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Let's end discrimination

When I was in sixth grade, back in the mid-1950s, I was taught that the color of one's skin didn't make any difference, that we were all the same. It made sense to me, and I brought up my own children to understand the same. At some point in the future, I explained, all the races and all the ethnicities would be commingled—it is inevitable given the ease of travel in modern society. Yet here we are, over 50 years later, still taking census counts of how many of us are white, brown, black, or whatever. We keep insisting on identifying our racial origins, and classifying ourselves by language, religion, and sex, but to what end? If we are going to stop the discrimination, we need to stop the counting and the classifying. Aren't we all just Americans? Free to pursue our own vision of happiness?

The Democrats are hell-bent on raising taxes on "the rich" but not the middle class, even though higher taxes on the rich would only amount to a fraction of our current $1.2 trillion deficit, and even though the hardest-working of the middle class would likely aspire to be rich some day. The Republicans want to avoid raising taxes on anyone, arguing that this might endanger the fragile recovery. Unfortunately, both parties are missing the more important point: using the tax code to discriminate between one person and another is just plain wrong.

It's wrong to discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, or religion, and it's just as wrong to discriminate on the basis of one's income or capital gains. It's wrong to discriminate on the basis of whether a couple is married or not, or whether they have children or not, or whether they rent or own their home, or whether they make more than $250,000 or not. We need to greatly simplify our tax code by not discriminating on the basis of anything. We need to make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed, but we need to stop punishing those that do and stop rewarding those who don't.

If the tax code distributes favors to every favored interest group, at the expense of any minority group, we only end up being a nation of special interests pitted against each other.

The more we discriminate on the basis of anything, the more incentive our politicians have to pander to special interest groups, and the more divided we become. This will be the death of us if we don't stop it.

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