Friday, August 22, 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

 
 
Chapkis Dance brings award-winning moves to Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Ducks on the pond, sturgeon in the water

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Jazz invasion Aug. 30 at performing arts center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

How I spent my summer vacation

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
 
Housing specialist to speak before Senior Rountable

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

Brown approves ‘dining with dogs’ law

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 5 Comments

 
 
Small fire takes place at Solano College

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

Fairfield police log: Aug. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Aunt of toddler killed pleads not guilty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

 
Cops greet students at school where plot thwarted

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

San Francisco to tally bird-into-window death toll

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
GPS devices find huge water loss in western US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

California plans aid to immigrant minors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
California to appeal ruling tossing death penalty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Stunt blocks traffic on Golden Gate Bridge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Bodies of 2 men found in adjacent California yards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Assembly approves greater disclosure for campaigns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
US judge strikes down Florida gay marriage ban

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Gov. Nixon taking National Guard out of Ferguson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
American Ebola doc: ‘I am thrilled to be alive’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

No bail for woman in Amish girls’ kidnapping in NY

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Lawyer: Utah restaurant had other chemical burn

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Ice bucket challenge goes awry, firefighters hurt

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Marathon bombing suspect’s friend pleads guilty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Indonesian court rejects election loser’s appeal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Liberia gives food in slum sealed to stop Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Foley case lays bare debate over paying ransom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Pentagon: Islamic State militants will regroup

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Syria opposition: Deadly chemical attack forgotten

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Russian aid convoy advances toward Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Israel kills 3 Hamas military commanders in Gaza

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Turkey’s Davutoglu named new premier

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Thai army ruler named prime minister

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Record drought saps California honey production

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment | Gallery

.

Opinion

Get it straight in Ferguson

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11, 9 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoon: Aug. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
Are America’s police over-militarized and under-accountable?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

 
Young men helped me, and I thank them

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

.

Living

Today in History: Aug. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Aug. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My whole house shakes when my new neighbors drop their barbells

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Aug. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Aug. 22-28, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
The voice-overs can’t save ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B2

Review: A sweet Moretz rescues ‘If I Stay’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Emmy hopefuls play the angles to nab trophies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Seth Meyers prizes his new role as Emmycast host

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment calendar Aug. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

‘Doctor Who’ returns with a new season on BBC America

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Julianne Hough dances back to ‘Dancing’ as judge

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Jon Hamm hopes Ferguson will come out stronger

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Fade to black: Leonard Maltin ending movie guides

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Raiders’ Woodson returning to Lambeau, faces Pack

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Local boxers make weight and are ready to fight

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Serena Williams to face Townsend in Open 1st round

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Loose sod at new Levi’s Stadium removed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Phelps back in international comp, advances in 100

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Tigers’ Price throws 1-hitter, loses to Rays 1-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Philly loses to Chicago in LLWS

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Ryu sets course record at Canadian Women’s Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
McIlroy stumbles to 74, worst start in 2 months

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Cal interim AD Williams jumps into new role

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Teams test out a new helmet, but does it work?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

Goalkeeper Tim Howard taking break from US team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Signups for Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

.

Business

Big 2015 Chevy Tahoe remains a rare breed of SUV

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
US housing recovery appears to be back on track

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Airline group forecasts uptick in Labor Day travel

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Applications for US unemployment aid fall to 298K

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

United lures top fliers with promise of a hot meal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

 
Family Dollar rejects Dollar General offer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

S&P 500 closes at a record; Hewlett-Packard gains

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Ford recalling more than 160,000 vehicles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Bank of America settlement likely to benefit few

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

George ‘Wayne’ Hause

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Sharon Ilene Boyd

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Richard Ray Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Mary Louise Loveall

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9