Monday, February 23, 2004

"Tax is good for us"

I'm still not able to contribute as I'd like here, but I have to say something about Britain's Catholic Bishops' pronouncement on taxation. I don't have time to read their document myself (Taxation for the Common Good), but this article from the Times illustrates how desperate the Church is to be relevant.

The American Bishops published some ideas along these lines in the 1980s and that struck me as an equally desperate attempt to have something to say that might appeal to people other than the usual "Thou shall not" etc.

I can't help thinking that the Bishops have lost sight of how much the welfare state has drained away personal responsibility - something I would have thought they would want to reverse. By all means, let's help those who "need help", but let's define need first. Most of the money raised by taxes is spent helping those who don't "need" the help, but have become dependent on it.

Do middle class families "need" free college tuition for their children? Do middle class families "need" child benefit allowance? How many people living in subsidized government housing "need" the government's help?

I could go on. The Bishops "need" to focus on what they're supposed to be about. Encouraging a high tax, entrepreneurial-sapping society is not what we "need".