Written By: Lew Hamburger

I believe in raising taxes. Now that I have your attention, this is why.

We make decision-making and life way too complicated. When you cut through the fog, deciding what to do in tough situations can be reduced to three questions:

* What kind of person do I want to be? (For individuals)
* What kind of family and nation do I want to be a part of?
* What do I have to do right now to move in that direction?

As an individual, I want to help people, preferably on a one-to-one, ground floor basis. I also want balance in my life. Mother Teresa I’m not, so vows of poverty or abstinence, are not my thing. I need more balance in my life, and thus prioritize what I need and what I can live without. I want a TV that’ll bring me the NFL and Stanley Cup playoffs, and a little news now and then, but don’t care about the size of screen it appears on.

As a citizen, I want to live in a nation where as many people as possible have basic needs met and where all of us sacrifice something so the number of those with no food, shelter, medicine, and other contemporary essentials is reduced. This is not a new idea. From Ezekiel (and before him) to FDR, we have role models who believed respectively:

”Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.”
Ezekiel 16:49

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” (Check out the FDR monument near the Tidal Basin in Washington).
Franklin Delano Roosevelt

As a nation, we are in debt up to our eyeballs. As individuals, when we are in debt, we stop spending as much and look for ways to raise our income. Hopefully, we do not cut charitable donations or take from someone else. (That would be people in need when cutting some social programs).

True, taxes can be seen as the “slop that feeds a piggish big government,” but another view is that they are a means for each of us to support people who have less than we have. No doubt, cutting government waste will help! But it’s tough to cut spending when so much of it goes to education, economic creativity and stimulus, to defending ourselves, helping others abroad or is designed to “provide for those who have too little”—or nothing.

Sorry, but I would rather take more from my pocket than see people hungry, sick, and fearful they could be bankrupt if they became sick. If you’re one who believes that the poor are poor because of their lack of ambition or work ethic, let’s beef up the educational system to address this. Help kids see opportunity and have a passion for something they work to reach, whether that’s world peace or being the best cab driver in town. But make no mistake; although “throwing money at the schools” may not reach that goal, moving in that direction will cost money.

I am neither a politician nor an economist. (My math peaked in 4th grade). But what I find most disheartening is that those who are have complicated the issue with red herrings related to whose programs and pet interests to cut. Is it possible that refusing to even mention, much less devote serious debate to increasing taxes is irresponsible, possibly selfish, and cowardly or is it that we simply don’t care?

Leave a message for Dr. Lew below or email him at lhamburger@boomer-living.com

Tags: decision making, medicine, mother teresa, role models

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