Weaponizing Wealth: Unjust Redistribution Upward

by Carl Cranor | December 18, 2017

Is the current "tax reform" going through Congress just? Justice is important because even if citizens are treated dissimilarly by institutions, if the differences are just, all have reasonable treatment and the institutions are likely to be socially accepted. 

A widely endorsed theory of justice, developed by the philosopher John Rawls nearly 50 years ago, captures how thoroughly unjust the congressional tax plan is. Understanding this and how it weaponizes wealth against most ordinary citizens may explain why so many people oppose it. 

The tax plan will initially reduce taxes on all income groups, with those in the top five percent receiving a higher share of tax reductions. Yet by 2027, 50 percent of middle- and lower-income groups are projected to pay more in taxes than they do now. Will the initial, temporary drop in taxes be enough to persuade those groups to look favorably on the bill, even though their taxes will increase later and they will be harmed in various ways? 

Three major components provide resources to assess the justice of basic institutions. One, largely the legal system, should ensure certain equal rights for all citizens. A second, with implications for health care and education, should ensure fair opportunities for all in the community based on similar talents, abilities, and motivations. The third – and this is where economics and governmental tax policies come into play – should ensure differences in ...

An Antidote to Greed

by Matthew Freeman | November 28, 2017
If there's a defining value to the tax bill now working its way through Congress, it's greed. How else to account for a bill that wipes out tax deductions for health care expenses, double-taxes the money you pay in state and local income taxes, eliminates the deduction for interest on student loans, and at the same time eliminates the tax that's now paid on estates in excess of $5.5 million, eliminates the alternative minimum tax, and slashes corporate taxes, all ...

How Tax 'Reform' Impacts the Bay -- and Everything Else

by Evan Isaacson | November 17, 2017
Everyone should be paying attention to the tax "reform" bills making their way through Congress. Whether you are a concerned citizen, a volunteer activist, or a career advocate, chances are the tax legislation will do much more than increase or lower your tax bill. Much of the mainstream media and financial press, along with some public finance scholars and think tanks, are doing a thorough job of explaining what the tax bills will mean for the rich and the middle ...

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