Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act

Been busy lately, including some out of town travel. Teaching starts again in two weeks, so I'll soon be busy again.


All kinds of scatterbrained legislation gets introduced in Congress (and, for that matter, in the various state legislatures). Most of it dies in committee, or is voted down, or passes in a form quite different from the original proposal.

On 18 April 2007, the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act [H.R. 1921] was introduced in the House of Representatives and referred to the Ways & Means Committee, where it remains as of this writing.

The bill purports "[t]o affirm the religious freedom of taxpayers who are conscientiously opposed to participation in war, to provide that the income, estate, or gift tax payments of such taxpayers be used for nonmilitary purposes, to create the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund to receive such tax payments, to improve revenue collection, and for other purposes."

It was introduced by John Lewis of Georgia, and the sponsors include such leftists and nutjobs as Conyers, Ron Paul, Caliphate Keith Ellison, et cetera. My initial instinct was to say that the bill ought to die in committee.

I still think it ought to die in committee, but Section 4(b) of the proposed legislation does have some sort of merit. Section 4(b) provides that [M]onies deposited in the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund shall be allocated annually to any appropriation not for a military purpose."

Stripping away all of the political baggage carried by the bill and its sponsors, they may be onto something here. The New York State Lottery proceeds were supposed to support public education, but much of those funds somehow find their way to other uses. And let us not forget the Social Security taxes we all pay, which have long been diverted from their intended purposes. If the moneys deposited by the taxpaying public into the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund were indeed restricted in their uses, then that would set a good precedent.

But, given the precedents set by the lottery and Social Security, I would expect that the funds in the RFPTF would, in practice, be restricted in name only.

Here, then, is a bill which, though not without its noble attributes, ought to die in committee.

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