The Meek Shall Not Inherit

Terrance Heath

In my work-related news reading this morning, I came across an interesting take on Obama’s exchange with “Joe the Plumber.”

The truth is that Obama in Ohio spoke the language of American democracy, which has always included a perception that wealth is a form of power, and that stupendous inequalities of wealth produce an undemocratic inequality of power. His questioner, angry in anticipation that he could not hold onto all of the $300,000 he might hypothetically earn in a year, spoke the language of righteous self-interest; and he cited as his irrefutable authority “the American dream.” If I follow that dream, said the Joe of today, hoarding the wealth of the Joe of tomorrow, why should I ever pay a higher tax?

Obama’s answer was simple and Christian. Once you have been helped by a tax break to prosper and to grow relatively rich, it seems fair to give others lower down the ladder the same chance that once helped you.

You’d think so. But once again, depending on how you you believe faith and finance relate to one another.

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