Eugene David
...The One-Minute Pundit

Thursday, July 28, 2011

COMMENTARY OF THE WEEK, from a professor at Duke:

On Oct. 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his "Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences" on the door of the Schlosskirche in Wittenberg. We now think of this disputation as the "95 Theses"; the main objection was the hypocrisy of selling dispensations or indulgences.

Indulgences were "get out of purgatory free!" cards. Of course, it was the church that had created the idea of purgatory in the first place. Then the church granted itself the power to release souls from purgatory (for a significant fee, of course).

As Luther put it, in his Thesis No. 27, "as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out."

Luther would not think much of our current tax system, I expect. We argue about rates, the financial equivalent of purgatory. The Republicans in Congress are prepared to sacrifice our immortal debt rating to the proposition that not one penny increase is possible, even though almost no one actually pays those rates.

The Democrats in Congress like high rates, so that they can sell indulgences. A glance at the tax code reveals that Luther's antagonist Pope Leo X was a piker; we have categories within categories within subgroups, all at different prices, deductions or exemptions that release some elites from the published tax rates....

We need a Reformation. We need a Martin Luther to speak out and tell the truth. The Catholic Church reformed itself after 15 centuries; why can't we fix our tax system?

The indulgence business is just too profitable, too useful, to the priestly classes of both parties.

We are in a religious mood today so we can only say AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMEN!

(Via The Econowiz, which came up with an apt word of its own for the debt-ceiling ritual: "Blockheaded")

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