Bill Gates is the 2nd richest man in the entire world, with a net worth of around $108 billion. While the Microsoft founder doesn’t mind paying “more than anybody” in taxes (around $10 billion), the idea of a massive wealth tax isn’t going over too well.
“If I had to pay $20 billion, it’s fine. But when you say I should pay $100 billion, then I’m starting to do a little math over what I have leftover.”
Bernie Sanders chimed in on Twitter to argue that taxing Bill Gates $100 billion would still leave Gates a “multibillionaire” and could “end homelessness and provide safe drinking water to everyone in this country.”
As many have pointed out on Twitter, including conservative blogger Matt Walsh, this claim seems dubious at best considering the federal government already collects over $4 trillion in taxes annually yet they haven’t solved homelessness.
The most noteworthy part about Sanders’ statements, however, are his comments about charity and dignity.
Cara Korte of CBS News asked Sanders if his wealth tax would diminish charitable spending, to which the Senator replied, “When you raise wages to a living wage, when you end homelessness in America, when you end hunger… Poor people are not going to need charity. They’re going to have dignity.”
This sentiment reveals where Sanders and many on the far left end of the political spectrum believe human individuals obtain their dignity. It also shows they don’t understand charity, either.
I shudder to think of a world where people feel they no longer need to be charitable to others because the government is supplying them with a few extra dollars. We already suffer from a massive relational disconnect, thanks to our addiction to technology. Further removing human interaction from the equation of life seems like a very, very dangerous idea.
What’s also troubling is this idea of where we derive our dignity.
To say that one obtains dignity from a “living wage” is to say that money is the source of our ultimate worth as human beings. To assume raising one’s hourly earning from $10 an hour to $15 an hour (as Sanders often argues for) will make them suddenly feel dignified and no longer in need of any charity whatsoever is preposterous because it is self-evident that one does not come from the other.
Money cannot purchase happiness, as the tried and true saying goes. But Bernie Sanders wants you to believe that it can — specifically, $5 more dollars per hour can create self-worth you never knew you had.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. We have mountains of evidence — and catchy clichés — showing that money and material wealth, while oftentimes a blessing, cannot possibly provide worth. We get our worth from our Creator, who says are made in the image of God (imago Dei). This likeness to God, distinct from other created beings that roam the earth, is what gives us dignity. Without God’s hand in our creation, we are no more dignified than the rocks, trees, dust, and dirt that fill the earth.
What a wonderful truth, that the God who created the universe also created us, and in the process decided to impart a level of likeness that while far short of His glory, helps us understand more about who He truly is. It connects us to Him in a way that doesn’t with any other piece of creation — even other living creating beings.
God embedded right and wrong on our hearts. And even though we fall far short (because of sin) of His glory, He still forgives us and makes a way for us to avoid eternal damnation. We deserve death, but in His great mercy and kindness, He has determined to rescue us from our due punishment and sent His one and only son, Jesus, to take on the punishment we deserved.
That is good news. We already have dignity and worth, because the Creator of the universe has imparted it to us — and given far more than an extra $5 from a politician could ever bring.