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HuffPost Family Dinner Download: Taxes And Paying A Fair Share

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In her new book, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie to launch a new feature we're calling HuffPost Family Dinner Downloads. Every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.

The family can gather around the laptop, smartphone, or iPad -- or just print out the post and pass it around the table. Each Dinner Download will end with a question or two that we hope will get everyone thinking and sharing their thoughts, feelings, and opinions.

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This week, President Obama and Republican leaders struck a deal that would continue lower tax rates for all Americans -- including the wealthiest people. This reignited an ongoing debate about the role of taxes in our government -- and whether the richest Americans should contribute a greater share of what they earn to the government than middle class and poor people do.

Both sides of the debate are very passionate about their positions. The anti-tax argument is summed up by Supreme Court justice John Marshall: "The power to tax is the power to destroy." Another legendary judge, Oliver Wendall Holmes, put the pro-tax viewpoint this way: "Taxes are the price we pay for civilization."

He was reminding people that taxes are not just money the government takes out of your paycheck -- it's how government pays for things like schools, roads, police and fire departments, and our military.

Since this week's agreement was only temporary, this is a debate that is sure to continue.

When you start earning money, are you ready to part with some of it to help fund the government? Do you think it's right that people have to give back some of the money they make? Do you think it's fair that millionaires and billionaires have to pay a bigger percentage of the money they earn than someone making just enough money to survive? What are some of the things that effect your life that taxes help pay for?

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