Taxes and Morality

I was listening to KERA's "Think" today for about 30 seconds and the guest spoke to an issue which Estee and I have have spoken about many a times (especially around election times): Taxes.

Estee in the past has argued for a simple "flat tax" for all people, regardless of income. It is standard and easy to understand so most people can comprehend the idea we all are paying the same percentage. Whereas I have been a fan of "graduated tax rates" in which the more you make the more you pay in taxes.

The guest on "Think" stated why I think there needs to be graduated tax rates, "There is no wealth without society." He stated there is a moral obligation which the ancient western civilizations understood. (As a side note, he said the debate on taxes is older than the "one man, one woman for marriage" argument according to Scripture in which Jesus is asked what a woman is to do when her husband dies.)

The moral obligation is this: if you gain wealth you gained it as a result of society. You did not earn that money on your own, society gave it to you. Thus you have a moral obligation to give back to the society which gave you so much so that others might have the same opportunities you were given AND for the future viability of the society.

This is a reminder to me that, in the words of Malcolm Galdwell, "No one - not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires and not even geniuses- ever makes it alone."