Tax Cut Morality
There’s a good post by Ned Resnikoff up at Salon.com.
“The non-existent moral case for tax cuts” outlines the Tea Party and elite argument for cuts:
It goes like this: We earned this money. We deserve it. It is therefore immoral to take it from us.
Resnikoff correctly points out that the argument is silly because it is impossible to give an accurate accounting for how much of a role circumstance and environmental factors played in achieving that wealth, and how much of it was sweat equity.
The word “deserve” is extremely loaded, and eminently debatable:
When you control for environmental, genetic, social, historical, and biological factors, what differentiates my own distinguishing features from Charles Manson’s — or, for that matter, Obama’s, Palin’s, Lincoln’s or yours — is either imperceptible or completely nonexistent. And if that’s the case, I don’t see how you can argue that either of us deserve more or less than any of those people.
What this suggests to me is that the only way you can coherently argue that a person inherently deserves a certain level of privilege or material comfort is to also argue that all persons deserve it, by virtue of their personhood. We already have language to describe these things that all persons innately deserve: we call them rights.
If this is so, and I personally agree that it is, then the argument from the right is pure bluster and a manifestation of privilege.
The conclusion is one that I am also convinced of. It is, however, not a subject that you can discuss with extreme partisans:
Mostly it falls back to a question of economics: how to balance the state’s ability to provide needed services for all citizens, including its most needy, while preserving a capitalist system which rewards achievement, and therefore (one would hope) innovation, productivity and excellence.
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