Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Adam Chodorow (Arizona State) presents Pope Francis, the Bible, and Tax Policy at Pepperdine today as part of our Tax Policy Colloquium Series:
- What does the Bible actually say, either directly about taxes and tax-like institutions or indirectly about principles that should guide policymakers, regarding an appropriate tax system?
- To what extent should the Bible or religious views guide votes or opinions on such secular policy matters?
Biblical Tax Systems and the Case for Progressive Taxation, 23 J.L. & Relig. 53 (2008):
With the political rise of the religious right, American policymakers have increasingly looked to religion for guidance on important policy issues, including questions of distributive justice and how best to allocate tax burdens. While many claim that Judeo-Christian values require progressivity, the examples of taxation found in the sacred texts apparently refute this claim. This article examines four examples of taxation found in the Bible and Talmud to determine whether it is appropriate to infer from them a Judeo-Christian principle of tax fairness that should apply in a modern, secular tax system. I find that, not only do these examples use different methods for allocating tax burdens, making it impossible to identify one principle, but, more important, each example bears the stamp of its religious purpose or historical circumstances, making it inappropriate to rely on these examples as evidence of a divinely-sanctioned principle of tax justice.
Update: Post-presentation dinner: