NPR – JACOB GOLDSTEIN – Sep 30, 2010
Taxpayers should get a receipt so they know what they’re paying for, a think tank called Third Way argues in a new paper. Go to story
excerpt from Light of the Bhagavata Verse 2:
The welfare state imposes upon its citizens scorching taxes in various forms—income tax, sales tax, land tax, terminal tax, excise tax, customs tax, and so many other taxes. But in due course, when the taxes accumulate into a large sum of money, they are utilized for the welfare of the citizens in various ways. Nonetheless, sometimes it happens that the benefits of the taxes fall like rains on stone-hearted men in the state who are unable to utilize the money properly and who squander it for sense gratification.
The common man supposes the unequal distribution of rain to represent nature’s wrath for our sinful acts. There is truth in this. Thus to have an equal distribution of state-raised taxes, the citizens need to be scrupulously honest and virtuous. They should be honest in the payment of taxes to the state and should have honest representatives to look over the administration. In the modern setup of democratic states the citizens can have no cause for grievances, because the whole administration is conducted by the people themselves. If the people themselves are dishonest, the administrative machinery must be corrupt. Although a damned government of the people may be given a good or fancy name, if the people are not good they cannot have good government, regardless of which party governs the administration. Therefore good character in the consciousness of the mass of people is the first principle necessary for a good government and equal distribution of wealth.
In ancient days the kings were taught lessons in political philosophy by ideal teachers, and the citizens from village to village were taught the principles of self-realization according to the Vedic codes for both the material and the spiritual upliftment of society. Therefore the citizens were God conscious and honest in their dealings, and the kings were responsible for the welfare of the state. The same basic principles are accepted in the democratic governments of the present day, for the irresponsible party of the people is always voted out of power and must yield to the responsible party for a better government. In the cosmic administration there is only one party, which consists of the servants of God, and the responsible deities of the various planets maintain the cosmic laws in terms of the orders of the Supreme Lord. But the people suffer on account of their own folly.
And what is that folly? In Bhagavad-gita it is said that people should perform yajñas, or sacrifices for the satisfaction of the Supreme. The Supreme is all-pervading. Therefore people must learn to perform yajñas to satisfy the all-pervading Supreme Truth. There are different yajñas prescribed for different ages, and in the present age of iron industry the yajña that enlightens the mind of the masses for God consciousness is recommended. This process of yajña is called the sankirtan-yajña, or mass agitation for invoking man’s lost spiritual consciousness. As soon as this movement is taken up through spiritual singing, dancing, and feasting, the people will automatically become obedient and honest.
Obedience is the first law of discipline. The people have become disobedient to the laws of God, and therefore neither rain nor wealth is equally distributed. A man who is ultimately disobedient cannot have any good qualifications. When disobedient leaders lead the disobedient people, the whole atmosphere of the administration becomes polluted and full of dangers, as when a blind man leads several other blind men. The state taxes, therefore, should be spent to build the character of the people in general. That will bring happiness to the citizens of the state.