Pharos-Tribune

Breaking News

Opinion

July 3, 2014

CREDITOR: A Jewish perspective on taxes and poverty

Here are two related statistics, both of which may surprise you: 1) More than 1.2 billion people around the world live in extreme poverty, and 2) Every year, poor countries lose more money to tax avoidance than they receive in aid.

Here is something that should shock a citizen of the United States just as much: Current U.S. law enables this economic inequality.

I recently returned from Washington, D.C., where I joined the interfaith, bi-partisan anti-poverty group Jubilee USA and other faith leaders and small-business owners from across the country to encourage our elected officials to reform the tax system and protect the most vulnerable among us. Perhaps what surprised me most was that even legislative allies in the efforts to repair the fabric of our nation’s economic inequality feel immobilized by the enormity of the task. To the paralysis, often experienced when confronted with big problems, I offer this faith response, culled from centuries of Jewish tradition: Ours is not to complete the task, but neither are we exempt from starting the work today.

I expressed to our elected representatives that whatever they think about taxes, we should have a tax system in which everybody pays their fair share. To me, this is one of those issues where Republicans and Democrats can – and must – agree. It makes no sense to have legal loopholes that allow big companies to avoid their share of taxes and then pass the burden on through reduced services and increased taxation for the rest of us.

In the United States, tax haven loopholes cost an estimated $90 billion in lost revenue each year. This is an enormous problem with enormous consequences, experienced in every strata of our nation. In the developing world, the problem is even bigger. During my trip to Washington, for instance, I learned that for every $10 poor countries receive in aid, they lose $15 because of large companies not paying their taxes. We heard the story of a woman in Zambia, who works 15 hours a day for $4, but who regularly pays a higher percentage in taxes than the enormous European-owned sugar company operating in her town. That company uses a web of “shell companies” and tax havens to avoid paying taxes. That means reduced funding for health services for the people of Zambia. These travesties, what my faith would call sin, is that all of this is legal. An even greater sin would be our silence as citizens.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Holly Sklar SKLAR: Small businesses want minimum wage increase If Congress actually listened to small business owners, the minimum wage would be going up. Instead, July 24 will mark five years without an increase since the federal minimum wage was set at $7.25 an hour in 2009.Small business livelihoods depend on

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • KITCHELL: Reaction times change, but motorists don't Earlier this year, I came home one afternoon to find the worst accident on North Street I can ever recall.A bevy of police cars and four flatbed trucks were removing the pawns in an accident that damaged four vehicles. It was a bit unusual considerin

    July 23, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Keeping insects under control curbs disease State health officials said last week mosquitoes in two northern Indiana counties tested positive for the West Nile virus, The Associated Press reported.The state health department said mosquitoes in Marshall and Pike counties were confirmed to have

    July 23, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Indiana's ethics laws in need of reform The Indiana State Ethics Commission’s recent approval of an agreement between the state inspector general and Tony Bennett settles the charges against the former state superintendent of schools.But the settlement raises more concerns about the loopho

    July 22, 2014

  • MARCUS: Tax simplification is no simple matter The governor and his select invitees to his closed tax conference last month praised simplifying Indiana’s tax code. It is an idea better loved by Americans than baseball, apple, pie or motherhood.There is no question that our national and state tax

    July 22, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: The sheer dumbness of an enormous dome There is a TV series about an entire town trapped under a giant, mysterious crystal-clear dome that appears out of the blue one day. The dome is impenetrable; no one can get in, no one can get out. Who made the dome? Aliens? God? A super-secret branc

    July 22, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Road to funding Indiana highways jammed If you’ve driven on either of Indiana’s two busiest interstates recently, you’ll understand why a blue-ribbon commission last week called for adding traffic lanes to those harrowing highways.The report, issued by the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on T

    July 21, 2014

  • LYONS: When academic committees play 'police' If one believes even a significant fraction of the horror stories in the national news media, beastly male behavior has become almost epidemic on American college campuses. Tales of drunken sexual assaults and worse multiply from sea to shining sea.E

    July 21, 2014

  • CEPEDA: Hispanic women flock to the movies My family attended the first morning screening of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” which won last weekend’s box office with a $73 million debut.According to Lucas Shaw’s recent article “Hispanic Women Are This Summer’s Most Avid Moviegoers” on the e

    July 20, 2014

  • thelma CONRAD: A true Lincoln original The Cass County Historical Society has had in its possession for many decades several documents containing the signature of President Abraham Lincoln. The society never doubted the authenticity of the signature, given the fact that most of the first

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

The Pence administration continues to cut Indiana agency budgets despite a state surplus of $2 billion. Is this wise management of state funds?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.