    Basing public response on how much of the church agrees with you hampers pastors and leaders in their ability to speak prophetically (as in, call people repentance, not predict the future). Depending on the topic, it might mean that statistically the rest of the church is in error.

    Regarding your note from the Guardian, is this dollar amount the largest percentage wise? It's my understanding that very few countries meet the UN recommended aid metrics, and the US has never been one of them.
    I've no issue with our leaders speaking prophetically, this doesn't appear to be the case here. From what I'm gathering, this is just politics, and it's sad that our leaders are wiling to buy into this sort of thing.

    I don't have a clue, percentage wise. My point remains that I believe those writing, signing and supporting this letter are uninformed. That's why I am urging those speaking in support to find out what they are actually supporting.

    Just read another article that says that we will continue to find and support the AIDS program that Greg was worried about along with our vaccine program. The article says that the bulk of the cuts come in the form of reductions in diplomatic aid, and that the UN in whining that we are cutting the climate change monies.

    Politics and more politics.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

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    Senior Member David Troxler's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by David Troxler View Post

    I still believe it was a letter written apolitically and as a signatory to this from someone at the general level of our denomination that it bears closer examination for each of us.
    In another thread, earlier today, on an admittedly entirely different topic, Dave McClung said this: "It is really important that unauthorized people don't start speaking on behalf of the church."

    I venture to say that having the General Secretary of the entire denomination has the same understanding of his position and is indeed speaking on behalf of the church and is well versed in what is at stake. Jim C's objections notwithstanding, we should all take notice and support what is being requested on behalf of all who would benefit from the humanitarian aid as dispersed through the US State Dept.

    You can call it politics all you want, but the moral issue underpinning what is at stake is much more than politics.
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    Senior Member David Troxler's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Troxler View Post
    Basing public response on how much of the church agrees with you hampers pastors and leaders in their ability to speak prophetically (as in, call people repentance, not predict the future). Depending on the topic, it might mean that statistically the rest of the church is in error.
    Pastors everywhere are applauding this. Thank you.
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    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    My point was that the $20 TRILLION budgetary deficit is a HUGE moral issue. Why not a pastoral letter that addresses that?

    Friend,

    Wes
    Let's get the facts straight. The $20 trillion number is not a budgetary deficit but is the national debt. The difference between the two is significant.

    I'm not convinced that the national debt is a moral issue, and while there are some who think of it in apocalyptic terms, it is not something that most people in the know are too concerned about.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis
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    Senior Member Cam Pence's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    I'll just say I appreciate our leaders showing a step towards following Jesus over a political ideology. Proud of them.
    “So there are no nontheologians; there is just good theology and bad theology.”- Will Willimon
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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    Let's get the facts straight. The $20 trillion number is not a budgetary deficit but is the national debt. The difference between the two is significant.

    I'm not convinced that the national debt is a moral issue, and while there are some who think of it in apocalyptic terms, it is not something that most people in the know are too concerned about.
    You are correct Billy, the $20T number is the total debt that we pay interest on, when we run a deficit we add to the debt, when we run a surplus we reduce the debt. In fairness, I'm thinking that Wes might have misspoke. And I'm willing to agree with you that it's most likely not a moral issue, then again neither is foreign aid. I'm saying this to you because you are one of the few who actually seem to comprehend the situation.

    When we add to the debt, we reduce the amount of discretionary spending that we have available without going into deficit. We can spend as much as we want, just so long as we realize the consequences and weigh them to be better than the alternative which is austerity. Any one of us who have been or still are in business know that debt is a tool, if used wisely it can bring benefits that wouldn't be possible without taking on debt. If used poorly it can and has been the ruin of many an overly optimistic businessman. I would still be working for someone else had I not been willing to take on debt. So it would be hypocritical for me to hardline against it. The question remains, are we using it wisely? I don't know the answer, neither do you, nor do our leaders, it's quite a way above all of our paygrades.

    Then there is the foreign aid slated to be cut. We both know that this isn't the aid we give to reduce poverty or help out when disaster strikes. You characterized it quite well when you said that we can either spend money or kill people to obtain our objectives. This is the money that is slated for cuts, I seriously doubt that Jesus is on either side of this, thus neither should we be as a denomination, it's beneath our calling and it cheapens our brand.

    Personally I think that there is another dynamic in play here. I agree with you that in some cases we can spend money to avoid the need to kill people, and I'm in favor of this method in general. However there are instances when we could do neither, we can keep our money, mind our own business and abstain from killing people. Some folks just want be left alone, I think that we should honor that wish in many cases. There are other instances when we have done this for so long that there is no longer a threat, we don't need to give the money, don't need to kill people, we just need to let some countries know that it's time for them to step up to the plate and welcome them to the world community where they pay their own way. The third scenario is almost unavoidable, we pay money to avoid killing people, and the folks getting the money start to think that they have something on us. When you appear weak, you will need to do more in the way of aggression to gain respect.

    I realize that I'm a little late to the party, but I'm beginning to see a lot of wisdom in what I saw as the crazy ramblings of Ron Paul. I think the guy was right, we need to pull back, quit being the worlds busybody and respect other cultures. Not saying that there aren't problems with oppressive cultures, just that our track record for improving things is pretty poor. I'm singing Bill Withers lyrics a lot lately when I think on our failed foreign policy and how many people we have ticked off over the years.

    And no, I don't think that Jesus is on anybody's side here. It's just politics, and we are sitting in armchairs watching the show.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    Let's get the facts straight. The $20 trillion number is not a budgetary deficit but is the national debt. The difference between the two is significant.

    I'm not convinced that the national debt is a moral issue, and while there are some who think of it in apocalyptic terms, it is not something that most people in the know are too concerned about.
    Well, my opinion is a bit different, although I may be wrong. But only my terminology may be wrong, not my sentiments about the immorality of what is happening on a scale none of us can fully comprehend.

    I have called this ($20 TRILLION) a "budgetary deficit" due the fact that is represents the sum total of deficits that have accumulated from the mechanics of our years-over-years annual budgetary expenditures that have been greater than our years-to-years annual income. The sum total of about 30 years of running in the red.

    The actual total national debt is somewhere in the vicinity of $120 TRILLION dollars as congress has allowed borrowing from funds set aside for future obligations. (Budgetary deficits plus unfunded liabilities.)

    And, I argue that both of these issues are clearly moral issues. My, and your, (mostly mine) generations have been spending like drunken sailors and financing current wants and needs on the backs of people we will never know. It is an impossibility for us to pay off these obligations. So who is going to pay? And, is it moral to pass such obligations to people who cannot pay them either and who will have far less discretionary funds to care for the needy people around the world? Honest, I can hardly think of anything less moral or more immoral. Our leaders passing themselves off as smart and good while financially taking advantage of (there is a better word for this act) future generations. I am way past believing that lie (that our governmental leaders are good and wise). Personally, I believe the definition...generational theft.

    What causes me pause about the "pastoral letter" is the lack of context. I would be very much against cutting back on foreign aid if it were my decision. It isn't. Nor is it the legitimate decision of any living person. Our only legitimate decision is to come to grips with how we are going to start living within our means and begin to pay back the money we have stolen from our kids and grandkids..

    Friend,

    Wes
    Last edited by Wes Smith; March 20th, 2017 at 06:53 AM.
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    Senior Member Greg Crofford's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by David Troxler View Post
    You're right. I misused the term and inadvertently ascribed motive. That was not my intent.

    I still believe it was a letter written apolitically and as a signatory to this from someone at the general level of our denomination that it bears closer examination for each of us.
    Thanks, Dave - That's why I started this thread. Dr Wilson is not one who easily (or frequently) signs these kinds of documents.
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    Senior Member Benjamin Hobbs's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Ward View Post
    So, I hope that when it come to retirement time, that you will be upset when you find that you get a Social Security check, and it has not been spread out to people all over the world. I also hope that you support the idea of using your local taxes to repave my street in Illinois. I also hope that you have no issue with your municipal water bill going to build a water system in Garden City, KS. I respect this position - I really do. I just hope it is a consistent one.
    Doug, I'm going to be blunt and say that I'd rather be poor and broke when I'm older than have anyone starve. Money isn't the end all for me (not saying it is for you). My taxes are hopefully used for what's needed, regardless of where its needed. I hate my taxes being spent on wars, untold amounts of military equipment, lining the pockets of companies who crap all over their workers, etc. I'd even volunteer to be taxed at a higher rate if I didn't have to hear that teachers were being underpaid, that there weren't enough public defenders to go around, that poorer kids didn't have to be segregated to a failing school.
    It is time the Church Jesus Christ overcame the disjunctions created by the 16th-century Reformation. What is called for is the 'evangelical catholicism' of John Wesley's 'middle way' in which two historic traditions were synthesized. In this sythesis the English Reformer not only recovered for the Church a viable doctrine of holiness but also pointed the way to a scriptural view and practice of the sacraments that is both apostolic and catholic. ++William Greathouse
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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Ward View Post
    So, I hope that when it come to retirement time, that you will be upset when you find that you get a Social Security check, and it has not been spread out to people all over the world. I also hope that you support the idea of using your local taxes to repave my street in Illinois. I also hope that you have no issue with your municipal water bill going to build a water system in Garden City, KS. I respect this position - I really do. I just hope it is a consistent one.
    Doug, I'm going to be blunt and say that I would prefer to have adequate financial resources in my possession so that I could be helpful to and generous with needy people. Money sure isn't the end all, but the reality is that it is necessary in order to get along in life. I hope and pray that taxes are viewed by those who allocate them as precious both from the standpoint of honoring those from whom they come as well as prudently distributing them to actual needs. I cherish the concept of taxes being distributed in order to create safety for people wherever needed and wherever effectively used. I am all for the efficient use of tax dollars for educational purposes. I would volunteer to have less SS come to me if I could be assured that the deduction would go to lift the curse of generational theft off of our lives.

    Friend,

    Wes
    Thanks David Troxler, Jim Chabot - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Benjamin Hobbs's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    Doug, I'm going to be blunt and say that I would prefer to have adequate financial resources in my possession so that I could be helpful to and generous with needy people. Money sure isn't the end all, but the reality is that it is necessary in order to get along in life. I hope and pray that taxes are viewed by those who allocate them as precious both from the standpoint of honoring those from whom they come as well as prudently distributing them to actual needs. I cherish the concept of taxes being distributed in order to create safety for people wherever needed and wherever effectively used. I am all for the efficient use of tax dollars for educational purposes. I would volunteer to have less SS come to me if I could be assured that the deduction would go to lift the curse of generational theft off of our lives.

    Friend,

    Wes
    I've had this conversation with quite a few people and the one thing they won't admit readily is what they are really going to do with the money.

    So here's a simple yes/no question for you. If you were currently taxed at 20% and your taxes go down to 10%, are you giving the entirety of that 10% increase to charity/assisting others?

    When pressed to answer most people have admitted that they'd put a good portion of it in their savings/retirement/investment.
    It is time the Church Jesus Christ overcame the disjunctions created by the 16th-century Reformation. What is called for is the 'evangelical catholicism' of John Wesley's 'middle way' in which two historic traditions were synthesized. In this sythesis the English Reformer not only recovered for the Church a viable doctrine of holiness but also pointed the way to a scriptural view and practice of the sacraments that is both apostolic and catholic. ++William Greathouse
    Thanks Aaron Stapleton - "thanks" for this post

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Hobbs View Post
    I've had this conversation with quite a few people and the one thing they won't admit readily is what they are really going to do with the money.

    So here's a simple yes/no question for you. If you were currently taxed at 20% and your taxes go down to 10%, are you giving the entirety of that 10% increase to charity/assisting others?

    When pressed to answer most people have admitted that they'd put a good portion of it in their savings/retirement/investment.
    Ben,

    My "problem" is that I am a fiscal conservative with the spiritual gift of...giving! Talk about a challenge!

    What it has come to for me is to give significant effort and attention to increasing my capital so I have more...to give away.

    By the way, your post and question to me reveals a substantial difference in ideology, I do believe. My trust is nearly zero in government. "Nearly" because I do think there are necessary functions that government performs and provides. On the other hand, "nearly" zero because there seems to me to be an innate assumption in government that they can do better with money than the citizens. Take that thought and spend some time camping at the reality of $20 TRILLION in budgetary debt and $100 TRILLION in unfunded liabilities.

    Not only have government leaders convinced us of their intellectual and moral prowess, they have also thrown the net of their inept "leadership" over the generations to come.

    SO, the decrease in taxes reveals LOTS more about the "what if" or "what would we do if." The greater revelation is why anyone would trust government with one penny more than basic and reasonable governmental necessities.

    Friend,

    Wes

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    Senior Member Tim Troxler's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    My "problem" is that I am a fiscal conservative with the spiritual gift of...giving! Talk about a challenge!
    Challenge accepted. I'll send you my paypal account; whenever you feel compelled to give I'll bear the burden of receiving.
    "Neither holiness nor love is Christian without the other...Love without holiness disintegrates into sentimentality. Personal integrity is lost. But holiness without love is not holiness at all. In spite of its label, it displays harshness, judgmentalism, a critical spirit, and all its capacity for discrimination ends in nitpicking and divisiveness." - MBW
    Thanks Wes Smith, Gina Stevenson - "thanks" for this post
    Laughing Wes Smith - thanks for this funny post

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    Senior Member Benjamin Hobbs's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    Ben,

    My "problem" is that I am a fiscal conservative with the spiritual gift of...giving! Talk about a challenge!

    What it has come to for me is to give significant effort and attention to increasing my capital so I have more...to give away.

    By the way, your post and question to me reveals a substantial difference in ideology, I do believe. My trust is nearly zero in government. "Nearly" because I do think there are necessary functions that government performs and provides. On the other hand, "nearly" zero because there seems to me to be an innate assumption in government that they can do better with money than the citizens. Take that thought and spend some time camping at the reality of $20 TRILLION in budgetary debt and $100 TRILLION in unfunded liabilities.

    Not only have government leaders convinced us of their intellectual and moral prowess, they have also thrown the net of their inept "leadership" over the generations to come.

    SO, the decrease in taxes reveals LOTS more about the "what if" or "what would we do if." The greater revelation is why anyone would trust government with one penny more than basic and reasonable governmental necessities.

    Friend,

    Wes
    I don't trust the government to use my money in all the right ways. I know there's plenty of corruption, plenty of waste and plenty of cronyism. But I also don't want to hurt those who are going to benefit from my taxes. Think about it, if your taxes go down, what gets cut? Is it is the F-35 program? Is the private industry getting taxed more? Or is it the public funded welfare programs getting cut?

    I don't like our system, I know for fact certain things aren't being done as they should be. But I'm not going to demand that my taxes be lowered so that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
    It is time the Church Jesus Christ overcame the disjunctions created by the 16th-century Reformation. What is called for is the 'evangelical catholicism' of John Wesley's 'middle way' in which two historic traditions were synthesized. In this sythesis the English Reformer not only recovered for the Church a viable doctrine of holiness but also pointed the way to a scriptural view and practice of the sacraments that is both apostolic and catholic. ++William Greathouse

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    Senior Member Doug Ward's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Hobbs View Post
    Doug, I'm going to be blunt and say that I'd rather be poor and broke when I'm older than have anyone starve. Money isn't the end all for me (not saying it is for you). My taxes are hopefully used for what's needed, regardless of where its needed. I hate my taxes being spent on wars, untold amounts of military equipment, lining the pockets of companies who crap all over their workers, etc. I'd even volunteer to be taxed at a higher rate if I didn't have to hear that teachers were being underpaid, that there weren't enough public defenders to go around, that poorer kids didn't have to be segregated to a failing school.
    Good. You have that option. Have you volunteered and sent in extra money to the government? If you haven't, then this post is just posturing.
    On second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    For Wes -

    I completely sympathize with your sentiment. What I hear you saying is, effectively, "any cut to government spending is a good thing." Or maybe I hear that because that is how I feel. The one thing that I would bring up, which I don't think has really been covered in 65+ posts, is that the the cuts in aid spending have not been proposed as a spending cut, just a reshuffling. The cuts are just a way to fund other spending increases.

    If the announcement of cuts was part of a broader reduction of spending that resulted in lower taxes and/or lower deficits, I'd be with you. As it stands, they are essentially saying they'll stop funding some of the stuff I don't mind being taxed for (aid) in favor of things I hate being taxed for (military).

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    Senior Member Doug Ward's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Hobbs View Post
    I've had this conversation with quite a few people and the one thing they won't admit readily is what they are really going to do with the money.

    So here's a simple yes/no question for you. If you were currently taxed at 20% and your taxes go down to 10%, are you giving the entirety of that 10% increase to charity/assisting others?

    When pressed to answer most people have admitted that they'd put a good portion of it in their savings/retirement/investment.
    Taxed at 20%? Where do you live? I want to move there!!! If I were taxed at 20%, I would give double what I do today - easily. You see, I and most people I know are taxed at roughly 50%. My wife and I sacrificed so our kids could go to college and graduate debt-free. More people could do it if the number one expense they pay - taxes, were not so high. This 20% thing you wrote made me laugh. I never knew Maryland was so exempted from what the rest of us have to pay.
    On second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.

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    Senior Member Benjamin Hobbs's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Ward View Post
    Taxed at 20%? Where do you live? I want to move there!!! If I were taxed at 20%, I would give double what I do today - easily. You see, I and most people I know are taxed at roughly 50%. My wife and I sacrificed so our kids could go to college and graduate debt-free. More people could do it if the number one expense they pay - taxes, were not so high. This 20% thing you wrote made me laugh. I never knew Maryland was so exempted from what the rest of us have to pay.
    Are you really claiming that your effective tax rate is 50%?
    It is time the Church Jesus Christ overcame the disjunctions created by the 16th-century Reformation. What is called for is the 'evangelical catholicism' of John Wesley's 'middle way' in which two historic traditions were synthesized. In this sythesis the English Reformer not only recovered for the Church a viable doctrine of holiness but also pointed the way to a scriptural view and practice of the sacraments that is both apostolic and catholic. ++William Greathouse

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Hobbs View Post
    Are you really claiming that your effective tax rate is 50%?
    Easily - why do act surprised? I think this shows a certain detachment, if not downright lack of knowledge at how things work.

    Lets start with Social Security - 15.2%
    Federal Taxes - approx - 18%
    State tax - 5%
    Local and Property taxes 6%

    Sales tax here - 8.25%
    Gas tax is roughly 25% of the total.
    Look at phone bill, cable bill, electric and gas bills, and look at all of the government mandated fees and taxes.
    Drives license, license plates, other fees - easily make up 5%.

    The government has its very visible hand in almost every area of life, in ways purposefully hidden and unseen. Add it all up.
    On second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Ward View Post
    Good. You have that option. Have you volunteered and sent in extra money to the government? If you haven't, then this post is just posturing.
    Huh? I don't think you quite understood what I was saying.
    It is time the Church Jesus Christ overcame the disjunctions created by the 16th-century Reformation. What is called for is the 'evangelical catholicism' of John Wesley's 'middle way' in which two historic traditions were synthesized. In this sythesis the English Reformer not only recovered for the Church a viable doctrine of holiness but also pointed the way to a scriptural view and practice of the sacraments that is both apostolic and catholic. ++William Greathouse

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Ward View Post
    Easily - why do act surprised?
    I act surprised because the effective tax rate is somewhere between 10 and 30% for most people.
    I think this shows a certain detachment, if not downright lack of knowledge at how things work.
    Thank you for the insult.
    Lets start with Social Security - 15.2%
    I'm confused. It's 6.2%, unless you're a 1099 and then it's 12.4%. I guess you're adding on the 1.4% (2.9 if 1099) to get the 15.2%.
    Federal Taxes - approx - 18%
    So I guess my 20% isn't that off.
    State tax - 5%
    Local and Property taxes 6%
    So it looks like your income is closer to 38% tax.
    Sales tax here - 8.25%
    Gas tax is roughly 25% of the total.
    Look at phone bill, cable bill, electric and gas bills, and look at all of the government mandated fees and taxes.
    Drives license, license plates, other fees - easily make up 5%.
    I'd love to see your fees on this. Even when I had a safety inspection every two years and emissions every year in Virginia I didn't spend more than a few hundred dollars every year.
    The government has its very visible hand in almost every area of life, in ways purposefully hidden and unseen. Add it all up.
    And? Your point?
    It is time the Church Jesus Christ overcame the disjunctions created by the 16th-century Reformation. What is called for is the 'evangelical catholicism' of John Wesley's 'middle way' in which two historic traditions were synthesized. In this sythesis the English Reformer not only recovered for the Church a viable doctrine of holiness but also pointed the way to a scriptural view and practice of the sacraments that is both apostolic and catholic. ++William Greathouse

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Hobbs View Post
    I've had this conversation with quite a few people and the one thing they won't admit readily is what they are really going to do with the money.

    So here's a simple yes/no question for you. If you were currently taxed at 20% and your taxes go down to 10%, are you giving the entirety of that 10% increase to charity/assisting others?

    When pressed to answer most people have admitted that they'd put a good portion of it in their savings/retirement/investment.
    I struggle with this mightily, and am glad you brought it up. On the one hand, I sympathize with the folks who say that government is completely inefficient and charitable work should be left to the Church. But at the same time, even at my comparatively young age I've seen too many examples of the Church using her resources in ways that would really support those in need.

    In theory I'd be thrilled if they eliminated government funding for Social Security, Education, Welfare, Healthcare, etc, etc, and cut my taxes. In theory, if everyone gave say 70% of our new surplus to the Church, we could keep the same level of benefit to the current recipients and the 30% difference (savings from "efficiency") could go in all of our pockets.

    Of course in reality, there are a couple of problems. #1 - Nobody really knows the actual amount of waste in spend. #2 - I guess I don't really believe in the goodness of most people - I think Christians would need to contribute about 600% of their tax savings to charities to make up for all the folks who decide they'd rather just buy a new boat. #3 - I fear that the Church won't necessarily be as impartial as the government is required to be - I'm sure the Church would do a good job of helping an elderly widow pay the rent, but I wonder how those with issues related to moral failings would be treated.
    Thanks Tim Troxler, Gina Stevenson, Benjamin Hobbs - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Doug Ward's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Hobbs View Post
    I act surprised because the effective tax rate is somewhere between 10 and 30% for most people. Thank you for the insult. I'm confused. It's 6.2%, unless you're a 1099 and then it's 12.4%. I guess you're adding on the 1.4% (2.9 if 1099) to get the 15.2%. So I guess my 20% isn't that off. So it looks like your income is closer to 38% tax. I'd love to see your fees on this. Even when I had a safety inspection every two years and emissions every year in Virginia I didn't spend more than a few hundred dollars every year. And? Your point?
    Still confused? The point is simple 50% of what goes out my door pays taxes. Most Americans who own a home, or work for a living are in the exact same boat.
    On second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Your 50% is probably a bit high. Consider that many of those tax rates apply only after multiple deductions. Sales tax is only on what you purchase (excluding the largest spending areas like housing), and I believe Illinois is one of the states that exempts a lot of necessities like grocery items.

    But that's all just splitting hairs. Certainly your last point is valid. But I would also call out that we all benefit from many of the taxes. Good roads and traffic management are a huge blessing you don't think about until you're in a place that lacks them. Running water and the fact that my backyard does not contain an outhouse are also very much appreciated. And while I don't particularly like paying fees for a new drivers license, I do appreciate the fact that in paying them, I'm supporting a system in which I know the majority of the other people operating 1,000 lb metal boxes at 80 mph within 10 feet of me have proven their ability to operate it. And theoretically you'll benefit from that big social security % some day.

    All that to say, there is certainly an argument for a need to reduce government spending. I'd start with the military if I was in charge. But I don't think people are being quite honest when they talk about doubling their expendable income if only it weren't for all these taxes.
    Thanks Benjamin Hobbs - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Benjamin Hobbs's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Ward View Post
    Still confused? The point is simple 50% of what goes out my door pays taxes. Most Americans who own a home, or work for a living are in the exact same boat.
    What about those who don't own a home? You do realize that you're already making a distinction between those who own a home and those who don't, the former group supposedly having to pay "too much."

    If you own land, you already have a great deal more than others. Owning a home isn't something everyone has the chance to do. I assumed it was when I was younger, but then I met other people.
    It is time the Church Jesus Christ overcame the disjunctions created by the 16th-century Reformation. What is called for is the 'evangelical catholicism' of John Wesley's 'middle way' in which two historic traditions were synthesized. In this sythesis the English Reformer not only recovered for the Church a viable doctrine of holiness but also pointed the way to a scriptural view and practice of the sacraments that is both apostolic and catholic. ++William Greathouse
    Thanks Gina Stevenson - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Doug Ward's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Stapleton View Post
    Your 50% is probably a bit high. Consider that many of those tax rates apply only after multiple deductions. Sales tax is only on what you purchase (excluding the largest spending areas like housing), and I believe Illinois is one of the states that exempts a lot of necessities like grocery items.

    But that's all just splitting hairs. Certainly your last point is valid. But I would also call out that we all benefit from many of the taxes. Good roads and traffic management are a huge blessing you don't think about until you're in a place that lacks them. Running water and the fact that my backyard does not contain an outhouse are also very much appreciated. And while I don't particularly like paying fees for a new drivers license, I do appreciate the fact that in paying them, I'm supporting a system in which I know the majority of the other people operating 1,000 lb metal boxes at 80 mph within 10 feet of me have proven their ability to operate it. And theoretically you'll benefit from that big social security % some day.

    All that to say, there is certainly an argument for a need to reduce government spending. I'd start with the military if I was in charge. But I don't think people are being quite honest when they talk about doubling their expendable income if only it weren't for all these taxes.
    You seem to assume quite a lot about my finances. Probably not a good pursuit. As for benefits from taxes, yes, but that was not the discussion. If you want to have that discussion, we can do it. Thje question is the amount of taxes commonly paid. I might also add the myriad areas where government adds cost to the average person, but it is not a tax. I didn't count these.
    On second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.

  40. #80
    Senior Member Doug Ward's Avatar

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    Re: CotN signs letter to Congress re. U.S. foreign aid

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Hobbs View Post
    What about those who don't own a home? You do realize that you're already making a distinction between those who own a home and those who don't, the former group supposedly having to pay "too much."

    If you own land, you already have a great deal more than others. Owning a home isn't something everyone has the chance to do. I assumed it was when I was younger, but then I met other people.
    You are having an imaginary conversation. My shrink says those are not always productive. This is not a discussion of too much, too little, or relative value, etc. You vastly understated the tax bite of Americans - all of them. I corrected the record.
    On second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.

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