Americans have a very poor sense of duty. Washingtonians exemplify the lack of this trait. Individualism reigns supreme here. Same-sex marriage and legal marijuana have a lot of support, but needed income taxes fall on deaf ears. Residents of this state are all for it until they have to pay taxes for it.
The problem proponents of income taxes have is in convincing the middle class that these taxes will fall on only the rich. This fear shows how much Washingtonians lack a sense of duty. Washington state’s regressive tax system, underfunded educational system, and lack of social services are the shame of the nation.
Individualism, although responsible for much human progress, fails to acknowledge humanity’s tribal roots. Under tribalism, there is the whole and the one. The whole has a duty to the one and the one has a duty to the whole. In Washington state, many people believe the poor have the duty to pay high taxes, but the state has no duty to the poor.
The rights of the state’s most vulnerable citizens are wrapped up in state and local income taxes. Seattle’s attempt to right this matter with a modest income tax is fraught with difficulties. It is, however, a good place to start.
Dale McCracken, Renton