October 30, 2014

Chris Banescu: Bishop Savas is Wrong on Taxes on the Poor and the Rich

Chris Banescu corrects some bad math and sloppy assertions.

Source: A Voice in the Wilderness | Chris Banescu

Bp. Savas (GOA)Bishop Savas (Zembillas), GOA’s Director of the Office of Church and Society, has launched into yet another missive against conservatives whom he frequently condemns of hating the poor and only protecting the rich. On his facebook page, the main venue where one can find the bishop’s real views and interests, he recently posted a blame Republicans editorial from The New York Times titled “The New Resentment of the Poor.” Apparently forgetting that envy is a sin and truth-telling a virtue, Bishop Savas highlights his class-warfare passions in several false claims he posted in the discussions related to the NYT article.
 
This is not the first time Bishop Savas has posted such biased hit pieces on his Facebook wall. He has a long history of supporting pro-Democrat and anti-Republican views via his many postings of overwhelmingly liberal and leftist-leaning commentary from NPR and The New York Times, his favorite sources of “balanced and objective” news and views. However, this latest editorial further showcases his superficial and misinformed thinking on taxation via several outlandish statements that distort the truth and advance a leftist/progressive agenda.

Falsehood #1 – Employee Social Security and Medicare Tax Rates
In the comments section below The New York Times editorial link, Bishop Savas makes this claim (emphasis mine):

“even those who don’t pay federal income tax pay 16% of their total income on taxes. A person making $30,000 pays around $5,000.”

What he calls “total income on taxes” are the combined Social Security and Medicare taxes that individuals must pay to the federal government (in addition to federal and state income taxes). These are taxes that are automatically deducted by employers from their employees’ payroll checks. Based on the numbers he cited, employed individuals would pay a 16.7% ($5,000 divided by $30,000) combined Social Security and Medicare tax rate on income. Unfortunately, the bishop’s assertion is wildly inaccurate. He’s not just wrong by a few percentage points, but off by more than 100%.

According to federal government guidelines, by law employees are required to pay a 6.2% Social Security tax and a 1.45% Medicare tax on their earnings. This means that employed individuals must pay a combined SS/Medicare tax of 7.65% on their income. The employer must also match those taxes and pay an additional 7.65% of the employee’s salary directly to the federal government. Those additional taxes are paid by the employer only and are not deducted from the employee’s earnings.

Relying on some simple web research and basic math, we arrive at $2,295 per year of Social Security and Medicare taxes that employees earning $30,000 per year actually pay (nowhere near the $5,000 alleged). The matching $2,295 in SS/Medicare taxes are paid solely by an employer from his own earnings, not the employee’s pocket. This means that Bishop Savas’ erroneous example exaggerates these taxes by nearly 218%, asserting a fictional 16.7% vs. an actual 7.65% tax rate; a percentage two times bigger than reality.

Falsehood #2 – Viacom CEO Salary for 2010
The second falsehood from Bishop Savas, in the same facebook section, focuses on the 2010 salary of Viacom’s CEO (emphasis mine):

“The CEO of Viacom made $754,000,000 last year – around $2,000,000 a day, give or take. What percentage do you think he owes in taxes?

Such an enormous salary, nearly 3/4 of a billion dollars, for just one year’s worth of work is indeed shocking. The problem is that it’s not true. The assertion is meant to scandalize the reader and justify resentment of the other. It’s an audacious condemnation in support of the same liberal/leftist bias seen in the NYT article posted on his facebook wall. Bishop Savas is shamelessly distorting the facts.

A quick search on Google reveals the truth regarding the actual compensation that Mr. Phillippe Dauman, the CEO of Viacom, was awarded last year. As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

“Viacom Inc. Chief Executive Philippe Dauman was awarded salary, stock and other benefits totaling $84.5 million during the nine months of 2010 that were covered in Viacom’s fiscal year.

That amount included one-time stock award worth $31.65 million — money that was not paid to Dauman in 2010 but will vest over the next five years if the company achieves certain performance goals. The grant was bestowed on Dauman as a signing bonus in April after he extended his employment contract six and a half years.”

Notice immediately that the 2010 “awarded salary, stock and other benefits” is orders of magnitude smaller than the bishop’s imaginary amount. It is only $84.5 million vs. $754 million. Notice also, that a large portion of that salary, $31.65 million in fact, is deemed as “one-time stock award”; it hasn’t been paid to Mr. Dauman yet. That amount will vest over the next five years if the company meets very specific performance guidelines. He will only receive that compensation in the future if he fulfills the goals identified in his 5-year contract with Viacom.

The money Mr. Dauman was actually paid in 2010 is probably closer to $52.85 million. That’s indeed a nice chunk of change. But, it’s a whopping 1,427% smaller than what Bishops Savas said it was. That’s quite a discrepancy! Yes, we’re still talking about large amounts of money, but why the need for such ludicrous embellishment?

Even assuming a very superficial reading of the LA Times piece and using the $84.5 million compensation number, still leaves us with a 892% exaggeration of the facts. Is the desire to justify a viewpoint and promote an agenda so powerful that accuracy and truth no longer matter?

Falsehood #3 – Total Income Tax Rates on the Rich
Bishop Savas also erroneously assumes that someone earning $754 million per year would only pay $250 million in taxes:

“The CEO of Viacom made $754,000,000 last year – around $2,000,000 a day, give or take. What percentage do you think he owes in taxes? Say, for the sake of argument, he pays back $250,000,000. That would leave him with only a little more than half a billion dollars. Who would have made the greater sacrifice, him or the guy who paid $5,000 out of his $30k? Who is likely to have felt it more?”

Using his numbers gives the impression that a rich CEO pays only 33.1% in income taxes, allowing him to keep 66.9% of what he earned. This is also not true.

First of all, the marginal Federal Income Tax rate is currently 35% for anyone earning more than $379,150 per year (cut-off was $373,650 in 2010). Right away, the bishop’s math is off by almost 2%. [NOTE – the federal tax rates are less for the first $379,150 earned, but for practical purposes when dealing with millions in income the effective rate approaches 35%.]

Second of all, Bishop Savas conveniently leaves out an additional 1.45% Medicare tax that the federal government imposes on all income earned. This raises the federal tax to 36.45%. And we’re not done yet. State incomes taxes must also be paid.

Assuming that Mr. Phillippe Dauman is a resident of New York (a fair assumption since the corporate headquarters of Viacom Inc. are in New York City), he must also pay state and local income taxes due each year. A brief overview of New York’s state tax laws by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation reveals a tax rate of 8.97% on all income over $500K per year. We’ll round that out to 8.9% for simplicity and to account for the slightly smaller tax rates bellow the half million dollar mark.

Adding the 8.9% NY state tax rate to the 36.45% Federal tax rate brings the Total Tax Rate to 45.35%, roughly 37% larger than Bishop Savas asserts. Had Mr. Dauman actually earned $754 million for 2010, the IRS and New York State authorities would have appropriated about $342 million of that money (almost half), not $250 million (only a third) as claimed.

The reality is that New York taxpayers in the highest income brackets keep just 54.65% of what they actually earn each year. This is significantly less than the fictional 66.9% asserted by Bishop Savas. Nearly half of what the rich earn is confiscated and redistributed by the government. What’s wrong with sticking with the facts?

Better Silence Than Foolishness
As Abraham Lincoln once observed, it is often “better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” A little moderation would be wise before stepping into the public arena and proclaiming such whoppers. This is especially egregious given that the truth is just a few keystrokes away, discoverable via a few Google searches and some basic math.

It’s been said that economists should not do religion. Maybe religious figures should not do economics.

Comments

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    John Carter says:

    You should have remained silent.

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    Neil Dingman says:

    I guess, Mr. Banescu was having a hard time coming up with an original article and topic. So he decided to troll Facebook news feeds. AOI has been focused on publishing Facebook conversations instead of focusing on edifying and inspiring articles, lately. They both have helped turn my friends away from the Orthodox Faith after reading their recent articles.

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      Fr. Johannes Jacobse says:

      You posted this on FB too so I’ll just copy my response:

      Neil, its the other way around. FB publishes AOI articles. The only exception was the Facebook listening group series but that’s because they were representing things about the Orthodox moral tradition that were not true. If they had not used “Orthodox” in the title or asserted that the Orthodox tradition is silent on matters of sexuality, I would have ignored it.

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    Maxim says:

    John must be one of those leftist/progressives, because the facts just got in the way of his wishful thinking. This is a prime example of the leftist/ progressives. The facts don’t matter. Their idea of a “utopian” society MUST be created at ANY costs.

    This was an excellent article and as they say: brevity is the soul of wit.

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    Joseph Baxter says:

    Bravo, Chris! I must confess that I have FAR less patience than you in dealing with Bp. Savas and his Facebook Echo Chamber. I finally had to “unfriend” him because it was clear that he had no interest in facts or answering salient questions about his opinions vis-a-vis his position as a hierarch. Doesn’t scripture advise us on how to deal with those who unreasonable? Something about letting them be?

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    Helga says:

    Chris, don’t take this the wrong way, but did you attend the Mark Stokoe School of Ecclesiastical Journalism?

    You could have made your point without words like “falsehood” and “conveniently”.

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    Dominic says:

    I have been reading AOI for quite some time now, and I tend to agree with the positions of most of its featured articles: it has stood in the face of much social corruption and has appropriately paraded what is Christian. But, seemingly recently, many of the articles sound too much like personal attacks or just poor mannered. I have specifically noted that the amount of sarcasm used has been ‘sky-high’ in comments and articles, and it makes reading quite difficult. If the truth can be proclaimed staunchly without the smears of attacking an opposing view using afew straw men and sarcasm–especially when not necessary–then I can start seeing AOI as more agreeable again. Maybe politics are getting to us all–even I can’t seem to keep a straight head on anymore. I’m not trying to stir trouble, but these are just things I have noticed. Thanks.

    Dom

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    John Carter says:

    Brevity is good. Silence is better.

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    John Carter says:

    There is a place for talkativeness and a place for silence. I wonder if this note above to which we are presumably responding is the sort of note that one would offer up to God as an offering of work this day. Does it manifest thankfulness and praise to God? Looking at the outline form above, I see 1, 2, 3 direct accusations of lying against a bishop of the Church. I see a conclusion from the author that this same bishop is a fool. It is certainly not my place to offer a rebuke but I offer a reflection of the author’s own words. I offer a prayer to the most holy Theotokos that she assist us to see Christ amongst us that we may be restored to ourselves.

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    John Panos says:

    Holy Cow!

    You’d think a layman, intelligent and knowledgeable, who corrects a bishop publicly because his fellow bishops are too uninterested or incapable to correct him (or worse, agree with him), would be worthy of praise from fellow churchmen.

    When a successor to the Apostles starts publicly bearing false witness, (and that is what this is) with no shame whatsoever – well, it is the job of the laity to say so. Bishops are thick as thieves, they won’t do anything. Priests – if they dare speak even in the most loving and respectful terms, know that blackballing by bishops is real, and they will be hung out to dry in limbo, unassigned and unable to fulfill their vocations. Maybe unable to support their families.

    Instead of dressing down the corrector, why don’t concerned laity contact the bishop offender, with love, and ask him to correct his errors – and to stop making polarizing statements which are patently false, and ideologically promoting class warfare in the public arena.

    After all, we DO tax the rich. A lot. My concern is the level of ‘rich’ which they believe need more taxes, while providing food, shelter, clothing and medical benefits to healthy non-workers who have no intention of working. The super-rich will always find a way out of paying taxes. The regular ‘rich’ which the left is constantly blaming for everything (anyone not on minimum wage) have no such recourse.

    As for Chris – may God send us 100 more like you. Well done.

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    macedonia74 says:

    Why would someone question whether Chris is being silent or not, and what does that silence have to do with what was written above? As far as I am concerned, Chris’s silence is not mine to judge. However, refuting a Bishop (or anyone else for that matter) who is commenting on politics (not ascetics), is absolutely mine to judge for it affects the future livelihood of my son and the ministry of Christ’s Church. Bishop Savas’ politics are plain wrong and he should be told over and over again that the political agenda he supports is mainly touted by politicians who support other positions that cut straight through the traditions, doctrines, and theology of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

    Having said this. Bishop Savas still looks like a very approachable and pastoral Bishop that could do much good. He just needs to fine tune his political agenda to that of truth and not of cultural comfort. How is this for being silent?

    Peace

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    John Carter says:

    You have removed all doubt. :)

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    cynthia curran says:

    Well, I would make a distinction between the real wealthy who are able to put thier income into trust, or offshore. Now, Soros does a lot of business in the Caribbeans to avoid taxes. Now the fellow between 250.000 to about a million really does pay all those taxes but multimillionaires or billionaires can hire accountants to get around it. Personality, just taxing the rich doesn’t bring in enough income anyways.

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      Joseph Baxter says:

      Cynthia,
      I’d invite you to consider that whether one is a billionaire, a man of modest means like me, or some college kid working part time, we all do the same thing in April: we avoid as much tax as the (incomprehensible, tortuous, maddening) tax code permits. Tax avoidance is the intent of all those “loopholes” in the law. I don’t know of anyone who pays more tax than is required by law because only a fool renders unto Caesar more than Caesar demands.

      My point here is that we ought not to criticize and condemn the wealthy among us for avoiding taxes. (Cheating on one’s taxes is another matter.) I deduct mortgage interest, itemize obsessively, put away as much as the law (and sanity) will permit to defer taxes, and generally do everything the code will permit to get my tax bill as close to zero as possible. Whether its me or Warren Buffett, its all the same thing: lay the responsibility at the feet of Congress… and ultimately right back at the People for demanding/permitting the Congress to have constructed this mess.

      You don’t need an PhD in theoretical mathematics from MIT, an MBA from Wharton, a BS in math from Harvard, or even so much as a Associate’s from the local community college to work out this problem. I’ll go so far as to say that your average high school freshman armed with the basic skills of a consumer math class could work this out: Everyone — and I mean everyone — who earns a dollar or more is taxed at 10% (or whatever the required percentage is to fund the government). Everyone must have “skin in the game” as our fearless leader puts it. No deductions. No deferred tax. No exemptions. Nada. Zip. Zero.

      I think that if all of us — rich, poor, and in-between — were equally vested in what Uncle Sugar takes and redistributes every year there’d be a great deal more consideration of what candidates promise not to spend rather than on how much of the bacon they’ll bring back.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    OK, when someone stands up and proclaims the truth of Holy Tradition and homosexual activity is not on a moral par with normal sex, every statement they make is closely examined for bias, falsehood, prejudice and unfairness (bishop, priest of lay person).

    So where is the consistency. Bishop Savas has taken a number of positions in recent years that can be described in no other manner than ideologically leftist. That is his bias. It is perfectly appropriate to point this out. Since his bias carries with it a condemnatory sub-text for all who don’t agree with him it is appropriate to call him out personally for any falsehood, illogical and ideological bias his statements contain.

    I see nothing in Chris’s words that are demaining to Bp Savas as a person or as a bishop, even less to the office he holds.

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      Helga says:

      Michael, regardless of how Bishop Savas treats those who disagree with him on certain issues, I found the tone of this posting offensive and inappropriate. I am not disputing the factual analysis, which appear to be accurate as far as I can tell. But frankly, it read like a lot of the recent poor treatment of Metropolitan Jonah on OCANews, only with a different target.

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        Michael Bauman says:

        Helga,
        Chris’s statments and Stokoe’s are alike if one ignores all the facts and situations involved:

        the big difference is that Chris pointed to very specific statements that Bp Savas has made in a public arena outside the scope of his episcopal duties. The accusations against Met. Jonah were about private even confidential statements illicitly obtained combined with a whole bunch of ‘writing to silence’ speculation about the administration of the Church. Even if Stokoe and the others disagree with Met. Jonah on the Manhattan Declaration, they’ve never really come out and criticized him for specific errors or any violation of the Church’s teaching. The reasons for opposition to Met. Jonah have always been vague, unfocused and seem to change repeatedly.

        Chris has never hidden his point of view. He is open about his experential bias and is quite knowlegeable about economics. Stokoe hides behind a cloak of false objectivity presenting himself as an un-biased truth seeker. His actual credentials to make the criticisms he makes seem to be more that he knows secrets than anything else.

        Bp Savas has publically aligned himself with a political idelogy which in many points is wholly at odds with the Church’s teaching. Considering how intelligent, educated and internet savy Bp Savas is and how vastly different the facts are from his statements, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that he is purposely lying about the facts to make political points. At best, he simple does not care about the facts. He wants to condemn others for not doing what he wants them to do politically. That is demogogic behavior and beneath any bishop, or should be.

        Bp Savas was, IMO, part of the Obama as savior camp at the last election. That is not acceptable, period. It is not acceptable for any bishop to praise any earthly leader in Chistological terms. To do so is verging on heresy.

        Also you must realize that Chris has experienced what happens when bishops align themselves with un-Godly political ideologies. He has seen first hand the deathly consequences for the people and the Church. Considering, he was quite temparate.

        In short, the is almost no similarity between Stokoe and Chris other than that they criticized bishops in a non-scyophantic manner.

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          macedonia74 says:

          Even if Bishop Savas’ stats and statements are correct and the economic policies of this current administration are actually righteous – no support should be given to the current President on his stance and action on abortion alone.

          One hand most certainly does not wash the other …

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          Geo Michalopulos says:

          Michael, I especially like the term Chris B uses to describe the 70-year long nightmare unleased in 1918: “The Communist Holocaust.” We’re talking 100+ million people destroyed in the name of ideology.

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          Helga says:

          Chris’s statments and Stokoe’s are alike if one ignores all the facts and situations involved

          Michael, you have an admirable grasp on the situation. It was a criticism of his style, not his substance, so ignoring the “facts and situations” was precisely what I did. That’s because Chris’s criticisms of Bishop Savas’ political views are not nearly so lacking in substance as Stokoe’s criticisms of Metropolitan Jonah. There’s no getting around the fact that His Grace was flat-out wrong about several of the numbers he cited.

          However, the stylistic similarity between this and Stokoe’s work is not something I can ignore. I think this writing style is crude and inappropriate, no matter who the target is.

          That’s not to say I agree with all of his or your conclusions, particularly where you come close to accusing Bishop Savas of heresy. I have never heard Bishop Savas personally refer to Obama in anything resembling Christological terms. If you have, I would like to see proof.

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            Michael Bauman says:

            Bp. Savas praised Obama in psalmic metaphors right after the election (http://savaonarolla.blogspot.com/2008/11/this-is-day-that-lord-has-made.html). The psalms are always interpreted as Christologic in Orthodox tradition which Bp Savas knows of course. The context was that the country would now be saved from the evil republicans and the great one Obama would lead us to the promised land. To me, that is verging toward heresy. Of course the same problem exists anytime any of us replaces the Gospel with political/economic ideology but it is a bigger problem when bishops do it.

            At the very least he is extraordinarily intemperate in his language.

            I don’t see the stylistic similarity between Chris and Stokoe either except on the most macro scale that both are critical of bishops. Stokoe’s style is sly, manipulative and fundamentally dishonest. Chris’ is none of those things. In most everything I have read that Chris has written, he is often blunt and undiplomatic. Personally I like that. It means that if I disagree with him, I can be just as blunt and undiplomatic and I don’t have to tax my brain to figure out where he stands (another difference between Chris and Stokoe).

            In short, I think your criticism is unfounded unless you simply feel that no public, direct confrontation of bishops is ever warranted.

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    Geo Michalopulos says:

    Chris, fantastic essay. Offhand, I’d say you’ve drawn some Liberal/Leftist blood, hence the screeching of Messrs Carter & Dingaman. However, getting back tot he main point (which is unarguable), since His Grace is casting stones at productive (if possibly overpaid) people, may we ask how much he and the other GOA bishops makes per year? The number that keeps making the rounds is $125,000. That’s pretty decent coin for a monk.

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      Michael Bauman says:

      George.

      I think you are wrong in your criticism of John Carter. I just think he doesn’t like to see bishops harshly criticized in a public forum. Maybe he is right?

      Question: If Bp Savas is a monk, where is his monastary and who is his spiritual father? When was the last time he was at his monastary?

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        Anestis Jordanoglou says:

        Ms. Bauman, your, mine and His Grace’s spiritual life and life in Christ will be judged by Christ at the Final Judgment, I assure you. It’s our love which will get us in.

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          Michael Bauman says:

          Anestis,

          Its Mr. Bauman and I am merely saying that if one holds oneself out as a monk then one ought to have a monastary and a spiritual father to whom one is obedient. Absent those things, one is not a monk. At best one such is a celibate.

          My bishop’s monastary is St. John the Divine in Sussex, England. His spiritual father is Archmandrite Zacharias. His assitant is also. My bishop goes to St. John at least once a year on retreat. My bishop also requires every celibate priest in his diocese to become a monk in a similar manner to protect them and their flock. Doesn’t seem too much to ask that we know these basics.

          We do violence to the monastic life if we refer to worldly celibates as monks.

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            Anestis Jordanoglou says:

            My apologies, I wasn’t reading carefully enough – some eye problems lately Mr. Bauman, of course.

            I know my share of bishops and monks too. I think it’s great that your bishop is connected to St. John the Divine. That’s terrific. My spiritual father, a bishop, is from Philotheo on Mount Athos. We couldn’t be happier.

            But what would know about Bishop Savas’ spiritual life – who are you to call him worldly? Really, what gives you the right to judge? Do you judge by Christ? By whom exactly?

            My spiritual father says that we are only as close to Christ as we are to worst enemies. He’s right.

            What do you think?

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            Geo Michalopulos says:

            Michael, we DO “do violence to the monastic life” at present here in North America, don’t we? Look at the violence being done to HB +Jonah because he is a real monk by Stokoe and his handmaidens in Syosset/MC axis.

            BTW, I’ve met HG +Basil on several occasions and am mightily impressed with him. I’m glad he takes his monastic calling seriously.

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        Geo Michalopulos says:

        All bishops are monks, at least technically. I long for the day in which they all really will be monks, either living in monasteries or in small sketes attached to their diocesan chanceries, and that their functionaries be monks and/or nuns as well.

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    Anestis Jordanoglou says:

    Don’t forget St. Clement and St. Basil

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    Dean Calvert says:

    Chris,

    GREAT analysis.

    Only the brain dead are continuing the class warfare practices of this administration, as exemplified by the bishop’s comments.

    For anyone wishing to review the data on who is paying for what, and how much, I’d invite people to visit The Heritage Foundation, which has done a great job of boiling the facts down to a simple chart book at http://www.heritage.org/BudgetChartBook/runaway-spending-tax-revenue. The bottom line is that the top 10% of earners pay 70% of the taxes. And corporate tax rates which are out of line with the rest of the world are DRIVING corporations out of this country.

    For more extensive data series, I’d also recommend the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis database at http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/ which offers over 34,000 series of information, including a very interesting comparison of this recovery to previous recoveries at http://research.stlouisfed.org/economy/us/ which shows that the current recovery is the worst on record with regard to job formation. Interestingly, this is NOT the case in the other major G8 nations (also shown in the series).

    I will leave it to you and others to determine if Bishop Savas qualifies as brain dead. But “if the shoe fits”….

    best regards,
    Dean Calvert

  17. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top

    Thank you everyone for all the support and reasoned analysis on these matters. It’s humbling to know that so many intelligent and decent Christians understand the issues at such a deep level. The moral implications of why I spoke out publicly to correct some pretty erroneous assertions were described very eloquently by Michael Bauman. He also understands the dangers and consequences of using the moral authority of the Holy Orthodox Christian Church in support of social progressive policies that merge Marxist ideas with the Christian Scriptures and use the Saints to defend communist and class-warfare (hate of other) principles . There is no justification for making up facts to give aid and comfort to one of the most evil and deadly ideologies in the history of mankind, one that has enslaved, tortured, and murdered more Orthodox Christians than any other, none. Yet, so many still fail to realize what’s going on.

    Lest we forget:

    “Bolshevism [communism] made use of everything for its own triumph. It made use of the weakness of the liberal democratic government, of the unsuitability of its watchwords to weld the insurgent masses together. … It made use of the characteristics of the Russian spirit in all its incompatibility with a secularized bourgeois society. It made use of its religious instinct, its dogmatism and maximalism, its search after social justice and the kingdom of God upon the earth, its capacity for sacrifice and the patient bearing of suffering, and also of its manifestations of coarseness and cruelty.” (Nicolas Berdyaev, The origin of Russian communism)

    Sound familiar?

    “Marx’s militant atheism requires above all a change of consciousness. Religious beliefs must be destroyed not by imprisonment and persecution but by revolutionizing thought; and this is to happen as a result of the revolutionary class war of the proletariat.”

    “Militant enlightenment [social progressivism in our age] usually assumes the form of militant atheism. Reason having mastered itself and liberated itself from the tradition in which it was shackled [Moral Tradition], set itself to oppose belief in God.” (Nicolas Berdyaev, The origin of Russian communism)

    All communist/progressive roads lead away from God and towards perdition.

  18. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Presvytera Lisa says:

    Correction: It’s St. John the Baptist in Essex, England.

  19. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Joseph Baxter says:

    re: monasticism in America — Having come into the Church via Mt. Athos and the Athonite Tradition it is very disappointing to see the thinly veiled animosity toward real monasticism here in the States. Some of our “monastics” here regard askesis as limiting their outings to the opera and wearing last year’s Prada loafers. ;)

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      John Panos says:

      Bishop Savas, as an Orthodox bishop, has, of course, taken monastic vows, but bishops do not reside in monasteries – or they would not be bishops. They would be abbots.

      One can debate whether monks with no pastoral experience are the only ‘genuine’ candidates for episcopal office – itself an economia of the Orthodox tradition (of course they aren’t), or the proper course of preparation for qualified men who have not lived in monastic isolation for decades, but a bishop is a bishop, regardless of one’s opinion of his spiritual prep or having an ‘all-star’ elder as a spiritual father.

      As for ‘urban monks’ and other absurdities, let’s hope these men will abandon the world, enter a monastery, and save their souls.

  20. Back to Recent Comments list  Back to top
    Dan Fall says:

    If Dauman paid the rate you cite in your article, or ever pays that rate on his earnings (which are ltcg designed flows), I’ll eat the paper you wrote this blog on. The bs cuts both ways sir.

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