A Very Short Rant On This “Redistribution of Wealth” Nonsense

Ken AshfordElection 2008Leave a Comment

Obama correctly points out that, over the past 8 years, the wealthy in this country have been getting increasingly wealthy, while the incomes of the middle class and lower class have remained a constant (or gone down).  He seeks to rectify that.

Some have come to call this notion "redistribution of wealth", which becomes equated with "socialism" (and from socialism, many take the added leap to "communism").  Hence, "redistribution of wealth" is a baaaaaaad thing (and Obama is a "socialist").

But aren't ALL Americans in favor of "redistribution of wealth", on at least some level?  Social security is a "redistribution of wealth".  Federal law mandating a minimum wage is a "redistribution of wealth".  Aside from the most ignorant wingnuts, who is prepared to call these programs "socialist"? 

If you think about it (and I suspect few do), any "safety net" federal program which seeks to help those in need — whether it be health, housing, education, or wages — is necessarily funded by those who don't have the need.  That represents a "redistribution of wealth".

Even the progressive tax system we have had in places for decades is, by its very nature, a "redistribution of wealth" scheme.  We don't THINK of it that way, but that's what it is.  Democrats and Republicans quibble about the amount that each income bracket is taxed, but the fundamental progressive tax system is accepted.

Yet, with Obama's policies, we hear cries of "socialism".  Well, where were all those people last spring, when Bush decided to send out $600 checks to individuals making less than $70,000 (or households making under $150,000)?  Isn't that a blatent example of "redistribution of wealth"?  Who was decrying Bush as a "socialist" then?

Fortunately, the "socialism" boogeyman simply isn't working this election cycle.  If it was working, if it had any merit to it, then Obama wouldn't be getting the endorsements of The Financial Times and The Economist.