Thu, Oct 06, 2016 - Page 9 News List

Trump’s taxes reflect divorce from commonality and citizenship

By David Brooks  /  NY Times News Service

In a lovely society, everybody practices a kind of social hygiene. There are some things that are legal, but distasteful and corrupt. In a lovely society, people shun these corrupt and corrupting things.

The tax code is a breeding ground for corruption, so they do not take advantage. The lottery system immiserates the poor, so they do not contribute to its acceptability by playing.

In a lovely society, everyone feels privilege, but the rich feel a special privilege. They know they have been given more than they deserve, and that it is actually not going to hurt all that much to try to be worthy of what they have received.

Citizens are not just sacrificing out of the nobility of their heart. They serve the common good for their own enrichment, too. If they practice politics, they can learn prudence; if they serve in the military, they can learn courage. Public citizenship is the path to personal growth.

You can say that a billionaire paying no taxes is fine and legal, but you have to adopt an overall mentality that shuts down a piece of your heart, and most of your moral sentiments.

That mentality is entirely divorced from the mentality of commonality and citizenship. That mentality has side effects. They might lead toward riches, but they lead away from happiness.

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