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A Critical Difference

I know it’s been said before, but it merits repeating: the debate about taxes in general, and about extending the Bush tax cuts in particular, only sounds like the issue in question is fiscal. It’s not. The Right and Left differ on tax policy primarily because of a difference in values.

Broadly speaking, the Right believes that your stuff is yours. The Left believes your stuff doesn’t really become your stuff until the government says it is. So the Right sees taxes as a way to pay for necessary government services. The Left sees taxes as an instrument of social control and redistributive justice.

… It is simply not credible for Democrats and liberals to say they oppose extending those tax cuts because of concern for budget deficits. The real reasons are just old-fashioned envy, hard egalitarianism, soft socialism, and Keynesian claptrap about the economic benefits of redistributing income to promote consumption over saving. I agree with the supply-side argument that virtually all Americans benefit from the growth effects of keeping marginal tax rates low. But the most important reason to extend the tax cuts for everyone is that it is wrong for the government to steal and redistribute income.

National Review’s John Hood  (with emphases added)

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