10.01.2008 0


  • On: 10/30/2008 10:10:20
  • In: Barack Obama
  • By Robert Romano

    Occasionally, it’s good to take people at their word. If somebody says something explicitly, you should listen implicitly, because they tend to mean what they say. There is no further need to question their every answer.

    And so it is with Barack Obama. He thinks “one of the tragedies of the civil rights movement” was that it tried to achieve too many of its goals via the courts. This was good for achieving application of voting rights and the like, but not for “redistribution of wealth” and “basic issues of political and economic justice in the society.”

    Instead, he believes that a better strategy is to do so legislatively. Okay, we get it. He really does believe in the “redistribution of wealth.” He wants to “spread the wealth.” He has said it repeatedly. He believes it. He means it.

    There’s no misunderstanding here at all. We should take the man at his word.

    However, Slate’s Emily Bazelon would have one believe that when he spoke of “redistributive change”, Senator Obama did not really mean what he said at all. As Mr. Obama’s self-appointed translator, she explains that he “was speaking against the backdrop of an old debate in the legal academy, which was not about who should pay higher taxes.”

    Excuse me? The debate may not have entirely been about progressive taxation—one of the primary instruments of wealth redistribution—but it most certainly was about the best method of achieving redistribution of wealth, as Mr. Obama explicitly noted.

    To somehow suggest that Mr. Obama’s views on wealth redistribution are entirely divorced from his views on raising taxes on the top 5 percent of wage earners is, well… wrong. Inaccurate. Misleading.

    He explicitly justified that view—in favor of progressive taxation—to Joe the Plumber because he wants to “spread the wealth around”:

    “It’s not that I want to punish your success, I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they’ve got a chance at success, too… I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

    Clearly to “spread the wealth,” you first have to take the wealth. But, Ms. Bazelon is undaunted. Her piece is titled, “He’s Not Robin Hood.” The subheadline reads, “What Obama really meant by ‘redistributive change.’” To be fair, perhaps this was an editorial decision and those weren’t her intended headlines. Though they probably were.

    Nonetheless, they are misleading because Mr. Obama really does want to engage in the redistribution of wealth. Some folks support taxation because they believe there are certain, limited functions that government ought to perform. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, goes much, much further. He thinks that the wealthy should be taxed at higher rates so that the money may be redistributed to those less fortunate—or those who simply don’t care to work quite as hard, thank you.

    Ms. Bazelon even admits it: “[O]f course Obama is for redistribution.” And then, almost as if catching herself in mid-fall, she gasps, “So is any politician, including John McCain, who favors a progressive income tax. Governments constantly take more from one group and give more to another.”

    The controversy, Ms. Bazelon, is not over the structure of the tax code per se. That is a well-entrenched tragedy. It is over why Mr. Obama—and all other Marxists…or, rather, socialists… excuse me, Democrats—believe the tax code ought to be structured that way. About which, there is no misunderstanding: Senator Obama wants to tax the wealthy at higher rates so as to “spread the wealth around”.

    Senator McCain, we suspect, does not believe that is the proper role of government—even though he has in the past shown a decidedly unfortunate proclivity for taxation and even class warfare rhetoric.

    So let us not conflate the issues involved. The controversy is over Mr. Obama’s motives for raising taxes on the top 5 percent of wage earners. Or whoever else happens to enter his crosshairs as the “undeserving” rich. There is no misunderstanding.

    We got it. We’ll take him at his word. He really is a socialist who wants to—as he has repeatedly said—“spread the wealth”.

    Next question?

    Robert Romano is the Editor of ALG News Bureau.

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