In a earlier article (“The Subway Trip: A Journey into Morality “) I utilized a common subway quandary – whether to quit your seat – to learn some aspects of values. In this article, let’s look at another common product, taxes, to advance our moral exploration.
As before, we would like to keep your “dilemma” dialed down. Thus I will never present moral concerns using uncommon, and extreme, problems. As an example, we shall not envision a fictitious society, like the segregated interpersonal structures in the movies “Food cravings Games” or “Soon Enough”. This kind of hypothetical scenarios can be revealing, however in their extremes can distill the problems a lot of.
So we will make use of American taxes, in the economic atmosphere nowadays, since the grounds for exploration. We are going to simply envision a cross-section of individuals a space discussing who should pay and just how much they ought to pay.
In this exploration, we shall skip over one issue, the right of governments to accumulate taxes at all. Which is interesting, and instructive, and appropriate, but could be a conversation all itself. We are going to also, for the same reason, stay with just one form of tax, income taxes. Home taxes, sales taxes, inheritance taxes, are great topics, with great moral subtleties, but could be a conversation all independently.
Who Deserves to Pay
So we have our space of people discussing taxes. As they discuss, concerns occur. What tax rate should be applied to various incomes? What deductions should be allowed? Who should get credits? How should issues like exemptions for dependents be handled?
The conversation also transforms to using tax policy for interpersonal and economic welfare. Should a tax benefit be provided for power efficiency? For atmosphere preservation? For university tuition? For house mortgage loans? To stimulate improvements? Should taxes be applied for earnings redistribution? What at the fundamental degree is one thing worthy of receiving a tax benefit?
Principles behind the Questions
We can see two threads operating from the concerns. We have seen the first thread in the initially set of concerns previously mentioned, and that thread is how to be equitable to the person, i.e. fairness. We have seen the second thread in the second set of concerns, and that thread is how to achieve the most good for the country, i.e. utility. In other words, the key moral concerns surrounding taxes center on how to be fair to the person, and to offer utility to society as a whole.
That people have those two concerns, fairness and utility, consideration in the person and consideration of everyone with each other, will not be surprising. The two moral considerations are traditional issues throughout values, as well as their appearance in our conversation on taxes is affordable.
The Balancing of Factors
We currently have to delve much deeper, and peel off back the various considerations involved in fairness and utility. Given that will not be always easy in general, and in exercise it is actually created more complicated and untidy by each of the subtleties and distinctions among real individuals as well as their person economic and earnings problems.
Exactly what are these subtleties and distinctions? We have many which can be essential and appropriate. We have renters and property owners, large households and little, city residents and outlying citizens, university informed and college, high earnings and low earnings, salary and benefits, individuals with substantial cost savings and little cost savings, individuals with high financial debt and low financial debt, handicap and seniors, widows and married, employees in small business and huge business, manufacturer employees and office employees, older individuals and young individuals, car commuters zogqgi and mass transportation takers, recent immigrants and multi-generation Americans, and on and on.
So, just how do we balance these several and different situations, to attain fairness and utility in the way we levy taxes?
The choice of a university by a student offers a model. Like taxes, a university option involves managing many factors, both qualitative and quantitative. Items of relevance for a university option include tuition, high quality of instructing, types of levels provided, range at home, accessibility of extracurricular activities, the profession goals in the student, and so forth.
We currently return to our space of people discussing taxes. Even using the range of people within the room, we might likely accomplish some consensus to use, or at best try, a decision matrix.
The answer is we don’t have a recognized method. For this reason we now have the apparently unorganized approach; in the absence of a recognized method we now have a best attempt at a method. This isn’t like calculating the quantum mechanics of atomic particles. That science quandary is enormously complex. But scientists concur that some objective solution, one where they can concur, will be found, using experimental and theoretical methods, about which they reasonably concur. In other words, a decision process is present, to reach a reasonably objective solution,
For plan choices such as taxes, we now have neither, that is certainly neither a recognized decision process, neither the chance of the objectively ideal solution. Social issues involve so many individuals delivering to bear numerous different worth decision and needing so much elaborate information that issues such as taxes are past our present ability to obtain an ideal solution. Scientific research has a untidy, but sure, process to find solutions. In the interpersonal world, we now have a untidy, unbound, method that has no assurance of finding a best solution.
We began this journey with a concern as to what is an moral tax plan. We finish this journey not with conclusions about taxes but in the larger issue of governance.
Exactly what are these conclusions? To begin, we figured that finding moral answers to interpersonal and economic issues, like taxes, involves evaluating qualities of fairness and utility. Those are hard criteria. They can’t calculated like produce on a scale; quite they involve worth decision. We then judged that, provided our current multi-faceted communities and economies, we now have yet to discover a fool-evidence mechanism to find ideal answers to worth verdict issues. Rather, finding ideal and moral solutions involves essentially informed trail and mistake, aka experimentation. We try something, affordable, and find out how it works, then modify, or change, or even start over.
But we don’t believe we can try just anything at all. There are boundaries. Values dictates, and our good sense of rights demands, that such experimentation happens inside a bigger structure that imposes boundaries, or if you like ground rules, on how the experimentation is carried out.
As well as in American, our program, a program of democracy, and a totally free but regulated economy, underpinned by constitutional rights, imposes these boundaries. As well as in America, we now have a rough, implicit contract those boundaries are sufficiently appropriate, and moral, and the solutions accomplished inside these boundaries are sufficiently optimal, and that the procedures for getting to people solutions are sufficiently effective, that we live with this imperfect program.