USA Today Op-Ed: “Taxes debate avoids the hard truths”

In a December 19 op-ed, the USA Today Editorial Board suggested that both President Obama and House Speaker Boehner are ignoring reality by focusing on and debating about tax increases for the wealthiest 2% of Americans alone.

“If deficits are to be brought under control,” the board asserts, “the middle class is going to have to contribute in the form of higher taxes and reduced benefits….Taxing the rich is not sufficient. There simply aren’t enough of them to solve the deficit problem.”

The 47% of Americans who do not pay income tax (made famous by Romney’s pejorative reference during the presidential campaign), are not “moochers or parasites,” but they do “avoid taxes lawfully thanks to deductions and credits.”

The board goes on to assert that debate over tax increases for incomes of $400,000+ (the wealthiest 2%) or $1,000,000+ (the wealthiest 0.2%) misses the point because it is not a sustainable debt-reduction plan.  Thus, they assert that broad-based tax code reform is needed in order to “ensure that everyone above the poverty level pays at least some income tax.”

The USA Today Editorial Board has offered a needed critique of the public debate by noting how the rhetoric from both sides is ignoring the fact that we all must be willing to do our part to address the needs of the nation.

In 2010, produced a documentary entitled, “Sacred Texts, Social Duty,” that addresses paying taxes from a Christian faith perspective.  Over the past several years, they have also published numerous columns addressing taxes from an ethical, moral, faith perspective.

Following the example of and its columnists, more people of faith need to be willing to speak of and engage in informed discussion about the role of taxes in our society, and to encourage us all to be willing to share our portion of the burden in order for the social services of which we all (at some point in our lives) receive can continue into the future.

Yes, the wealthy can and should pay a little more, but they cannot (numerically) and should not (morally and ethically) have to carry the burden alone.

As the op-ed suggests, “it is time for both parties to stop telling Americans that the nation’s fiscal problems can be fixed by inflicting pain on someone else” and to remember and re-affirm that “all Americans have a stake in funding the essential functions of government.”

The full-text of the column can be found here:


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