When we talk about rewarding hard work, what are we talking about?
It seems that lately the conservatives on TV have been railing on the Obama Administration with renewed vigor, calling him a socialist and even a communist because he wants to tax the super-rich. They're saying that taking more money from the rich is "not rewarding their hard work" and basically I agree with their statement but let's think about what the reward really is. What we believe about reward will greatly determine how we think about our money.
For many, the true reward is excess. True utopia would be, for them, total abundance beyond necessity for themselves and, if they indeed have a communal mentality, for everyone around them as well. In this utopian dream there is no scarcity and poor folks are just poor 'cause they're lazy and they should be looked at as an annoyance. The "we" of their dream, the people to which they truly belong are the elite in society, everyone else is pushed to the edges. Therefore, for them to be rewarded would be for them to be able to keep all their money to themselves so that they can spend it on the extravagance of their dream.
But what if the true reward and the true utopian dream was for the well-being of all? What if our utopian dream was the Kingdom of God where no one is hungry and no one dies unnecessarily and all are welcome to the table? For people with this dream, the true reward for hard work would be seeing others benefit from it. The true reward would be seeing hunger end and death defeated, it would be seeing people's basic needs being met without them having to work themselves to death. Excess would be seen as something to be given away and the kind of abundance described above would be seen as thievery.
It's not that we should be ok with the government taking our money but we should not be ok with the society which we have created where excess is accepted and greed is ok. We should not be ok with the society we have created in which the poor would likely stay poor without the government's help.
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