Theology professor asks: Are tax cuts for wealthy morally wrong?

by Joshua J. McElwee

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Over at The Washington Post's 'On Faith' blog today, University of Dayton theology professor Vince Miller asks a question sure to set interest some people: Are tax cuts for the wealthy morally wrong?

From the piece:

Catholic teaching on taxation is clear. It calls for "a reasonable and fair application of taxes" in which burdens are "proportioned to the capacity of the people contributing." The Bush-era tax cuts were unsustainable from the start. To date, they have burned a $9 trillion hole in our budgets, taking us from an era of surplus to record deficits. As our nation scrambles to respond to the deficits deepened by the economic crisis, we cannot afford them any longer. Indeed, "we" have never paid for them; instead we have left the deficits on our children's tab.

Preserving tax cuts temporarily for working families and the middle class is a practical compromise during a time when the economy is struggling out of recession. It is even more crucial to preserve the refundable Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit that are currently keeping millions of hard-working, low-income Americans above the poverty line. Stating that "too often the weak and vulnerable are not heard in the tax debate," the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently sent a letter to members of Congress urging representatives to support these two common-sense policies.

In contrast, extending Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthiest two percent of Americans, as Republican and some Democratic lawmakers propose, will do little to stimulate the economy and add an estimated $700 billion to our national debt. Burdening future generations with deficits and squandering resources that could be used today to rebuild our nation's aging infrastructure, invest in education and repair our fraying social safety net is both fiscally irresponsible and morally wrong.

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