Tuesday, September 2, 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

Labor Day not a holiday for everyone

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Labor Day breakfast introduces union-backed candidates

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Pool provides last dose of summer fun in the sun

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
SafeQuest schedules peer counseling training course

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Aug. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

VP Biden says workers deserve ‘fair share’

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

 
Obama: ‘Revving’ economy calls for higher wages

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Senegal monitors contacts of 1st Ebola patient

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
San Francisco to be 1st to test urban farming law

By The Associated Press | From Page:

GOP challenger tries novel tactics against Brown

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
US eating habits improve a bit – except among poor

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

 
No gray area: Beliefs shape views of Brown killing

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

Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Iraqi prime minister pledges to root out militants

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Poland’s PM: Ukraine’s war must be stopped now

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Pro-Russian rebels lower demands in peace talks

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

US helicopter crashes in Gulf of Aden; all rescued

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Opinion

.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 2, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
.

Entertainment

Inquiries begin into nude celebrity photo leaks

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
‘Guardians’ tops Labor Day, summer box office

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

Kirk rallies to win the Deutsche Bank

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Rockies top Giants after losing end of suspended game

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Dunn homers in 1st at-bat as A’s top Mariners

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Right guard Boone passes physical, rejoins 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Raiders name rookie Derek Carr as starting QB

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Armijo beats Vanden 2-0 to claim All-City boys soccer title

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Armed with new deal, Chiefs’ Smith looks forward

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Column: Stewart’s Chase status doesn’t matter

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Raiders ink CB Dowling, 9 others to practice squad

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Serena Williams, Djokovic roll to US Open quarters

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Houston Astros fire manager Bo Porter

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Hamels, 3 Phillies relievers no-hit Braves

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Business

Markets drift as Wall Street has day off

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Austerity debate flares as Europe recovery fades

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Civil disobedience expected in fast-food pay fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 4 Comments | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Beetle Bailey Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard of Id Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Bridge Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Blondie Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
B.C. Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Crossword Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Dilbert Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Cryptoquote Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Garfield Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Word Sleuth Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7