Good News About the Prebate Stimulus Fiasco

That whole prebate “economic stimulus” vote buying fiasco? If you didn’t love it before, you may love it when you read this:

  • Administering the prebate cost the IRS $862 million. And the agency only got a $200 million budget boost from Congress to deal with it.
  • In addition, the IRS had to divert employees and resources away from other operations (like enforcement) in order to administer the program and to field calls from confused citizens. They estimate they would have been able to chase down more than half a billion dollars in additional tax revenue if they hadn’t had to do this.

Juanita Nelson spoke briefly about the illusory nature of money, and Dean Spade spoke about the connection between consumer desire and war (and how to use the human vulnerability for trendiness to promote a progressive agenda) on Colony Collapse Disorder Radio. Excerpts:

One of the more in-depth explanations of the Quaker position against paying commutation, bounty, or militia exemption fines, came from the Meeting for Sufferings of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in :

That it is a relief to be placed on the list of non-combatants is obvious; inasmuch as it releases from liability to be sent into the battle-field; but the law does not afford a mode of escape from military duty which our discipline acknowledges as consistent with the religious principles of Friends.

Believing that liberty of conscience is the gift of the Creator to man, Friends have ever refused to purchase the free exercise of it by the payment of any pecuniary or other commutation to any human authority.

From no other class of citizens is the payment of $300, the service in hospitals or among the Freedmen, required; and it is obviously in consequence of their conscientious scruple against war that these are demanded of Friends; and the payment of the money, or the performance of the service, would be an acknowledgment that human authority may abridge and control the Christian’s liberty of conscience, which our Society has ever denied.

The money, moreover, is only applicable to military purposes; and therefore paying it is violating our Christian testimony. The long established Discipline of Friends prohibits such payment; declaring it to be “the judgment of the Yearly Meeting that,” if any of its members do, either openly or by connivance, pay any fine, penalty or tax in lieu of personal service for carrying on war “and are not brought to an acknowledgment of their error, Monthly Meetings should proceed to testify against them.” This rule was confirmed and explained, a few years afterwards by another, which says: “It is the sense and judgment of this meeting that it is inconsistent with our religious testimony and principles for any Friends to pay a fine or tax levied on them on account of their refusal to serve in the militia, although such a fine or imposition may be applied toward defraying the expenses of civil government;” and it directs the same course to be pursued by monthly meetings, as in the former case, toward such as violate it.

In endeavoring to discharge the duties of their appointment; while the committee have been much aided and cheered by the kind consideration shown by the officers of the government; they have been pained to find that some of our members have compromised our peace principles by paying the penalty imposed; thus lowering our profession of religious scruple in the estimation of those in authority, and greatly adding to the embarrassment and difficulty of such members as could not, for conscience sake comply with the demand.

Another source of trial and discouragement to us has been that some members have subscribed to funds raised for the payment of bounties to Soldiers, and others have paid taxes levied and applied expressly for the same object; both which are clearly violations of our Christian testimony and discipline, and have tended to discourage and weaken the hands of faithful Friends, as well as to lessen the weight and influence of the Society when appealing to government for the relief of our drafted members.

If those who thus aid in hiring men to fight were transported to the field of battle, and could witness the angry passion engendered, see the soldier who was tempted to enlist, and hired for his work, in part by their money, dealing destruction around him, wounding, maiming, and killing men who are strangers to him; hear the piercing cries and groans of the poor sufferers, and perhaps behold the man himself sent from the murderous employ to his final reckoning; and witness the grief of the bereaved widows and the destitute orphans, in their desolate homes; surely they could not but lament that they had incurred the responsibility of helping forward the dreadful business, with its awful consequences. Distance from the scene of action does not lessen their accountability.