Utne Blogs > Politics

The Moral Case for Taxes

by David Doody

Tags: Elizabeth Warren, taxes, capitalism, politics, The New Republic, David Doody,


Playing off of Elizabeth Warren’s widely publicized quote about taxes (see picture above), the editors at The New Republic take the argument one step further, making a moral case for paying them. Their defense of taxation hinges on two arguments. “The first is distributional,” write the editors. “A civilized society recognizes [that capitalism will create losers as well as winners, often because of forces beyond any individual’s control] and vows to mitigate” that problem. “The second reason we need taxes isn’t about the least fortunate; it’s about public goods.” This is the point Warren made, and the editors at TNR make the same point, asking, “Could Bill Gates have made his fortune without government-financed education and technology?”

It’s easy to have a knee-jerk reaction to taxes. Even the most liberal among us may scoff at their property taxes from year to year. The New Republic’s editorial is a good reminder that, indeed, “Taxes are an act of citizenship. We should all be proud to pay them.”

Source: The New Republic (article only available to subscribers)