Dallas, TX -- Bill Houser, 47, is one of the AIG mid-level executive who received a bonus last week. A lifelong resident of Dallas, Texas, Houser has dutifully flown home each weekend to attend church at First Baptist Church, Dallas. While there, he has joyfully double tithed on his most recent income.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, tithing is an ancient tradition practiced by the ancestors of today’s Southern Baptist. A person who tithes places 10% of their income into a “plate” at a set time on Sunday morning during a break in the worship service. The tradition has all but completely faded out in modern churches today. A double-tither is an individual who gives 20% or two times a normal tithe. There are an estimated 17 double tithers left in the world today. Houser is one of these 17.
Last Sunday, Houser dropped in an extra check for $160,000 representing 20% of his $800,000 AIG bonus that was contractually authorized to him in Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus legislation. This week, in an attempt to resolve the embarrassment of the $165 million in bonuses agreed to in the stimulus package, the legislative and executive branches of the US have racked up an estimated $212 billion in legal consultation fees, research assistants, opinion polls, television ads, new computers, copy machines, cocktail lunches and brunches, and a proposed bridge to a large “pondering platform” over the Florida Everglades.
The conclusions of their research led the House on Thursday to propose a 90% tax on the bonuses. “We’re almost where we should be,” said a hopeful Karl O’Connor, spokesman for the Marxist Society of America.
Regardless of the unbiased politics as presented here by TBNN, if the 90% tax passes, the mathematics of the situation will leave Houser with a negative net salary after tithe, not to mention state taxes.
“I never have regretted and I do not currently regret double-tithing,” said Houser. “I will continue to attempt to double-tithe on my weekly increases. If I am later robbed, I do not intend to adjust my future double-tithe.”
First Baptist Church Dallas may have a decision to make, however, if the Senate bill today eventually becomes law. A bill currently in the Senate seeks to place a 35% “eternal tax” on the bonus funds whenever they are spent, whether at a grocery store, restaurant, or to a charity as a charitable donation. In the charitable donations case, both the giver and receiver would be slated to pay an additional 35% tax on any donated funds. The “eternal tax” provision then forces the charity to apply a 35% tax to anything purchased by the charity with those funds. If the charity purchases a pool table for the fellowship hall, the pool table would be taxed 35%. In turn, the seller of the pool table would be taxed 35% when paying employees with the tainted funds, etc. etc.