Obama Unveils Deficit Plan Containing $1.5T in Tax Hikes, GOP Cringes
Keying in on a populist message that millionaires and billionaires should pay more in taxes than their secretaries, the president announced a plan in Rose Garden that includes more than $2 trillion total in entitlement cuts and tax increases over the next decade.
The Practical Buddhist Responds
Buddhist scholars like to talk about taxes and fiscal policy, often in terms of the obligations of a king. They stress fairness and the common good. They warn kings not to make unreasonable demands, and to tax the poor "lightly." The current debate saddens the Practical Buddhist. Why shouldn't the wealthy pay more, according to their means? Would generosity to the poor push us to the ugly edge of godless socialism? The richest would hardly notice a modest tax increase in terms of lifestyle and freedom to spend. The poor would be deeply impacted. Here are some thoughts from Jü Mipham Gyatso, a Tibetan Buddhist teacher from the turn of the 20th Century:
Advice on the Way of the King
Forcefully taking a reasonable tax from the wealthy,
even when they haven’t offered it,
is like being compensated.
according to their situation, is that just?
From all subjects who pay taxes
take in accord with their land,
the season, and their wealth, without harming their home.
Do not burden them unbearably.
In the manner of a cow eating grass,
one shouldn’t destroy the roots.