Saturday, December 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Hart: The moral question behind high taxes

By
From page A2 | October 02, 2012 |

The White House website says this in explaining the “Buffett Rule,” an initiative that would obligate anyone making at least $1 million a year to an effective tax rate of at least 30 percent:

“Anyone who does well for themselves should do their fair share in return, so that more people have the opportunity to get ahead — not just a few.”

But in 2009, the top 10 percent of income earners paid 71 percent of all federal income taxes paid, even though they earned 43 percent of all the income earned. The bottom half paid 2 percent of all federal income taxes, even though they earned 13 percent of all the income. (This according to the Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington.)

That all sounds more than a little unfair to the folks whose wealth is driving our economy and creating jobs and income. But it’s not just that the Buffet Rule itself is unfair, or even that it wouldn’t work. The wealthy aren’t wealthy because they are stupid, they will figure out ways to avoid the higher tax rates, and thank goodness: Historically, lower tax rates lead to more federal revenues and higher tax rates to less.

Most of the arguments around progressive tax plans tend to focus on such things — who really pays the most taxes, would they really work to bring in more money, what would they do to the economy and so on. These are important questions, but not the most important ones.

There is another question that is not routinely asked, and I wish Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and others would start asking it: Why is it that many so-called progressive folks denounce the right of people to spend their own money as they see fit, but think it’s OK to take that money from its owners and spend it as they — the progressives — see fit?

Isn’t that really at the core of so much of our political debates today? Think about it. The same people who clamor for ever higher and more “fair” tax rates on the so-called wealthy are demanding that these folks pay more taxes because it’s somehow morally wrong for them to keep a significant percentage of their own money. But those very same progressives somehow think it’s “moral” to take the money of the wealthy to spend as they — the progressives — see fit on their own government projects.

How can that be?

I’m not against people being obligated to pay taxes. (Though I’d prefer a flat income tax or consumption-based tax.) I think that one can make the case that we, as a free people, have to support the government we hire.

But that’s the point. Such an orientation recognizes that wealth actually belongs to those who create it. Within that moral framework, we can then argue about the most productive and, I would suggest, the lowest tax rates possible.

Look, I served on the Reagan White House staff, and for a long time I was passionate about politics. But as regular readers may know, in recent years my focus has become less about politics and more about family and culture and community.

Well, it seems to me that is exactly how this tax issue should be understood.

It’s not just an election-year issue. These days, it seems that government is understood as having first dibs on our productivity. It’s a profoundly moral question to ask: Why?

(Betsy Hart’s latest book is “From The Hart: A Collection of Favorite Columns on Love, Loss, Marriage (and Other Extreme Sports).” Reach her through hartmailbox-mycolumn@yahoo.com. For more stories, visit scrippsnews.com.)

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Creche collection grows in size, popularity

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Handmade Christmas display is man’s labor of love

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
 
Company competition a big win for charity

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Meeting a great role model at any age

By Murray Bass | From Page: B5

Fairfield police log: Dec. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: Dec. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Weather for Dec. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

 
.

US / World

Notorious California graffiti suspect arrested

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Island park in San Francisco Bay closed for weekend

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

No harm caused by flames at Northern California refinery

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Wetter than usual start to new year in California predicted

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Hospital to pay $2.2M to settle false claims

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Napolitano named as UC public policy professor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Man shocked 20 times during jail booking sues

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Animal rights activists take California rodeo to court

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

California’s bullet train settles 1 of 7 lawsuits

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Tuskegee Airman Lowell Steward dies in California at 95

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Driver pleads not guilty in pedestrian deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Bush officials gave CIA wide latitude

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Theater shooter’s parents plead for his life

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Obama says North Korea hacked Sony, vows response

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

AP Interview: Coelho says Sony hack threatens all

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
5 ways to make your email safer in case of a hack attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Celebrities react to latest Sony hack developments

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
2012 movie massacre hung over ‘Interview’ decision

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Sony on shelving ‘The Interview': ‘We had no choice’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Lava could reach Hawaii shopping center in 8 days

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Jury rules for Indiana woman in firing over IVF

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Bergdahl investigation wraps up; top leaders get briefings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Texas eatery worker gets mink coat from customer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Sugarland, promoter settle with state fair victims

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

NY police officer suspended after videotaped punch

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Prepackaged caramel apples linked to 4 deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Supreme Court won’t stop gay marriages in Florida

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Staples: Customer data exposed in security breach

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Australian woman arrested in deaths of 8 children

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Israel carries out airstrike on Hamas site in Gaza

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Pakistan executes militants and bombards tribal areas

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Franciscan religious order in ‘grave’ financial crisis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

.

Opinion

Yes, Virginia, the Santa wish list has gone digital

By Petula Dvorak | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
If you want to help the poor, fix the safety net

By Jim Tankersley | From Page: A8

.

Living

Community Calendar: Dec. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Dec. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Pampered pets that don duds move to the mainstream

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Dec. 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B11

Children from wife’s first marriage put father’s ashes in coffin

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B11

 
.

Entertainment

More than 4 million people watched 1st dog telethon

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Kim Jong Un game spoof ‘Glorious Leader!’ moving forward

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Marathon bombing survivor in ‘Yes to Dress’ finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Kid Rock to perform pre-race concert at Daytona 500

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Actor Stephen Collins denies he’s a pedophile in interview

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
.

Sports

Dodge, Vaca grad Mason lead Southern Oregon to NAIA title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raiders haven’t needed much from Janikowski

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
AP sources: Peavy agrees on $24M, 2-year deal with Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Dodgers end Yanks’ payroll streak, owe most tax

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
FIFA will not reopen 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Howe’s family reports rapid improvement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
2 Armstrong associates settle lawsuit with Landis

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Rays, Padres, Nats complete 11-player trade involving Myers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Vanden girls open Nike TOC with win on Arizona

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Things to know about Friday’s baseball news

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rookie receivers making their mark in NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Former boxing champ Ernie Terrell dies at 75

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Gold medalist Phelps pleads guilty to DUI, avoids jail time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Cal men beat Eastern Washington 78-67 for seventh straight win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
CIF football bowl games headed to Sacramento

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B3

This date in sports history for Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

California unemployment rate dips to 7.2 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Chrysler gives in to gov’t, expands air bag recall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

T-Mobile paying at least $90M for unwanted services

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
EPA sets first national standard for coal waste

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Sales for holiday shopping season comes down to the wire

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Dominic C. Scolaro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Marian Kay Zutz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Judy Zamora Rogers

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
.

Home Seller 12/20/14

Real estate transactions for Dec. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2

Ask a Designer: decorating with Christmas trees

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2