Patterico's Pontifications

3/12/2015

The Patterico Fact-Checker™: Ted Cruz’s claim that the IRS Tax Code Has more words than the Bible

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:54 am

Today I am introducing the Patterico Fact-Checker™: a new feature in which I fact-check claims of public figures that have been dealt with poorly by Big Media Fact-Checkers. Today we analyze Ted Cruz’s claim that the IRS tax code has more words than the Bible.

Claim:

“On tax reform, we, right now, have more words in the IRS code than there are in the Bible — not a one of them as good.”

–Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), speech at International Association of Fire Fighters legislative conference, March 10, 2015

The Facts

The literally translated King James Version of the Bible contains just over 800,000 words. There are as many as 3.7 million individual words in the IRS tax code. The claim, therefore, is:

True.

That’s how you do a fact-check, Big Media.

Instead, the Washington Post Fact-Checker just did a check of Ted Cruz’s claim, and after setting forth the two facts noted above, using the exact same words (which I copied above), refused to label it true. The “fact-checkers” instead engaged in a long disquisition about whether Ted Cruz’s admittedly “technically correct” fact had any meaning. Conclusion: it doesn’t, in their opinion because derp derp derp.

Frankly, the arguments of the piece doesn’t deserve any more scrutiny than that. If you want to stop reading the post here, therefore, I won’t blame you. It is enough to note that the “derp derp” part is not the realm of a fact-checker.

But I will address some of the piece’s silly arguments in the extended entry, because they are symptomatic of what is wrong with this country and with Big Media in general.

Extended entry

The author of the piece, Michelle Ye Hee Lee, makes her main Derpy Point in these words:

But does any of this matter? Here is another, possibly more relevant, comparison. It takes an average American taxpayer 13 hours to comply with the tax code, according to the IRS. Four hours of that estimate is devoted to actually completing the forms. The rest of the time is spent on record-keeping and other miscellaneous tasks. (The Fact Checker has explored this figure in the past.)

In comparison, it takes 90 hours for a marathon reading of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, without commentary. At least that’s how long it takes for the annual U.S. Capitol Bible Reading marathon. (If you want to figure out how long it would take you to read the Bible, try this nifty “How long does it take to read the Bible” calculator.)

. . . .

We also wondered: Why does it matter to the average taxpayer that the tax code is hard to comprehend? Do Americans actually read the tax code, especially now that software programs make it easy to file taxes with a few mouse clicks?

Here we have someone pretending to be a sophisticate but actually making arguments that miss the point so badly it almost makes one weep.

Let’s start at Ms. Lee’s level of superficiality for one paragraph, and then we’ll get serious. Ms. Lee’s claim that you don’t really need to read the whole tax code to be a taxpayer misses the point that you don’t really need to read the whole Bible to be a Christian. I’d wager that many Christians would agree that the Gospel alone is all you really need — and in any event, I’d wager that a relatively small percentage of Christians have read the entire Bible. (I’d also wager that the percentage of Christians who have read the whole Bible is much, much higher than the percentage of journalists who have read the tax code!) So Ms. Lee’s statement bears the exact characteristics of what she claims about Ted Cruz’s statement: it is “technically correct but ultimately meaningless.”

But all of this really misses the main point.

The problem with the tax code, Ms. Lee, is the same problem with government laws in general: it is filled to the brim with handouts and goodies for special interests. These folks engage in a legalized form of bribery in which they hand politicians donations, and then, in a totally unrelated conversation that has nothing to do with the donation, ask for a tax break that no regular American gets — and actually obtain said tax break, but certainly not because of the donation or anything.

This process has absolutely zero to do with whether it’s hard for a taxpayer to file his own return, and everything to do with the concept of concentrated benefits and distributed costs.

It’s worth it to the company to hire a lobbyist and make hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) in donations to make sure their tax break is in the code. They receive a concentrated benefit from that tax break.

By contrast, the costs of that tax break to the individuals taxpayers is small. It costs them at most a few bucks each, meaning there is a distributed cost to the tax break. The existence of the tax break will likely never be known to voters, because it’s not worth it for the average American to scour the tax code for small and pointless (to the taxpayer) tax breaks that are handed out like candy to corporate welfare recipients. It’s not even worth it for Big Media types like Ms. Lee to do that hard work; easier to sit on her behind and write a lazy screed about Ted Cruz than to seek out political corruption.

A QUICK ASIDE: This, by the way, is why you have to buy Coke from Mexico to get tasty actual sugar in the drink. Here in the United States, sugar magnates have convinced the U.S. Government — through a careful program of persuasion, and certainly not through bribery, no sir! — to enact giant trade barriers that drive up the price of sugar. So you get that delicious and nutritious high-fructose corn syrup instead. Other countries like Mexico don’t have the same laws, and their sugar prices are more reasonable. (END QUICK ASIDE.)

Here’s another point, made by Mary Katherine Ham this morning: the cost of the tax preparation industry is huge, and a tremendous drain on society’s resources. Ham notes figures that show U.S. individuals and businesses spend 7.6 billion hours per year on tax preparation: “the equivalent of 3.8 million full-time workers.”

To a socialist nincompoop like Jeff Spross, that spells JOBS! If that sounds right to you, then go read my post about Spross — or just Google “Bastiat broken window.”

I say this as the son of a CPA: the complexity of the tax code is a net drain on American society, just as it is a drain on society when someone throws a rock through the window of a business. Sure, a complex tax code means jobs for accountants, and a rock through a window means a job for the window repair guy. But if you could reform the tax code and prevent window vandalism, then the people who must devote their lives to addressing those problems could divert their energies to something more productive that actually improves our standard of living. The business owners, instead of paying accountants and window repair guys, could expand their business capital to provide a wider range of goods or services at a lower cost.

Ms. Lee ends with this:

Cruz makes the point that tax policies need to be drastically simplified, and many Americans likely would support that sentiment. But such a crude comparison, which provides no nuance or context, doesn’t capture why the tax code has become so complex and how it affects taxpayers.

In a way, comparing the raw word count in the tax code to the text of the Bible diminishes the real frustration that taxpayers feel, and the real impact that can occur from improper tax filings. The consequences of not filing your taxes is of far bigger concern than not reading the Bible — legally speaking, anyway. We can’t speak to possible eternal damnation.

Ha, ha! That probably seems funny to Ms. Lee, who is (I confidently predict) an atheist. I’ll leave it to others to rip apart this statement on religious grounds; it suffices here to note it, and note that it is silly, and dismissive of religion.

There is no defending the complexity of the tax code. Ms. Lee simply shrugs her shoulders and shows the apathy that allows that complexity to continue.

Also, what Ted Cruz said is true.

65 Responses to “The Patterico Fact-Checker™: Ted Cruz’s claim that the IRS Tax Code Has more words than the Bible”

  1. i just printed my fedex label for my tax docs to go to my guy in california

    i already feel raped and i hate it so so so so much

    the bible says render blah blah blah

    the bible can be very glib sometimes

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  2. There are only 200,411 words in Das Kapital. (That’s for the atheists.)

    nk (dbc370)

  3. There is no better reverse barometer of who the most potent and potentially transformational Republican pols are than the Left’s attempts to destroy them. Their slander knows no boundries. And why should it when Republicans seem more than willing to buy into such transparent lies (e.g., Sarah Palin). It doesn’t help that the Republican elite does what they can to promote these attacks. Cruz has been in the line of fire for some time. Now Tom Cotton has made himself a target. The silver lining in all this is that there now appears to be a growing number of strong conservatives in the game. Kudos to the Tea Party.

    ThOR (a52560)

  4. I’m a member of Steve Forbes’ “do your taxes on a post card” school of thought.

    But I kept thinking about which words were “as good” as the other words, like Cruz said:

    amortization – not in bible.
    firmament – not in tax code.
    assets – not in bible, but “oxen” and “daughters” probably covers this.
    Methuselah – not in tax code, but “payment schedule” probably covers this.

    Fascinating topic.

    I’d wager that a relatively small percentage of Christians have read the entire Bible.

    – almost certainly true.

    The problem with the tax code, Ms. Lee, is the same problem with government laws in general: it is filled to the brim with handouts and goodies for special interests.

    – But the bible, too, gives handouts and goodies to special interests, no?

    carlitos (c24ed5)

  5. It would be interesting to hear their justification for even doing this so-called fact check, since they couldnt bring themselves to declare it true or false. Why bother, other than to engage in insipid sophistry?

    JD (86a5eb)

  6. Michelle Ye Hee Lee asks in the course of her propagandizing:

    But does any of this matter? Here is another, possibly more relevant, comparison…

    Clearly it does, or else she wouldn’t have her panties in a wad over Cruz’s factually correct statements.

    Then the dumb broad gives the game away by going off on her preferred tangent, because otherwise the proles might be tempted to commit wrongthink.

    I recall Michael Medved (I almost never listen to that guy, but I caught this as I was changing stations) talking about how he had been “fact checked.” His comments were rated as “half true.” I forget what exactly he had said, and on what topic, but he proceeded to note that the “fact checkers” concluded that every single word he had actually said was true. So why did they rate his comments only “half true.” Essentially they concluded that Medved’s comments were true as far as he went with them, but he didn’t go far enough in the “fact checkers” opinion.

    Unless conservatives add some bogus liberal counterargument to the point their making, then it doesn’t matter how true the point they’re making happens to be. The “fact checkers” will claim they’re only making half an argument, so they’re claim is only “half true.” And then the “fact checkers” proceed to make the argument all loyal Obamunists are supposed to make.

    Or, as Michelle Ye Hee Lee puts it, the other “possibly more relevant, comparison.”

    Just so the unwashed masses don’t get the wrong idea when conservatives express heretical ideas that are factually correct.

    The comments over at the WaPo are brutal, by the way.

    Steve57 (d68bce)

  7. FACT CHECK:

    “The consequences of not filing your taxes is of far bigger concern than not reading the Bible — legally speaking, anyway.”

    Technically, this is correct, but it’s a meaningless nonsense fact because I don’t like what it entails and comes from an opposing partisan. Therefore, I refuse to mark it as accurate, even though it is literally true.

    JWB (6cba10)

  8. M _ c h _l l _ Y _ H _ _ L _ _

    Pat, I’d like to buy a vowel?

    It takes 10 years to get a PhD in theology.

    Is there anyone on earth who can claim to be master of the tax code? How many years of study would that take? Forty years?
    You’d be lucky to live so long. Then, after you graduate, five years of productive government service before retirement.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  9. 4. – But the bible, too, gives handouts and goodies to special interests, no?

    carlitos (c24ed5) — 3/12/2015 @ 8:34 am

    No. But give it your best shot if you think you can make the case.

    I’m in the process of rereading the entire Bible. I’ve read it (not the KJV, the New American version) cover to cover before, and parts of it several times. I thought it was time to read the entire thing again.

    Steve57 (d68bce)

  10. R.I.P. Terry Pratchett, beloved fantasy author of the Discworld series

    Icy (a03665)

  11. Oh, no, Icy! That is a loss. He was one the great ones. The greatest of the new ones.

    nk (dbc370)

  12. I’d say that eternal life in heaven is a bigger perk than a homeowner’s exemption or a credit on buying new storm doors.

    carlitos (c24ed5)

  13. and yet we are told we must follow, the ways of a fallen world, and don’t dare teach your children about the Kingdom, because that could constitute ‘microagression’

    narciso (ee1f88)

  14. but way to miss the point again,

    narciso (ee1f88)

  15. How dare Cruz make an easily understood and impactful analogy? Let’s mock it!

    nk (dbc370)

  16. There are only 28 words in “Dick and Jane”. (That’s for Obama’s constituency.)

    nk (dbc370)

  17. this time of the year, pretty simple to get sugar’ed CocaCola in the USA.

    seeRpea (b6bbec)

  18. Hi narciso, I have no idea what “microaggression” you are referring to. You’r objection to my point – The problem with the tax code = benefits for special interests. As opposed to the bible, I presume?

    The bible grants perks to special interests:

    – Death will pass you over if you put lamb blood on your door
    – promised land to israelites
    – God sends plagues upon Egypt
    – mannah from heaven to survive in the desert
    – forgiveness of sins
    – eternal life if you accept Jesus as your lord and savior

    carlitos (c24ed5)

  19. “This process has absolutely zero to do with whether it’s hard for a taxpayer to file his own return, and everything to do with the concept of concentrated benefits and distributed costs.”

    Patterico – You are completely correct that Lee wrote a BS piece focusing on the wrong part of Cruz’s message. However, I do get conflicted when people complain about the constitutionally provided ability of people to petition their government, which is the free market in action. It happens at the local, state and federal level. Individuals, corporations and nonprofit groups can do it, but there is no guarantee of success. If you want to eliminate the practice, please feel free to amend the constitution, but in my experience, not every corporation lobbies for concentrated benefits and I’m not sure I see the connection to the increased complexity of the individual tax code.

    So on the one side you potentially advocate limiting free speech by preventing certain entities from petitioning their government for things that they want, a very non-free market thought process in my mind, but not limiting such activities results in outcomes with which you are not happy.

    How do you resolve the conflict while retaining freedom for all parties?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  20. that is not the argument, the government has become so large, in part thanks to Tommy Corcoran, that you need sherpas to navigate the Everest like tax structure,

    narciso (ee1f88)

  21. As I said above, I’m a fan of the Steve Forbes “taxes on a post card plan.” I just thought it was funny that, in a post about taxes vs. the bible, Patterico was complaining about “special interests.” The IRS can come after you hard, but they can’t turn you into a pillar of salt.

    carlitos (c24ed5)

  22. 19. Hi narciso, I have no idea what “microaggression” you are referring to. You’r objection to my point – The problem with the tax code = benefits for special interests. As opposed to the bible, I presume?

    The bible grants perks to special interests:

    – Death will pass you over if you put lamb blood on your door
    – promised land to israelites
    – God sends plagues upon Egypt
    – mannah from heaven to survive in the desert
    – forgiveness of sins
    – eternal life if you accept Jesus as your lord and savior
    carlitos (c24ed5) — 3/12/2015 @ 9:20 am

    And you still haven’t identified any carve-outs for special interests.

    Which special interest gets an exemption from the rules, which according to the Bible apply equally to everyone?

    Steve57 (d68bce)

  23. A code, any code, isn’t unjust simply because it doesn’t punish the innocent along with the guilty.

    Or conversely because it doesn’t equally reward the guilty along with the innocent.

    It’s unjust when it arbitrarily punishes some people while rewarding others for the same conduct. Which is where our tax code differs from the Bible.

    Steve57 (d68bce)

  24. There are only 200,411 words in Das Kapital.

    The tax code is an easier read.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  25. Patterico,

    I suggest you award Eeyores.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  26. “concentrated benefits and distributed costs.”

    Patterico – Do utilities lobbying against stupid administrative EPA carbon rules made bypassing Congress which require significant capital investment hence some unique pollution tax credits meets your standards for the above? In that situation I see companies attempting to avoid concentrated costs only partially offset by concentrated benefits, but costs will be distributed widely to consumers, but not through the tax code, through utility bills.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  27. bon appetit:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2015/03/12/here-are-all-400-pages-of-the-fccs-net-neutrality-rules/

    forget they don’t have the authority to do any of this;

    narciso (ee1f88)

  28. Yeah, I like the progressive idea of a tax return on a postcard, too.

    A. How much money did you make?
    B. Remit A.

    nk (dbc370)

  29. re #23: of course there is a special interest group in the Bible – the Jews! They are the chosen people. but for reward *and* punishment.
    btw: the Pascal lamb blood didn’t help if you weren’t Jewish
    forgiveness of sin (repentance) is available to all of humanity regardless of creed (‘Old Testament’ at any rate)

    seeRpea (b6bbec)

  30. the major problem with the tax code is that its purpose to raise revenues is perverted
    by the same code to affect social and economic changes.

    seeRpea (b6bbec)

  31. narciso – To whom is your #21 directed?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  32. It’s not that businesses, like people, can petition the government it’s that
    they have more money to get listened to than other people. And the changes
    that are made to help them usually make it harder or more expensive for those
    who were not listened to.

    And the reason for the size of the tax code is all the twists and turnings needed
    to afford them their carve out while maintaining a stranglehold on those who try
    to make it legitimately or who don’t have the money to be heard.

    And by the way, we aren’t taxed on income (which I define as profit from investment
    in other’s enterprise or ones own). We tax the expenditure of ones LIFE as most folks
    trade their time and energy for a salary or payment. Thus is is higher than it should
    be as NO corporation pays taxes on it’s overhead but individuals do.

    jakee308 (49ccc6)

  33. SeeRpea, it’s not like the Jews were getting any special carve-outs from the rules.

    Leviticus 18:

    24 “‘Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. 25 Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26 But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things, 27 for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. 28 And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.

    In which God warns the Jews he’ll treat them exactly like he treated the previous inhabitants of the promised land, should they act the same way.

    It’s not like the Jews got any special deals.

    Ezekiel 33:

    23 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 24 “Son of man, the people living in those ruins in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one man, yet he possessed the land. But we are many; surely the land has been given to us as our possession.’ 25 Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Since you eat meat with the blood still in it and look to your idols and shed blood, should you then possess the land? 26 You rely on your sword, you do detestable things, and each of you defiles his neighbor’s wife. Should you then possess the land?’

    27 “Say this to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: As surely as I live, those who are left in the ruins will fall by the sword, those out in the country I will give to the wild animals to be devoured, and those in strongholds and caves will die of a plague. 28 I will make the land a desolate waste, and her proud strength will come to an end, and the mountains of Israel will become desolate so that no one will cross them. 29 Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I have made the land a desolate waste because of all the detestable things they have done.’

    30 “As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord.’ 31 My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. 32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.

    33 “When all this comes true—and it surely will—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

    Steve57 (d68bce)

  34. Which special interest gets an exemption from the rules, which according to the Bible apply equally to everyone?

    Steve57 (d68bce) — 3/12/2015 @ 9:44 am

    You’re being serious? The Jews? Those who accept Jesus as their lord and savior?

    carlitos (c24ed5)

  35. Ms Ye Hee Lee’s unwillingness to unequivocally acknowledge the obvious accuracy of Ted Cruz’s factual statement is yet another example of the WaPo’s continuing prejudice against anyone who refuses to kowtow to leftist dogma. Ye Hee Lee took a cheap shot at Cruz because she knew it was what her editors expected and what the WaPo’s publisher demands, it’s another reiteration of the ghoulish politics of personal destruction the paper’s slack-jawed partisan readers expect, and it’s why anyone who respects truth and admires integrity wouldn’t spend a plugged nickle on the reprehensible rag.

    ropelight (f82839)

  36. re #34 (and #35): my bad, i saw the words “special interests” and didn’t integrate the rest of the phrase “exempted from rules”.
    The Jews are a special interest but the opposite of exempted from rules, they got tons more.

    seeRpea (b6bbec)

  37. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…
    but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

    That looks pretty inclusive to me.

    And guess what, it doesn’t matter one bit whether Steve or me or any other living person on Earth is being serious.

    All that matters is if God is serious about it,
    and you will find out.

    Hopefully you will be rejoicing when you do.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly at the moment) (deca84)

  38. Thanks for the public service Pat.
    It is sad that such a straightforward article has to draw snark.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly at the moment) (deca84)

  39. “It’s not that businesses, like people, can petition the government it’s that
    they have more money to get listened to than other people. And the changes
    that are made to help them usually make it harder or more expensive for those
    who were not listened to.”

    jake308 – I disagree. What you are suggesting is limiting forms of speech you dislike or speech from certain types of people.

    Corporations are groups of people, that’s why they make money and have profits to spend on lobbying. Enviro wacko groups are collections of individuals who banded together and have enough members and money that people pay attention to them. Individuals certainly can lobby too. When I spent a summer interning for my congressman in Washington there were always calls from certain individuals he would take.

    If you have a proposal for limiting speech to government officials, please throw it out there.

    And the reason for the size of the tax code is all the twists and turnings needed
    to afford them their carve out while maintaining a stranglehold on those who try
    to make it legitimately or who don’t have the money to be heard.

    I think the size is largely because stuff keeps getting added, but nothing gets deleted.

    And by the way, we aren’t taxed on income (which I define as profit from investment
    in other’s enterprise or ones own). We tax the expenditure of ones LIFE as most folks
    trade their time and energy for a salary or payment. Thus is is higher than it should
    be as NO corporation pays taxes on it’s overhead but individuals do.

    I am certainly taxed on my profits from investment in the businesses of others, jake308. I have no idea what you are talking about here.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  40. 35.

    Which special interest gets an exemption from the rules, which according to the Bible apply equally to everyone?

    Steve57 (d68bce) — 3/12/2015 @ 9:44 am

    You’re being serious? The Jews? Those who accept Jesus as their lord and savior?
    carlitos (c24ed5) — 3/12/2015 @ 10:22 am

    That’s like saying people who drive within the speed limit are a special interest that get an exemption from traffic fines.

    Oddly enough, your misconception that the Jews get a special exemption from the rules (which only applied in full to Jews !!?!?!?!) is the same misconception that Muslims have. The entire religion is built on misunderstanding the previous revelations, that Muhammad amusingly claims correct.

    Steve57 (d68bce)

  41. Consequently Muslims are a special interest group that get a special exemption from the laws of Allah.

    http://www.sunnah.com/muslim/50

    Sahih Muslim: The Book of Repentance

    Abu Musa’ reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:

    When it will be the Day of Resurrection Allah would deliver to every Muslim a Jew or a Christian and say: That is your rescue from Hell-Fire.

    Reference : Sahih Muslim 2767 a
    In-book reference : Book 50, Hadith 57
    USC-MSA web (English) reference : Book 37, Hadith 6665
    (deprecated numbering scheme)

    Abu Burda reported on the authority of his father that Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) said:
    No Muslim would die but Allah would admit in his stead a Jew or a Christian in Hell-Fire. ‘Umar b. Abd al-‘Aziz took an oath: By One besides Whom there is no god but He, thrice that his father had narrated that to him from Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ).

    Reference : Sahih Muslim 2767 b
    In-book reference : Book 50, Hadith 58
    USC-MSA web (English) reference : Book 37, Hadith 6666
    (deprecated numbering scheme)

    Abu Burda reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:
    There would come people amongst the Muslims on the Day of Resurrection with as heavy sins as a mountain, and Allah would forgive them and He would place in their stead the Jews and the Christians. (As far as I think), Abu Raub said: I do not know as to who is in doubt. Abu Burda said: I narrated it to ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, whereupon he said: Was it your father who narrated it to you from Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ)? I said: Yes.

    Reference : Sahih Muslim 2767 d
    In-book reference : Book 50, Hadith 60
    USC-MSA web (English) reference : Book 37, Hadith 6668
    (deprecated numbering scheme)

    That’s what an exemption looks like. Allah will arbitrarily hold people accountable or not, depending on his whims.

    Like you, carlitos, the Muslims hadn’t read the Bible, either. So they thought Yahweh was giving the Jews a free pass simply for being Jews. So whoever wrote the Quran gave that special deal to the Muslims.

    But if you can cite a biblical passage that says Jews will get a special deal, then please do.

    Hint: you won’t find one.

    Romans 2:

    12 For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; 13 for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

    17 But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God, 18 and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, 21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? 24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” just as it is written.

    25 For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

    Steve57 (d68bce)

  42. @Steve57:Which special interest gets an exemption from the rules, which according to the Bible apply equally to everyone?

    Non-Jews. They don’t have to follow the rules that Jews do. They only have to follow the seven Noachic commandments.

    Gabriel Hanna (64d4e1)

  43. The WaPo “factchecker” seems to feel she has the same accountability to readers as the IRS thinks it has to American taxpayers… in a word, none.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  44. But, but…

    chosen people!

    But, but…

    promised land!

    Ted Cruz! Bibi disrespecting Obama! Pinocchio!

    Arrrrghhh!

    http://www.postlibrary.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/scream.jpg

    (carlitos confronts the Bible)

    Steve57 (d68bce)

  45. “What you are suggesting is limiting forms of speech you dislike or speech from certain types of people.”
    Dalyrocks:

    Where in what I said did I suggest limiting anyone’s forms of speech?

    I only stated the reason for the problem; (tax rule bloat) and I stated facts (there’s also rules added by politicians to pander to certain other groups who provide votes).

    Please don’t say I said something because that’s what you want to hear people say.

    jakee308 (49ccc6)

  46. “Please don’t say I said something because that’s what you want to hear people say.”

    jake308 – My mistake. I thought you were suggesting that there was a problem and that a potential solution indicated limitations.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  47. Why does Ms. Lee feel the need to go after Sen. Cruz’s simple statement? Could it be she believes government has and should replace God? This is a good example of the culture war and what advantage the left had until along came the Internet. Thanks Patterico for starting this great thread. Great posts too.

    AZ Bob (c8f5ae)

  48. Talk about your apples-to-bowling-balls comparisons.

    Sometimes I feel about the Democrats like I feel about the people who lived in the MGM version of Dorothy’s Kansas. Some of them are nice, some of them are nasty. But none of them sees any color at all — and none of them even knows enough to miss it. So they go on being nice or nasty, growing corn or teaching school or selling patent medicines in black and white. And if you asked one of them, “Hey, what color is that pumpkin over there?” he or she would stare back at you blankly, as if you’d been speaking Tralfamadorian.

    The Dems in our world do see things in color. What the Dems in our world can’t see is the truth — no more than Auntie Em could see that Dorothy’s slippers were ruby-red. The Dems can’t tell when the truth is present; they can’t tell when the truth is gone. They don’t even know what you or I are talking about when we use the words “true” or “truth” or “truthful.”

    That’s why they’re shameless liars. That’s why their arguments are filled with spectacular non sequiturs.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  49. By the way, I understand that Google and Microsoft have just fired every living soul in each of their respective online security/privacy units. Symantec is self-liquidating at fractions of a penny on the dollar, as is virtually every other cyber-security business.

    No need for them anymore — not since we learned from Hillary that the Secret Service can replace them all, simply by guarding the premises on which the servers are located.

    This should free up enough capital to pay for President Hillary’s AmWorks program.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  50. I read the entire Bible (KJV) in the early 1960s. Have not read it in its entirety since. Bits of it, yes; I prefer the Oxford/Cambridge translations, either the NEB or REB.

    Laozi’s Tao Te Ching has 7154 words (well, actually a few less, I pasted this translation into Open Office Writer : http://www.taoism.net/ttc/complete.htm .)

    There is too much tax code to be obeyed.

    htom (4ca1fa)

  51. “Sometimes I feel about the Democrats like I feel about the people who lived in the MGM version of Dorothy’s Kansas. Some of them are nice, some of them are nasty. But none of them sees any color at all — and none of them even knows enough to miss it. So they go on being nice or nasty, growing corn or teaching school or selling patent medicines in black and white. And if you asked one of them, “Hey, what color is that pumpkin over there?” he or she would stare back at you blankly, as if you’d been speaking Tralfamadorian.”

    – Beldar

    I think the Dems go around seeing everything in gray – it’s Republicans who go around seeing everything in black and white.

    Leviticus (f9a067)

  52. yo listen up here’s a story about a little guy that lives in a blue world

    and all day

    and all night

    and everything he sees

    is just blue like him inside and outside

    happyfeet (831175)

  53. plus also yellow is involved

    happyfeet (831175)

  54. But does any of this matter?

    Hmmm, seems like I’ve heard that before..but where? No, no, not those exact words but darn close. It’s like it was the Secretary of..something or other trying to… Oh, drat. It’s on the tip of my tongue. Well, I’m sure I’ll remember it as soon as I post this…

    J.P. (cc46f4)

  55. re #55:

    But does any of this matter?

    Hmmm, seems like I’ve heard that before..but where? No, no, not those exact words but darn close. It’s like it was the Secretary of..something or other trying to… Oh, drat. It’s on the tip of my tongue. Well, I’m sure I’ll remember it as soon as I post this…
    J.P. (cc46f4)

    It is a line in the song ‘Dear G-d’ by Being as an Ocean

    seeRpea (b6bbec)

  56. happyfeet, in that blue world there are literally krillions of krill, and all but one will end up being nothing but a huge whale’s dinner. Well, maybe a couple of whales. The Clinton whale had his feast, Obola has been gorging on the protein (and Omega-3,) but without his teleprompter, he is presently diving way beyond his depth; and dive-master Kerry earned his certificate by mail from a Nicaraguan PO box and hasn’t demonstrated any aptitude for the needed rescue. The rumor of a third whale is premature.

    bobathome (ef0d3a)

  57. There is too much tax code to be obeyed.

    htom (4ca1fa) — 3/12/2015 @ 3:59 pm

    Which is the point.

    kishnevi (91d5c6)

  58. 58. There is too much tax code to be obeyed.

    htom (4ca1fa) — 3/12/2015 @ 3:59 pm

    Which is the point.

    kishnevi (91d5c6) — 3/12/2015 @ 7:10 pm

    In dictatorships the system is set up so the government has some dirt on everybody. In Cuba, unless you’re in the party elite or a foreigner, the only way to get medicine is to go on the black market. Chicken is allowed but so rarely it’s a luxury item. Beef, lobster, cheese, and shrimp are for tourists only. They have checkpoints on the roads, and will stop city buses, and search vehicles and people’s persons and bags for contraband such as the wrong kind of food.

    Then they own you . They own nearly everyone, since it’s a total surveillance police state and it’s impossible to survive within the legal limits of the maximum wage of $20/mo. and the food provided on your ration card.

    And in the US we have the tax code…

    Steve57 (d68bce)

  59. carlitos wrote:

    The IRS can come after you hard, but they can’t turn you into a pillar of salt.

    Given that they seem to think they can get blood from a stone, don’t be certain that they wouldn’t try!

    The taxpayer Dana (f6a568)

  60. I should have pointed out, this is another series of nakaz, (Czarist edicts) we will be expected to obey.

    narciso (ee1f88)

  61. #60

    I’ve had my bank account turned into a pillar of salt when I was doing a job with a single address that later turned into multiple addresses andI didn’t allocate expenses properly across them, or so they said using their interpretation of the code. My appeal was denied, and my bank account was preemptively exterminated and replaced with a bitter salt taste. A miracle really, since you normally can’t taste a bank account.

    The IRS can sit in your bank account and monitor activity without a warrant which God can also do if he wants.

    I think the render unto Caesar lesson for today is that refusing to pay taxes isn’t worth it.

    Jesus also did not organize his ministry as a 501(c)3 so all your donations are not deductible

    Not the IRS, but the Bible consistently runs afoul of the NLRB. Leaving aside admonitions on how to beat a slave, I wonder if the government would sanction an employer that decided that since he is the boss he can pay anyone whatever he wants?

    steveg (794291)

  62. God is rough on investors who do not risk to earn a return. The IRS is rough on those that do

    steveg (794291)

  63. steveg (794291) — 3/14/2015 @ 12:06 pm

    That was a great comment, Steveg.

    felipe (56556d)

  64. 64. steveg (794291) — 3/14/2015 @ 12:06 pm

    That was a great comment, Steveg.

    felipe (56556d) — 3/14/2015 @ 12:28 pm

    Whereas I’ve been taking an approach that requires a felling axe, the man brings a scalpel and cuts right to the heart of the matter.

    Well done, sir.

    Steve57 (d68bce)


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