Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fair Share

Will someone please tell me what it means for the rich to pay their fair share of taxes? The federal government is spending $3.7 trillion each year. Spread over the population of 309 million, that is $11,974 for every man, woman, and child in the country. I'm sure as heck not paying that much in. Are you? Are you paying your "fair share"? I'm not, and I'm grateful the more wealthy are shouldering a greater part of the burden.

In a related vein, there are people insisting that we should be have a balanced approach of cutting spending alongside increases in taxation to balance the budget. The problem is with that number above. Who can argue with a straight face that we need a federal government that spends $11,974 for ever man, woman, and child and that we can't afford to cut that back substantially apart from any increases in revenue? If we cut a trillion off our spending to match our current revenue, that would still be $8,737 for every man, woman, and child. That is some expensive government. Shouldn't we be able to make do with that?

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Moral Differences in Politics

We all like to believe we are acting rationally and that our opinions are based on sound reasoning and a thorough understanding of the historical record. But that doesn't turn out to be true. Instead, we make snap judgments about issues based on our values and then construct a set of evidence that supports our pre-drawn conclusion. I learned this from a liberal psychology professor, Jonathan Haidt, in this interview on Think.

[Originally posted as a comment on a Facebook post as preserved here to help me find the link again when I want it.]