Is the current "tax reform" going through Congress just? Justice is important because even if citizens are treated dissimilarly by institutions, if the differences are just, all have reasonable treatment and the institutions are likely to be socially accepted.
A widely endorsed theory of justice, developed by the philosopher John Rawls nearly 50 years ago, captures how thoroughly unjust the congressional tax plan is. Understanding this and how it weaponizes wealth against most ordinary citizens may explain why so many people oppose it.
The tax plan will initially reduce taxes on all income groups, with those in the top five percent receiving a higher share of tax reductions. Yet by 2027, 50 percent of middle- and lower-income groups are projected to pay more in taxes than they do now. Will the initial, temporary drop in taxes be enough to persuade those groups to look favorably on the bill, even though their taxes will increase later and they will be harmed in various ways?
Three major components provide resources to assess the justice of basic institutions. One, largely the legal system, should ensure certain equal rights for all citizens. A second, with implications for health care and education, should ensure fair opportunities for all in the community based on similar talents, abilities, and motivations. The third – and this is where economics and governmental tax policies come into play – should ensure differences in ...