Sunday, October 9, 2011

Laziness, Tax Breaks, and Social Assistance

A Facebook friend of mine posted a picture a few minutes ago of children trick-or-treating. The adult whose doorbell they've wrung says to them, "Look how much candy you have! I'm going to take half and give it to the kids too lazy to go trick or treating themselves!" One of the children thinks, "Oh crap, a democrat."

This friend found his amusing, but I don't think it is. I don't like it for a number of reasons, starting with that it drastically simplifies things. The second reason is that it's based on a notion of the privileged that the poor are lazy, and that that's the only reason anyone would need government assistance.  I don't like that it assumes that money "taken" away from people only goes to social assistance when the defense budget is huge!

Finally, it doesn't seem very compassionate. This person is a very nice person with good ties with my family, and she's a Christian. I have a hard time writing off a whole group of people whose lives we don't understand. We spend more on war than helping people have life. Taxes aren't just for social assistance, either; they give us roads and schools and pay educators' salaries. They go to research so that really cool things can happen in science. They're currently going to go to attorneys who will defend discrimination.

This picture also only talks about taxes, but it doesn't talk about how not everyone pays all the tax that they could; some people get help from the government in the form of social assistance, but some get it in refunds and tax credits. Families with children aren't seen as lazy when they check the box and claim their kids as a tax deduction. Choose your poison of tax deduction, the government is helping and they aren't seen as lazy.

I'm tired of lack of compassion posts. I'm also tired of over-simplified posts. I think that most of the people on my Facebook page who complain about the potential of higher taxes wouldn't actually be affected by tax proposals I hear talked about, where those of greater mean contribute more to the welfare of society. That's not a radically new idea, either.

Abundant life isn't just for the 1%. We are the 99%.

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