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Monday, March 12, 2007

Is there such a thing as a moral tax policy?

As a measure supporting my church's effort to grow, I've distributed business cards with discussion starters in a couple of coffee shops. One of the questions is, "Is there such a thing as a moral tax policy?" I think there is.

Particularly a tax code like ours is chock full of moral assumptions. Among those assumptions is that the more wealthy you are the more you afford to pay to support the country.

For more information, I'm about to start reading Part IV of Jim Wallis's God's Politics, titled "Spiritual Values and Economic Justice."

2 comments:

Matt Dick said...

Engaging ecnomic policy on moral grounds is a strange journey over uncertain ground for me.

Living as we do (the West) certianly has laid the most fertile ground in the history of humankind in terms of advancing equality for all members of society. Why? The bar for waelth across the board has been raised to a level perhaps never seen in the past. Almost all Europeans, South Koreans, Japanese, Americans, Canadians, and more now live in societies that would have been nearly impossible to predict a hundred years ago. The poorest of these is wealthy by all standards.

In terms of generating a quality standard of living for the greatest number of people, this has to be considered the greatest good in history, right? And yet all we do is carp at each other about who is getting screwed, and how immoral the other guy is.

No wisdom or recommendation for me today, just an observation that what is individually moral is not the same calculation when you're discussing entire societies.

JimII said...

I definitely feel ambivalent about writing tax code to encourage people to marry and buy houses, or even give money to churches.

That said, I think asking those of us with more to pay more than those with less, is a moral decision. I can fashion an economic motive for a progressive tax burden, but I don't think it is the honest motivation behind it.

This is a point where Jim the Christian and Jim the Democrat are pretty mixed up. I haven't thought enough about economic justice.