God, Taxes And Party Platforms

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. -Mark Twain

If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans. -Woody Allen

Because I filed an income tax extension, next month taxes are due for me and all other government-fearing procrastinators. That’s why I set out this week to write on the exciting topic of taxes, fees and surcharges. But then the Democrats omitted God from their party platform (however briefly) at their convention. Feeling a joke may be in there somewhere, I can’t resist, so I’m writing about God and taxes.

I do not judge Democrats because of that platform omission. Obviously that should be left up to God himself. But it’s fun to imagine what God might’ve

said when he realized their plans.

“Turnabout is fair play.” Or, “Sure, relocate to the Time Warner Cable Arena because of lightning. Did you forget who invented lightning?”

Or, “Hmmm, it’s been four millennia since I turned people into pillars of salt. What do you think, Peter?”

Then one for Republicans: “Go ahead. Make my day.”

When did party platforms change from being the shoes I wore in the ’70s, anyway? Now they’re something entirely different and not at all fun like those shoes. Political party platforms are big, long, boring statements about what the party believes. No one reads them except the other party so they can put out a campaign ad saying the exact opposite. Furthermore, not everybody in

the party gets a say. In fact, when God was removed, some members of the Democratic Party, especially pastors, were probably out getting lunch. When they got back, they said, “You voted out whom?”

Anyway, political party platforms should be simply stated beliefs of the party members. For example, one platform plank might be: “We believe that God can turn us into dust particles.”

Platforms don’t talk about taxes, preferring the term “revenue.” I found a list of personal “revenues” we all pay at balan-cepolitics.org: “100 Taxes You Pay.” It will not make your day.

As syndicated columnist Dave Barry says, “It’s income tax time again, Americans: Time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen up that pencil, and stab yourself in the aorta.”

U.S. debt clock just reached $16 trillion last week. My income tax payment or aorta blood probably won’t help. The numbers change fast.

According to CBSNews.com last spring, “The national debt has now increased more during President Obama’s three years and two months in office than it did during eight years of the George W. Bush presidency. The debt rose $4.899 trillion during the two terms of the Bush presidency. It has now gone up $4.939 trillion since President Obama took office.”

Two years ago Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking to college students, said, “The single biggest threat to national security is the national debt.”

The two candidates have very different view on how to fix that threat. Republicans want to cut taxes, spending and the size of government, which is in their party platform. Democrats want to increase revenue (code for taxes) and investments (spending).

Speaking of codes, our federal tax code is now 5,206 pages long, up from 27 when the modern income tax first began in 1913. You’ve read it, of course. I read it last night while watching America’s Got Talent. Fascinating read. God is nowhere in it. Too many opportunities for sin in there (Thou shalt not take false deductions). God is on our money, though. “In God We Trust” has been on our coins since 1864, our paper money since 1957 and as our national motto since 1956.

It’s harder than some think to take God out of America. Despite those who keep trying, God has his name (and messages) all over the place, and based on a 2003 joint poll by USA Today, CNN, and Gallup, 90 percent of Americans at least like the motto on their coins.

Whew. God and taxes. That was hard. In Matthew 17:24-27 it says that Jesus paid taxes.