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Don’t Tax Me, Bro!

September 29, 2016

Trump has stepped in it, by declaring that his evasion of federal taxes is a good thing and shows that he is “smart.” It makes him smart like Grover Norquist and other owners and managers of the Republican party who want to defund government, so that there is no democratic agent that can require them to share their wealth.

That position on taxation might have general appeal, because in a democracy in means that, unless I am a chump, surely it’s okay for me to avoid taxes, too.

But taxation is not primarily about taxes, nor is it mainly about governance. It isn’t even mainly about money, although the current topic disappears if we take money out of it. It’s primarily about the nature of being, the place of our species therein, the nature of humanity, one’s goals for humanity, one’s sense of how those can best be reached, the extent to which cooperation and self-sacrifice are required, and then about the form and role of governance, and the source of the necessary financial resources for government.

The American “Decl of Independence” and “Constitution” make it clear that, as a people, we tax ourselves, at rates set by ourselves through our elected representatives, in order to fund our democratic governance, with the purpose of advancing our common good as humans living in community—which we consider to be natural to our species, in keeping with our understanding of the wholeness of being and our need and responsibility to function harmoniously therein. Or something much like that.

Trump is a chump if he’s not smart enough to get that.

Since Trump bases his claim to exceptional intelligence (after all, almost everybody else has gone on paying taxes), on page 2 of this episode I want to contrast T’s evasive view with that of another wealthy person, Bill Gates.)

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