Yesterday our guest minister raised the four questions that Man has asked and studied since Socrates, probably before.
Who am I?
Where did I come from?
Why am I here?
Where am I going?
In asking the questions we look inward to our purpose for Being. In answering we, perhaps, answer our intention for Living. Intention and purpose. Investigation of our intention and purpose is usually a discussion framed within the confines of religious doctrine or our faith. As we explore our ideas for our purpose in this life and our the intention for which we were give it we also explore our beliefs in respect to God, Spirit, Universal Energy, or whatever definition you wish to put on the Divine.
Intention and purpose. This week in particular, as we face deadlines to fund our government with our taxes, is a good time to ask the questions regarding intention and purpose about our government, our Republic. What is the purpose of our government? What is the intention we have for our government? Take the four questions at the top of this post and substitute "government" for "I."
Who is our government? It is supposed to composed of representatives of the people. Our government was established to be representative in nature and given guidelines by which to operate, our Constitution. Our government is to be us, we, the people.
Where did our government come from? From men who gathered from across a land that had been inhabited by European settlers for barely 100 years, a scant time in the history of Western Man. Men with common values, common beliefs and common principles established a form of governance never before seen. Our government was formed by men who thought to right down "all Men are created equal" and that among the gifts granted by Our Creator are "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Our government came from men, who while flawed like all men, set forth the most closely perfect form of government to that point in history, or sense.
Why is our government here? Ah-ha! What is the purpose of our government? What purpose do we allow our government to have? This is the crux of political discourse and discord. What purpose our government has is the very foundation upon which we should base our votes.
Where is our government going? For Man this question is meant to imply where am I going when I die? For government the question is different as it is as close to eternal a body as we may know in our lifetimes. Where is our government going? What is its intention? Another foundation upon which our votes should be based. More than purpose, the intention of government and our representatives is fueled by ideology and personal opinion. And even more than purpose the subject of our political, and societal, unrest when we disagree.
This past week was "Tax Freedom Day." The approximate day in the year where all the work you have been compensated for no longer feeds government through taxes but now can feed you. The day is meant to commemorate that from January 1st to some day in early to mid-April all your earnings to that point have gone to pay your state and federal tax obligations. It is meant to give tax payers, citizens, an idea of how much we actually pay the government. Since most of us have income taxes withheld from our paychecks we can lose sight of how much of our hard earned income we do not receive.
Actually, I need to make a correction. "Most of us" is not accurate as data recently released shows that fifty percent, half, of American households pay no federal income tax. "Most of us" are not paying taxes. Put that in the context of the intention and purpose of government.
On Thursday, April 15th, all income earning Americans must make filings with the Internal Revenue Service and their state tax boards. Our taxes are feeding a Federal government that has is spending over $3.5 Trillion this year, is currently running a $1.4 Trillion deficit, is getting ready to debate a budget that pushes that deficit to over $3 Trillion and is in debt over $12.4 Trillion. In debt over twelve trillion four hundred billion dollars. To what purpose do we have our government? What is the intention of our government?
Is it the purpose of our government to keep us safe from enemies foreign and domestic?
Is it the purpose of our government to establish equal rules and regulations regarding trade and commerce?
Is it the purpose of government to supply and regulate a common currency?
Keep us safe, enable commerce and ability to earn a living to support our families, establish common laws that enable us to live with our liberty and freedoms. Broad, basic purposes.
Is it our intention that our government shall educate us and our children?
Is it our intention that our government shall regulate with great detail commerce and industry?
Is it our intention that our government shall establish laws that make work places safe for the workers?
Is it our intention that our government protect workers from their employers?
Is it our intention to decide whether future life shall occur or not is decided by a mother?
As our intentions evolve with our Republic so do does the purpose of our government. What the government provides the people through the representative government becomes an entitlement and a right that can no longer be taken away. Social security, Medicare, education, abortion, food stamps, day care, are some of the programs and entitlements created, supported and expanded by government over the past century and decades.
Now it appears the purpose of government is to try to ensure that if you purchase a home and can no longer afford the payments you will keep that home through government intervention. The intention of our government is to provide homeowners with less debt and monthly obligations that they agreed to if they so wish or claim financial hardship, but there is no intention for those not claiming hardship, who do not own a home or own a home with no debt. It is the intention of the government to take from those who live within their means to support the housing for those who have not. It is the intention to force banks and lenders to lose billions of dollars with forced modifications to allow some to remain in homes many should not have bought.
It appears the purpose of government is that if you have a company with enough workers who belong to labor unions and the company is failing in part because of labor agreements the government will purchase the company. The intention of the government is to protect jobs that were already protected, to guarantee retirement payments to those whose retirement was already guaranteed by the taxpayers and to make and sell better cars. It is the intention to take billions of dollars of tax revenues from the people and support a company that has been failing for over a decade and will continue to fail.
It appears that the intention of government is to insure, and ensure, everyone within the borders of the Republic, have equal access to healthcare; access that already exists for over 90% of citizens within the borders. It is the intention to of the government to destroy the current health care industries within our Republic and build new industries at the cost of the citizens, or those who pay taxes.
Currently the top 1% of income earners in our country pay 35% of the Federal income taxes in America. Fifty percent of income earners pay 100% of Federal income taxes. What becomes of our intent and purpose as expressed at the ballot when a majority of households are not paying any income taxes? What becomes of our intent and purpose of our government when the top 1% are paying 40%, 45%, 50%, of all Federal taxes and 40%, 35%, 30% of income earners are paying 100% of the taxes?
Is it really our intent to have over fifty percent of our citizens contribute nothing to the Federal Treasury and define our purpose? What results when over half the citizens are living under the rule of a government that is paid for by a shrinking minority? More programs that become entitlements paid for by fewer Americans?
It appears that the intent of the majority in our Federal government, and in Sacramento, and the White House, to increase taxes and revenue from the higher income earners, a definition which declines from $200,000 to $180,000, to $100,000 to $70,000...as more taxes are needed to fund more handouts to those not paying taxes.
It is the intention of our President and his allies in the majority of the Senate and the House of Representatives to redistribute wealth and income from those they deem "rich" to those they deem "in need."
What is the purpose of government? What is the intention of government? The answers to those questions are provided by the people of America when they vote.
Thankfully there are groups of people across the country now asking those questions clearly and loudly. Questions those in power do not like to answer: Who are you? Where did you come from? Why are you here? Where are you going, or if elected where do you want to go? What is your intention? What is your purpose?
We need to ask. Loudly, clearly and consistently.