I was raised in a family that hates taxes. Not hates taxes as in “Gosh, it’s too bad such a high percentage of my paycheck goes to the government.” More like: “How dare the government steal my hard-earned money and give it to undeserving moochers!” (Is there such a thing as a deserving moocher? Sorry, I digress.)
The origins of this anti-tax sentiment are deeply ideological, steeped in a frothy mix of conservative and libertarian principles. My family loves freedom, property rights, and the Protestant work ethic (even though they are Catholic). Their attitudes towards taxes spring forth from their deepest moral values. It’s not just the taxes that bother my parents and siblings, but the thought that income is being redistributed to unworthy people.
Or so it seems. Evidence is now accumulating that people’s attitudes towards topics like taxes and income redistribution are more fragile than many of us think, and that sometimes our desires – for social status, and for income we may or may not have earned – take hold on us, forcing us, unconsciously, to later embrace political ideologies that coincide with our preceding desires. When it comes to our attitudes towards taxes, we feel first and think later.
(To read the rest of this article, please visit Forbes.)