I was brought up with a sense of social justice that still shapes my life. It’s a complicated sense, shaped by Catholicism, rural sensibility and an awareness of the world from the perspective of a kid who was bullied. My social justice sense says, in part, “depriving one for the excesses of another is unjust.”
It seems some “Enlightened Rich” agree. The New York Times:
Some of the world’s wealthiest people are calling for higher taxes on the rich. They seem to recognize that the burden of the economic downturn cannot be borne entirely by the poor and middle class.
After the American billionaire investor Warren Buffett urged Congress last month to raise taxes on millionaires, the call echoed across Europe. Sixteen of France’s wealthiest individualsurged the government to raise their taxes. The Italian Formula One magnate Luca di Montezemolo publicly backed Mr. Buffett’s idea “for reasons of fairness and solidarity.” About 50 of Germany’s richest people have been campaigning for a higher top tax rate since 2009.
The suggestion is motivated, no doubt, by a sense of justice — that the very rich, who have survived the financial crisis very well, should contribute more to shrinking public coffers to reduce the spending cuts that would hurt the most vulnerable.
And yet, there are those who are resisting, no doubt motivated by fear- and quite possibly prejudice. But the results could be disastrous:
Americans have been historically less inclined than Europeans to explosions of social rage, despite suffering more poverty than most other wealthy democracies. But with unemployment above 9 percent, rising poverty rates and declining family incomes, the no-taxes, all-cuts agenda that has gripped Congressional Republicans will fray our social fabric and squander human capital here as well.
My sense of social justice also says, “If I make more money than others, I have a greater responsibility to maintain the fabric of my society”. But it’s obviously not what everyone believes.