Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Taxes and Worldviews

Illinigirl recently posted a very revealing quote on her blog (which, by the way, is well-worth reading regularly and can be accessed via a link from this site). She quoted Ben Affleck as saying, "Because of Bush's tax cuts, I saved a million and a half in taxes last year. Does anyone think that's fair?" Illinigirl then asks why Ben doesn't just donate his windfall to a worthy charity if he feels guilty about his wealth.

This quotation contrasted with Illinigirl's response demonstrates the clear difference in worldview between liberals and conservatives when it comes to taxes and social programs. Affleck and liberals like him are correct when they say that those with many blessings have a responsibility to care for those who are less fortunate. Conservatives would agree with that sentiment. However, liberals seem to think that if the government is not carrying out this responsibility then it cannot be accomplished. Liberals believe that the only way that social good can occur is if the government takes money from the wealthy and redistributes it to the poor.

Conservatives have a very different view. Conservatives believe that caring for the poor and down-trodden is an individual responsibility. They believe that if some choose to shirk that responsibility then that is between that person and that person's maker. It is not between that person and the government. Furthermore, conservatives correctly believe that if you leave more money in the hands of individuals, those individuals will have more resources at their disposal to donate to charitable causes.

I know there are cynics out there who do not believe that people will really be generous when given the opportunity, but I personally know several people who have used financial success to benefit others. I am certain that those same people would do even more for others if they did not have half of their income taken in taxes. Perhaps Affleck and others would feel less guilty about receiving a tax cut if they took a queue from the people that I know and redirected their additional dollars to feeding the homeless or caring for orphans.