I used to have a sneaking suspicion that New Orleans center Tyson Chandler might be a jerk. I guess that was a mistaken impression; here's what he said on his blog about paying taxes:...I can afford to pay more in taxes. But my parents, my grandparents, my cousins ... with what they make, they can't afford to cut back in their household with what they're trying to survive with…The upper class, we can take that hit…And we can afford to live nice lives.
I've lived in both situations… So, would I rather see my whole family struggle while I get a break, or have me not get a break while the rest of my family gets one? I'll take my entire family getting a break.This viewpoint seems sensible, warm-hearted, and even patriotic. After all, the ancient Athenians considered it a civic privilege to pay taxes. Why? They cared about the future of their city-state. And that willingness to sacrifice to make one’s community better was the essence of patriotism. It was based on the belief that the community was, in a way, one's family.
Jody Wiser, the founder of Tax Fairness Oregon, agrees. In an Oregonian article, Wiser shared her belief that wealthy citizens need to pay more than they currently do. Wiser has nothing against rich folks… she is one! She says, "I deserve to be taxed, and if you give the wealthy a tax benefit, you're going to be giving it to me— and I don't need it.”
Wiser also knows that with her financial peers, it’s worth asking how their gains were gotten. For example, Wiser's family owned California farmland and the family made millions off of federal subsidies for “growing cotton in the desert," as she puts it. (The government subsidized this water-intensive, nonfood crop there because —wait for it— of the efforts of lobbyists.)
Anyway, patriotism may come down to how one defines the common good. What is our society's base denominator? Our family? Our state? There is no single answer, but I'm thinking anyone with a "country first" mentality would disagree with a statement like this:Now you [Joe Biden] said recently that higher taxes or asking for higher taxes or paying higher taxes is patriotic. In the middle class of America which is where Todd and I have been all of our lives, that's not patriotic. Patriotic is saying, government, you know, you're not always the solution. In fact, too often you're the problem so, government, lessen the tax burden and on our families and get out of the way and let the private sector and our families grow and thrive and prosper.