In class a few weeks ago, I acknowledged, in a discussion about the massive tax cuts enacted in Kansas this year, that my family’s own tax bill will be reduced–probably pretty considerably–under the new legislation. Combined, we make enough to be in an upper-income bracket, and what we pay each April will drop.
One of my students, then, asked, “So why don’t you support the tax change, if it’s going to mean more money for your family?”
I started to answer my student with a somewhat reflexive response about the importance of the infrastructure, and why I am ideologically committed to public education, and even what the erosion of public support for higher education would mean for a sizable piece of my employment.
But then I stopped.
About economic ‘self-interest’. And social work values. And why I vote the way I do.
And, really, it’s about this:
“The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life” (Jane Addams).
I chose it as the header for this blog for a reason.
I don’t believe in a ‘last one in shut the door behind you mentality”.
I don’t think that providing a ‘good quality-of-life’ for my kids is just about making sure they have money in the bank. Or even food on the table.
It’s about what we stand for together, what we consider ‘ours’, and who we consider to be part of our ‘we’.
It’s about what we’re willing to give up, in order to help others get what they need.
Not because we want to be ‘nice’ or generous, not really.
But because I believe that’s where real security and comfort and health come from.