Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Progressive Taxes are a Moral Issue

Progressive taxation—taxing the wealthy at higher rates than the poor—is a moral issue. Like many moral issues, it sparks heated debate. The debate is borne of conflicting worldviews, values, and understandings of values. But as we at the Rockridge Institute have written, when progressives understand the values and ideas that underlie their positions on issues, they can articulate arguments authentically and with greater persuasive force. These arguments will appeal to those whom we call biconceptuals—the great majority of Americans whose worldviews borrow in various ways from both progressive and conservative values.

America's government has at least two fundamental functions, protection and empowerment. Protection includes the police, firefighters, emergency services, public health, the military, and so on. Empowerment includes the infrastructure needed for business and everyday life: roads, communications systems, water supplies, public education, the banking system for loans and economic stability, the SEC for the stock market, the courts for enforcing contracts, air traffic control, support for basic science, our national parks and public buildings, and more. We are usually aware of protection. But the empowerment infrastructure, provided by taxes, is usually taken for granted, hidden, or ignored. Yet it is absolutely crucial, a fundamental truth about America and why America provides opportunity.

Read the whole Op-Ed here: www.faithinpubliclife.org

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