Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Charitable Giving to the Government

This afternoon I was doing my federal income tax homework in the law journal office. While I was down there I overheard two second year students talking politics. I will refer to them as fat guy and dumb girl. Dumb girl was eagerly telling fat guy about how she wouldn't mind paying more taxes. Fat guy was very accepting of Dumb girl's point of view and was very upset that President Bush had cut taxes just when the government was experiencing a tax surplus that could go toward oh so many worthwhile causes. They then tried to outdo each other in praise of Barack Obama.
This seems to be a popular sentiment (the not paying enough taxes - although outdoing each other in praise of Barack Obama is also popular). Even some with a great deal of money such as Warren Buffet seem to feel that the government does not tax them sufficiently.
President Bush addressed these people in his state of the union address tonight saying: "Others have said they would personally be happy to pay higher taxes. I welcome their enthusiasm, and I am pleased to report that the IRS accepts both checks and money orders."
Of course, no one actually sends extra money to the IRS. If I were to ask either dumb girl or fat guy if they had sent any extra money to the IRS they would certainly say no. If I were to ask them if they would be willing to send more money this year they would probably say that the money would only be spent on the war in Iraq or some other policy with which they disagree.
This, I think, is the point of conservative philosophy toward government spending. Of course the government is going to spend your money poorly - that is what governments do. That is why when people have money that they would like to spend on worthwhile causes, they give to the red cross, or to their church, or, if you are Warren Buffet, to the Gates Foundation.
The interesting question raised by all this is: if you give charity to the IRS, is that donation deductible?

Monday, January 28, 2008

In Memory of President Hinckley

President Hinckley passed away early Sunday night. In my lifetime so far, President Benson was the Prophet of my childhood and I feel that President Hinckley was the Prophet of my adult life so far. He was the president of the church when I received my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel, when I served my mission, when I was married in the temple. I will remember his policies of stressing the Book of Mormon and of building temples and globalizing the church, but more than that, I will always remember President Hinckley for his unique sense of humor, his competence, and the feeling of caring resolve that he brought to the work of the church. I have also really admired the relationship President Hinckley had with his family. I loved seeing sister Hinckley speak when I was at BYU and at other times at various firesides. I was really sad for President Hinckley when she passed away a couple of years ago. It makes me happy to think of them now reunited.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Uhh... Enjoy?

I am not really sure how to do this. I've really been putting off getting my own blog because I feel a little self-important and odd self-publishing what is essentially a journal. However, in response to Elder Ballard's talk, I am going to try this out. In addition to the testimony sharing aspect of this, I will also be putting down any other 'insights' that I have that normally only Margaret would be subjected to. Just don't expect it to be good.