Tax Hypocrites

In 1984 Walter Mondale ran a presidential campaign on the promise to raise taxes. He lost every single state except his home state of Minnesota, handing Ronald Reagan one of the biggest victories in the history of presidential elections. Since that time, Democrats have been smarter about their positions on taxes. They still support higher taxes on everyone. After all, if you do the math you find out that it is impossible to pay for an expansive welfare state unless the middle class is heavily taxed. But Democrats have learned to hide this dirty little secret and instead just call for higher taxes on “the rich”. This strategy was epitomized in the 2012 election by the Buffet Rule, which tried to convince voters that all the nation’s fiscal problems would be solved if only the rich were taxed more. The rule was named after billionaire Warren Buffet, who claims he wants to pay more taxes in the name of fairness. While this sounds great, the truth is that Buffet is a self interested hypocrite.

You see, the law allows people to make voluntary contributions to the US treasury. Oliver Wendell Holmes is famous for donating his fortune to the government. So if Buffet really wanted to be “moral” and pay more taxes, he can. But he doesn’t. When confronted with this cold reality, Buffet further exposed his hypocrisy by saying that him alone paying more money wouldn’t solve anything unless every other rich person paid more too. He said his donation would just be a “drop in the bucket”. There are two problems with this.

1) Even if everyone else paid more, his increased contribution would still just be “a drop in the bucket”. If he pays $100 more voluntarily or because the law says so, he is still just contributing $100 more. You are either part of the problem or part of the solution in this circumstance.

2) Buffet is making appeals to morality when he calls for higher taxes, but since when does morality have a disclaimer that says you only have to be moral if everyone else is too? Imagine how the world would be if Jesus acknowledged that loving your neighbor is the right thing to do, but said that he wasn’t going to love his neighbor because no one else was doing it. If Buffet was being genuinely moral, he would do what he says is the right thing to do- pay more taxes- regardless of what other people were doing. That’s how morality works. 

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