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Tags: Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Gibbons, Ancient Rome, taxation, spread the wealth, tax the rich, overspending, Silver Certificate, currency devaluation, President Clinton, Al Gore, Bob Kerry, Robin Hood, taxing out of debt, George Mitchell, national debt, House of Representatives, Charles Schumer, Nero, Medicare, Social Security, corporate income tax,1990 Budget act, Ronald Reagan, Reagan tax cuts, tax on the wealthy, Senate Finance Committee, Uncle Sam,   Apostle Paul, Tarsus, Hellenistic Jew, persecution of the church

Tax the Rich

 

Gibbons wrote in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, "Agriculture is the foundation of manufactures; since the productions of nature are the materials of art. Under the Roman empire, the labour of an industrious and ingenious people was variously, but incessantly employed, in the service of the rich. In their dress, their table, their houses, and their furniture, the favourites of fortune united every refinement of conveniency, of elegance, and of splendour, whatever could soothe their pride or gratify their sensuality. Such refinements, under the odious name of luxury, have been severely arraigned by the moralists of every age; and it might perhaps be more conducive to the virtue, as well as happiness, of mankind, if all possessed the necessities, and none of the superfluities, of life. But in the present imperfect condition of society, luxury, though it may proceed from vice or folly, seems to be the only means that can correct the unequal distribution of property. The diligent mechanic, and the skilful artist, who have obtained no share in the division of the earth, receive a voluntary tax from the possessors of land; and the latter are prompted, by a sense of interest, to improve those estates, with whose produce they may purchase additional pleasures. This operation, the particular effects of which are felt in every society, acted with much more diffusive energy in the Roman world. The provinces would soon have been exhausted of their wealth, if the manufactures and commerce of luxury had not insensibly restored to the industrious subjects the sums which were exacted from them by the arms and authority of Rome."

Taxation is never a solution to resolve the problems created by overspending. In this case the policy we now are adhering to in modern society spelled financial disaster for this ancient culture; to the extent of absolute elimination of that particular civilization altogether. It took some time, as we will discuss later.

For now suffice it to say that if history is any indication, then America was establishing a very dangerous financial precedence in the 90's. It is interesting that Rome eventually had to devaluate gold and silver in the later empire. To consider the value of our current dollar bill that can no longer be redeemed for silver as the now extinct Silver Certificate, one has to wonder how far The United States of America is off the course of its ancient example, Rome.

President Clinton got himself elected promising he would tax the United States out of debt. The only way that he could propose this successfully was to assure the bulk of America that the money would not be coming out of their pockets. He said he would get his money from the rich. He was a modern Robin Hood, a champion of the common man. What better solution could we have other than to "rob from the rich to give to the poor!" The wealthy have plenty of money. It is time for them to carry the load.

"I think the American people want action," assured Senate Majority Leader, George Mitchell in asserting that the Senate supported the President's plan. "I think the American people want change. And this Senate has taken a step toward giving it to them."

House Budget Committee Chairman Martin Sabo declared, "They elected a new president with a new vision for the future. . .Today's the time for us to deliver."

You will also leave that place with your hands on your head, for the LORD has rejected those you trust; you will not be helped by them. (Jeremiah 2:37 niv)

What were these "trusted" people to deliver? . . .One of the biggest tax increases in history. It was an increase that the Senate GOP leader characterized as "the largest tax increase in the history of the world." This increase would focus its attention on the large corporations and the wealthy.

All of this was to be done in the name of reducing the National Debt. When President Clinton was asked why Americans would be happy to pay higher taxes he responded, "I think the American people want us finally to step up to the bar and reduce the national deficit and get it down to zero and get some economic growth going. . .We're finally beginning to face our problems in a mature fashion, and I'm encouraged."

This "mature" solution of taxing our way out of debt was the Roman solution. It failed in Rome, it will suffer a similar fate in America as well.

In spite of the consistent historical record that testifies that an economic plan such as this would surely fail, the nation's legislators began to deliberate the merits of the proposed solution. In the midst of the intense debate, the president took his case to the people. "It's been at least 30 years since the president has asked Americans to take personal responsibility for our country's future," he insisted. "No more something for nothing. We're all in this together. . .We're on the verge of breaking out of the old false choice between tax-and-spend and trickle down, between abandonment and entitlement." The president was proposing something new. It was a measure that he contended was fair and did a responsible job of reducing the deficit. It was intended to "revive the American dream by restoring the economy."

Then the president turned his attention to Congress and declared, "Now there are only two choices, our plan or no plan."

So, on, May 27, 1993, the House of Representatives narrowly passed the president's budget by a tally of 219-213. Rep. Charles Schumer could only say, "If we don't vote for the president, we cut him off at the knees. We can't do that. . . we must show the country we can govern."

President Clinton was in a victorious mood. He proclaimed that the House had voted "no to gridlock, no to the status quo and no to the special interests who worked so very hard to frighten Americans."

"This is our historic opportunity for getting our economic house in order," he later said.

The bill still had to pass through the hands of the deeply divided Senate. In fact, the budget came down to the vote of one man. Senator Bob Kerry had spent weeks pondering his decision but could not make up his mind. Then, when the tally was taken, he voted "yes" to President Clinton's measure stating that he "could not and would not cast a vote that would bring down" the administration. As it turned out, his vote made it a tie that was broken by Vice-president Al Gore.

Not a Republican in either chamber voted for the budget. Many Democrats jumped ship as well. Bob Dole noted that it was "certainly not a mandate, two votes in the House and one in the Senate. . .This is a bad plan," he added. "It raises taxes, and it does little to effectively reduce government spending or control the deficit."

Nonetheless, though it only passed by three votes, a budget was produced for America that carried with it the spirit of Nero. It was a measure designed to continue to support government extravagances through taxation. It was an act that had set its aim towards the wealthy, the very class of people that Rome's Nero set his sights on as a tax base to bolster his excessive spending. It was in this context that President Clinton signed the bill proclaiming, "Today we come here for more than a bill signing, we come here to begin a new direction for our nation."

What were the specifics of this "new direction?" Income taxes of the wealthy would go up. High wage earners would be subject to a 2.9% payroll tax for Medicare. Those with the higher Social Security incomes would pay more. Corporate income tax would go up. Certain business deductions would be eliminated. So as not to leave the middle class feeling left out, a 4.3 cent per gallon tax on gasoline would be levied. More and more money was to be procured to feed the gigantic governmental machine that had purposed itself to spend -- spend -- and spend again.

In the 1990 Budget act, the government had once before adopted the liberal agenda and raised taxes under the same premise as incorporated by President Clinton. It was a dogma that insisted that one could lower the deficit by taxing the "rich." What was the result? The deficit ballooned!

In the spirit of Nero, the liberal Democrats had determined in their agenda to punish those who had profited under the Republican dynasty started by President Reagan the decade before. They claimed that 12 years of Republican administrations featuring tax cuts for the rich had left America with a terrible dept.

The truth was that the Reagan tax cuts were for everyone, and everyone benefited. All income groups saw their incomes rise from 1980-1989. Economist Alan Reynolds pointed out, "The mean average of real income rose by 15.2% from 1980 to 1989. . . compared with a 0.8% decline from 1970 to 1980." Yes, the middle class shrunk, but it was because people had gotten rich.

As far as the affluent were concerned, the much-maligned "top 1 percent" of earners increased their share of the total tax burden dramatically during the 80's. In 1981, the top 1 percent paid 18.2 percent of federal taxes. By 1988, the top 1 percent was paying 28 percent of total taxes. This was in spite of the fact that they were allotted tax breaks! Figure it out for yourself. The answer becomes obvious.

Just as the supply-side economists predicted, cutting tax rates actually increased the flow of revenues into the national coffers. Between 1981 and 1987, federal revenues increased by 42%. Unfortunately, governmental spending increased by 50% during the same period. Thus you have the cause of the deficit and the source of America's economic woes wrapped up in the policy of governmental greed.

On April 1994, Washington announced that, barring any changes, the baby boom generation would completely exhaust Social Security's retirement trust fund by 2036. The annual study also warned that Social Security's disability trust fund could be thoroughly broke by 1995. Together, Medicare and Social Security accounted for more than one-fourth of the federal budget, pumping in $1 billion a day into the U. S. economy.

On March 23, 1994, the Associated Press announced that the Senate Finance Committee had voted to update and simplify a widely ignored law that required individuals to pay Social Security taxes for people they have working in their homes. It was noticed that three quarters of people who had this help neglected to pay the taxes.

Do, you have a housekeeper? Pay the tax. Is your gardener or baby sitter over 18? Cough it up. Uncle Sam needs your support. The government has resolved itself to squeeze every dime it can out of ever sector of the populace it can find the cash.

This is Nero's agenda, folks. It is the doctrine of big government. It is the program of the one who would have people working for the government rather than government working for them. It is the notion of the taskmaster who would become a dictator over the people.

Now what happens in an environment when government has decided to take its wrath out on the wealthy? The Rome of Nero could explain it to us quite well.

 

The Coward’s End

In spite of his constant persecution of the church in Rome, Nero was not able to quell opposition among his own countrymen concerning his regime. Reacting to his unfair confiscation of their property, a group of nobles attempted to rebel against this "tax on the wealthy." The plot was betrayed, resulting in an inquisition that culminated in the death of Rome's most illustrious men. Nero also executed many Roman senators because they questioned his actions.

While Nero spent two years in Greece to participate in musical contests and games, a revolt was conspired against him that he could have easily suppressed had he not been the coward that he was. In self-pity he fled to the Servilian gardens, where he had once displayed his glory before the martyrs of Christ, to lament over his state. Convinced that suicide was his only solution, he searched for assistance in that regard, but could not even find someone to help him. In his anguish he cried, "What an artist I am to perish!"

But learning he had been condemned to a cruel fate by a decree of the Senate, he committed suicide with the help of his secretary, Epharoditus. So on July 9, 68 AD the world had rid itself of this maniac as he fell into a fate dictated by his own hands, and the judgment of a righteous God -- the One who communicated the message of salvation to Nero through God's servant Paul.

Nero was an incredulous individual with an eye for women carrying that "nameless vice of antiquity-love of a male favorite." There was no sin that this man of effeminate tastes overlooked. However God still saw fit to reach out to him through this man, Paul who was so compelled to appear before Caesar that he jeopardized his freedom to do so. (Acts 28:16)

As it turned out, this incidental meeting between the Ruler of the known world and a Hellenistic Jew from Tarsus became a turning point for an entire Civilization. When Nero rejected the message, the fate of Rome was sealed in the subsequent deaths of God's saints. Insanity was the price paid for his unbelief as Nero proceeded to murder those who carried the message that haunted him in his state of un-repented sin. As we will discover, Rome was never the same after the series of events that surrounded the birth of Christ and the message preached by the Apostle Paul. In the same way we will see how this same message is being revealed to America today. Indeed, our fate as well hinges on the balance.

"Look, here comes a man in a chariot with a team of horses. And he gives back the answer: 'Babylon has fallen, has fallen! All the images of its gods lie shattered on the ground!'" (Isaiah 21:9 niv)

 

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About the Author

 

Don Wigton is a graduate of the prestigious music department at CSULB where he studied under Frank Pooler, lyricist of Merry Christmas Darling, and sang in Pooler’s world renown University Choir alongside Karen and Richard Carpenter. During this time Don was also the lead composer of the band, Clovis Putney, that won the celebrated Hollywood Battle of the Bands. After giving his life to God, Don began attending Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa to study under some of the most prominent early Maranatha! musicians. Subsequently he toured the Western United States with Jedidiah in association with Myrrh Records.

Eventually Don served as a pastor at Calvary Chapel Bakersfield to witness thousands of salvations through that ministry. As the music/concert director, Don worked for seven years with most major Christian artist of that time while producing evangelical concerts attended by thousands of young people seeking after God. Don’s Calvary Chapel Praise Choir released the album Let All Who Hath Breath Praise the Lord on the Maranatha! label.

The next years of Don’s life were spent as the praise leader of First Baptist Church in Bakersfield during a time of unprecedented church renewal. Don teamed with the leadership to successfully meld the old with the new through a period of tremendous church growth. During this exciting time, Don’s praise team, Selah, produced the CD Stop and Think About It.

Today Don is the leading force behind Wigtune Company. This webbased project located at www.praisesong.net has provided several million downloads of Don’s music and hymn arrangements to tens of thousands of Christian organizations throughout the world. More music can be found at Don's Southern Cross Band website at www.socrossband.com.

The book Holy Wars represents Don’s most recent effort to bless the church with biblical instruction and direction in praise and worship. This heartfelt volume is an offering not only to God’s people, but also to God Himself.

 

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Wigtune Company offers free mp3 Jesus based praise music and song along with traditional Christian hymns performed in a contemporary fashion in order to encourage the body of Christ to blend the old with the new in a scriptural fashion.  An on-line Bible study is offered that goes into the biblical and historical foundation of worship for music ministries, the music minister, praise leader, pastor and serious Bible student.  The study is presented in outline form with relevant scripture references and questions.  Download this helpful work for free! was formed as a service to the body of Christ to encourage scriptural worship. To accomplish this goal Wigtune Company offers free contemporary Christian praise and worship music, contemporary Christian rock and hymn mp3 and chart material along with a free on-line worship study book for personal devotions, Bible study groups, Sunday schools, pastors, music ministers and ministry training.  In order to bridge the gap between the old and the new the worship study book gives solid theological and historical support to the use of traditional Christian hymn-singing in conjunction with praise chorus singing.

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Wigtune Company believes that the current contention among Christian generations over church music is unnesessary.  One does not have to chose between the classic traditional hymn and the contemporary praise chorus and song.  Solomon declared that there is a place for everything under the sun. The worship musical material and the worship Bible study book offered at the Wigtune website support this theme. Vision Statement    Don and Vanessa Wigton share the vision of Wigtune Company.  Going to this page will inform the WEB surfer the circumstances that lead to the Wigtune offering of praise song and hymn along with the worship Bible study book that lends theology and history based support to the use of traditional Christian hymn singing in conjunction with praise chorus singing.   Wigtune Story    The Wigtune Company free on-line worship Bible study book is a manual for the use of the pastor, teacher, music minister, Bible study group, sunday school and any situation where a theological and historical lesson regarding worship is desired.  The Bible study is presented in outline form with questions that require thoughtful answers to the biblical and history based information that is presented.   Free On-Line Worship Studybook   

Wigtune Company offers free mp3 praise music in the form of tradtional Christian hymn performed in a contemporary manner and modern praise song and choruses mp3s.  Chord charts to many of these song mp3's are available for non-commercial ministry use.  Free Praise and Worship Music Mp3s and Charts   Wigtune Company offers free mp3 praise music in the form of tradtional Christian hymn performed in a contemporary manner and modern praise song and choruses mp3s.  Chord charts to many of these song mp3's are available for non-commercial ministry use.

Wigtune Company offers free mp3 praise music in the form of tradtional Christian hymn performed in a contemporary manner and modern praise song and choruses mp3s.  Chord charts to many of these song mp3's are available for non-commercial ministry use. Wiggy's Top Ten Praise MP3s Wigtune Company offers free mp3 praise music in the form of tradtional Christian hymn performed in a contemporary manner and modern praise song and choruses mp3s.  Chord charts to many of these song mp3's are available for non-commercial ministry use.

Wigtune Company offers free mp3 praise music in the form of tradtional Christian hymn performed in a contemporary manner and modern praise song and choruses mp3s.  Chord charts to many of these song mp3's are available for non-commercial ministry use. Radio: Listen to Wigtune Worship Music on Live Internet Radio

Wigtune Company offers free mp3 praise music in the form of tradtional Christian hymn performed in a contemporary manner and modern praise song and choruses mp3s.  Chord charts to many of these song mp3's are available for non-commercial ministry use.    Wigtune Praise Worship and Hymn CD's

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