A Morals Based Tax Policy

Our trade issues break down along the white collar / blue collar divide to a large extent. How can we compete with other nations that have much less respect for human rights and dignity, environmental protection and intellectual property? We really can't.

I had a Sanders-esque idea that we should tariff imports based upon a moral criteria. Those products that come from countries that have no respect for women's rights, those countries that engage in child or slave labor or that corrupt our environment or have no respect for intellectual property, will be taxed proportionate to the amount of damage done. We apply that tax in the same manner to both domestic and foreign corporations. Those corporations that are model citizens, pay no tax. The concept of a tax haven nation, disappears.

At one end of the spectrum, we have countries like say Finland, and at the other, Saudi Arabia. Now how would such a moral tax be fairly applied? My idea is both radical and difficult to carry out, but I don't have a problem projecting our values to the world at large. We do it anyway, both subtly via our cultural influence and overtly, exercising our economic and political clout. I'm suggesting we try a different approach.

As the world's largest debtor and consumer nation, our purchasing power carries much more weight than our military in terms of shaping the world today. In my proposal, greater success would flow to countries that embrace our ideals. Instead of investing billions in our military to protect the peace, we could do much the same thing with an army of accountants that would follow the progress of the raw materials that went into everything we imported, all the way back to its ultimate source, taxing these products accordingly, so that nothing can be dodged along the production chain.

I don't mind spending a few bucks more for that soccer ball for my kid, knowing that it wasn't stitched together by another kid in Bangladesh, who worked 18 hours that day to bring home 50 cents to his impoverished family. I don't need the guilt. There is always a hidden cost to everything we do. Our cheaper imports is someone else's misery.

England avoided a revolution with an enlightened tax policy. They still have a monarchy. France doesn't. The dollar is the world's de-facto currency. We trust in god. Let's give god a little more clout.