Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Logic of the Willing Welfare State Benefactor

During a town hall event with President Obama early last week, former Google employee Doug Edwards made this request:
“My question is would you please raise my taxes? I would like very much for our country to continue to invest in things like Pell grants, infrastructure, job training–programs that made it possible for me to get to where I am. It kills me to see Congress not supporting the expiration of tax cuts that have been benefiting so much of us for so long.”
Several people have noticed that he would not have to see his taxes go up a dime in order for him to contribute more to these causes. He could simply send more money than he is obligated to the U.S. Treasury. They are always looking for more money. Alternatively he could use his own money to give direct scholarships to college students and those seeking increased jobs training.

His dissatisfaction with such personal efforts indicates that what Edwards really wants is not higher taxes on himself, but on everyone else (or at least everyone else in his income bracket). He would be happy to contribute more to the state as long as all of his other colleagues have more of their money forcibly taken from them to contribute to his favorite causes as well. This is the ideology of redistribution in a nutshell.

We must not forget that a tax is a coerced levy. There is no way we can be charitable with other people's money. We are to be generous with our own money, not the property of other people. As the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians when explaining how the work of the Church should be funded, "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).

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